We Are America

Voices of the Nation's Future

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Photo ofEnixia Sun

I grew up in a household full of boys. I was the only daughter. In many families mothers are daughters’ role models, but I looked up to my second oldest brother. His name was Phoenix. I absolutely adored everything about my brother. I loved how he was his own person and I wanted to replicate everything he did. I copied in almost an obsessive way everything about Phoenix from 11 years old to 14 years old. I copied the way he dressed: minimalistic, dark colored turtlenecks, cargos, dress pants, polo hats. This way of dressing was more on the masculine side, but I didn’t care, I thought it suited me just as much as it suited him. I mimicked his lingo, “I have reached my pinnacle state (a phrase he said very often) do better, be better.” So I started to say this too. His favorites became my favorites, when it came to perspective on movies I always had a similar opinion. He loved superhero movies and this romantic movie called 5 to 7, I watched the movies with him and loved them just the same.  I went as far as trying to find people similar to his friends and then befriend them.

Throughout 7th grade I was obsessed with my brother. But that year I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I was able to travel for two weeks to Japan with my aunt and cousin. My entire life my family has always encouraged and introduced me to all types of food, music, and culture. Therefore in Japan I soaked in everything. The people were extremely generous, humble and understanding. The food was absolutely delicious. I spent my time trying savory soy sauce mochi, ramen made right in front of me and street food treats like little pastries filled with red bean paste or nutella shaped like fish. Japanese fashion had opened my eyes to a whole new world of clothing. The bright colors and abstract patterns was something I never thought I would wear. I wandered all over Shibuya Tokyo, visited the Todaiji Temple and walked through the little alleyways of Kyoto. It was my first time outside of the country and being in the new environment I was entranced by Japanese culture. 

During the flight back home I was left to do so much thinking. It was a 16 hour flight after all. I listened to music and started to ask myself questions. “Is this really you?” “What do you take away from new experiences?” These questions followed me home. Though some parts of me still mimicked Phoenix I slowly began to develop my own character. I began to find myself not content with the way I was. When I looked at myself in the mirror I saw Phoenix, but I had come to the realization that I wanted to see Enixia. I started to drastically change myself when I entered my freshman year of high school. I had always been shy when in large crowds and would try to avoid them at all cost, but high school just throws you in and I saw this as an opportunity to meet new people and work on myself.

I began to enjoy wearing bright, loud clothing. I no longer copied his phrases and created my own such as, “Don’t do anything unless it’s worth it, logic before your heart.” My friend groups had changed and I enjoyed the company of many creative, extroverted people. As for movies I still love romantic movies but now I am more open to exploring all genres even horror. I am still learning to find and understand myself everyday but I am happy at the progress I've made.

© Enixia Sun. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person’s teacher.