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I was born at Cooper Hospital in Camden on the summer morning of August 13th, 1999. My mother's due date was the day after, and she wanted to "hold me in" to avoid having a child on Friday the 13th. Although my parents claim to be from Italy I have not seen one bit of Italian tradition or culture living with them in the 17 years I have been alive. Me and my two sisters share the same nose snd middle name, Megan. My older sibling was born in 1990, making them almost 8 years ahead of me, and the other was 18 months earlier than myself, born in 1997. A big factor that affected my beginning is my parents finally getting married while I was still in utero. Also, my grandmother and great-grandmother (who were 1st and 2nd gen Italian immigrants) passed away around the same time, who strongly supported my parents financially. This is significant in my life because my father became depressed after he lost his mother, and the family lost the extra income they needed to support three childen.

Stage 3: Initiative vs Guilt

 

In the next few years, I still had trouble fitting in with the other kids. Because I was so much smaller, most of the kids enjoyed picking on me every chance they got. I was used to being the outcast, no one ever wanted to be my partner, I was always picked last, and most vividly, I was not taken seriously. Although I was only 5 years old, I still wanted my voice to be heard. Somewhere along the way I learned to be cautious before I spoke. Twelve years later, I still find myself in the same situation. In class, I rarely raise my hand because I do not want to force other kids to listen to my opinion. This could have been caused by my parents, when they would get upset with me for asking for help on my homework. They taught me to feel like a nuisance every time I asked a question, which greatly influenced me into thinking that I every time I spoke I was a bother.

Stage 1: Trust vs Mistrust

 

Throughout my first few years of life, I lived in several different places including Chatham Square, Collingswood, Woodlynne and Bellmawr. During the first psychological stage (trust v mistrust) I spent most of my time moving from place to place, which can be unsettling for a young child. The first house I actually remember living in was in Gloucester City. I was four years old. However, six months later we moved again.The inconsistency in my residences during my childhood could explain heightened anxiety and low hope or expectations regarding my changing environments.

 

A Timeline of My Life

DECADE ONE 

Stage 2: Autonomy vs. Shame & doubt

 

    After I moved to Woodlynne, I was enrolled in kindergarten as well as an “extra help” program to correct my lisp and strengthen my social skills. Being in school as the new kid made me shy  because I didn’t know anyone, but I also was the smallest kid in class, making me an easy target for other children to pick on. However by the time I reached first grade, my teachers had labeled me a “chatterbox”. Although I was viewed as a talkative child in school, I was actually still very shy and bashful. I was loquacious because I stopped the conversation when I wanted to, not when the teacher told me. These early rebellious ticks and stuns can be explained from my parents’ failure to assert authority over me. Before I was enrolled in school, they frequently let me do a lot of things on my own, like dressing, eating, and bathing myself. Even though they freely allowed me to be independent at a young age, they lacked providing support. Not only that, but they failed to be consistent with rules and punishment, picking and choosing when they’d let things slide. In return, I would depend on my sisters to guide me. Even today, I am more likely to obey my sisters than my parents. My mother and father’s lack of patience and advanced criticism could have lowered my self-esteem, due to the absence of creating proper confidence during this crucial time of development.

 

Stage 4: Industry vs. Inferiority

 

While getting bullied everyday at school, not many adults or supervisors did much to alleviate it. During my elementary years, I was just bullied by the older middle school kids, but that soon changed when I progressed to sixth grade. I was still underdeveloped compared to everyone else, and kids fiercely called me out on it. At Woodlynne, we didn’t have much educational resources, and most of the kids there lived under the poverty line. I was familiar with being around rough, rowdy kids due to the administration’s lack of a strong disciplinary code. However, even though I was a bit scandalous myself, I could not learn how to combat the daily bullying alone. Desperate for a change, I reached out to my parents to look into transferring to a new school. For months, my parents and the guidance counsellors told me they’d look into it, but after a while I realized that they weren’t interested in helping me with the paperwork at all.  Realizing this, I began to really notice how often my parents put important things off until they were forgotten about. Sometimes I wondered if it was me, and if they didn’t think my well-being was all that important. My teachers also made me feel inferior by expressing favoritism to other students and not offering me any emotional support when it was dreadfully obvious that I needed it.

Stage 5: Identity vs Role Confusion

Moving on to high school, I did not enjoy the atmosphere. The kids were snotty, the teachers seemed intensely more strict, and I only knew a few others from middle school. My first year went rough because I refused to do any work, and I was very self-conscious about my body due to the many previous years of being bullied for my size. Surrounded by unfamiliar faces, I was very hostile and angry towards people I didn’t know, paranoid that someone would start the bullying phase all over for me.  Eventually, I attempted to stop being so sour and tried to do things that made me happy. I quickly learned that I was better off alone. Because of this, I understood myself more and I knew what I enjoyed and what I didn’t. Going through this personal enlightenment, I discovered my passion for science and medicine. Without a doubt, my passion became an obsession, and I set my heart on becoming a doctor. When I think about my future, I do not feel like being a doctor is big enough to contribute to society. To fill the glass completely full, I want to enroll in the military once I have a full medical license and travel overseas. Without this vision in my head, I feel as though my life has no other purpose other than to survive, reproduce, and die. In order to fulfil this “dream”, I am set on going to college next fall to begin the process immediately.

