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Staying In My Lane

By: Angellese Sturtze Expository Writing Professor Halprin


Table of Contents Introduction………………………………………………………………3 My First Hair Cut Experience……………………………………………5 Fronting…………………………………………………………………..7 Can You Go Home Again? …..................................................................10 Transformation…………………………………………………………..14 Conclusion……………………………………………………………….18 About the author…………………………………………………………19



Throughout Staying in My Lane, there are stories that you will find that can be very different to anything you have ever read before. For that reason being, these are all true stories from my life. These are not stories I have searched up to write about, or ones that I have used from past subjects. Also it is a comparison to other people’s everyday lives. You will find various emotions within each paper, humor, mellow, even anger. These are all opinionated stories that came from my own sources. Throughout these stories you can tell what path I decided to choose Losing My Cool was used as a comparison to my everyday life growing up. From middle school, to high school, now to college, I have shown a great amount of transformation. Everyone has their moment in time when they make that leap and change lanes between their past and their future. You could either live in the past with everyone that brings you down, or you could move toward the future and better yourself. Coming into college was a huge transformation for me, just like any other student. Throughout high school I never took anything serious because, hey, it was just “high school”. Never realizing how important it was, and how big of an effect it would have on my life. College is much more different than high school. This is where you really find yourself and who you want to be in the future. You could either stick to your ways in the past, or you could change lanes into the future. I never thought this would be such a transformation for me. I thought I was done growing up after I hit 18 years old. I thought this is who I am, this is what I’ll be for the rest of my life. But I was wrong. I became this independent, responsible, respectful young lady. Whom my mother could not be more proud to have. I shown my parents that I could take responsibility for being on my own, and it made up for all my mistakes in the past.


Staying in My Lane is a way for me to shortly express my past, my present, and my future. It just goes to show how quickly things are subject to change. I wanted to touch on certain subjects in the past that brought me here to where I am today. This book is a summary of stories growing up, and transforming to who I am today. It is not half of who I actually am. It gives a few pages on who I am. I hope you enjoy each and every one of my thoughts and stories. Thank you for reading!


Angellese Sturtze

My First Hair Cut Experience


The reason behind everyday people taking a trip to the barbershop or the hair salon is to create your look, change the way people view yourself, or to keep up with the fashion trend. We all have our own personal place that we are most familiar with because we are accustomed to how they handle their business and the customer loyalty. Change is huge when it comes to hair, and I found that out the day I had to switch hair dressers. I have a love, hate relationship with the salon for many, many reasons. Over my lifetime, I have had various episodes where I found myself either crying or happy as can be leaving the salon. I normally visit a family friend that has been a hairdresser for many years now. She always colored, and trimmed my mother and grandmothers hair for years now so I knew she was great at her job. She worked at Rob Roy which is a local hair salon that is all decorated in all white, with young ladies walking around with beautiful hair. These girls all graduated from hair school, and continued their career as a hairdresser. They were all very talented young ladies, each of them had awards hanging up in their booths from previous shows that they were involved in. When we visit my hairdresser every month, it is a fun environment where we can gossip, chat, and talk about girl things. She would ask me “What’s new?”, “How’s the love life?”, or something like, “Any drama around the city?” almost every visit. I have never been to a different hair salon, only because I trusted my friend, and she always knew how to do my hair the way I wanted it to be. Once she quit her job, it was time for me to find a new salon. There was a new salon about a town over that I wanted to try out because it was the “new thing” around Worcester. Everyone has been visiting this salon, and always gave great feedback about how amazing the workers there were. The girls around the city talked about this place for weeks so I decided to try it out for myself. When I first told my mother I wanted to try out a new hair salon, she looked at me deeply in both of my eyes and specifically said “If you do not like


