Austin Segal – Common Application

Essay:

I stand in the left wing with a microphone looped around my ear. I play a game of Where’s Waldo? with the crowd. Past the stage monitors, I spot my parents, my best friend, some acquaintances, and a crowd of people I have never met. Up until this moment, I have almost forgotten the gravity of what I am about to do, about to say. An electrical surge races from nerve to nerve, gathering as a static shock in my chest. I sense my skin slowly unravelling, exposing the muscle and bone beneath. How will I perform without skin?

Then suddenly, my name is summoned. I take in one last breath before I exhale the weighted, long-awaited air I have held in for two years. The lights come on, and I come out.

 

He walks through the halls with you,

Hangs out at the mall with you,

But he’s banging against the walls, it’s true.

On those stained glass closet doors.

 

Days blur by,

While minutes stand still.

Why?

Maybe because of the things that he hides,

And he’s losing his will,

And all that he can do is sit and stare at the sky,

About to cry,

Intending to die,

 

But then he sees that guy

And his heart a-flutters,

But the others

Say that it’s the love of another type,

So what, he’s not a flipping cookie cutter, right?

But he has to keep his secret tight,

Lest his classmates come and ask him who he likes out of spite.

Alright,

He gets it,

You don’t gotta make a show,

He’s different and can’t fix it,

He was born that way,

But for today,

Maybe no one has to know.

 

He just wants to be him,

But when you come out to your friends

You become a flipping synonym

Of yourself.

So he puts that fact on a shelf,

In his piggy bank of secrets;

Time to make a new deposit,

Which isn’t too far of a walk because he’s already in the closet.

 

But someday,

Someday, he’ll lift up a hammer and SMASH.

The piggy bank explodes, but not with CASH.

How’s THAT for fitting in?

But now he’s splintering,

And the closet doors are open

For the stained glass cracks,

And he’s hoping it’ll heal.

How’s it feel?

He doesn’t know, he’s still reeling

From the stress, and the mess

Probably some lack of rest

From the ordeal,

His biggest secret revealed.

 

Or at least it will be,

Someday.

Someday, he’ll finally find the bravery.

Someday, he won’t keep himself in slavery

Where lies are chores,

And those lies lie behind stained glass closet doors.

 

I hope that someday

He’ll find a way

To come out and say

That he is…

 

Then I walk off, leaving in my place a roaring avalanche of hands on hands on hands. From the words of strangers who approached me after the showcase, I gather that my honesty reached the audience as much as it did me.

During the performance, the monitors on stage allowed me to hear myself, and the microphone around my ear amplified my voice throughout the room. The poem, however, did both all on its own. It prompted me to explore facets of myself I would have otherwise opted to ignore and assisted me in sharing my truth with the world, despite the vulnerability it pulled from me. Art is my tool of honesty with both myself and those I love, and I will carry with me the microphone long after the curtain call.

Tips For Writing: Your college essay will not be the most brilliant piece of prose ever put to paper, and that’s okay. Don’t fret if none of the ideas online relate to your life: the idea will come to you. Take criticism from others, for others are the ones deciding your admission decision. Seek someone who does not know you well to discover if your essay is easily understandable.