Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

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Chadallen
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Joined: Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:40 pm

Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

Postby Chadallen » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:33 am

I started writing a diversity statement and I think this is WAY too long. Perhaps some of you lovely people can give this a scan and see if there is anything good in here? I'm not sure exactly what should be in a Diversity statement but this made sense, at least to me. Or if this is in fact too long? This is a rough.

Thanks in advance!!

I grew up in very small towns in places like Texas, West Virginia and North Florida I can confidently say I was one of the few, if not the only, gay person in the surrounding area. At the least, it felt that way. And as such, I was different. Different because I was gay and was constantly pushed to act more masculine, derided for my choices in clothing, for what movies and TV shows I liked, even for simple things as what foods I enjoyed. I spent the majority of my childhood years covering up every piece of who I was in order to appease a homophobic father, while my mother seemed to petrified to say otherwise.

Being gay wasn’t the only difference I experienced as a child. When my parents divorced my mother, in order to make ends meet, became an escort and eventually a prostitute to support the four children she had with my father, who to this day has been largely absent. She managed to keep this a secret from us for several years. She eventually told me what she did for a living, and at the age of 13, carrying this secret was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had. My mother was doing something illegal, something that could get her arrested, something that could destroy my entire known way of life. She was eventually arrested when I was 15, during a sting in Austin, TX and went to jail. Fortunately we were already living with my Aunt, so we were able to continue living in Texas. However, even after my mother was released from incarceration, she hasn’t ever really been the same.

My parents’ divorce stemmed from their drug and alcohol addictions, amidst other issues. From an early age, I remember both my mother and father were addicted to hard drugs including cocaine and heroin and later in life, to prescription drugs including Valium and Klonopen. Alcoholism was always a constant. I luckily was able to have my parents at least to age six or seven before they became complete addicts. My younger siblings weren’t so fortunate. The youngest of my siblings, Scotty, was born roughly 10 years after me. Scotty was born nearly 3 months premature because of my mother’s inability to shelve her habits for 9 months. Worse, he has never known my mother for who she is, only as an addict.

The divorce transpired around my 11th birthday, a period in which I became a defacto parent. With no father around and a mother working illegally to support my siblings, I took over parenting duties. I began to make breakfast in the mornings, got my siblings ready for school, made sure they got on the bus, that they did their homework, made dinner and put them to bed after their showers. This continued for a year before we were forced to move in with my Aunt, another terribly homophobic person who incessantly mocked me for being ‘too gay’.
I moved to Florida at 16 and lived with a family friend. For a short time, my life had a sense of normalcy. This was short lived however, when my mother and my siblings all came to live with me, moving cross country from Austin, TX to Jacksonville, FL because she had been evicted and they had nowhere else to go. This happening, literally on the eve my high school graduation, I took my family in and took a year off from my education to help my family back to their feet. During this year, with the help of my friends and coworkers in Jacksonville, my family was nursed back to health and my mother, for a few months, to a temporary sobriety. This didn’t last, but for a few months she almost seemed like herself. This entire ordeal was worth it, simply for those couple of months. This period also functioned as a period in which I could come to terms with my sexuality, meet other gay people and start living my life in a more authentic fashion.

Even though I had many difficult experiences in my life, I now look on them with a strange form of appreciation. Losing my original parents to addictions and alcoholism, divorce, having to raise and care for my family at the age of 18 aong the other issues have given, I feel, a unique viewpoint. Not to say that my vantage point has given me any more insight than the next individual, just a different one. And while these experiences were trying periods in my life, I now appreciate with having lived through them. I am proud to have been able to assist my family in their times of need and feel the process has helped me become a more adjusted member of society.

NonTradHealthLaw
Posts: 401
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 2:44 pm

Re: Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

Postby NonTradHealthLaw » Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:42 am

You are right - this is long and very rough but there are nuggets worth saving. You certainly have experienced plenty of adversity, but this reads a bit "woe is me." More emphasis on how you've overcome these obstacles would be great - I especially like your phrase "Not to say that my vantage point has given me any more insight than the next individual, just a different one."

Editing tip: semicolons are your friends!

InBetween
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:55 pm

Re: Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

Postby InBetween » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:30 pm

Wow. Definitely a diverse perspective and one with adversities.
Like the poster before me, I think you should focus more on how you overcame those adversities. The essay is all over the place. I suggest you be more concise when describing your diverse background.

Something I plan on doing with my essay is discussing how for example, my queer identity has been a form of EMPOWERMENT.

good luck.

slg123
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:29 pm

Re: Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

Postby slg123 » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:57 pm

I am a little like you in that I have had a lot of adversity in my life. Someone told me once, though, that I do not have to tell the adcomms about all of them. Maybe you could think about that, and focus on one or two of your experiences. Perhaps really detail one, but give side comments referring to that fact that you're gay or that you had to take care of your siblings or whatever you decide.
I really like your conclusion.

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crysmissmichelle
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Re: Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

Postby crysmissmichelle » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:49 am

This is going to require some heavy editing, but is definitely a unique situation and a story worth sharing. If I were you, I think I would rearrange so that the 11 year old part comes closer to where it happens in chronological order. Putting it closer to its natural progression/sequence will allow you to cut out some of the reorientational sentences. I might also lump the family disapproval into one sentence instead of drawing it out. . .because of the brevity required for a law school essay.

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Cupidity
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Re: Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

Postby Cupidity » Sat Nov 06, 2010 11:59 am

You never turn it around in your PS. It just kinda goes down down down. Right now it is a pity party, you need to change it into "overcoming adversity." Shave down some of the life story and make at least half of the paper about how you succeeded academically or personally.

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Cupidity
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Re: Started Writing, Couldn't Stop :(

Postby Cupidity » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:02 pm

"At the least, it felt that way. And as such, I was different. Different because I was gay and was constantly pushed to act more masculine, derided for my choices in clothing, for what movies and TV shows I liked, even for simple things as what foods I enjoyed. I spent the majority of my childhood years covering up every piece of who I was in order to appease a homophobic father, while my mother seemed to petrified to say otherwise."

The problem with this opening is it could easily be said by any homosexual outside of certain parts of San Francisco. Instead, replace this with a personal story about one particular instance of discrimination, what you have now is kinda blah.




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