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Eleanor Roosevelt Quotation: Differences Do Not Define Me

Joined: 2/24/2015
Posts: 1
People all around Georgia say I’m strong. My parents, my friends, my peers, my teachers, and basically anyone who has a connection with me. But, the thing is, I don’t believe them. I believe that everyone faces their own challenges. Whether it’s work, school, relationship problems, religion, the death of a family member, or a physical disability, every living soul on this Earth has one thing that they must work for. I work to overcome Cerebral Palsy, which affects my legs, but also smaller motor muscles such as my fingers and tongue. I use canes, a walker, and a wheelchair at school. I used to despise it and go looking for cures. I thought I was different, an alien in a world of able bodied kids.
As a child, my twin sister, Katelyn was a figure skater. The whole family would cram into our Honda Odyssey minivan to drive a grueling forty-five minutes to the Cooler, the closest rink in our small city of Cumming. Don’t get me wrong, I loved watching my sister. She was so graceful, and the ice was her second home. But sometimes, her ability to jump, to spin, and to glide angered me. I wanted to be like Katelyn—to have working legs, to be graceful, to win competitions.
Then one day, something changed. My doctors told me that I would have to have a surgery. One that would leave me helpless. I supposedly couldn’t even sit up when it was over. Yet still, my family and I made the executive decision to undergo the biggest challenge I would ever face during December of my sixth grade year. I remember those few seconds before the anesthesiologists put me under. I was in the operating room; my mother was staring at my teary eyes, not uttering a word. I attempted to focus on the beeping of the heart monitor as my face began to droop into unconsciousness. Just as I caught my last glimpse of this messed up world, I remembered my sister and her figure skates. I loved them both so much.
Four years later, here I am. A freshman at North Forsyth High School. Defying every expectation the doctors set for me, but most importantly, not allowing anyone or anything to get in the way of my goals, to tell me what I can and cannot do. At some point in their lives, everyone has felt inferior. It’s not a question, but whether they can overcome their feelings depends on the person. Whether they can put aside their challenges and live a meaningful life—that’s strength.
When everyone tells me I’m strong, that I’m a role model, it’s not because I overcame the wheelchair; it’s because I realized that my differences don’t define me. That I can do anything I want, no matter what others say. That no one can make me feel inferior without my consent.

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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of the entire editorial board, I would like to congratulate you for your Eleanor Roosevelt essay being selected as one of our top 10 teen essays for our February writing contest.

To view all the results of our February 2015 contest, please check our winners page on or after March 30th:

Our editors are voting on the winners and we will have our results completed soon.

Thanks for adding your voice to our mission “Changing the World . . . One Story at a Time” and feel free to share your accomplishment with the world.

Rebecca Thiegs Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 10:58:24 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
On behalf of our entire editorial board we would like to congratulate you for your essay being selected as our 1st place winner in our February Eleanor Roosevelt Quotation teen essay competition.

You should be very proud of your accomplishment!

We will be contacting you via your registration email with details about prizes.

Thanks again for adding your voice to our mission to Change the World, One Story at a Time.

Rebecca A. Thiegs
Stageoflife Co-Founder and Education Consultant
Posted: Monday, March 16, 2015 8:54:23 PM
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Comment by thiegsr

Joined: 11/6/2008
Posts: 702
It's been a long wait, but we finally completed the February 2015 teen trend report based on the writing contest participants. To view the report, click on the link below:

- Rebecca Thiegs Co-founder and Education Consultant
"Changing the world, one story at a time."
Posted: Monday, August 3, 2015 8:46:44 PM
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