How I Learned to Laugh

What was the environment in which you were raised? Describe your family, home, neighborhood or community, explain how it has shaped you as a person.


I woke up to the sound of my brother screaming. Worried, I rushed downstairs to the sight of ripped paper beneath his feet and a new iPad in his hands. It was Christmas. Giddy with excitement, I dove into the pile of gifts, searching for the box with my name. I had finally found it: one small box. But, big things do come in small packages, right? Was it a necklace? A new phone? Unable to contain my excitement, I tore open the wrapping paper and there it was…A phone case with my face on it.

I froze, a big fake smile plastered on my face. I looked around, waiting for someone to pop out with a camera and say “YOU JUST GOT PRANKED!” But no. This was reality. My nine year old brother got an iPad, and I got a photo of myself in seventh grade, acne ridden and ugly, enlarged on a phone case. I was mortified.

I tried to hide my phone case wherever I went, fearing that it advertized that I was an utterly self-absorbed human being. I had complained several times to my mom, who had bought me this custom-made 60 dollar plastic cover, but every time she would say, “Don’t be ashamed of yourself.” My parents are never ashamed. They are never embarrassed to sing along in their loudest voices to their favorite songs while grocery shopping or...

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