Below is an essay I have to write for English. I have not yet turned it in, and I didn't feel like letting classmates read this, so feedback is not only appreciated, but also requested. So, are you ready to read critically? Excellent! Here it is:
You can't force someone to be creative. Of course, most teachers I've had have tried to anyway. I can't really blame them. They need us to prove that we can write, and they can't just sit around and have us write something and turn it in at our leisure. Still, writing assignments are very annoying. With most assignments I don't want to do, I can either force myself to do them or do them at the last minute and feel relieved to have finished them. I can't do that with writing. When I finish a writing assignment that I didn't want to do, particularly if it involves writing about my emotions, finishing it doesn't make me feel any better. After I finish an assignment like that, I force myself to turn it in and try not to read it again afterwards. If I do read it again, even years later, it still makes me cringe to know I wrote it. Many of my teachers have told me not to worry about that and just to write whatever comes to my mind. They can say that. They don't have to remember my writing occasionally and suddenly feel ashamed.
It's easier to do hard things when you know you won't regret them. This goes for everything from doing your homework to helping someone to getting on a rollercoaster But, sometimes I try to get myself to do something by saying I won't regret it, but then remember that I actually will, and I know this from experience. Writing falls into this category for me, even if I know nobody will see it. This even makes it hard to write down potential topics like I was told to before starting this assignment. In fact, by now I've written two paragraphs and I haven't even mentioned the event I wanted to write about. I have to ease myself into it.
My problems with writing apply to social situations too. Whenever I think of something humiliating I've said or done, I react as if I were reading my old writing. I try to avoid moments like those by playing off of others rather than taking an active role socially. I know this is irrational, and that I'm just as likely to make some faux pas whether I speak first or second. Still, even among close friends, I tend to speak only in response to others. I follow that rule pretty much religiously. I can't remember many times when I have taken any kind of risk socially.
There was one time I do remember, though. There was a time I said something that needed to be said, and I was quite happy with the result. It wasn't much, just one word: "don't". I wrote this word on a corner of my notebook page and tore it out. I slipped it into the bathroom one of my friends had angrily run to after a person walking by had casually kicked her backpack off to the side. That whole afternoon, she had been talking about how she was thinking about killing herself. She asked me if anyone would care if she died. I said that many people would. This didn't convince her. I really wanted to say that I would care, but for some reason I couldn't. I had to wait until she had been in the bathroom for several minutes and I finally figured it out. All because I couldn't just say I cared.
I very nearly allowed someone to die for one of the stupidest reasons conceivable. I wish I could say I learned a lesson from this, as the assignment requires, but that would be a lie. I still haven't learned my lesson. I still can't talk about my feelings, or tell someone I care about them, even though I know it would make me, and quite possibly, other people, happier. I'm trying, though. I'm still not going to let any of my classmates read this, but when I turn it in, I will do so proudly. I will not be tempted to replace it with something I'm less invested in. And I will read it. I will read it over and over again, even as I take it to turn in and think through exactly what the teacher is going to be reading and grading. I will be proud of it, not ashamed.