My poems thus far have told the story of my self discovery. I went from confronting my pain and hiding myself from others to questioning the morality that had been commanded of me. All this was an effort to find myself. I was a stranger to myself.
Maybe that’s a normal feeling for a teenager, but I certainly didn’t feel normal. Everyone around me seemed content with their involvement in sports and designer clothes (money and athletic ability: that’s what it took to be popular in my town).
The interests I had in books, video games and anime had opened my mind to a world beyond me. I used to go to the park on the edge of town and imagine what life was like beyond the cornfields. No one else was concerned. They were more than happy to make their way for school, marry and start a family, but I wanted more. It was becoming more and more clear to me that their path was not the right one for me, which is how the following poem came to be.
The following poem was written on August 15th, 2004 when I was 14-years-old. I was just about to start high school.
For long I’ve done what you say
whether it be the right or wrong way
but now I’ve decided
I’d rather risk dying
Then wast my life on your way
I don’t like where you’re going
I push away
But you pull me in
You have too much power
I fear I have given you all
But I will keep pushing
so as you keep pulling
I’ll grow stronger by the day
On the day you’re not looking
the day you believe you’ve won
I will run
and you will chase
but this time, I’ll get away
I’ll search in the dark
and I’ll find my own light
Then I can day
that my life is going my way
because I ran away
you are not here
This is my way
That basically says it all, doesn’t it? I was done blindly following the views of others. Now was the time to discover my own opinions. ‘Reflection’ from the movie Mulan became my theme song.
No, I would not pretend for all my life, but I still had to pretend in 2004. My path of self discovery was only open to my closest friends. Sometimes, I tried to let my parents in, but it always failed. My father is an extremely opinionated man. Even opinions that only slightly deviated from what he saw as right were confronted with vehement negativity.
For about a year during high school, my father and I would go through a spell where we barely talked to each other. It wasn’t that we were trying to be mean. For some reason, we just couldn’t communicate without offending the other. Neither of us could understand how we offended the other. Thank God for my mother, who understood both of us and acted as our filter.
My father and I are fantastic these days, but those memories keep me on my toes. They remind me that I may never be able to revel all the truths of myself to my parents. They just won’t understand and we’ll just end up unintentionally offending each other.
I didn’t realize it when I wrote this poem, but my way would have a price. If I were a little more mature, I may have realized it then. I understood that I’d never have the chance to purely myself for days on end until I left for college. For some reason, it didn’t hit me that that meant I would have to regress into hiding whenever I came back to my home town.
This all sounds so gloomy, but I truly do love my family. I am so lucky to be related to such great people. The fact that we don’t see eye to eye doesn’t change that. Just because I can’t share all of me with them doesn’t mean I can’t ease them in to the reality of who I am. That has been a process I have embarked on since leaving college. Little by little, I show them ‘my way.’ I don’t need their approval or blessing of ‘my way.’ All I want is for them to understand and, in their understanding of who I really am, still hold their love and pride for me.
It’s a delicate process.