By Zuha Jaffar

The words echoed in my mind. “Why don’t you write an essay?” Each syllable slowed down, like they were trying to move in molasses, oozing with dread. My mother’s face is stern, a vein showing through her translucent skin. She isn’t joking. She is looking at me with eyes filled with all kinds of expectations, with hope, that I’ll immediately obey. The irked look on her face three seconds later means that she has noticed my hesitation to do so. Her somber stare seems to be mocking me. She knows of my scorn towards essay-writing.   

These were the most feared words since “play outside and get off your laptop for once.” I can’t write essays. It is very simple. Give me anything else to write about and I will, but nonfiction is the one genre that almost forces me to procrastinate. Writing essays takes a lot of work. They have to capture the reader, as this form of writing can usually be very dull. They have to flow well, can’t get off track, and the main point, or points, should be explicit. Whenever I end up writing an essay, they are packed with useless information, and aren’t interesting. The amount of work it takes for me to write a decent piece compares to no other. I tend to lose my main focus while writing essays, and when I am writing personal essays, I often forget to include emotion, thus, making the piece very boring. My own mother tells me that my essay-writing skills have gone downhill. What exactly does she expect when she reads them? At least for me, I have dozens of reasons as to why I should cease to write essays.

Unfortunately, after recognizing her glare, I reluctantly agree to write an essay. The next concern is my topic for the essay. This can vary in numerous ways and go in completely different directions. Sometimes it is a personal essay, others can be an opinion piece. But almost all the time, I have absolutely no clue what to write about. Hence, I bombard my already-frustrated mother with questions about what I should compose. She immediately answers with what could possibly be the worst topic ever. Every single time I ask, she gives the one thing I don’t want to write about. This interrogation irritates my mother even more, to the point where she is so exasperated she yells at me to figure out something on my own. Now, I am equally infuriated and baffled about my topic and how my mother can be so furious over something as petty as this.

I try to write about the things I feel strongly about, however they come off as me just scribbling a bunch of words on paper, with no real meaning. I enjoy topics like feminism, and prevalent issues, but I’m not thoroughly educated about them, thus creating another barrier when writing a wholesome piece. And if I am familiar with the topic, there is always too much to say, causing me to go off topic. Finding a proper topic can determine whether the essay will be well-written or not, making this a very important step (which I also manage to mess up).

After choosing a horrible prompt, I have now started the writing of this composition, which is usually messed up in myriad ways. As mentioned many times, I lose focus and meander off the direction I was attempting. I use unnecessary points, giving me a conclusion that wasn’t my original point. Other times, the main challenge is that the paper lacks feeling. It is boring, uninteresting, and monotonous. When describing a fun day, I forget to include emotions, and just go on about my routine, which, no one cares about.

Then comes the last of my adversities, seeing my mother’s reaction. Don’t get me wrong, I can take constructive criticism. Without it, I would be nowhere in my writing skill, my the problem is that my mother is brutally honest. She is my own, personal, Simon Cowell. She doesn’t care whether my feelings are hurt, she expects “perfection.” And I usually forget that, while writing the confusing jumble of words I have the nerve to call “an essay.” When I finished my essay, I often am proud of myself for just being able to write something somewhat substantial. Then comes the afflicting blow of my mother’s words. It’s confusing. You need to practice writing more. This won’t work in high school. I’ve heard them all before, and each time I force myself to take it all in. It isn’t the brutalness of her comments, but it is the truth of them that really gets to me. And for that, I am secretly grateful.

In conclusion, I abhor essay-writing with a passion. However, I hate that I am unable to write them even more. The process is cruel. However, I am usually very thankful for my mother’s unrelenting ways of forcing me to work at my weakness, as I am well aware of its optimistic outcomes.