Describe the world you come from - for example, your family, community or school - and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations. (1000 word split between both UC prompts; this one is the longer one 750 words)
A loud creak broke the still cold that permeated the morgue. While the now opened refrigeration chamber slid back on its railings, the nitrogen preservative began to escape, forming small vapor pillars that seemed to reach for the ceiling but that disappeared under my chin. I looked at the face below me -- eyes shut gently as if someone were taking a nap. The man had a trademark moustache -- the type of amorphous bushy mass of hair that would perfectly mirror the movements of the lip when he spoke. I knew who the man was but I refused to believe that I was correct. When I saw my mother break into tears, I stood in silence, knowing that I could no longer deny the truth. If I cried, my father was there, ready with a handkerchief and a hug to cheer me up. If I laughed, my father augmented it with a joke or a piggyback ride. Losing him was losing not just a father but also a best friend.
The next years went by slowly. Battling depression, financial burden and the responsibility of supporting a family, my mother took on her husband's former role. Yet, no matter how hard she worked or the sacrifices she made, playing the part of both parents was not enough. Mortgages, leases and bills constantly loomed over her shoulder. So , when I was seven, my mother went back to school to become a physician's assistant with the hope of providing a better future for her family.
Where do I fit into the story? Right into the middle. With my mother working through the day and studying through the night, the job of taking care of my baby sister and myself was mine. Self-reliance became my new norm. From teaching myself how to cook Paneer Curry to learning how to repair a bathroom HVAC vent, my life became a "Do-It-Yourself-Book," except without the instructions.
Emotionally, I was a different story. Without anyone talk to or listen to me, I felt alone and melancholy. My father's death weighed even more heavily. School was no better; quiet and vulnerable, I was a prime target for bullies. My already dwindling self esteem and happiness vanished. Next was therapy but I hated it. What could it do? Talking to a complete stranger about my problems could never solve them. Through all of the struggle, nothing ever appeared to get any better.
That was until my mother returned one night hiding something behind her back. She grabbed a desk lamp, turned it on, and sat me at the dining table with a piece of paper in front of me. "Here, take this. Its a box of pens. Draw." Caught off guard, I did not know what to do. Acknowledging my confused face, my mother replied: "Draw anything." My mind resisted at first, desperately trying to convince me that this was another waste of time, another futile attempt at finding joy in the midst of a difficult life. Eventually, a dot appeared. The red ink oozed and spread through the paper's fibers as if it were blood running down a vein. I was enthralled -- amazed by how much a simple touch of a pen could change the surface of the paper. With a few simple strokes, the dot transformed into triangle, the triangle into a nose and the nose into a face.
My whole world seemed to change in that moment. A new fire, a new energy sprang up inside me. I continued to draw, enrolling in art class to further my love of making dotes on paper. The blackness in my mind transformed into a bright array of colors. The personality that had once been obscured slowly seeped back. After art finished its job as a bandage, it became a source of joy and discovery. But most of all, art was a means of expressing myself, a place I could pour out my thoughts and emotions without any judgement or criticism. Whatever was in my head, I could put down on paper, Take a pen, give it to a capable individual and he or she can create anything whether it be a basic shape or a fire breathing dragon. Over the course of the eleven years since my father's death, drawing transformed my hardship and pain into a permanent visual reminder that I, despite the obstacles I may face, can conquer the world.All help is greatly appreciated! Any grammar or style corrections welcome. Help with the actual prompt or anything that can better my essay is recognized.
Thanks in advance for any help, suggestions, feedback and complements!