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Unsung Hero: My Cousin, Seung-Jae

Joined: 1/19/2015
Posts: 1
His name fits the title so well, and yet, it doesn’t. He is not the first person I think of when I hear the word, “hero”, yet “unsung” suits him as well as Russian dolls fit into one another. 6,775 miles away from me lives my cousin, Seung-Jae. With a height towering over my 5 feet 4 inches frame, he can barely communicate with anyone; not even with his own family. His sentences are filled with stutters, composed only of a few words of Korean. When he is angry or sad, he pounds his fists while groaning. When he’s feeling happy or excited, he laughs, just like the rest of us. But his handicaps from being autistic makes his laugh even more special than our own. With a response of only a few words or a small giggle, he has the power to make everyone around him feel special.

Even if Seung-Jae can’t have conversations with us, even if he can’t take care of himself, he knows how to live a satisfying life filled with happiness and achievement. Working as hard as he can with the support of my aunt, Seung-Jae practices swimming every week. Ultimately, his efforts won him first place at a swim competition. Seung-Jae’s achievements not only make me proud as a cousin, but they also keep me motivated. Sometimes, I tend to find myself getting worked up over the smallest things; grades, friends, auditions, etc. When things go wrong, I naturally feel down and tired. However, when I think back to how hard it must be for Seung-Jae, I feel thankful for the opportunities I have in my life. Although Seung-Jae lacks in opportunities, it is evident through his expressions that he is living a content life.

A hero in an unexpected manner, Seung-Jae is the living proof that anyone, regardless of how well they can communicate with others, can be successful and have a fulfilling life. It is his constant power to be such a joyful person without communication skills that moves me to become a better person, while also motivating me to work harder to achieve my goals. Although no one is 100% sure of what Seung-Jae’s personal thoughts or goals are, he shows growth and development through his brief yet filling expressions. These expressions can range from a smile to a full out laughing fit. In the end, Seung-Jae’s smiles, laughter, and achievements inspire me to work harder for my own goals and improve upon myself along the way.
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