BE AS MERCILESS AS POSSIBLE!
I need to know if this is submission worthy.
I've convinced myself since I was young that what was different in my household was somehow the same in everyone else's. I thought that everybody's parents argued from time to time, threw plates, broke computers, or smashed holes into the wall when they were frustrated enough. It surprised me to see my 7 year old classmate hide under the coffee table while my mother and father went back and forth, my father irate and my mother, pupils dilated, oblivious to me, convinced she was dying while under the influence of a Schizophrenic attack. I've always anticipated the best in people. I'd like to think that each kid in my community service club, Interact, has infinite potential. I'd even like to think that the school board won't let us announce meetings or promote community events, not only because Interact isn't "related to the curriculum", but because our school is striving to maintain enough time to push it's students as much as it can.
My father and I deal with many sleepless nights when my mom is in a hysterical state of mind; he works shifts up to 24 hours back to back at both jobs so we can live exceptionally well while balancing bills. The day he was dragged away in handcuffs, I looked over at the Christmas lights, and down at my ten year old bruised legs and I still believed he would be back to take them down; that he wouldn't quit our family. I'd like to believe he sacrifices beyond his own personal ability. I'd like to think that my parents don't discuss their other children from their previous divorces with my half sister and me because they're fixated in establishing the most emotionally secure future for us both. Nonetheless, there are injustices I simply cannot come past. Through the nights caught by sharp bouts of tears and sleepless after-silences, it is yet a gap in my perception of every maddening thing in creation, to look underneath the diagnosis in which my mother's parental duties, to me were clinical contraband. I wouldn't be cliche enough to call myself an optimist.
Needless to say this is not some memoir or personal account of sauntering around the corner from the bus stop to see a group of policemen tending to my ailing mother and investigating the house for people hiding in the bathrooms or photographing the scratches and bruises down her arm. I can thoroughly explain lying in bed with her, reciting prayers one moment, watching her point out a man in the backyard tree the next. What was more bewildering than my sister's broken trophies in the backyard or half-empty medicine bottles, was googling the side-effects of obscure clusters of letters like "Chlorpromazine" and "Respiradone," stumbling upon "a loss of interest in life," and still being told to play along with the hallucinations in order to dull my mom back into reality. When my mom loses touch with reality, it seems my dad loses moral responsibility.
A simple neurological shortcoming is nearly as irrational as the phantasms my mother tried so desperately to remove from the oven. Her quality of life is prioritized at the expense of "treatment". Neither her dignity nor social adequacy, however, can be legitimized within a centimeter long capsule. Like a Frank Sinatra love song, I am "on the ground" and she, "in mid-air".
I've realized since then, however, I have no "debt to pay life". I am instead indebted to the educators of the International Baccalaureate program at my school. Upon my father's refusal to pay for Dual Credit classes and an exceptional reputation for an English III teacher, I registered to be an IB Diploma Candidate. I dove into much more than Regional Studies or American Literature; I began to embody the "IB Student Learner Profile". My classes pushed me to be more inquisitive, to find my own existentialist view of Brazilian slavery. Even though I began to feel a bit of the weight from late nights doing homework, early mornings six days a week at cross country practice, school clubs, officer positions, community service and tension at the house, Jack Burden and Anne Stanton were in love for the 30 pages of my All the King's Men reading assignment. I developed a natural ability to notice things in the copies of Wilson's Fourteen Points so that I could sense things outside of myself to meet the needs of hospice patients while volunteering at the Veteran's Hospital.
My sister forewarned me how the "expected parental contributions" would not be met if I was to attend an expensive university. Coming into high school under the impression that I may not be able to handle nursing school at a community college, a gradual passion for philanthropy led me to ask: if I believed everyone had the potential to entirely immerse themselves in the pursuit of their own passions, what was different for me? Being awarded Top 3% in Academics satisfied my empirical tastes for this matter, and after the passing of a family friend, grandmother, and close friend my sophomore year, I was able to recuperate academically during my junior year by being awarded Top 3% once again. My passions felt much more tangible with recognition. A dime-sized "350 hour service award" from the Veteran's Hospital, or a call back from a Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp, asking me to be a counselor, meant much more to me than any empty material possession. I began building friendships off of that mentality with people who were just as excited as I was to ring bells outside of Dillards in 36 degree weather, singing the night away, to raise money for a local Salvation Army.
When I read the news of people persistent, despite hardships, to fulfill our country's fundamental ideals birthed in the constitution, I feel empowered, as if life were being breathed into legislation. Standing in front of a room packed with forty members of my high school community service club, Interact, or addressing letters to congressmen calling them to free prisoners of conscience, using this as motivation has established my own permanence to what I believe is my moral obligation.
I understand more clearly now that classroom instruction is not enough to bring justice to human existence, and that in order to be truly educated, I have to absorb the material in accordance to myself. I understand that life is "motion towards knowledge" in the words of Robert Penn Warren. However, college is not my escape. I cannot deny my father's blood. I am afraid of it. I am not assigning a "war guilt clause" to my parents but I want power like the power my father had over my mother. I want to use it, however, to empower others in my pursuit to be a lawyer, working in the mechanics of democracy. If the central figures of my life were so impressionable, I want to be able to augment the lives of others in a battle for our evident truths.