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I am Vampire Slayer (not Dracula or the coven of the Twilight series type)

dramacratic 6 / 27  
Oct 13, 2009   #1
Have you ever met a vampire slayer? Well, allow me to introduce myself. Wait. I'm jumping the gun. In order for you to fully comprehend the power I wield, I should first explain the vampires I am referring to. Please, erase from your mind any visuals of Dracula or the coven of the Twilight series. The vampires I have fought are entirely different entities and are those that many face on a daily basis; quintessential horrors of the imagination. While I am proud of my triumphs over the vampires of conformity and success, I know I must still face the most powerful one of all. She is the vampire that wakes me at 4:00 am and envelops my mind: the vampire of self-truth.

I first met the potent Irina in fifth grade. In retrospect, her arrival coincided with the disintegration of the world as I knew it. My elementary school life was initially characterized by happiness, popularity, and acceptance. Then, in fifth grade, everything changed. For some unfathomable reason (emerging adolescent female hormones, perhaps?), my classmates and friends suddenly and inexplicably turned on me collectively in the first weeks of school. One teacher even suggested I just accept that "someone has to be the scapegoat." Then, in a one-two punch of back-to-back family meetings, my parents announced they were separating, and my father came out to me. I was isolated, crushed and devastated.

I recall the day she arrived. I was alone (yet again) eating my carefully crafted Velveeta sandwich wondering which Stepford girl would knock me down with the silver platter her parents handed her. Suddenly all sound drained from the room except for the drumming from my heart. I looked up and saw a beautiful fifth-grade face smiling back at me. Was I peering into a funhouse mirror? She was, in essence, me, only better. Her silky milk chocolate hair framed brilliant emerald eyes, which seemed to radiate from flawless porcelain skin. She was not all perfection, however. Her smile exuded false warmth and her scent was that of a field of lilies, possessing an ever-so-subtle hint of old bologna--odd, because I hate bologna. I was simultaneously drawn to and wary of her. Without moving her lips, the name Irina resonated. Despite my trepidation, loneliness won out and she became my best friend. I would eventually learn she had her own agenda.

The months following her appearance in my life were marked by her increasing radiance and my increasing invisibility. We were inseparable because, well, I was in solitary confinement and she was everything I wanted. Interestingly, she would weigh in on my decisions with opinions that often contradicted my own gut instincts. I did not realize until it was almost too late that her dictations of solitude served only to increase her power over me. At some point, my subconscious took over and I began to fight back. I began to fight for me.

My first victory over my imaginary companion was the summer before sixth grade. After three years of training, and despite Irina's contrary whispers, I found myself proudly standing receiving my black belt. She ignored me for a week. The first weeks back amongst the lemmings in school were hellacious, however, and I soon found myself heeding Irina's whispers again. Then an exciting thing happened: I won the lead in the school play! I finally earned some respect from my peers, and contempt from Irina. I had an epiphany. Adapting myself to a single role, acting, might allow me to make small gains toward acceptance and eventual reinvention. Irina's

opposition fueled my resolve.

This victory for my own self began a long drive towards my eventual success over Irina's power over me, sparking a metamorphosis that shaped me through middle school and into high school. As I discovered my interest in science and writing, and my newfound ability to assimilate myself into new groups by changing myself, Irina grew darker, colder, her appearance shifting to a harsh, pale reflection of her former beauty in my mind. More noticeably, my new confidence accompanied her increasing hostility. Still, I was comforted by her presence, as she alone knew my real core self.

I reached a crossroads when I decided to run for Class Vice-President my freshman year. I desperately wanted to make the changes I could foresee, yet the potential responsibility overwhelmed me. As I courted every school subculture for votes, I began to wonder which group I really belonged to. Irina's former brilliance returned with a vengeance. A high-pitched cackle echoed in my mind and I realized in a flash that segmentation had been her ultimate plan. I was inundated by the fear that I would never be able to put 'me' back together again. With each scholastic and extracurricular success, my school-self exuded increased confidence, while my inner-self felt held together by staples.

