people who've impacted my life

Three People Who Have Impacted My Life: A (Possible) Essay for the Common App

Three women come to mind when I think of people who have greatly impacted and influenced my life. These three women taught me to accept others, they taught me about self-confidence, and they helped me to discover one of my greatest passions in life. These three women are my mother, my best friend, and one of my elementary school teachers.

            On August 7th in 1994, Karen Grace Wolfe gave birth to a baby girl named Kyla Blase Anderson. I was that baby! My mother makes me look forward to turning into my parents. In fact, being like my mother is something I strive to do. My mom is a confident yet sensitive, mature yet sarcastic, brilliantly insane, wise, wonderful, and most of all: loving person. I think some of the best things about me are due to my mother. She is a comfort to me and I constantly turn to her for advice. I would be a completely different person were it not for my mother’s influence. She taught me how to laugh at myself, how to accept others, and to love unconditionally. My mom raised me to keep an open mind. I’ve adopted some of her many mantras, but my favorite by far is the way she describes things as ‘weird and wonderful.’ Although, I am like my mother in many ways, she has always encouraged me only to be myself and to never fear being different. My mother helped me realize that being unique is not something to fear, but something to embrace in yourself and in others.

            Alexandra Aldcroft Lanning is more like my sister than my best friend. I met Alex going into my 8th grade year at Kaimuki Middle School, while she was going into her 9th grade year at La Pietra School for Girls. We did not become close until she took part in a summer program at Diamond Head Theatre, where my mother works. From that moment on, she and I were inseparable. In our circle of family and friends we became known as ‘The Dynamic Duo.’ We even performed together at my father’s wedding in 2009. The only people I could be any closer to are my parents and even that is debatable. Before meeting Alex, I had very few friends of my own age and none that I felt close to. I think this was because I had absolutely no idea how to act around people and it seemed that none of my peers know how to act around me. Everything was easy with Alex. We bonded over a mutual love of singing and musical theatre. We went to movies together, saw shows, went to the mall, ate out, had sleepovers, you name it! She was the first person who seemed to like me as much as I liked them. The confidence I saw in Alex inspired confidence in myself. She was never afraid to be different or stand out. She was proud to sing on street corners wearing mismatched, knee-high socks and standing with her feet crossed in inverted fifth position. We’re always there for each other. This year Alex is a freshman at the University of Northern Colorado and it is the longest amount of time we’ve ever spent apart from one another. We are trying to stay in touch but neither of us knows what the distance will do to our friendship. However, we do know that each of us will always have a place in the other’s heart.

            I am an avid reader and an aspiring writer but I did not learn how to read until the second grade. I have a very vivid memory of sitting on the lanai outside my first grade classroom, with a very agitated teacher who was convinced that I was refusing to read the picture book she prominently displayed in her hands out of spite and not because I couldn’t understand it. While my first grade classmates were working up to the second, third, fourth, and even fifth grade reading level bins, I was still in the kindergarten bin. This led to me leave my regular class, missing Movie Fridays, in order to visit a Miss Brobston every Friday throughout the second grade. Miss Brobston wore floor-length, floral mu'u mu'us and great big hats adorned with bright hibiscus over a long, tangled black wig. Kids said she was a witch. Maybe she was; she certainly worked her magic on my reading skills. However, this woman was more similar to Glinda than to the Wicked Witch of the West. Miss Brobston revealed to my father that she wore a wig because she lost her hair by suffering from third degree burns. In her youth she had been a dancer in a tourist attraction that involved Samoan fire dancing and once she and a fire dancer were too close. By the end of the second grade reading had become something I adored instead of loathed and I never would’ve reached that point without my Glinda. Miss Brobston went through many workbooks with me and would sketch my picture whenever I had a worksheet to complete. She drew beautifully and, oh, how she made me long for Fridays!

            These three women have all had a tremendous impact on my life. Mom taught me how to look at the world with open eyes and without fear. Alex inspired my self-confidence by accepting me and by setting an example with the confidence she had in herself. Miss Brobston helped me to discover a passion that I wish to pursue as a career. These three women have possibly influenced me more than anyone else I have ever met.