I Am

by Rachel Gary

I’m from two people who don’t love each other
I’m from this apartment… no I’m from this apartment. I’m from many apartments
I’m from where being a black woman means you’re worthless 
I’m from having a mom, to having an aunt, to having a mom again
I’m from Sega Genesis and Crash 
I’m from each sibling with a different dad but not having any half siblings
I’m from my mom telling me to be myself but everyone else is telling me to be like them 
I’m from birthday tellys since I was young and getting sick a week later every time
I’m from, “Why are you listening to that type of music?”
I’m from strong legs that’s walked all my life
I’m from dirty hallways that smell like urine and drugs
I’m from pit bulls and Rottweilers 
I’m from comforting the woman who gave birth to me and wiping her tears even though I was
          too young to understand why
I’m from visiting prison
I’m from always being nice and holding my tongue
I’m from school to school
I’m from Connecticut, the only place I’ve ever been 
I’m from eye rolls and leather belts
I’m from big, bright, colorful Christmases
I’m from dresses and nail polish
I’m from football and basketball
I’m from teachers who told me I wouldn’t be anything and ones who told me I’d be everything
I’m from lollipops and baby bottle pops
I’m from, “Your mom is the same age as my older sister”
I’m from stereotypes
I’m from the sound of gunshots in the distance and from the sound of gunshots outside my
I’m from grown men running down public streets naked
I’m from playgrounds with wood chips and monkey bars 
I’m from trying to describe myself by the color of my skin or by the content of my character

I’m from the struggle


Author Biography: Rachel Gary is a senior at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in the theater department. She plans to study Pre-med in college to become an Ob-gyn. She enjoys writing, drawing, and acting. She is currently an intern with Heartbeat Ensemble and is a part of Looking In Theater.