The original "I Am" poem with classic Microsoft rainbow Word Art and pink construction papers on the corners

Work Revisited: "I Am" Poem

Jul 27, 2021 · Brittani S Avery

personalwriter

Have you ever found really old stuff while cleaning or organizing a room? And then spent a few minutes, or even a couple hours, reminiscing? I know I do, quite often actually. It happened again when I was organizing my office's closet. I found a notebook I created for an assignment in eighth grade. It was basically an autobiography with theme chapters. The last chapter entitled "Looking Down the Road to the Future" was the most interesting since it was a prediction of where I would be at the age of thirty-three, twenty years from the creation of the notebook. Thirteen-year-old me stated that my life would look a little like this:

  • Work as a women's doctor
  • Published author/poet with at least one book specifically for teenagers
  • Living in Atlanta
  • Single with no children
  • Dog mom of three: toy poodle, husky, and a random rescue
  • Homeowner
  • SUV Owner
  • Fun aunt with nieces/nephews staying with me in the summer
  • Possibly dating (teen me hoped that men would have matured by then)
  • Still friends with best friend at the time

Well, I'm definitely not a doctor, but I am a published author. I am single with no children but not living in Atlanta and certainly not dating (and okay with it). Dog mom but only to one grumpy olde English bulldogge. I do own a home and a SUV. My god-brother has two beautiful girls, but COVID is still kinda preventing gatherings. And I've made different friends since junior high, including leaving my former best friend behind. People changed; I changed. I'm currently 30 turning 31 next month. Teen me had a good idea of what she wanted in life and stuck with it.

The second most interesting chapter was the sixth chapter, "Work Revisited." The work I decided to revisit was my "I Am" poem from the year before. This poem was early in my journey as a poet. I think I was more engaged with creating the rainbow-colored Word Art than the actual poem. You can see the original poem below.

I am a girl who has reddish brown hair and speak my mind
I wonder what tomorrow will bring
I hear my little brother crying because he doesn't want to brush his teeth
I see my little sister playing dress-up and think she's a famous movie star
I want life to be exciting and not boring like some of my classes
I am a girl who has reddish brown hair and speak my mind

I pretend that I'm a world famous soccer player and score 6 goals every game
I feel like I'm floating in the air
I touch my dog's warm, fuzzy fur
I worry about my family a lot
I cry when I'm hurt, angry, and sad
I am a girl who has reddish brown hair and speak my mind

I understand what it feels like to be in a new place
I say that we're all equal
I dream about traveling all around the world and going to exotic places
I try to give 100%
I hope that one day the world will find great peace
I am a girl who has reddish brown hair and speak my mind

It's not a terrible poem, but it has no real theme. It's more of just a bunch of sentences strung together. This chapter gave me the opportunity to rewrite my poem. During eighth grade, I was going through some challenges in being the only person of color in my advanced math class. I felt like an outsider. No one ever said anything overtly racist, but my difference in color was often referred to in questioning or judgemental ways. That became the main theme of the rewrite of "I Am."

I am a black dot on a white sheet of paper.
I wonder when they will stop.
I hear them snicker.
I see them point at me.
I am a black dot on a white sheet of paper.

I pretend that I am deaf and blind so I cannot hear or see them.
I feel sad and alone in there because I am.
I touch the doorknob, knowing they are there.
I cry on the inside when I am around them.
I am a black dot on a white sheet of paper.

I understand how black kids felt when times were "separate but equal."
I say "la la la la la" to tune them out.
I dream about the summer and never having to see them again.
I try to ignore them, but it never works.
I hope that one day soon they will stop.
I am a black dot on a white sheet of paper.

I am proud to say that I have not suffered too many more hostile environments once exiting college. Despite me usually being the only Black female developer on my work teams, managers and coworkers alike have been chill. I'm especially enjoying my current job and the global workforce we have. I also have plenty of friends of many different ages, languages, upbringings, and cultures. The world that I interact with on a daily basis has become more welcoming. That isn't to say that everywhere and everyone has the same experience as I do. Just watch the news. To be honest, I'm looking forward to when "peace will abound until the moon is no more," i.e. forever. (Psalms 72:7)

Recently, I haven't been the most inspired to write poetry. I've been finishing the sequel to Element Unknown. Be sure to watch the final result of some four years of work. However since the format of the "I Am" poem was already defined, it was a pleasant exercise. See the latest version of "I Am" below.

I am a kaleidoscope, shifting and changing
I wonder how my colors have moved throughout the years
I hear the surprise as others watch me morph
I see widened eyes and mouths agape
I want my colors to be accepted
I am a kaleidoscope, shifting and changing

I pretend to match the sunny yellow of extroverts
I feel the draw of the calming purples of silence
I touch deep greens belonging to nature
I cry silent blues for the injustices of the world
I am a kaleidoscope, shifting and changing

I understand the work ahead
I dream of becoming the perfect reflection of me
I try different movements to gain new colors
I hope my designs continue to grow in beauty
I am a kaleidoscope, shifting and changing

Have you heard of the "I Am" poem? If you've written one yourself, I would love to see it! Share it with me on social media. Until next time!

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