what they do, this was not my fault�. My mother knew my hair is very important to me, I try my best to keep it healthy, and stay up to date with my haircuts. This was going to be a scary stretch for me. When I walked into this new salon that everyone constantly talked about, it was not what I expected it to be from all the gossip around the city. It was not all white like Rob Roy, it was plain, and boring. The girls were in jeans, tee-shirts, and sneakers, compared to the other salon, where they wore all formal black outfits. I could not make assumptions just because of how the salon was assembled. I walked to the front desk and asked if anything was available for 5:00pm. The lady with the bright red hair, chewing her gum with her mouth opened, pointed to the waiting room and I proceeded to the closest chair open. I looked around at the environment; I could remember hearing Mary J. Blige playing while everyone sang to the lyrics. Another lady, with a bright sweet smile called my name and asked to come with her to the back of the salon. With my heart beating fast, nervous as ever could be, I knew I had to give it a chance. Kerrie was her name, she looked about 22, fresh out of hair school. She told me I had very nice hair, and wanted to try something new with it. I did not want to be rude at all, so I nodded yes, and she started cutting my hair. I felt my heart drop to my stomach, and I closed my eyes tightly. About a half hour went by and I did not feel my hair touching the front of my shoulders anymore like I could when I first walked into the salon. I had such a bad feeling about this, but I could not turn back now. Kerrie turned the chair around and I was faced with my reflection starting back at me, with now short, blonde, healthy hair. I grinned from ear to ear, and starting running my fingers through my hair. Touching it over and over again, I could not have been more pleased.


From that day on, I continued to visit Kerrie at the hair salon about twice a month. I had a membership there and discounts ranging from 20%-40% off. I loved this salon, and knew everyone’s name by the end of the month. I learned to always try new things out even if I had a bad feeling about it. I notice that for some people hair is nothing special, or important, for others it makes them who they are. It can give us a small assumption of who you are, or what kind of person you are. Boys and girls all have their moments when they feel their best, and it is usually when their hair is looking nice. There are those who care so much about their hair that it is way too important to ever try something new. I used to be one of those people, but I learned it is just hair, and you never know what can happen if you do not try.

“Fronting” Each and every individual has their own personality, which is a blend or a combination of our behavior, emotions, and attitude. Every day we are learning or even finding something new about ourselves. The household we grow up in, the school we attend, even the kids we hang out with, all play a huge role in our character. These are all a big part of our lives that changes us drastically, that we don’t even realize. I strongly believe that personality and behavior is something we learn. Growing up you are learning how to talk, act, and behavior from your parents. Then once you are off to school, you see everything from a new perspective and learn new words, new behaviors, and a new attitude. Judging from my past experience, and how Thomas Chatterton Williams, in his memoir Losing My Cool, wants to be seen as, I have noticed that we want to give off our personally that will be noticed by everyone. What I mean by that is, we all have a phase in our life as a kid where we


want to “fit in” with everybody. I will never forget the day back in elementary school I was the new kid in the 4th grade. At 11:45 it was recess for my class, and I always just stood by the brick wall that was covered in chalk drawings. Until one Thursday, a short girl with this long blonde hair that touched the bottom of her back, had asked me if I wanted to play kick ball with the 6th grade students. I couldn’t say no, I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to fit in with everybody. I was up next in line to kick, and I could feel everyone’s eyes staring right at me, or through me. What was worse was that we had two strikes on my team, so if I struck out, we would lose. I did not know how I was going to impress everyone, not even thinking of the fact that I am terrible at kickball. The pitcher was taking forever to pitch the ball and I heard this one particular voice behind me that stood out and screamed at him “hurry up before we have to go back inside, shit”. I had never heard a child curse before, it sounded strange but cool at the same time. I reacted quickly, and without a second thought, I was cursing up a storm at the pitcher! Without even making sense, I heard everyone stop screaming and stare my way. All of the kids starting laughing and one came up behind me and said to me “you have some serious balls girl!” I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but I knew I did something right. All of the kids wanted to hang with me because they thought I was this tough girl that can stand up to anyone. But in reality, I really wasn’t. Also, if my mom had heard me use those words, she would kill me! My school personality changed when I got home every day. I did not curse, I did not give attitude to anyone, and I actually had really nice manners. What was I changing for? I always thought to myself. This story really came to mind while I continue to read “Losing My Cool” written by the main character himself. Mainly because Williams trying to find himself, and seems to have two


