Spoken Word: “Who Am I”

You might be wondering why I’m typing out a spoken word and not actually speaking it. Well honestly I don’t have the time to record a spoken word right now!

Society forces us to figure out who we are as individuals. We are constantly told to try and be unique while fighting the urge to fit in. We are given guides on self reflection and told that we should know who we are by now. But what truly defines a person? The spoken word I wrote explores this topic, and addresses the question that seems to be especially prominent in our teenage years. We live in the height of self discovery, where we realize new passions and interests. Where we explore new friends and attitudes and outfit choices, all to figure out who we are and where we belong. But what if it were easier than that? So here it is, “Who Am I”.

my-identity

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When you’re born you are given a name. One name to define you. Written and signed on a now faded piece of paper, stamped by the government. An official seal saying, yes Laura, your name is Laura. Therefore we know who you are. So now when someone asks who you are, you reply that name. The letters and sounds strung together that once pronounced in the proper way, differentiate you from everyone else. Unless of course you get stuck in that class with twelve other kids named ” John” and suddenly, it’s a lot less clear.

Growing up is hard enough already. Its hard enough to deal with peer pressure, bullies, grades, teachers, friends, or so called ones. It’s hard enough without having to throw a big question mark above our heads screaming yes world, this girl is confused. Thrown into a world where happiness is not gained, but discovered. A world of lies, of conflict, of hurt. A world where the biggest struggle is no longer what type of cake to have at your birthday party or what movie to watch. A world where pain is no longer scraped knees and bruised elbows. A world of 7 billion where “Laura” is just another name, a number.

Eventually we reach our teenage days. Bright red zits and an awkward body that seems to be changing with the moon. A raging tidal wave of hormones and to top it off, the onset of an identity crisis. “Who am I?” we wonder. Are we our names? Are we defined by our minds or our spirits? Our abilities to laugh or think or feel love, joy, pain? Are we defined by our exterior motives or interior drives? A time where we are told to achieve, to dream, to hope. Where we strive for our hardest and when you can’t push anymore you keep pushing.

You are balancing on a tightrope, trying to fit in everything in a 24 hour day; school, work, family, friends, homework, chores, school, work, family, friends, homework, chores, school, work- but where is the time for me? How could we ever know who we are if we never spend time with ourselves? If you never take a moment for you? “But Laura, I don’t have time”. You have a life time to do everything else, but what’s the point when you can’t even make time for yourself? When the thought of you is but a distant shadow. When you can’t recognize your own reflection because you don’t know who that person staring back at you is. “That’s not me,” you’ll say. “I am thinner, I have brighter skin, my hair is thicker, I don’t have bags under my eyes. Not like that”. Stop. Because how would you know?

We live in a world of self-abuse, self-hatred, self-torture. Where our youth are sent away for starving themselves, hurting themselves, sometimes for being themselves. We live in a world of clouds and storms, fighting to get through. But what if I asked you to find the sunshine? If I asked you to push above the clouds, close your eyes, stretch your fingers, and feel the warmth? We spend our lives so unsure, roaming around trying to find peace when we don’t realize we are walking in circles. We look outwards to answer our hardest questions when we really should be looking in.

What if I said you weren’t defined by your actions, your words, your interests, successes and failures? Would you hesitate, would you be unsure? Why can’t we be confident and say I will, I could be, I am?

I am a daughter, I am a swimmer. I am a leader, I am strong, I am kind. I am clumsy, I am worried, I am a social butterfly and I am a dreamer. I am a fighter. I am a survivor. I am not sure who I’m supposed to be. I may not be who you want me to be but I am me. And no one can take that away. No one. What if we no longer asked, but instead we answered. What if we took the question “who am I”, rearranged, and said this is “who I am”.
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Who am I clip art from stumingames.com.

Spoken Word: Walk A Mile In My Shoes

We all have heard stories of Cinderella finding her prince charming, or Beauty meeting the Beast. But why do we never hear of Cinderella meeting another Cinderella, or perhaps a young prince meeting his own knight in shining armour? To face the facts, this is societally different, its simply not what we’re used to. But its not as weird as people may imagine… in fact more and more people are coming out as sexual orientations other than heterosexual (girl ♥ guy), and society is becoming more and more accepting.

To get more insight on this topic I interviewed a few people I know whom are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. I wanted to gain stories about first hand experiences and knowledge from those who know the topic best because although I personally am straight, this is a topic that I greatly support and care about. Also, I know there are many other sexualities but those are the ones I decided to focus upon for the purpose of my blog. I hope the words below can speak for and support all sexualities within the LGBT+ community. I took the interviews as well as some quotes and created a short spoken word written in first person as a composite character. I hope to shed some more light, and strengthen the ties in the gay-straight alliance.
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To this day, people still recognize me as the pink hair kid from my old high school. Back then, I didn’t quite know who I was. I think I do now. I love reading, video games, and dubstep. You can call me introverted, humble, absent-minded, perhaps the “jack of all trades”. My childhood was nice, easy, I was maybe a little spoiled. But if you walk a mile in my shoes, you’ll learn that my life was far from easy.

Walk a mile in my shoes, but keep your mind wide open and palms towards the sky because although the sky seems clear, you are constantly feeling for rain. I would tell you that coming out isn’t easy and that as you’re walking you might feel scared, alone, even depressed. When the star-lit nights cannot even mask the horror of not being able to face your family. When your brother cries because he made fun of you. When you thought coming out would destroy your life. If you keep walking you’ll see that I was bullied, and that perhaps I was on the outside of the crowd.

