Hey guys, so for my one of my final English assignments I had to revise one of my old assignments and use a different medium to post it on which leads me to my Tumblr. I used this thing for a lot but never an assignment so lets cross that off the list lol and I know I haven’t been that active on here anymore but I still always check in every now and then and I’m still here for anyone who needs a hand really. You guys are more then welcome to read this as well and feel free to leave feedback as well if you want too- km
Reading the poem “It Is Important To Be Something” by Jennifer Espinoza was the poem that spoke to me most. It got very personal for me and being able to see myself and understand what she was describing made it very easy to interpret. I myself am not gay or trans or anything like that, but growing up in a catholic household and with everyone around me, it was mostly frowned upon to be considered anything like that. I was thankfully able to grow up pretty independently and gather my own thoughts about the world and I think that helped me be able to interpret this poem. That also led me to be isolated for most of my adolescence but not by choice. That is where the acceptance of trying to be someone and trying to be “A better mistake” carried so much weight on myself. Constantly looking over my shoulder, hearing laughs and the first thought was it being about me, it felt like I was “Turning red at the sight of everything.” By the time I got to High School I was at my very worst point that I felt mentally in my entire life, I hated myself both mentally and physically and wanted to do anything to change that.
“I don’t want to be a person but there isn’t a choice.” She is right by those words, there isn’t a choice. You’re supposed to be how society wants you, how your parents raised you, how the rules in school shape you. I truly believe part of my problem was what happened with my discipline growing up. Most of the time I only got in trouble for talking too much. Teachers in class wanted me to be something else while I wanted to in way speak my growing my mind. In the end, both my parents and elementary school teachers led me to my dark years. That’s not saying I don’t appreciate what my parents did for me growing up, I had a better childhood then most and I should be grateful that they are still together. I can still feel the silence from them yelling at each other, or at any other of my siblings, or simply at me. Whenever I hear my dad raise his voice, I go silent instantly. He never hit me but the anger gets to a point where I don’t know if that’s the case for much longer and I’m thankful that never happened. I think I know why I grew up to be so insecure now, I don’t think I had a childhood where I was able to freely express myself and it led to me looking over my shoulder for almost every little detail. It’s the hardest thing to change and to grow up from and I still have not gotten over that hump.
“I’m not trying to give a shit, but it doesn’t fit well on me.” Another brilliant line from Jennifer that captures insecurity perfectly. You grow up hearing don’t worry about what others say, their opinion doesn’t matter when it’s their opinion that shapes what you wear. She captures this feeling again in the poem, “A nice pair of glasses without any lenses, shoes that don’t quite fit, a chest that always hurts.” You do things like this to fit in and look better and society is the reason why I am able to understand these lines so clearly. I was frightened to wear anything larger then large clothing because I didn’t want to feel fat. So, I wore those tight-fitting shirts, sucking in all day if I could, ignoring how I felt because I wanted to look as best as I could. To this day I still always check the reflection of myself in windows around campus just to see if I look presentable today. Trying to always look my best is still without a doubt my worst insecurity as I am always constantly fiddling with my hair or looking down to make sure I don’t look fat. Whether I choose to blame society or to blame myself for letting it get this bad on how I look is up for debate, but I chose blame myself. It’s nobody’s fault but yourself in most situations and you need to take control, something I’m still trying to learn.
“So I work my way down and kiss the feet. I work my way up and lick the knee.” These lines could easily be represented by simply climbing the social ladder. Pleasing everyone in sight just to avoid conflict or other harmful effects from societies inhabitants. Doing basically anything just to be popular whether that means degrading yourself just to get a few laughs from your peers or completely kissing ass to someone more popular then you for acceptance. It could lead to incredibly embarrassing moments and its moments that I’ve personally experienced. Ninth grade, the last first year of grade schools. The first semester I had not made a single friend really, I was just kind of there in the background. I hung out with people but it was more like me just being there. However, I hung to this one friend I had from middle school like a dog to his owner. Followed him everywhere I could cause he was “popular” and I really wasn’t, so I saw it as a way to maybe gain some social points. I probably felt the most alone and isolated I’ve ever felt up to that point in my life and I still cringe at the things I did. I’ve learned now thankfully that it is okay to be alone and pleasing people is just something that is not worth doing. People will like you and dislike you and that’s okay, but pleasing the wrong people will lead to an unhappy lifestyle and you could potentially lose yourself in the process.
Insecurities are the backbone of this poem and they can come from any gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation and I think that is something the author was trying to describe with the word choice that was used. So many different analogies were used to create the imagery of isolation and crowd pleasing and not focusing on pleasing the one person that matters, yourself. I’ve finally learned that after so many years of insecure and embarrassing behavior but those dark days help a person mature more than any school lesson ever could. I’m thankful for the people that stuck with me and helped me grow and really teach me the social skills that I was lacking. And that is a beauty of a poem like this, so many different people from all over with completely different and unique upbringings can fully understand the feelings and emotions displayed from a single poem like this. It’s something that most if not everyone can relate to at one point in their life and can share that common connection with a total stranger and be able to tell their stories free from the guilt and shame that once controlled them.
After re-reading and adding some more to this, I can easily see this is the most personal and deeply revealing thing I think I’ve ever written. Before this actually I wrote something in High School which was , months after I did the worst thing I have ever done, my English teacher gave me an assignment on writing about a deeply personal experience and I chose that day. I still get teary eyed when I read that essay as it was the first time I poured my heart into something and only a few people I know have ever read it, my parents still have not read it. But it led me to this essay, where I poured my heart into something and showed me more about myself then I realized while still being able to compare to a poem that meant a lot to the author as well. Re-reading it has actually made me think more about my time growing up and how I never really had time where I enjoyed my time at my house in my Middle to High School years. I was always isolated in my room, either on my phone or watching TV, this only heightened my insecurities and has shown me maybe my childhood wasn’t as good as I once thought it was. In all though, I am still thankful for all the good I had in my past. From my friends in High School to my bowling friends to even my friends from here, everyone of them has given my a chance to be the real me and it’s the reason why I’m still here today. And being able to share some of those experiences in literature as Jennifer did in her poem to hopefully inspire others one day is something I’m proud of and I know I’m only 20, but I’m ready to have my past stay my past.