“Emma when are you submitting your entry letter to Brown?”

“Emma have you talked to the Brown Admission Office?”

I have been getting a variety of these two questions from my family. With the clock ticking for college admissions my family already expects me to be packed for Brown, but they do not understand that being another Smith lawyer is not what I want to do with my life.

I have always been different in some way from the rest of my family. The height difference and bright red hair makes it difficult for people to believe that I am related to the blond giants that are my family. It does not help that I seem to be the only creative one out of the bulk of the dull, black and white Smiths. My family is known for running the best law firm in town and producing top quality lawyers in the family, with the exception of me, of course.

With the dwindling time, I have to make a big decision about whether I want to follow in the footsteps of my family or dance to my own beat. Maybe in order for me to make this decision I should get out of bed first. As I walk out of my room I am met by my ‘oh so classy mother’ who looks ready for the court room at any moment.

“Oh, hi honey, could you go to the attic and retrieve some files for me? They are in a box in the far comer.”

“Ok, sure mo…” and she is already gone, faster than I can say guilty.

I climb the stairs towards the attic which is neat for an attic, thanks to my meticulous mother. I move to the far comer to look for the box when I trip and fall on an old family album, the album is open. I pick it up and examine the collection of pictures inside. There is a black and white picture of my dad, uncle, grandfather, and a woman who seems different from the rest; she is definitely younger and also very short and is standing between the three men.

As I kept on flipping through the album there are more pictures of her, it looks as if she was really close to my father because there are multiple pictures of them together. I have been in the attic way to long because, the next thing I know, my father, straightens his tall thin frame into the attic, bending at in an awkward way so as not to bump his head on the ceiling.

“Honey what are you doing up here? Your mother has been waiting for you downstairs,” my father says, towering over me.

“Oh, I have been looking at some old family pictures. Dad who is this woman in the pictures I keep seeing you with?” I shot the question at my father.

“Let me see the pictures,” he holds out his hand for the picture and I place it in his palm.

“Mmh well if it isn’t my little sister,” my father says with recognition in his eyes.

“You have a sister, since when?”

“Well since she was born in 1971,” he answers sarcastically.

“Oh, really dad, how come you never speak about her?”

“Well your aunt is a sensitive topic in this family, ever since she left to live in Australia and follow her dreams of becoming an artist.”

“Wait! What? I have an artist for an aunt, how did I not know about her dad?”

“Your aunt is just like you honey, she has your eccentric and crazy creative mind. She was just like you growing up,” my father reminisces.

“She never wanted to go into the family business, she always talked about travelling the world and living in colour,” my father continues to speak. “I am sure you two would have gotten along great if you met.”

“You think so dad?” I ask my father.

“I am very sure of it,” my father answers with confidence.

In bed, I lay awake thinking about my life when I realise that if my aunt could live her life there is nothing stopping me from following my own dreams. Except the fear of letting my family down, but I cannot let my fears dictate how I live my life because then I won’t be living for myself but for others.

I think I have made my decision. I cannot wait to tell the family what I plan on doing with my life tomorrow morning.


Tell us: Do you ever feel like you are living your life for your family?