undefeated: My SLC Essay

16 Jun

This is the essay I wrote in response to the SLC prompt this year, which stemmed from this year’s theme: hero within. If you are planning on going to camp later this summer, please don’t read any further as there are spoilers, and I don’t want you to be tempted to share my ideas with the judges again. It would be a shame if they had to read the same essay over again. The prompt asked the campers, if they were super heroes, what their “kryptonite” would be. Here is my response:

2683436a52e6241f232fdebc0ce153d2Darkness– Ever since we were children, it has always been there. Sometimes it wasn’t even what was in the dark that scared us. Rather, it was the very idea that something so menacing, so abundantly present even after our parents’ reassuring kisses goodnight that struck fear into our hearts. The darkness became fodder for our already overactive imagination, ushering in our worst nightmares with a sinister smile and a swaggering bow. As we grew older, many, whose parents had become their knights in shining armor, never failing to appear at just the right moment and save us, would quietly tuck away their nightlights and move onto bigger things like boyfriends and shotguns. But some of us never grow out of our fear of the dark. That “us” being me. My “kryptonite” is the dark.

Ever since I was young, the darkness has always been there, lurking over my shoulder. Whether it was dreading the fall of the thick, black squalor of night, out from which sprung night-terrors and horrifying waits in the dark, or the things I did while I was weak and alone in the solace of that same suffocating, ebony blanket, the dark has always been a source of fear and shame for me, often magnifying my own weaknesses and imperfections. I was always afraid of what the darkness would bring– and of the person I was in its midst. The darkness became a place where I thought that even my loving God could not reach me. I still sleep with a lamp and a bathroom light on because that light is what keeps both the physical shadows and my mind’s shadows at bay. For years, I was afraid to walk outside at night or even stay at home alone after dark. Shadows were everywhere.

But, just like Super Man learned to battle his weakness, I learned to master my own fear of the dark, and, over time, I even learned how to appreciate the little lights that shine in the dark. I explored ways to chase away darkness. Most of the time, it was something simple like playing piano or reading my Bible. It wasn’t easy and still isn’t, but I forced myself to work hard. Just like any super hero, I could have let my “kryptonite” win, but, instead, I fought darkness. Darkness is my “kryptonite,” but it hasn’t defeated me.

I actually ended up being the runner-up for the Week Three essay contest.

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