Revised Personal Statement

So, as most of you know, I am currently taking a class entitled the personal statement.  Many students in the class are taking it in order to begin crafting their personal statements for graduate school.  I’ve found it really challenging not only because of the word count, but due to the fact that selling yourself is hard.  So, let me know what you think.

Title is still in progress, as always…

I never understood women who claim their mother is their best friend.  Perhaps it’s because my mother and I spent most of my “coming of age” years in heated screaming matches over where I had or had not been, the company I kept and the future I wanted.  After all, when I told her I was going to be a writer, her response was, “Lauren, no one in their right mind marries a writer.”

When I was eighteen, I knew the last thing I could remember before waking up sandwiched between my boyfriend, John, and his friend, Vinny, without a stitch on me was taking a sip of the Jack and coke John had so graciously poured for me.  As I drove to the hospital, feeling the blood dry in various areas below my waist, I could hear my mother’s voice, “It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend – you never drink something you didn’t pour yourself, Lauren.”  .  It wasn’t until I had a pen in my hand and came across “Reason for today’s visit:” on the emergency room paperwork that I knew I had been raped.

My mother always urged me to respect myself because no one else would if I didn’t first.  I heard her words echo in my mind, “Lauren, you have to love yourself and demand more from life” as my boyfriend Devin tossed me around the room three years later.  I remember her telling me to value my body as Devin marked the tallies of my insubordination on my thighs with a knife night after night.  I recall my mother’s advice that my greatest strength was my mind as Devin slammed my head into the cinderblock wall, dragged me by my hair down the stairs of his apartment without a shirt and shoes, tossed me into the back of his truck, and left me on the side of the road.  I was supposed to die there…but instead, I recited my mother’s words over and over as I walked six miles to starting over.

For the longest time, I wouldn’t tell my mother what happened between Devin and I.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want to – I simply couldn’t form the words.  And so, I bought a Moleskine and proceeded to document the horror of the prison he had created for me.  Word after word I acknowledged my abuse and after the final period, I knew I had forgiven not only Devin, but myself as well.

I don’t think my mother is afraid of me being a crazy cat lady. I think she was concerned that I would be alone, go hungry and never have any sort of financial security.  But pen and paper are my best company.  Words across a screen nourish and satisfy me more than any meal could ever hope to and security…well, as much as I can’t wait to have a zero balance, the thing I look forward to most is cracking open my Moleskine to fill another page.  What she doesn’t realize is I never meant to have a “career”, only a life – and that is exactly what writing is to me – it’s my life.

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