I couldn’t think of anything to write about this week, so in honor of Father’s Day, here is my dad’s favorite essay that I’ve written. Enjoy!
“Jordan DeTar –” Mrs. Hassle announced, then hesitated…
We were finally discovering our parts for the much anticipated Fourth Grade Play, Rumpelstiltskin. My enthusiasm was at an extraordinary peak. For as long as I could remember, I had dreamed of the day in which I would grace the stage of Mrs. Hassle’s renowned classroom. As a dramatic nine-year-old, I wanted nothing more than to unveil my hidden thespian expertise through a flawless performance as the story’s beloved princess – Giselle. I envisioned the amazed faces of a dazzled audience watching me, the lead, majestically spinning straw into gold.
With the final breath Mrs. Hassle inhaled before reading my part, I could feel my body both cringe with anxiety and perk up with hope.
I suppose I have always been an exceedingly enthusiastic person. It’s as if when the slightest spark of an idea launches into my mind, I cannot help but to fast forward to the final firework.
I create the absolute most blissful outcome in my imagination, and my entire self becomes absorbed by the thoughts of a fairytale ending. My attention is focused on this goal with such an unwavering optimism – perhaps slightly naïve in nature – that I can feel my eyes sparkling with the hope of success and my toes tingling with a readiness that physically excites me.
“Jordan DeTar – Chorus,” she finished.
I was shocked. I knew that I could play the part of Giselle better than anyone else in my class. I deserved more than to be in the chorus. A feeling of rejection and worthlessness clouded my brain. Disappointment bled from my ears. I felt as I had been cast off like yesterday’s stale cafeteria cookie. I had no desire to be a part of the Fourth Grade Play.
What comes with such an unbelievable high is, not surprisingly, followed by an excruciating low. Perhaps the enthusiasm that allows me to become so excited with many aspects of life is also an occasional curse. Perhaps I become so engrossed in a particular outcome that I fail to acknowledge the possibility of a result that does not match my unrealistic expectations. Perhaps my greatest asset – the ability to be consumed by excitement – contributes most prominently to my most undesirable flaw – the vulnerability of easily being destroyed by disappointment.
Just before the sense of insignificance and discontent could envelop me, I experienced a realization. I could not let my personal pains negatively impact the production. My initial enthusiasm had sprung from a desire to please the crowd, a craving for adoration. If I was truly passionate about the play, I would not admit defeat.
At that, my eagerness was renewed. Since my role required little preparation, I would use my spare time to practice lines with the students who would represent us as a class. As a loyal member of Mrs. Hassle’s fourth grade, I decided that I would personally ensure that our rendition of Rumpelstiltskin would outshine those of all prior classes.
In retrospect, with every affair that I have placed a significant amount of importance on, I find that my excitement for life pushes me through. Genuine enthusiasm is not easily crushed.
Or maybe, it is more than enthusiasm. Perhaps there is a sense of determination and pride that is equally present. Either way, I find that I do not easily surrender. I learned in the fourth grade that in order to succeed I must trust my enthusiasm when it is wrestling with my despair. A brief storm on the Fourth of July cannot stop the sparkling show. Ultimately, the results will be dazzling.
It’s the morning of the big day, and the fourth grade student that is to play the supporting role of Aunt Cockatoo calls in sick. And which enthusiastic student does Mrs. Hassle ask to step in for the production?
The fireworks, they came.