The one fault in Irina's plan was the assumption that I would crumble under such a heavy realization. She underestimated my drive and tenacity--or was it me underestimating me? Regardless, Irina's renewed presence only heightened my desires to challenge myself and to give back. My tutoring, science research and additional elected positions empowered and enabled me to become the Lauren that I had only dreamt of becoming years ago. As these final typewritten words bring the stake to Irina's heart, I realize that I now know who I am, and am confident in what I can achieve. My vampire is slain, and I am freed of the weight from my shoulders; her feeding off the doubt and inconsistency of the weaker me. Looking around, I see ... nothing. Irina has permanently faded into the shadows. I am me again.

ANY criticism is MUCH appreciated! You are all fantastic people, and I thank you for taking the time to read it.

I've also been having some terrible difficulty cutting the essay down. If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears--or eyes, in this case. =]
samcguff - / 12  
Oct 14, 2009   #2

Normally "hmm" would be something that I would say when I can't decide where to start tearing an essay apart. But in this case, my "hmm" is due to the fact that this essay caught my attention. No- it caught my attention, and I enjoyed it. When I first read the title, I was thrown off by the topic in a negative way. However, your writing quickly destroyed my bias.

You use fantastic descriptions that seem intricate, but are actually short and precise. This creates an absolute imagery that is very vivid. At the same time, this imagery is somehow dark- devised by the tone and voice of a vampire slayer. I liked it.

Moving on to criticism. This essay is very well written- so you don't need help with the basics. I'm going to hit the nit-picky stuff and be specific, which is something I normally wouldn't do when editing someone's essay.

...at 4:00 am and envelops my mind: the vampire of self-truth.

In this case, your repetition of vampire is good. I was thinking it may be made even stronger though if you use a word like "monster", "demon" or "banshee". Self-truth lacks the proper punch to lead into the meat of your essay. It doesn't feel defined, and instead feels without purpose.

...was alone (yet again)...

I'm not sure this is necessary. It makes sense to emphasize it, but at the same time it does not feel important. It's up to you to keep/delete though.

She was, in essence, me, only better.

This sentence is not needed and is excessive.

--odd, because I hate bologna

Again, not needed. They don't need to know that you hate bologna, and it doesn't add much to voice.

...my life were marked by her increasing radiance and my increasing invisibility... served only to increase her power over me.

Repetition on "increase". The first two are good, but I was pointing out the last one. Use a synonym.

[/quote] my subconscious took over and I began to fight back [/quote]
Just curious on this one. Irina is your imaginary friend right? Wouldn't she be your subconscious? Or are you saying that you were fighting back against your subconscious, which is Irina?

That is pretty much it. This is a very strong essay and even though it is long, it keeps the readers attention. You could try and cut it up a bit and make some parts more concise, which I would try to do. You're at around 950 words right now. I would try to cut it to 800ish if possible. Personally, I don't think it's too big a deal. But if you could keep your voice and passion in a more concise version, it would be stronger.
OP dramacratic 6 / 27  
Oct 14, 2009   #3
Thank you for your constructive criticism! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I made the changes you suggested. The only discrepancy is your last question with regards to Irina's role, which I need to further solidify before I can answer. Definitely keeping it in mind, though.

The length has continued to irk me, but I'm struggling with finding which parts can be taken out or condensed. Overall, did you find anything to be superfluous? Also, do you feel that it satisfies the purpose of a college admissions essay? My English teacher was concerned that the concept wouldn't connect with its purpose.

Again, thank you for your thoughts! =]
samcguff - / 12  
Oct 14, 2009   #4
No problem.

Yeah the length is hard, especially when the piece you have written is already very concise. When I have to cut an essay or a writing assignment down, what I do is I read the entire essay aloud a few times. During each read though, think, "Can I word this differently?" There is always another way to word a sentence with close to the same effect, and you can drop a good amount of words this way.

Well, a couple things about the concept. First, it causes your essay to be lengthy (which we've already discussed). But you counter that by having a strong, unique voice and great sentence structure, making the higher word count seem less than it actually is. Second, the topic you have chosen makes it a little difficult to hear too much about you. However, this isn't a problem because you overcome this issue with your writing as well, sneaking in facts and personality through a developed voice.

There really isn't an issue with the concept- and in a sense it fits into the category of an experience that has impacted you. I believe that the topics given for the essays are vague- so I wouldn't be too worried. I wrote mine about a time when I was rejected for a prestigious scholarship- then showed how that rejection was actually better than being accepted. Be aware of what schools you are applying to as well. Most schools require a supplementary essay (usually more than 1) and you can use those to further develop your character.

Best of luck!

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