This time last year found my brother and I finishing packing our family’s house into a moving truck a little smaller than a semi and making the two day drive across America to Indiana where Mom had moved everyone. It was the saddest few weeks. It felt like my family had begun to shatter with my Mom’s divorce from my Dad and his emotional abuse and manipulation in turn. We had to leave our house of four years, full of memories both good and bad. Our beloved herd of farm animals had been pawned off to strangers while we weren’t there, never to be seen again but to always be thought about and cried over each time. I had to say goodbye to the new friends I had just made, friends like I had never had before. And to top it off, I had fallen in love for the first and only time and now that had to be left behind me as well. I had no idea if I would be coming back, and I had to foreseeable plans to. The day we rolled out and left the “Welcome to Mountain Home” sign behind us for what could have been the last time, we cried. I cried, Caleb cried, it was a somber few hours.
Fast forward to a year later and I am back. Living in a house on my own, fully supporting myself, working a part time job and being a full time student and somehow making it all work. I will be 20 in nine days and it’s hard to believe I am classified as an adult when I still feel like I’m playing the role of being a “grown up” when to me, I’m still a kid. I haven’t grown up yet, and maybe I never fully will. There’s still a lot more developing that needs to happen.
And so without further ado, I present to you my first slam poem “When I Grow Up.”
When I Grow Up
When I grow up I want to be brave. Not like the knights who raise their swords in defense of their castle. Or the bravery that would cause me to jump out of planes for fun. I want to be the ordinary brave. The brave that helps me face the everyday challenges of life.
I want to have the courage to be uncomfortable. To do things I may not enjoy the idea of at the beginning just for the experience.
I want to know that our heroes don’t always show up when we need them, but that’s okay because I never leave home without my cape.
I want my bravery to help me admit when I’m wrong and ask for forgiveness. I want to be brave enough to step into someone else’s shoes and see life through their eyes, and I want to have the courage to let that change me.
I want to look at my broken world and know that I can’t heal all the pain with just my two hands, but I hope I’m brave enough to try anyway.
I want to get down in the dirt with people. To see humanity at its worst and take a step up instead of backing away. I want my bravery to look into the eyes of the hurting and say, “I’ve been here too, I have felt your pain, and I am not afraid to face it again. Here is my hand, we are in this together.”
I want to see my tears splash off my rainboots and know that maybe there won’t be someone who can wipe them away for me, but that’s alright because no matter how bad the storm, it has to pass sometime. And so until then I’ll get out my umbrella and dance in the puddles.
I want to have the courage to let go of regret. To know that there are people I can’t change, people beyond me to save.
I want to be brave enough to face circumstances I thought would turn out different and accept my own defeat. To have the courage to be rejected by people I love, even family, and still be able to look them in the eyes and say “I love you.” And I want to be brave enough to recognize when I am the one who needs to do the rejecting because sometimes you need to give up reaching for them, but never give up hoping they will be different.
I want to be brave enough to let go of my own failures. My shortcomings, the things I am less than proud of. I want to let go of the hurt that has been handed to me because hanging onto past pain is a lot of weight and I am not that strong.
I want to be brave enough to change something. Maybe not the world…but something. I want to have enough courage to admit that I am so far from having my life figured out, but then again who really does?
I want to live beyond the extraordinary. To reject the labels put on me, even if I am the one who put them there. I want to set goals as high as the stars and never stop building my rocket ship until I reach them.
I want to be brave enough to love. With all my heart, totally and completely. And I want to have the courage to let myself be wildly loved in return.
I want to be brave when I grow up. To always think, then speak. To keep my touch gentle, my tone soft, and my head high. I want to stand firm on the things that matter and learn to compromise when they aren’t as important. I want to paint a picture with my words and live long enough to see someone look at me and say, “I would have given up had it not been for you.”
I don’t want to be remembered for the school I went to, the job I worked, or even the people I knew. I want to be remembered for my bravery only, and that will certainly take a lot of courage.