split personalities. He has this character of always doing well for his dad at home, then outside he is fighting, sleeping around, and acting corrupt around his friends. William’s dad wants his sons to succeed in life, and to not fall into the other kids lifestyle. Williams sees himself as a black boy, so he wants to act like the rest of the black boys. The type of boys that Williams knows about and wants to be seen as these thugs that wear baggy clothes, treats woman like ho’s, and have an “I don’t care” attitude. Throughout Williams’s life, he has been confused on who he really is, who he wants to be, and how he is seen by the world. His mother is white and his father is black, and to them there was no such thing as being “half-white” for black. Thomas’s father wanted to keep his boys knowing how to move in the world as intelligent, focused black men. To be able to move in the world as a black man, Thomas wanted to act like the black boys that he knew about. “These boys became models to me. I studied their postures and their screwfaces, the unlaced purple and turquoise Filas on their feet, their mannerisms, the way they sapped hands in the street. These boys would never be singled out and dissed the way I had been. I decided I wanted whatever it was that protected them.” (pg. 9) From then forward, Thomas defeated the purpose of knowing what his father meant about “move” like a black man, and created his own character. Finding himself fighting, drinking, and running around with the ghetto chick of the school, Thomas had a new personality within himself. He was not born, or raised with this type of behavior, and he knew that, but to him it was all about his reputation and how he was seen by everyone. I guess for some people it is fine to want to fit in with the kids at school, it all depends on how you are behaving yourself. If you have to think twice about it, you probably should not be doing it in the first place.


We all have our moments in time where our personality changes day by day. One day I could love how outgoing I am, and that I find myself really funny. Others may think I am being obnoxious and rude on how I come off to people. You could be naturally shy, and learn to grow out of your shell around certain people. I definitely agree that you can change your personality and it not only stay the way you are because you were born that way. You are learning something new every day, whether it be good or bad. You can either learn, to live with it. People change every day whether we want them to or not, even if we do not have control over it. We have separate lives for a reason. I know my personality and how I act, how I behave, and how I talk, is a combination of the household I grew up in, and the school I attended. I don’t think I was born with a certain personality. I think it varies with the people you chose to be around. You could hear someone say something every day and find yourself saying it sooner or later. We grow off of each other, good or bad. But who you chose to be, depends on yourself, your inner strength, and your character! Can You Go Home Again? Going through the big leap of attending college can make or break you as a person. It could benefit you in many ways, transforming you to a better person, or it could change you to someone you thought you would never be. In the story “Losing My Cool”, the main character “Williams”, makes a huge transformation of his character. Growing up as a kid he had always wanted to be seen as this “cool, intimidating black kid” that all the white kids were afraid of. Even though his mother was white, he felt he was not like the rest of the “white kids”. As he got older he started to change his aspect on life. He did not want to be seen as who he was as a kid. When he moved away to college, he really started to find himself, and everything his dad taught


him was starting to pay off. He no longer wanted to be seen as that “cool, intimidating black kid” anymore. He wanted to be this smart intelligent human being. Growing up Williams always had a tough time adapting to the lifestyle of where he was growing up. He was not too sure of who he was, or who he wanted to become. His father already had this picture in mind of how he wanted his two boys to be like. He always made sure they were on top of their game and stood focused. But Williams had a different vision in mind of what he wanted to be seen as. When he got into an altercation with a black woman about how he and his rich “white” family always like to show off what they have, he was surprised about the way that she had seen him. How could she think he was white when his skin was black? He knew from that moment, he never wanted to be mistaken like that again. “These boys became models to me. I studied their postures and their screwfaces, the unlaced purple and turquoise Filas on their feet, their mannerisms, the way they slapped hands in the street. These boys would never be singled out and dissed the way I had been. I decided I wanted whatever it was that protected them.” (pg.9). What Williams thought was protecting them was their image, the way that they show themselves to the world, how they spoke or dressed. He never considered his father’s feelings when it came to his friends. He didn’t want them to know when he is home he does not act like this thug “wannabe”. Throughout the story Williams really started to get into these messed up situations that he knew his dad would not approve of. Williams knew it was time for a change in his life with everything that has been going on for him. He found himself disrespecting females, fighting with peers, and acting like a gangster. That is not what his dad taught him to be like. His father knew his boys had more potential than what these black boys could offer. They were not going


anywhere in life, and deep down you could see that Williams knew that, but did not want to believe it. When Williams first enters college, he is unsure of what to expect with a new place, new friends, and a new lifestyle. He still had all of his clothes and was not going to change his appearance just because he is in a different area. He was not pleased at first with the people of the college. Soon enough he started to find friends that he would hang out with, rather different than the ones back at home. He also found a new girlfriend that was total opposite of his exgirlfriend Stacey, who now has two kids by two different men. He went from having a trashy girlfriend who cheated on him, and he could not trust at all, to someone he really loved and wanted to be with. Unfortunately, it just was not the right time for them to be together, they soon broke up over an argument and left it alone. I really believe Williams started to notice everything that was changing around him, and he felt it was best that he changed as well. “I added a third component to the plan: I resolved to dress for class every day. Not merely put on street clothes instead of pajamas, but really get dressed, as if I were going to work or to an important meeting, as though class mattered.� (pg. 138). This point in the story is when Williams actually turned around his aspect on life, what was important, and who he wanted to be. He did not want to be that same kid that fought over nothing. He did not want to be that kid that disrespected females anymore. He wanted to be a philosophy major and an author. Williams did a complete turn and he had his father to thank for everything he did for him. There was a point in the story when Williams seemed really judgmental and negative towards other people. He did not see people for who they are or what they are capable of doing, but for what they wore, the color of their skin, and the music that they listened to. All the boys that he consumed his time around listened to Jay Z, Notorious BIG, and Tupac. They watched


