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"But why, Dad.." - Common App: Forgiveness


thematrix 1 / -  
Dec 18, 2010   #1
Prompt: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

Devil's horns perch on my dad's head, and a scrawled black note written above his head says, "Go to hell!" I lift the photo up to my face for a closer look and distinguish a scribbled wall dividing Dad from the rest of the family: Cindy, Mom, and I. This photo should not be in my hands; it shouldn't exist at all. I thought I had thrown all of them away because it was I who held the trembling black pen in my hand six years ago.

Dad, I feel so confused.

You caused me so much pain, but not only me; you destroyed a family, tore it from the core, and crushed its foundations. You went on a "business trip." You betrayed Mom, Cindy, and me. The day Mom played the answering machine, a hideous woman's laughter invaded our house, and I swore I'd never forgive you. I resented you, despised you, punished you, and disrespected you with that black pen because I wanted you to suffer, drown, and diminish from the unforgivable crime you committed.

Six years ago, I swore I'd never forgive you.

Six years ago, I sentenced you to a lifetime of punishment.

However, that was six years ago.

Today, I awoke to the smell of sausages simmering on the frying pan. Cracking and spitting everywhere, the oil burned your arms, but nothing stopped you from making a hearty breakfast for Cindy and me. You packed food on school days for me, scolded me for staying up too late, and hawked my progress in school. Even though you worked long hours, you woke early to make breakfast and wave me off to school, standing proudly on the driveway as I vanished around the corner.

But why, Dad, did you wake up every morning, feed me, and clothe me? When Mom submitted to depression and projected her anger onto me, I was a 7th grader, getting sicker physically and emotionally. You should have left me with a mom who no longer cooked for me, no longer drove me, and no longer talked to me. You should have let me fall the way I had tried to make you fall. I don't understand you Dad. You had seen the photos with your very own eyes! I had drawn over your face- my own Dad! Yet despite what I had done with the black pen, you supported me and rebuilt the family when I had betrayed you. Like a hero, you swooped in to help me when Mom forgot to take her Prozac and rebuilt the family that had sought to destroy you.

It would have been so much easier had you let me fall, drop into an abyss, and drown in the hate I had for you. I swore I'd never forgive you, and four years ago, my spite for you was solid: there was absolutely no way that you could redeem yourself. Six years ago, I didn't believe any action could remedy the "unforgivable crime" you committed.

I keep replaying the message on the answering machine in my mind. And it makes me sick to the stomach. Whenever I see you standing by the stove, burning yourself while trying to cook me breakfast, I want to cry, scream- but at the same time, wilt away.

Today, holding the photo in my trembling hands, a surge of emotions overwhelms me. Taking the photo in my hand, I toss it -the last on- in the trash. It is gone forever, a lost memory that will never surface again. I forgive you, Dad.

I've relinquished the burden of hating Dad forever. No one, least of all my dad, deserves a lifetime of punishment. No crime amounts to an eternity of condemnation. From him, I've gained the ability to forgive, forget, and move forward with my family. These past six years, punishing him was only punishing myself.

I wrote about a highly sensitive topic for my common application essay. I'm not sure whether to continue with this essay or use my safe essay because this one is controversial and quite lengthy. Should I shorten it/use another topic? Please comment! Thanks in advance!
collegeyeah - / 6  
Dec 18, 2010   #2
I really, really like this. Powerful, well-written, and real.
One thing that caught my eye:
"and four years ago, my spite for you was solid"

I thought it was six years ago? Or maybe I missed something =/
onimpulse 2 / 17  
Dec 18, 2010   #3
I think this is brilliant.

If admissions essay is supposed to tell adcoms about you, and what makes you who you are, then I think writing about a sensitive topic such as this is perhaps one of the best ways to go.

By the way, in the first paragraph where you say, "Cindy, Mom, and I," I'm pretty sure grammar dictates it should be "Cindy, Mom and Me."
puffholic 1 / 5  
Dec 18, 2010   #4
Well, it's a very personal and unique, but not a highly sensitive story in my opinion.

But I am a lil confused: why did your Dad come back? Or did your parents never get divorced? btw, you may say something about your Dad and that woman. At least, I wanna know if he is still in a relationship with her and why. I think that's also an important part of your "forgiveness". =)
nikamonster 9 / 38  
Dec 18, 2010   #5
i agree with what's been said.
this is a very powerful and telling tale.
here are a few recommendations:

like onimpulse wrote, Cindy, Mom and me .

I wanted you to suffer, drown, and diminish (the word choice here sounds odd to me) from the unforgivable crime you committed.

-the last one -


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