I am not a commodity. You do not need a “gay best friend”. If we’re gay, don’t assume we love shopping and will always help you pick out your prom dress and matching earrings. If we’re lesbians, don’t assume we are all extremely masculine and can only hang out with guys. We are not to be traded or treated as prizes to win. Its a fad now, as media says it, “everyone needs a gay best friend”. Walk a mile in my shoes.

And to you, to the people who call yourself “homophobic”, I laugh at you. Sometimes I want to smile and say “haha, you’re afraid of gay people!” So walk a mile in my shoes, open your eyes, and look at whats around you. Maybe you were raised to hate me, maybe your religion or beliefs are against me. But I feel pity, because there is a coldness and ignorance in your heart that we can never change. How care you dare to never look beyond the outside and hate people for who we are attracted to? Homophobic. I hate that word.

If you take that walk you might think “hey, what’s with the stereotypes anyway?” Because there are gay men who hate fashion and lesbians who love it. You’ll learn that although all stereotypes are based on a level of truth not everyone fits them. Why must people choose to be ignorant and narrow minded? Its like picking up a book and glancing at the cover, not bothering to read beyond the first page even though you know it could bring you to a place of wonder. Its feeling the cold wind of life brushing the warmth off your shoulder and leaving you chilled to the bone. Unprotected. Alone.

Go walk a mile in my shoes. Find out what its like to be hated just because of your sexuaility. To have your old church exile you, to feel your so called friends and family dislike you. To have your very own mother call you a disappointment and to have to hide who you are because you don’t feel safe sharing it in your own home. Walk a mile in my shoes and feel the struggle to fit in, the torment and anguish I have been through because there are haters out there hiding in the closet themselves because of self-loathing. Maybe you’ll see how it feels to want to die because of something you can’t change.

Then if you walk a mile in my shoes… if you try to understand me. If you opened your eyes you will see not only hatred. If you looked beyond the dark clouds and stretched your fingertips beyond the hurt, you will feel sunshine. The parents who accept you, friends who are proud of you, strangers who tell you that you are an inspiration, or a partner who loves you. Watch as acceptance and knowledge becomes widespread; as the movement to make a difference changes the lives of millions of people and lets them know that they are safe. That it doesn’t matter what sexuality you are because we’re all human beings. And when it comes down to the road of life, no one should care whom you love or how you love, just as long as you keep walking.

So walk a mile or two in my shoes, and perhaps then you’ll learn to accept me. ♥

A Spoken Word: Tell Her We’re Sorry

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She was bullied when she was younger. Glasses, short messy hair and clothes from the thrift shop. But she loved reading and poetry and had a loving family who happily asked her about her day at school. But those don’t match up to what kids can do. To what so called friends can do, what classmates can do. Why did we hate her? Why did we all target her and hate her from the moment we met her? Because we saw ourselves in her, we saw our weaknesses in her. So we destroyed her.

Tell her we’re sorry we called her names. Tell her that David is sorry that he always put gum in her hair and that Kali didn’t mean to turn her friends against her. Tell her we’re sorry that we made her stay inside at recess because outside she was vulnerable to the wolves; who would nip and bite at her feet, mocking her, making her feel weak. Attacking her until she was stripped to the bone with fear and misery.

And after going to high school things got worse, walking through those cold metal doors swinging open every morning bringing her to her place of torture, to anguish. She had friends who loved her but she couldn’t see that. She couldn’t see the care and concern behind their worried smiles because how can you learn to love others if you can’t bear to love yourself?

He was the one person who cared. But it was all a lie. It was a lie and we saw it and we let her fall for it. We laughed at his harsh words behind her back and we saw him cheat. And throughout it all we mocked them; we spread rumors and lies about them. We never believed when she came home with bruises on her arms and tear stained cheeks because we were ignorant. Tell her we’re sorry. Tell her we should have interfered. Tell her we should have done something, anything, but we didn’t.

She stopped eating after that, she stopped eating because we told her she was fat. We laughed and pointed and made fun of her hair and thighs, ignoring our guilt although we knew it was wrong. Laughing at her, making her feel worthless, insignificant, unwanted.
She started making herself throw up after meals and then refused to eat completely. We pretended not to notice the scars on her wrist, reaching all the way up to her elbows. She would go home and throw up and then sit on the bathroom floor dragging a razor across her arms, spilling crimson blood on the tiles, crying. She never regretted the pain because it was the only thing she felt. It only stung for a second but she got used to it. She cut deeper and deeper until she passed out in a pool of blood. Her mom found her and called 911.

News spread around. The news spread around until every single person knew about it at school. Until everybody knew and when she came back to school everyone laughed. Tell her we’re sorry we didn’t take her seriously. Tell her that Eva didn’t know what she was doing when she pushed her to the ground and said, “Why don’t you just die already?”

The torture never stopped and we, we never did a single thing to stop it. We never did a single thing to help her. The pain kept coming, getting heavier and heavier, until she was numb from the inside out, eyes dry with no more tears to cry.

Tell her we didn’t mean to drive her to the edge, tell her we’re sorry that we pushed her. Tell her we’re sorry that she fell.

Tell her we’re sorry. Tell her we miss her. Ask her to please forgive us because we didn’t mean to. That we should have tried harder, that life isn’t the same now that she’s gone. Tell her that she’s changed our lives and made us see the truth. Tell her that we know now, that she’s taught us a lesson, and that we cry every night because we wish she was here. Tell her everything, tell her anything. And please, if you’re up there, tell her we’re sorry.

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Bullying touches all of our lives, and that was a spoken word piece that I think reflected the horrors of bullying and where it can lead. I feel like this is something we can all connect to. If you have been bullied know that you’re not alone, and know that there are people who care about you and that in the end the haters really don’t matter. Someday everyone who bullied you will regret it and will be thinking to tell you they’re sorry. ♥

Comment if you would like to see me perform it. 🙂