Who Am I

My name is Maryann Yang. I take AP classes because my mother tells me to. I participate in marching Band because my band director told me it would be fun. I play piano, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, and flute because my father told me it was to my advantage to have a wide variety of interests. No one told me to enlist in the army National Guard. No one told me it is my duty. No one told me it was good or bad for me. No one told me I could not be a soldier.
At a young age, I admired those brave souls who laid down their lives to protect their country and their loved ones. I wished I could be strong like them. As I entered high school, whenever I saw a Staff Sergeant walking through the halls, I felt a sense of awe. Could I be like them? Could I sign my life to the military and protect everyone I hold dear? Could I love with not seeing my family, being away for years at a time, and putting my life on hold until my service was over? Yes, I can. I know I can.
I am not the tallest girl in my school, not by a long shot. I am not the strongest, nor the most athletic. I am smart, but not ranked number one. And yet, I feel tall, I know I am strong, and I know I am intelligent. I know what sacrifices I need to make, what adjustments my life will need, and I am prepared to do anything I must in order to succeed.
My life has been dictated for me ever since I was a child. Do this, play that, receive this grade or else, that is all I have ever heard. But when I wanted to enlist, I was met with silence. I was suddenly leaving the path that my parents had laid before me. I was breaking away from the family tradition. I do not want that medical degree, or that law degree. I do not want to have a high-paying job just because my parents demand it be so. I do not mind my father constantly attempting to change my mind. I do not mind my mother greeting me with steely glares for not applying to the university of her choice. Is it not my choice anyway?
I am happy with the idea of...