via Photo Challenge: Heritage
Cambridge dictionary describes the word heritage as features belonging to the culture of a specific society. The good news is these days, you don’t even have to identify with a certain ethnic background to borrow from someone’s heritage. Traditionally, the world was divided and amidst this division was unity in a way. Everyone knew who they were and accepted it. Depending on how you were brought up, traditions meant a lot. A few times out the year, your family would do things that made other people question you guy’s sanity. Well at least, in my family it did.
“Hey whats your background?” says some human person.
“Wow you were born in Haiti?”
“Oh, okay so you’re American and your parents are Haitian?” they’d ask as if they’ve finally got me figured out.
“No. I’m Haitian.”
This conversation then transpires into some amateur history lesson where I’m quizzed on the entire historical background of Haiti. Completely unrelated but, I see no one walking around questioning the Jews on their authenticity when majority of them are born here. Nonetheless, I digress.
Apparently, I am not Haitian enough in society’s eyes. Heritage was the prompt, but I got tired of writing so enjoy this neat little story about how messed up people are bro. Also, enjoy the photo of some well-known non-Haitian entertainers representing the Haitian Heritage.
At this point, I’m convinced we’ve been banished to the pits of victim hood right along with our desperate and nosy neighbors. Only Mama was so much more than them folks. All she had, was given to us. There wasn’t a missing pair of sock that she couldn’t find or a burnt piece of toast she couldn’t scrape back to edible. There was absolutely no way this disaster could’ve transpired under the watch of our superhuman.
Before I can even motion to begin my search for Mama, she emerges from the smoke coughing and gasping for air. My immediate relief pushed me toward her to feel her face for authenticity. Her eyes were cold and far away from me although she was less than a few inches away. Ma began swinging her arms at me as if my intentions were to harm her. My sister used words like stressed, anxiety, pressure and depression. All of which sounded bizarre to me at such a tender age of eight.
I thought maybe we had hidden her withering stands of memory somewhere. Maybe I had misplaced it when I borrowed her ability to love, her passion for compassion, and her eyes to see the good in all things. I couldn’t find anything she had given us. On the contrary, I ended up with all the things she fought hard to never gift us.
The hospital visit day came and my nerves were pop locking all inside my chest. I stood outside Mama’s room for about five minute. No blankets, No pillows, No lights. We filled the hallway and just waited. Nurses walked in and out that room, and we all just waited.
I sit here this evening with tears in my eyes. I did not wake up this way, nor do I know the reason for my tears. I cant pinpoint what it is that makes me sad all the time. I cant even figure out for the life of me what to write. I just know that I am so unhappy. I wouldn’t dare kill myself though….
Well at least, I wouldn’t actually go through with it. I have thoughts sometimes. I think the world doesn’t need me. I don’t think Im that great of a person. There honestly wouldn’t be too many people saddened by my absence. The weight of my sadness measures up to maybe a group of people’s sadness. Therefore, the amount of people I’d hurt will still be less than the amount of me hurting.
Things are truly not that bad. Im sure there are those out there who knows far greater pain that I may ever know. Yet, that still doesn’t stop me from hating it all. I hate the process of my sadness. I hate having to feel something and not know the cause of such feelings. It drives me insane to have to fake happy and fake mad when really Im just sad as hell. Isn’t that something? I’d rather be all the other emotions than the one I really am inside.
Nobody asked you to get me attached to you. I would be lying if I said that I asked God for you. You were never apart of my plan. How rude of you? To interrupt my lonely and release that cage of butterflies? How dare you call me beautiful and crawl into my box with me? Why do you listen to me when I scream and yell at you? Whenever I’m upset, why can you feel my frustrations? You never make me feel less than I am and you’re always happy when I’m around you.
I swear to God, I never asked for you. I didn’t think you existed for me. I wasn’t quite sure if they made you in my size.
You invading me was different because I didn’t think anyone could see through the special door I had up. I had been bothered before you. I got it renovated after storms wore them down one by one. I finally got a special new door that I thought was indestructible, and here it turns out your hurricane was sufficient. Your storm happened to be one unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It wasn’t predicted or felt upon arrival. It took time for me to feel the damages and you were cool with that. You never got discouraged when your winds didn’t move me.
