I wrote this piece, “My Worst Enemy” for an assignment in my first college writing class. The assignment was to write a highly descriptive essay or story. When our papers were being handed out, mine was set on my desk with a deliberate smack. I immediately noticed that the paper was missing a grade. I looked up at my instructor who then said, “I need to see you after class”. I panicked, thinking that the subject of my “story” was so personal that she was going to demand that I see the counselor.
Here’s the thing: I was 19 at the time and living with bulimia and anorexia. I still deal with ENDOS, which is Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified- basically a fancy way of saying I have a fucked up relationship with food.
I approached her desk after class with my heart feeling as if it was going to pound straight out of my chest. “What’s wrong with my paper? I understand the subject material is kind of intense. . .”, I trailed off, nervous and shaky. Well, more shaky and nervous than my normal 19-year-old baseline of constant anxiety.
“Lori, you didn’t write this. It is above college level, and while I have yet to find any evidence that you plagiarized this piece, I do not believe you have it within you to write something like this”, she scrawled a large B- on my paper and handed it to me without another word. I received a B because this woman thought my writing was too good. I was enraged and yet flattered at the same time. Enraged that an instructor would squash what she saw as talent for no reason other than she herself was a failed writer. An instructor who started every class with a recitation of one of her cringe-worthy poems. An instructor who later on in the term gave me a C on a narrative assignment when the only red mark was her correction of “Uncle” to “Oncle” (I suppose this was because she was from New Orleans. I suspect it was because she hated me). Part of me, though, was flattered that she thought my writing was “above college level”, whatever that even means. I ended up receiving a B in this class solely because of those two assignments.
The following is that “infamous” (in my world) essay, unedited, from 2004:
MY WORST ENEMY