Three little birds / sat on my window / and they told me I don’t need to worry. Corinne Bailey Rae croons therapy into my ears as I walk along Southdown Road. Cars whiz by, the sun smiles down on me. I’m reminded of Mr. Fluffyduck, my best friend and bedtime companion. Mama brought him home from the grocery store thirteen years ago, when he was on sale for two dollars and fifty cents. The two of us, we’re worth more than people think.
Ironically, I’m terrified of Mr. Fluffyduck’s real-life counterparts. Birds freak me out, with their hollow bones and imposing beaks. Where my stuffed animal is softness and comfort, my neighbor’s pet chickens are cold, sharp murder. Mr. Fluffyduck is a reminder that individuals are not their labels. I tackle my fears with knowledge.
I whip my bow in every which direction, attempting to master the slurred eighth notes of Bach’s first prelude. I named my cello Beyoncé, after the singer of equal musical stardom. Her bow/beau’s name is Jay-Z (I’m a big fan of wordplay). Beyoncé has gotten me through highs and lows, always there when I need her. Playing the cello, whether as a soloist or as part of an orchestra, has taught me wordless languages, given me the gift of communicating the universal message of joy.
Ese fuego por dentro me está enloqueciendo… My face reddens like a tomato and I stop dancing when Baba opens my bedroom door. I’m afraid that he’ll comment about the inappropriate lyrics. Then I remember that he doesn’t speak Spanish. I do. I have the key to the door that is locked for him. I’m always roaming the hallways, looking for new worlds to enter.
At a school that houses hundreds of Spanish speakers and many recent immigrants, being multilingual has bought me the privilege of connection. *Town-name* is a diverse community of thought.
And yet I am the only Chinese student in my grade. None of my classmates look like me. But I can speak like them. I teach them about myself, about my culture. To the same effect, I enjoy learning about who they are and where they come from. Just like that, they and I become us. I fall in love with human speech in these moments.
Per Aspera ad Astra. I am the new generation, the last letter in the alphabet, and the start of a new era. Luckily, I have the knowledge of the past, two ancient languages in my back pocket.
Chinese is in my DNA. Golden dragons and Tang Dynasty poems swim in my blood, mingling with American bones. On the other hand, I have no ties to ancient Rome. You would never find someone who looked like me at the forum. Nevertheless, I study Latin and see the language as my own. I relish the beauty of its vocabulary, the technical genius of its grammar system. Because I know Latin, I see how old has transcended into new.
Fluency in Mandarin and proficiency in Latin highlight my life, a combination of tradition and choice. The root of both concepts is the need to continue onward.
What am I trying to say? I am the Chinese-American dream: the daughter of two mathematicians, raised on Long Island. In a place where nobody looks like me, I’ve cemented my spot in the community through my use of language. Spanish, Latin, French. Treble, bass, and tenor clef. I’ve made myself a connection.
If the world is my oyster, I wish to see the ocean, to continuously wonder of higher abstractions. At heart, I’m just a little girl who needs her stuffed-animal duck. I love to go on walks, to sing alone in my bedroom, to laugh.
In my soul, I am a teacher and a learner. I build bridges with conversations. I see la vie en rose-life in colorful hues.
Because I never stop dreaming.
*This is a practice application essay, as I've been doing the dreaded college search and realized I have no clue how to write a personal statement (I don't apply for another year but with SAT prep and whatnot I've been on edge). I kind of hate it and wasn't going to post it. I think it seems super self-absorbed. At the same time, I like a few of the lines. I'd be curious to know how the piece portrays me.