1:42 AM

Flipping pages late into the night,

Reading about Thomas Jefferson’s accomplishments

The great things he did

I wanted to do something great, unprecedented

Something historic.

 

Page after page I drifted into a the time warp

An era where people were black or white,

but all their decisions lay in the grey.

 

My phone buzzed and I zapped back into the present. Opportunity was calling me, and they had a choice to offer me. The message on the phone invited me on an adventure, something I had never done before, no one of my friends had. It was a chance to be a pioneer, and sail to a New World. Or, I could simply, not.

One vibration from my phone and I zapped back to the present

It was Opportunity calling

They had a choice to offer me

 

I was invited on an adventure,

Something new, treacherous,

It would be risky

It was a chance to be a pioneer, and sail to the New World

 

Or,

I could simply,

Not.

 

It was time to make a choice: to declare my independence, or to continue with the normal means. Without answering the message from opportunity, I picked up my book and flipped through the pages looking for late-night guidance.

Every action has a reaction and we are simply a compilation of our decisions. Opportunity was giving me the chance of an independent identity, an adventure to set me apart from my friends. But, it was risky. The unknown is a terrifying place, and at fourteen I didn’t know if I had the grace or composure to walk right into the depths of a new world. Christopher Columbus was forty-two when he sailed into the unknown. Thomas Jefferson was thirty-three when he drafted independence. But by choosing the unprecedented, they both made names for themselves.

Next, I found myself standing not at the door, but in it. My back leaning against the doorframe, the left half of my body was still inside, and the right half was outside. I stayed that way for thirty minutes, with only the sound of the distant waves and chirping crickets to coax my nerves. Even at the ripe age of fourteen I knew this moment would be the first major step towards defining my identity, and I questioned: is this the person I want to be? This is the choice between prude and prostitute. But it is also the choice between good and evil, and the choice between being the same and being one-of-a-kind. I did not want to be like everyone else, and I already knew how Thomas Jefferson’s story ends, so I went to find my own story that night.

I made the right choice, a night I would never forget. Warm summer winds carried a spell of rebellion and I was taken away. I found myself sand between my toes, and gazing out into the bay, lit only by the stars. The hubbub of the city glowed in the distance, and from where I was standing, it all seemed unimportant, minute.

Opportunity took my hand and towards the water. The whispering waves quieted, as if they were a spectator. Hands on my waist. A fish splashes in the distance, something magic was in the air that night. A glowing halo surrounded me in the water, gently tracing the surface, the water lit up. It was magical, nothing I had ever seen in my life.

Opportunity whispered summertime sweet nothings in my ear as we glided towards nowhere. Entranced, I felt the space close between -- who I want to be and who I was becoming.

Opportunity brought me to identity and it was worth it. I made the choice to be different, walk through the blazing turmoil of the unknown with grace. And it has only become easier with time. And with time, I have come to know myself.

 

This poem is about: 
Me

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