At a young age, I felt like an accessory. My best friend played competitive travel soccer, while I cheered on from the sidelines. My cousin performed on elite dance teams, while I applauded from the audience. The list went on and on but I was not on it. I felt incompetent—a hollow, empty mirror, reflecting on the achievements of others without any substance of my own. My dad always told me, “Jaime, you never know when lightening will strike; you have so much to offer.” Then, one day, it happened, and that image shattered forever!
My mom surprised me with a trip to Manhattan. We were going to the American Girl Doll Store. Procuring an American Girl Doll as a seven-year-old is equivalent to getting into the college of your dreams. I had my heart set on getting the Beach Edition doll. That doll came with a towel, lounge chair, and a beach ball. I fantasized about playing with these pieces of plastic on the beach. I could see the water now. Oh wait... I could actually see the water now. I was no longer fantasizing about the doll. I saw our car approaching the Triborough Bridge. The huge steel arches were in front of me and the river below me. My heart rate quickly picked up speed. All I wanted was for the car to stop and us to quickly turn around. I did not want to traverse the bridge.