Dear Scholarship Application Selection Committee,
In addition to the financial need demonstrated by my enclosed 1040 tax form, I would like to detail to you the extreme adversity I have borne and overcome during my relatively short lifetime, which I hope you will take into consideration when you elect the winners of your graduate school scholarship.
You see, I was born with no teeth. For a significant portion of my life, I could not enjoy the simple pleasures of a fresh ear of Iowa corn, nor indeed any solid food. My smile was grotesque at best and this, I believe, led me to spend much of my formative childhood friendless. I cried all day and all night. Only my parents would talk to me, and when they did it was in garbled, nonsense syllables. Even they knew I was too stupid to understand even the simplest of sentences. I could not talk. My motor skills and bodily functions were erratic and unpredictable: not within my control. I had no money to my name. I was unemployable. I was bald. It was a sad and inauspicious beginning.
I struggled to learn. I was determined to soak up the knowledge I would need to make it in this big, harsh world. I set myself small goals at first: learn my name, learn to grasp, learn to sit up by myself. Then I progressed to larger goals: learn to talk, learn to walk, learn to dress myself. Yes, it took me many years, but eventually I was able to read, write crudely, and wear big-girl panties. By sheer willpower, I grew hair and teeth, and where I once weighed a mere 8.8 lbs (due to a genetic deformity, not, as many have suspected, an eating disorder) I was now over a whopping hundred pounds.
Then, tragedy struck once more. Around high school I began another monstrous transformation. I became a giantess at 5’9″. I was taller than most of the males my age, but still weighed only 120 lbs. I stalked the hallways like a spindly praying mantis; a hideous fun-house mirror image of a girl. Once again, I needed special undergarments; this time, oddly enough, for my upper torso. The emotional and psychological damage was worse. I suddenly became contemptuous of all authority. I read Camus’ The Stranger and was hurled into an existential crisis of apathy and hopelessness as I realized the crushing realities of reality. It was hell.
I survived. Barely. I even made it to college, but again the fates steered my life’s ship into a storm. I was surrounded by alcohol abuse. Many weekends during the year, my so-called friends would gather at my house and drink. Beer. Vodka. Gummy bears soaked in rum. Anything they could afford to buy at the liquor store down the street. They would use any lame excuse. “Our school’s football team is playing football on tv,” they’d say. “It’s New Year’s Eve,” maybe, or “St. Patrick’s”. It was pathetic, but I got sucked into the dark underworld of casual social drinking.
I realize now that things have to change. I sincerely pray that my body and psyche are stable and undamaged by my tumultuous past. Because of all of my horrible adversity, I am determined to fill my limited brain with fiction. Literary fiction. Non-fiction is too brutal. Perhaps if I pursue my graduate degree in Creative Writing I can at least imagine a world in which I am normal, beautiful, and sane.
Thank you for your consideration,