I am an assassin who has the possession of one of the most complex and dangerous weapons. No one can access or use my weapon except for me. This weapon is my mind. Like a missile, once my mind locks onto its target, it hits. My ambition and determination are the reusable ammunition that allows me to be the individual that I am.
As a six year-old pro in the summer of 2002, I was ready to hit my biggest target yet: a diverse and competitive teenage population in Harlem, New York at a regional spelling bee. Everyone assumed that a six year-old could not outperform thirteen and fourteen year-olds at spelling. Unfortunately, no one on the smelly, yellow cheese bus knew that this assassin, under every sensitive, loving bone in his body, was capable of eliminating competition unconditionally. Despite suffering a loss that summer the assassin came in 4th out of 40, and eventually everyone would know his capabilities… that is, my capabilities.
Along with losing the competition, I lost a sense of fear and dependence. Why should I be afraid, when I knew I could strike down every letter and syllable of each word thrown my way? No one told me that I could do it, so I had to tell myself; otherwise what purpose would I have showing my face in Harlem again? I could easily kill the doubts of these teenagers who used my age as an excuse to underestimate my ability to spell. Killing the doubts of others became my life’s mission. I was strongly determined to complete the mission at the next bee. No sweat slowly dripping from my palm. No wobbling legs. No holding back. As a result of unleashing my “wrath”, I won the spelling bee: E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A, no hesitations. Although it took a year, I met my goal.
As I developed into an antagonist of ignorance with a burning desire to be acknowledged for my accomplishments, my opponents became more challenging. By age thirteen, I realized that the children and adults in my community as well as those outside of my community held this wall-punching misconception that a young man of color who grew up in South Jamaica was not supposed to amount to anything higher than attending a couple of years of high school. In school, there was a ridiculous idea that only students of Asian or Indian descent could earn a 90 or higher on their overall semester averages. This basically implied that I could only be one assassin—an assassin of my chances. By not conforming to negative expectations, I shot down the invalid theory of this skewed society by studying at lunch, vigorously engaging in group discussions, and performing well on exams. The aftermath of being active in my school community was the feeling of a pack of wolves in the wild with no food—hunger. I had an appetite for annihilating ignorant views and discouraging statistics. Such motivation was what constituted my mindset. My weapon was loaded.
Who would have expected that the person controlling the weapon would be the very one to get struck by it? That’s right. I was my next victim. I yearned for going beyond others’ expectations to the point where I was willing to attack my own. I plan to surpass my accomplishments by setting higher standards for myself in terms of work ethic, understanding concepts, and performance. Why? Because I want to make a statement to all doubters about the type of individual I am. I will use my mind to assassinate the pessimistic perspectives that limit young men of color in lower middle class communities as opposed to a firearm to assassinate my fellow peers. Therefore, children of tomorrow will have someone and something that my community lacked as I was growing up—a positive role model and a sense of direction.