My parents used to read me different Dr. Seuss books, including Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socks and Happy Birthday To You. I enjoyed the rhythmic language that complimented the imagery and fantasy. One quote that always resonated with me from Happy Birthday to You was, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you. Shout aloud, I am glad to be what I am… I am what I am, what a great thing to be. If I say so myself, happy every day to me!” I think I would have made a great story for Dr. Seuss’s book. He would have called it Ashley’s I Am book.
I am a Klingon. This Star Trekkian language was my native tongue for my first three years. I was diagnosed with a speech and language disorder prior to Kindergarten. I spoke in a language only my dolls and fictional space creatures would understand. I loved to talk, and still do but now I can communicate in English and Hebrew.
I am Mesopotamia. This first great civilization’s name has been ingrained in my head by my father as an analogy for how all civilizations have borrowed from their success, and how history repeats itself. Whether I discuss tennis strategies, politics with my dad, or playing the violin, he annoyingly states “don’t forget about Mesopotamia”.
I am Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. During my early years of playing the violin, I used this classic children’s song as a warm-up before each recital. The Suzuki Method utilizes this melody to properly coordinate finger movements and chords. I did progress to playing Bach, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky, but it was Twinkle that kept playing in my dreams.
I am Dora the Explorer. I was taught in school the value of Tikum Olam - to repair the world. I traveled to places as close as Brooklyn to as far away as Southeast Asia. Being exposed to new cultures' excites me. My most memorable experience was working with the Sao Sary Foundation in Cambodia, bringing fresh water into homes by installing filters. Water is a natural resource I take for granted but for these people, they felt grateful. Oh - no Mesopotamia is popping into my head!
I am Vera Wang. I attempted to be a fashion designer, however, my skirt was too big, my top too small, but I tried my best. Learning to sew was a challenge, but in the process, I actually mastered the art of measurement. It's amazing how hands-on learning brought inches, feet, and yards to life for me. I must say it was not a complete loss, however, I think I will need to figure out how else to use my passion for fashion.
I am Macbeth. From playing the nanny in Peter Pan to my biggest role as Macbeth, I really challenged myself. Due to my learning disability, retention has never been my strength. I played two roles in Shakespearian parodies; Narrator and Macbeth. I had the most lines and had to ad-lib when we had an audiovisual mishap. I had to repeat my lines, and received a standing ovation for saying the show must go on - and it did.
I am any Universities Presidential Scholarship winner. Well if you don’t dream you don’t receive. I am Ashley Mufson. If Dr. Seuss had written my book, it would say this: Whether I began with a language of my own, or had a private conversation on a fake telephone; whether I tried to understand where the roots of civilization began or traveled to places with a caravan; whether I played my violin, sewed a stitch, or got through Macbeth with just a minor glitch, I am Ashley and Ashley I am the girl that can’t wait to share with Dr. Seuss her college plan.