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The Girl Behind the Mask

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The Girl Behind The Mask

Many think they know who this girl is. They assume it is the girl that stands tall with her head held high and is always feeling good. They perceive me as the one who always dresses to impress or is well groomed. I am that girl, her name is Chanelle. Born to the parents of Lashanda and Terrance Ward on October 31, 1993 in the city of Spring Valley, NY. Chanelle is a well-rounded individual who is very passionate about the things she does. She is the one that you will always see striving to be the very best with not a care in the world. That's the person that everyone sees. Chanelle is made up of many different things. Of course her bodily figure is composed of all that a female should have but mentally and emotionally she is a girl with a mask. She takes her mask wherever she goes. She wears it from the time she wakes up till the time right before she closes her eyes. Sometimes if she is alone that mask comes off. She makes it her priority to wear her mask proud when people are watching. In her mask she feels her most comfortable. She feels as if no one can see her imperfections; and perfect is what she would like everyone to see. Those who really know her know that she is far from perfect but that is only a select few. To learn the girl behind the mask is to learn the true meaning of the "perfectly imperfect" girl.

As a child I grew up in New York until the age of ten. I now live in Wilmington, North Carolina where I have resided for seven years. The cause of my families' relocation was due to my mother's place of employment at Verizon Wireless. The relocation affected me in many ways. I was forced to leave all my friends and family behind. I can remember the day we left New York like it was yesterday. It was a very sad one at the least. My whole childhood I always had many friends but I always had one friend that I was closest to. Her name was Dominique. She lived right down the road from me. As my parents and the movers began to load the moving trucks on the morning we were leaving I can remember her running down the road early in the morning just to make sure she saw me before I left. Her first words to me were "please don't forget who your first best friend was when you leave". Still this day I can hear her saying that to me. Those words mean more to me than anything. She was not only my friend but my sister. Reality had begun to set in once my parents finished loading up the trucks and the movers were all set to hit the road. Right before I got in the car my mom pulled Dominique and I close together and whispered to us both "remember you are your sister's keeper". From that day on I knew what I had to do once I got to my new home.

When we first arrived in Wilmington I was not very open to the new home. It took me a little while to adjust. It was a major culture shock. I went from living in a place that was full of African American's to going to a school where I was the only African American in all of my classes. I did not like this at all. The hardest thing for me to do was to express my feelings to my parents because they already had felt as if the move was bad on my part and I did not want to make them feel any worse than they had already felt. From that point on I felt as if I had to develop a new me.

My first day of 6th grade might have been the worse experience I have had in all seven years that I have lived in Wilmington. Being that I was raised up north I was not a custom to the proper way of greeting adults besides saying "yes" or "no". In schools in the south administrators expected students to say "yes mam" and "no mam". When I had first arrived at school my day was already a little suspect. I felt as everyone was judging me because of my outward appearance. It made me feel very uncomfortable. When it came time for me to go to my first class I arrived a little late because I first had to check in at the



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