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Writing, learn-ing, jewelry, deconstructing t-shirts and reality - it's what I do. I live to be inspired, and to inspire.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Growing Up

I was looking through some of my teen poetry. I started writing poetry at about age 11 and I have over a hundred poems I wrote as a teenager. Looking through them I see snippets of the me I have become in development. Every now and again I would see a line that, though I know I wrote it, would surprise me that I was thinking that way even then. What surprised me even more is that so many things have not changed. If teen Kelene were to see me now would I still recognize me? Would I be happy about how I've turned out? Would I be okay with how drastically I've changed on what used to be the major values in my life? I'm in a country I never particularly cared for, I'm not in medical school, I didn't get married forever... would I be disappointed?

There was one particular poem that makes me think, yes, though things didn't turn out according to plan, I am still exactly where I need to be. I held on to myself and haven't strayed from the fundamental hopes I had for my life. I'd like to think my poetry has grown as I have, but this poem is still poignant, speaking defiantly to the world in my seventeen year old voice.

GROW UP? (age 17)

You, world, say I should grow up to be

a useful member of society

who conforms to unspoken rules of normalcy;

who stifles her individuality;

whose fake smile replaces genuine laughter;

who marries, gets a job, and lives happily ever after;

who settles for dull despair in place of genuine pain;

who ignores a real problem and tries for a quick fix gain;

who loves only for better and runs from the worse;

who thinks life is for pleasure and that pain is a curse;

whose deep desire is independence from all;

who wants to have pride and not have the fall.

Well world I refuse to grow up in this way

and have my individuality stripped away,

and live a life full of false pretence,

and lose touch of truth and innocence.

If to laugh is childish and to cry immature,

to unshackle my emotions against some sacred law,

then keep growing up for those who do not know who they are

and hide behind a mask to conceal any scar.

As for me, I am free and open to what life has to offer

and I am willing to learn from the pains I may suffer.

I will not ransom who I am for who I’m supposed to be.

I may not “grow up” but I will mature and become the greatest me.

(Photo of teen Kelene circa 10 years ago by some random Carnival reveler courtesy Jeanette Awai one of my oldest closest friends from secondary (high) school)
Correction: Jeanette tells me I'm 20 in this pic. Working on finding a teen pic...

Hmmmm: I still have that top and the bead necklace (which I made myself) is the same one in my profile pic.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Life, Same Old Me

Sitting on my bed early Sunday morning surrounded by piles of papers, I look up for a moment and breathe. September has been a crazy month.

A new city, a new life, a new routine (if winging it can be called a routine), a new me… same old me. There’s always challenges in newness. You have to adapt to and learn all these elements that have now become part of your life.

The most difficult thing for me about moving so far away from where I spent the last few years was letting go. Letting go of friends, my ex, my former life, has been challenging (understatement). Yet the letting go can be most tangibly explained in the difficulty I had packing, choosing what to keep and what to get rid of. It was an excruciating task. Not necessarily because I had fancy or expensive things – I don’t – but because attached to many items are memories or hopes.

Like my tennis racquet. My Mom bought it for me one Christmas, an extravagant gift considering we had little money to waste on such expensive non-necessities. But she got it for me because I loved tennis and had Wimbledon dreams. My reaction? Well like any insane teenager I cried and fussed because it wasn’t the right shape. It didn’t have the shock-resistant handle I wanted. To this day I’m ashamed of my reaction and the racquet reminds me to always be grateful – especially to my loving and generous Mom.

I also held on to the racquet for so long after I stopped playing tennis because I hope to get back into the sport. Memories and hopes… The racquet went into the donation box. It couldn’t fit in any of my boxes or bags. Hopefully someone else will give it a better welcome than I did.

What I’ve learnt though is that the memories and hopes aren’t left behind with the “things.” The memories and hopes, not the “things” make up part of who I am. The lessons learned stay with me. If I really needed a “thing” to constantly remind me of the lesson, then it really wasn’t learned was it?

Now I’m in new situations with all my old memories and hopes. It’s been rough. It’s a challenge that I’m growing to meet, and I am grateful every step of the way (especially for my Mom!).

Photo by Kelene Blake: my piles of paper.