By now, I should be close to finishing my residency, and one step closer to becoming an attending. If I plan it correctly, this is the time when I will be best suited to enter the military. However, it greatly depends on the global conflicts at the time. If this moment was 20 years ahead of time, I would have already joined as a medical aid in the Middle East. However, it is unpredictable to know what can actually happen 20 years from now, which is why this decade of my life is now fully planned out.

 

Stage 6: Intimacy vs Isolation

I expect to spend the next 10-15 years of my life training or in school. After I graduate college at Arcadia, I envision myself taking a year or two off to save money and stay focused on my studies, then apply for med school. By the time I leave college, I should be in my early twenties, depending on how quickly I can get my degree. During these years, I do not plan on having time to date, due to medical school being extremely demanding. However, if I do meet someone, I’d assume it wouldn’t be very serious because I do not wish to marry or have children in the future, though I am aware I may change my mind eventually. Nevertheless, I feel as though I will never go through this stage because I do not believe love is a true feeling. Feeling this way could make me feel isolated, but I know I am alone by choice, and that does not unsettle me.

DECADE THREE

DECADE TWO

DECADE FOUR

Stage 8: Ego Integrity vs. Despair

Now a fully fledged senior citizen, I picture myself being crabby and mean, just like every other eighty-year-old I’ve met. I assume I won’t have much energy to actually get up and do stuff, probably because I spent most of my life working on other people. My kids would have their own lives, careers, and families by now. I could be a grandmother. I’d be a wrinkly old woman living in a mansion all by herself with kids inconspicuously waiting for me to drop dead so they can have the rest of my cash. I’d take comfort in knowing that I lived a full life, with or without a family, and I’d be happy to know that my accomplishments made a difference for someone.

 

 Hopefully, by the time I am in my mid 60s I will still generally be healthy and mobile, but you never know for sure what could happen. Now is the time I plan to retire, so that I can still travel the world and do the things I’ve always wanted to do. When I think of being this old, I feel like I would have a lot of free time, but I wouldn’t know what to do with it. I don’t even know what elderly people do when they’ve reached this point. Eventually, I will run out of things to complete on my bucket list.  In reality, I just picture myself waiting to die, but not in a morbid way, once I’ve done everything I’ve thought of.

 

By the time I reach this point in my life, I’m sure I will be asked about retirement plans and what not. Realistically, I know nothing about retirement, adulting, or what old people actually do in their free time. I do not see myself retiring until I absolutely cannot work a day more. If I do not have kids or get married, I suppose I’d have a lot of money saved up, unless I develop an unhealthy gambling or drug addiction and spend my money elsewhere. If I do have kids, they would probably be in their early 20s. However, I do not take comfort in visualizing myself with my own family when I reach this age. What is most pleasing to me is knowing that I’ve accomplished many difficult challenges, and it only get easier from here.

 

Stage 7: Generativity vs Stagnation

As I said before, I do not see myself married or with children, unless of course it is adopted and I am financially stable and available to be there as a parent.  Erikson states in this stage that failure to raise children, becoming involved in community activities and organizations, or being productive in society can lead to feeling stagnant or unpurposeful, but I challenge that. By this decade of my life, I should have completed medical school, wrapped up my residency, and Board certified. To fulfil my God-like complex, going to work everyday and being able to do things ordinary people can’t will help me avoid feeling useless and stale.

 

DECADE SEVEN

DECADE EIGHT

DECADE SIX

DECADE FIVE 

THE END

 

 

Dear friends and family (if applicable),

 

I have lived my life truly to the fullest. I have died with no regrets, every mistake I’ve made was a valuable lesson that has molded my ambition into reality. I am proud to say that I made it out of the hood, and I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to ever even live there. No matter how I’ve died, whether peaceful or violent, I am finally at rest and greet death as an old friend.

 

                                    Best Regards,

                                                          DeAnna.

 

 

DECADE NINE

 

Stage 8: Ego Integrity vs Despair

This is ridiculous, I would never want to live this long! If I ever happen to, I hope by this time I have developed full closure looking back on life and can gracefully embrace my timely death.

 

Me at my 8th birthday party. I invited all of my friends at school but no one showed up.

Me with my sister Alyssa circa 2004.

Our Aunt told us to pose.

All three of us on Easter one year. Samantha hates this picture.

<--(Just ignore that, technical difficulties).

8th grade graduation pic. Thankfully, I was surrounded by kids I got along with the most.