Explains my personal definition of the word diversity. Orginially written for college app.
| I hear the light, yet enthusiastic applause of my family. Slowly, I raise my fingers from the piano keys and fold my hands on my lap, as taught by my instructor, and the final chord of “Fur Elise” melts into the vintage paintings hanging on the opposite wall.
Playing in this room is a dream for me. Replacing the sound of my sturdy upright, I am floating through the keys of a beautiful baby grand, reconstructed from the 1920s, and tuned to a pitch. The parlor I am playing in could be from the same era as the piano. And yet, it is the inhabitants of the house who give the building its virtuous and Victorian atmosphere, its proper and chivalrous ambiance.
Mrs. Bagley, with self-assurance and poise, glides across the room to commend me on my finger work, and I melt in her praise. Lucille Cummings Bagley, a former Broadway and radio star, was the epitome of awe-inspiring, especially to a small-town girl like me. She had performed at Radio City Music Hall, along with Madison Square Garden. She had played lead operatic roles in the New York City Center Opera.
She was a star.
And yet, she didn’t seem at all like the movie stars I saw on TV. They flirted with the camera, and simpered at the adoration of their fans. We wouldn’t have ever known that our elderly neighbor had been the topic of magazines in her day, if a friend of hers had not told us once.
She was humble and confident. She was poised and elegant. In this age of diversity and individualism, the past is looked at as old and out-dated, but she carried chivalry with the grace of a queen.
Now that I am older, I am told by the world to “throw off the chains” of past generations. I am pressured by my peers to sneer at classical, and to worship latest trends and fads. I am told that chivalry is dead, so don’t expect respect, and that only “goody two shoes” care about tradition and convention.
But this message is flawed. I love what is classical. I respect tradition, and I uphold standards. Society wants me to become my own person. So here I am. I read Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. I enjoy hiking and encountering hidden trails in the middle of the woods. I play Bach and Clementi. My favorite part about prom is that I am finally allowed by society to wear a floor length dress. I am a romantic.
My idea of diversity is not to become the most unconventional and eccentric person in the room. To me, it is finding out who you are, and becoming that person. Whether it is designing the newest fashion trend, or reading a romance novel from two hundred years ago, allowing personality to shine through is what establishes diversity.
I’d like to play that baby grand again. I’d like to once more feel its ivory keys guiding me through my sonata. More than anything, I want all who hear my simple piece to recognize the sweet elegance of my beloved friend, and the tradition that she carried.