Black Entertainment Television, and wore baggy clothes. Never once did he not like someone because they did something to him. It was always something that had to do with their appearance or their color. You would think someone with a white mother and a black father, they would not judge anyone by being black or white. Someone like me, I am half black and half white and never would join in on the conversations when they spoke about my race or nationality. Williams was his own person throughout the story even though he tried his hardest to be something he is not. There are kids that act like same way and do not have any parents to put them back on track. Williams was proud of his father for who he is. Even though his father did not want him to leave to Paris and get a better degree, he knew he did what he could and let Williams live his life the way he wanted. William’s father was happy of Williams for growing out of his stage of wanting to be a “black cool kid”. All of his studying and hard work finally paid off and he made something of himself. If it were not for his father, he would be in jail, dead, or selling drugs like the rest of the guys he hung out with. The best part of the story is where Williams and his friend Sam drove around their old neighborhood talking about where all their friends are now. Living with their parents, working at McDonalds, hustling, and doing absolutely nothing with themselves. Williams was lucky enough to get out of that stage and now he found himself moving to Paris, working for a big company. “All those times in the summer when it was nice as fuck out, and everyone was outside chilling, and you were just stuck inside studying. I used to feel bad for you and really wonder how you put up with that. Yeah but, all that studying paid off, man, and I’m proud of you.” (pg. 204)


You are learning something new every day, whether it be something good or something bad. It is you that chooses what is right, and what is wrong. Your parents can teach you all that they can while you are under their control but once you are grown up, you take everything they taught you and use it for good. You could either disobey everything that they have tried to show you and make something better than what they wanted. Sometimes you need to do what is better for yourself rather than what people think of you. Not your parents, friends, or even completed strangers. You have to make that leap of faith when growing up and choosing who you are. Sometimes “losing your cool� is not so bad after all. Transformation The transformation reward from high school to college just like any other teenage student that has lived at home is such a big part of the growing up process. There are many changes that are hard to adjust to in my opinion; such as the lifestyle, the freedom, and the change in friends. The most common for any teenager would be the adjustment of friends. My freshmen year of college has been such an eye-opening experience. I thought I would always be friends with my high school peers. Not only was this a change in house hold, or friends but I noticed from here on out I am now on my own! Entering into college, I really thought it was going to be just like high school except I do not have to listen to my mother complain about the dishes not being clean by the end of the day. In all reality, it was nothing like that at all. I know that I have many more responsibilities now that I have to do everything on my own. Luckily for me, I am only 20 miles from home that if anything was to happen I could easily drive home at any time. For other students it is not that simple, they are hundreds of miles away from home and have no other choice but to make decisions for themselves.


Leaving home is a big step for college students, it shows if you are really ready for the responsibilities and the changes of living on your own. Another big step is leaving everyone behind. For some students they not only have to leave behind their family, every day routine, but their friends that they have known for many years in their lives. Some may say it was a tragedy in their lives and they keep in contact as much as they can. For me, this was probably the best way to get away from everyone and do my own thing. At home I was very popular and got along with everyone as much as I can. I had a bad attitude when needed, but for the most part I was the sweetest girl to everyone. I knew most of my friends from middle school, some even from elementary school. We hung out every day during the summer from sleepovers, to vacation trips down in Hampton beach. The day we walked across the stage of the DCU center and got our diploma we made a promise we were always going to be friends no matter what. Unfortunately that did not last long when we all split up for college. I chose to go away from Worcester while the rest of them were not ready to leave everything back at home. I was ready for change. When I first came to Nichols for orientation, everyone was so polite and respectful, so much different then what I was used to. At home, everyone stares you down and at first everyone is rude to you until you prove yourself to them that you can stand up to them. Well, that is how it was in middle school. In high school, you made your friends in middle school so you stuck with them through the next four years. Once you got into your classes, you usually just sat next to someone and talked to them for the 40 minutes. My college friends were chosen differently than from middle school, or high school. You make your friends within your sport, or club that you chose to join. My first friend was my