You were patient and that I resented about you. I wasn’t important and there was nothing extravagant about me, yet you stuck around as if I was. Are you mad? Do you know you ruined my miserable and your desire to “pursue” me ruined my one man show. You never pressured me to feel you back. You didn’t care whether things were mutual because you had already cared enough for the both of us. You never asked if I wanted to have moments of sincere happiness. You didn’t care if I wasn’t into smiling often. I’m sure you couldn’t have cared less that I hated being touched and kissed softly on my forehead. I didn’t have time to tell you, that I sucked at being cute. I cant remember telling you that I was so used to myself. I didn’t want someone else to have the pleasure of meeting me. My box was the perfect square feet for me alone.
19 years on this planet and I still have no clue what makes me happy. I’ve dabbled in a few things that I enjoy doing, but none of which makes me happy. I honestly don’t even know what happiness begins with. I’m not sure if I’d even know how to identify it if I ever found it. Whenever I feel good inside, it just feels so fake to me. I believe I am incapable of being happy. Its not like I force it or anything, but my “happiness” just doesn’t feel natural. Is happiness even a thing or is it bits and pieces of good moments? Can I really achieve ultimate happiness? I’m probably asking for way too much anyways.
Writing, I feel as though I write because I’m good at it and not because it makes me happy. Believe it or not, writing has been the only thing people would tell me I was good at. I guess that’s why I don’t know what makes me happy. I’ve always listened to other people and tackled what they said I was good at. I never explored other things to even know whether or not it made me happy. Now that I think about it, nothing probably would’ve made me happy anyways. I probably would’ve started it and quit like I do everything else, says everyone else.
Where the shadows of my laughter stands tall and the scent of my desires grow potent is where I long to be
Where the magic of my prayers and the commitment to my smile resides, is where I haven’t been in a while
Even when they hear the gossip of my nightmares, will they accept me
When the windows of my innocence are shattered, may they never forget me
what if my love one day soon wants to join them
what if love wants more than I can give
whether I left them or they left me, I cant answer that.
I do know that they’ve left and I had to build me up
only to be shattered by the harsh reality of my missing pieces
They do not call nor do they check in
you may ask how does one exist with so much missing pieces
when you’re wholeheartedly shattered, the spaces begin to grow on you…….literally.
Am I a writer? Is this something I truly enjoy doing? Am I even any good at it? Where do I even start? What do I write about? Is this even really a “thing”?
To be honest, I’m not even sure if I structured that correctly. Its been said that writers know how to structure their sentences. Sadly for me, I cant recall the rules of writing. I didn’t get to learn any writing rules past freshman year of high school since I checked out shorty after. Looking back on it, I wish I could’ve stuck around to learn all the rules of writing. Now, its like I want to get better at something I barely know about. How can I improve myself when I don’t know where to start? Whenever I think about writing, I get all optimistic and hopeful of my future. For some reason, I have this insane idea that I’ll someday write and publish my very own book. You know, all I’ve ever heard growing up was how much of an amazing writer I was. I even won the Young Author’s Award two years in a row at my elementary school against kids much older than I was. I know you all are thinking, how amateur of me to mention that. I mean I was pretty young, but that experience challenged something far more greater in me. I began to explore this so called talent all the teachers in my school would tell me I had. Ms.Coleman used to always tell me “Sarafina, you have a gift and I want to see you use it to tell your story.”
Being ten years old, I never understood what my story had to do with my writing until I got older. I would always tell myself that no matter how long I stopped to always continue writing. Somewhere along the road, I stopped listening to myself.
After dropping out of school, I would find myself always writing…. for someone else. If it wasn’t my best friend’s research paper, it was my older brother’s college essay. I’m talking about countless words being written, none of which intrigued me at all. I wrote because I knew I could, not because I wanted to. I began to fall unhappy with just writing to give other people good grades while I whither away my own thoughts, scared to write them out of fear of having nothing to say. Whenever they would have an assignment, I would have instructions and guidelines to follow. When I decided I was going to write for myself, I became brain mute.
“The more time you spend figuring out ways the world is gonna screw with you, the more you end up finding.”
I just turned 18 about two weeks ago and I was expecting life to be so much more than it was when I was 17. I mean I was merely a child just two weeks ago, and now I am an adult. I don’t think I’ve ever thought so much about what the future holds for me as much as I have these past two weeks. Its like the walls are caving in on me and I’m running out of breathing air. The constant voices in my head reminding me every second that my life is okay. By okay I mean so many different things; off track, lopsided, backwards, upside down, purposeless. It’s like I have this supernatural force against my success and happiness. There is DEFINITELY something out there working against everything good in my life. I’m not yet sure what the beef is between me and the universe. You know what? I will not stop until I find out what this world has against me…..