This is my first post on EssayForum and I would like feedback on this essay for QuestBridge.
We are interested in learning more about you
and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations, and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors helped you to grow? (800 word-limit)
Duality. A simple term that encompases my human condition.
There's me. Inexplicably timid, but scholarly and relatively sociable all the same.
And then there's me. Consistently distressed. The oldest of four children, and those children being of two oftentimes equally irritable and irrational Hispanic immigrants.
I more or less saw myself as the latter for most of my life. The reason for this may not be incredibly clear, as oftentimes, life passed by with not much trouble to speak of, albeit as a result, not much for me to reflect on.
More vivid but objectively scarce memories, however, filled with wall punching and hate-filled dialogue by those familial characters, define the essence of who I believe myself to be. Those memories stick out in my passing mind as a crimson palette.
The multiple arrests of my father. The physical confrontations. The tears shed. The apologies. And the lack thereof. But there is one memory above all which I feel encapsulates why I'm in this position today.
October of freshman year, a Friday morning, a shortened school schedule for the day, and it would be the first homecoming for me. Under usual circumstances, this sets up for a decent day. Instead, it began with the sight of my parents fighting and yelling downstairs. The sight of my brother calling the cops to stop it. I immediately removed myself from the situation, staying upstairs until my bus came to pick me up.
I forced myself into denial.
"This will be fine," I told myself whilst shaking intensely.
"Papa's been taken away plenty of times before, what will make this any different?, " I timidly asked myself whilst my palms became fountains.
To me, surely it wouldn't have been responsible to get upset, not with my family history in mind. To me, this would blow over soon enough, as if it had never happened. I forced myself into tunnel vision as I walked towards the bus...
The next several months post-October posed an enormous burden. My father legally could not communicate with us. My mother projected her years worth of resentment towards my father onto me and the rest of my siblings. Needless to say, it pierced my heart being presented villainous images of one half of those who raised me from birth by that other half. My little brother and sister, clearly puppeteered by my mother, presented me with phrases defaming my father. Every day coming back from school, the stiff atmosphere present made me feel as if I was being torn limb from limb, bone to bone. There had been times I broke out punching walls, yelling my heart out, tearing until my eyes formed as bloodshot as my fist. Those reactions were met with more of that same energy by my mother. Every night, that single crimson palette left it's stain on my memory...
The next several months post-October passed along without worry. I maintained a stable relationship amongst my friends, as every morning I greeted myself to the sight of them in decent excitement due to my presence. From time to time, I developed new friendships, having memorable experiences on the weekends. During lunch everyday, my mentality came as close to as blissful as one could imagine as I chose to surround myself with a group of at-times mind-numbing yet amiable individuals. In the classroom, some may call it being respectful, others apprehensive, but I developed a demeanor that my peers and superiors appreciated. More often than not, there was a smile on my face on the bus ride home...
Amidst this chaos, I attempted to isolate myself from the damage being dealt, mentioning my situation to those around me with a laugh, but never truly confronting it. Confronting the palette. The crimson that blinded me. The crimson that defined me. I saw myself defined by that damage. By how my mother treated me, by how ambushed, depraved, and hopeless I saw myself coming home...
Inevitably, the chaos died down, and I came to the revelation that this single crimson palette was just that. Single. Exclusive to myself. Nobody else defined me by that. By those vivid images in my head. What they saw was my reaction. They saw a version of myself that I would've never imagined. Sociable to an extent. Scholarly. And above all, considerate of others.
I wasn't my mother's actions. Because I learned the importance of not projecting the manifestation of your internal toxicity onto others. Instead, I learned to amplify and convert that energy into an appreciation for others, instead of spite.
That's the best I could strive to be.
More than those actions that sought to define who I must be. More than that card I was dealt.
More than that single crimson palette. For that could leave nothing more than a stain.