orientation roommate, Olivia Barrett. At first, she struck me as this crazy girl that wanted to always party and drink. Come to find out she was the smartest, most respectful person I have ever met. She has a 3.5 GPA, taking 19 credit classes, and keeps me on my toes about my classes. When I go home for the weekends, she is calling me always checking up to see how I am doing and if I am okay. Not once have I received a phone call from a friend back home to ask “How is college?” “How are your classes?” I have known Olivia for a couple months now and she has done more for me than half of my friends back home have ever done. My mom has always told me that my college friends were going to be the friends I have for the rest of my life. I never believed her because I truly loved and cared for my friends at home. But once again, my mom was right. These are my REAL friends. Instead of getting me in trouble, they are looking out for me as possible. It does hurt to know that your friends for so long can just forget about you because you are trying to become someone. I left because I wanted to have a great life and career. In order to do that, I had to leave behind people that mattered the most to me. In my eyes, that was their lost, not mine. Of course there are those college roommates or peers that like to party and have a good time because they are finally free on their own. There are always the situations that are opposite of mine, I found friends that want to do something with themselves, but there are those who do not care and try to bring everyone around them down with them. You really do not know a person’s background information, or their story when you first meet them. You only know what they tell you. You could have been this sheltered human being that has never partied a day in their life, go to college and tell these amazing stories of how you use to be when you lived at home. But the certain things you tell people are the types of friends you are going to make.


That is probably the biggest step in moving away from home, because when you move out your house you have many responsibilities, but everyone has to go through that. Not many want to change their everyday routine with their friends back at home. You really never know what is going to happen until you make that leap of faith. What is life without friends? You may think you could go without friends, but it is entirely impossible. To have someone there for you when no one else is, to have your back during bad situations, also someone to get you through the rough times in your life. Friends come and go, whether we want them to or not, we can try but we rarely get to choose who stays and who does not. From middle school, to high school, and now to college, everything is bound to change. It is such an eye-opening experience to look back and see how different everything is. From who you hung out with back then, to who you hang out with now, some of them might act entirely the same, and some may say they have found friends that are different. I know my life has changed because of my friends, and to be honest I really do not think I could have made it without each and every one of them to push me and motivate me to do good now that I do not have my parents around to lead me the way.

Conclusion There you have it. Was it stories that are different from anything you have ever read before? Staying in My Lane are not stories that I could possibly make up. These were all stories


with various emotions within each paper, humor, mellow, even anger. Now that you have read some stories about my transformation growing up, you can get an idea on why I chose the path I did. Looking back I really wish I took high school more serious, but I am happy where I am today. Never realizing how important it was. If you are in high school reading this, I really hope it makes an impact on your view on life. I really want to make a difference on those in high school that are not taking school serious as they should. I hope this opens your eyes if you are going down the wrong path and wish to change your ways. It was never impossible to change the way you view your life. Staying in My Lane is all about me and my transformation, but your story is still being written. Take the time to see and say to yourself “who am I?” “Where do I want to be?”. Those are the questions I have asked myself to get me where I am today. Comparing to Losing My Cool, Williams goes through a dilemma where he wants to actually be someone. He goes through a bad faze just like anyone else. Eventually he grows up and starts to take things serious. It is all based on timing on when you decide to grow up and change your lifestyle. If you took something out of these stories, then that’s great. My goal was to open up the viewer’s eyes and really set a good impression. If you did not take anything away from this, I hope you are focusing on your future and building from your past. “Use the past as a tool, to build your future with”

About the Author


Angellese Elisabeth Sturtze was born in the city of Worcester Ma on August 8th, 1995. She grew up with her mother, father, and younger sister all living on the same street as her entire family. At the age of 18, Angellese moved on and is now a major in the Business Management field at Nichols College. All through her years of school, she was always an unforgettable and outstanding student with no dilemmas. Angellese was a strong candidate to her studies in History of Rock and Roll for her first year semester. Hostile to publish her work, she continuously stayed strong through it all and went out strong for her published papers. Angellese has goals of graduating with her Master Degree and will go above and beyond to achieve this goal.

Staying In My Lane  
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