Who am I essay: I ramble about my childhood

My name is Hannah Onder. I was born May 18, 1998 to Corey and Melanie Onder in Clearfield Pennsylvania. I’m the oldest of three siblings. I have two younger brothers named Jacob and Teddy. My favorite color is purple and I’ve always loved cats even though my first word was dog. My house has a total of six animals my cat named, Melvin, another cat, two dogs, and two hamsters. I originally wanted to be a famous artist and was even featured in the local newspaper in kindergarten. Now I enjoying telling stories, my own and other peoples’. Who I am is still yet to be defined. Who that is yet to be defined fully. Who I become is still a mystery.

My story starts in a small apartment in DuBois, Pennyslvania. For the first 14 months of my life I was a selfish brat spoiled rotten as the first and only grandchild. That all changed one late July night when I became a big sister and had to learn the concept of sharing. I may not have learned that concept right away but I did learn to walk. For a while I was the little girl that carried her stuff lamb around everywhere and was found always wearing hats. When I was three years old we moved to Kersey, Pennsylvania. I grew up in that small town neighborhood filled to the brim with boys. Initially I longed for a girl to play with and surrounded myself with pink, sparkles, and bows to remind myself I wasn’t a dirty boy too. This is what sparked my storytelling I just didn’t know it at the time.

After hours of watching the boys play fight, I decided I could play too. I became the damsel in distress, my brother the evil villain, and the neighbor boy next door my knight in shining armor. The boys would build their forts and I’d decorate my castle walls with pretty pictures. The trick to getting over my isolation from girls was just adding a little imagination to the boys’ games. Eventually I started school at Fox Township Elementary School and made some girlfriends to play make up and dolls with. Though we all played together on the soccer fields for years. In the summer of 2000 my youngest brother was born which strengthened my bond with Jacob. For a while things were great in our small world. That all changed in late 2007.

My father began cheating on my mother with another nurse at work. They tore the household apart with their fights in the basement that echoed into the playroom and bedrooms late into the night. I still remember the night my father grabbed a black trash bag, filled it to the brim with clothes, chucked it into his truck and drove off into the night. My mother had tears in her eyes and my youngest brother didn’t understand that our father, the bread winner of the house, had just left us behind. The next few months were rough. My mother had to get a job at the Walmart outside of town and my brothers and I always had to go to the babysitter’s house from early in the morning to late in the evening. We all had to gain some independence and I had to become a true responsible big sister for my brothers. When my father began taking my mother to court for a divorce, my mother decided she’d had enough. She sold the house, packed up our stuff, and drove us 24 hours straight to my grandfather’s house in Fort Worth, TX. As we drove away I knew I’d left behind my friends, school, and home forever. What I didn’t know is that I also left behind my childhood.

After arriving in Texas, we cramped in my grandfather’s old house in the ghetto. My brothers and I shared a small little room which was hard after having our own room up until that point. With living conditions barely livable at home that left school. After growing up in a small town with little diversity it was a huge culture shock to start school in the city. I went from a class of like 40 white kids to a class of at least 100 kids with all different cultural backgrounds. The first day of school was rough because we walked in late, out of uniform, and white. I know that may sound bad but I’d literally never seen anyone with another skin color than my own at the time and at that school there weren’t many that shared it which made me stick out like a sore thumb. So late in the year it was hard to make friends especially going from knowing everyone to knowing no one. I knew Jacob was having the same struggles and I did my best to set a good example that things were going to get better. With no friends I decided to boost my grade to the best they could be and for those two months I practically had straight 100s. Those months were hard and many nights I secretly cried myself to sleep for what I’d lost especially on my 10th birthday. We all worked through those dark times to reach better ones.

A few weeks after we moved my father returned to us and got a new job at Baylor. My brother and I both graduated with straight A’s and we began looking for houses that summer. We settled into the Eagle Mountain – Saginaw area which we grew to love almost as much as Kersey. The next few years were relatively peaceful, fun, and the other half of my defrosted childhood. I stayed an honor student, joined many different clubs and programs, and made all kinds of friendships between people. I vowed to form as many different relationships as I could and learn everyone’s names because they had become a part of the new chapter of my life.

I discovered my passion for writing short stories in seventh grade from daily writing warm-ups. After sharing a few stories with my classmates I became the favorite author of the class. I enjoyed developing my characters and using vivid imagery to drag in my peers and decided I wanted to become an author. I began reading all the time and read a book every day that summer. The next year I joined an art class and honed my old passion to maybe add illustrating to my dream job of being an author. I thought I had my career path mapped out until I joined high school.

In high school I wanted to keep working on my writing and designing skills so I joined Journalism looking for a chance to combine them. Shortly after I learned that English and Journalistic writing are two different things and the same applied to design and I was a little discouraged. With the program being new my Journalism class started out in charge of the yearbook, online news, and learning the skills all at once. It was a tall order and not everyone stepped up to the plate. I’m a type of person that hates watching things fail so I began putting in extra time and effort to help make the deadlines so our student body would have a yearbook. We barely made it, it was stressful at times, but it was also a fun challenge. I soon began to realize journalism had its own way of telling stories. The yearbook just became the story of the school year and the staff became its authors.

After three years of serving as Editor-in Chief of the school yearbook and four years of being a staff member I decided I enjoyed this new way of telling real stories as well. When thinking about majors I realized I wanted to keep telling stories so I decided to become a mass communications major. I joined up at Wesleyan because it was close enough to my previous life story but far enough away to start a new chapter plus I was ready to get aboard The Rambler. After finishing the application process and getting my login I immediately started looking into getting a job on the paper. I had my application started a week before school began and I had an interview lined up for the first day of school. I got the job on the spot because they were short a writer. At Wesleyan I hope to keep working on my skills and expand upon them to be a well-rounded story teller by my graduation. It would be nice to figure out the exact job I want to be in to share my stories but I’ll just keep on walking with all mediums until I discover it. Who I am is a question I ask myself sometimes but who I’ll be is the real question since it’s constantly changing based on who I think I am.


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