The Power of Pain

In his inaugural speech in 2005, Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch praised the University for its commitment to liberal arts education, character development, and diversity, and described Wake Forest as “a vibrant learning community, one that weds knowledge and experience.” How might your education, background, values, and life experiences contribute to the Wake Forest community?


I steal into her room when she is away. Borrowing make-up, clumsily applying too much blush, stabbing myself in the eye with mascara, and slicking on foundation like icing, I proceed with one goal: to be my big sister. She is the older one, the smarter one, everything I want to be. I idolize her, admire her, endeavor to emulate her. I eavesdrop on her titillating conversations: the who’s who of high school, the inexorable female drama, and the tender friendships filled with laughter…everything I wish I were old enough to experience.

I had that sister growing up, or so I thought. At the age of eleven, really too young to realize the extent of the problems in my life, I began to acknowledge their existence. The fiery arguments between my parents did not seem so normal. My sister’s thin body was no longer beautiful, but skeletal. The fighting never stopped. I did not have the perfect family; it became quite evident that it was that idea of perfection that had begun to tear us apart.

My sister is bulimic, and has also become an alcoholic in an attempt to appease her inner chaos. Pale skin, more translucent than white, anguish emerging from behind bloodshot eyes, stumbling towards me with outstretched hands, she wants, for that...

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