It's Not Where You're From, It's What You Become To Get Somewhere


As a child you’d like to believe you could trust the world to be

Everything you’d want it to be

Such innocence in seeing life in an easier point of view

Nothing sugar-coated

Just straight forward

You’d look up at the physical thing, blue, stretching, just admiring its beauty

And the way it’s constant or forever drifting in color, structure, temperature

You wonder at the change

At how something as distant as the sun

Could bring warmth from far away

You were never afraid to dance in the mud puddles on a rainy day, the thunder clapping in the background, the wind whipping your hair in your face

Your laughter would echo for everyone to hear

They’d tell you to be careful and come inside where you couldn’t get hurt

But you’d take on everything with little fear

Maybe a tear or two

Maybe a lot of dirt

You never let that get you down though

That was a time you’d felt most alive

You felt like you were invincible at six years old

Where you were safe and sound, but very sky high—cloud nine

Climb the hill, roll down it, and do it again

Jump off the hay bail and into a thicket fence

Bob wire caught in your skin

So ignorant, gullible, tolerant, and naïve

You watched others do the impossible, your heroes on tv

And you believed you could do anything they were doing

 It was a rude awakening when you had to open your eyes

When they cast you aside

When they said no

You were never aware before of just how separated you were from them

How closed off, how scoffed

It confused you when they would look you up and down

Make a judgment or an offhand comment on your appearance

Ask you where you’re from and grimace

They knew nothing about who you were rather they assess what you looked like

How much money you had or what neighborhood or place you were born into

It made you insecure

You had to fight with yourself

Doubt your capabilities as a person; take a second look at the brown pigment of your flesh, at your Native American heritage  

You were never anybody else and you guess that’s why they turned you away

You’ve been through a lot of pain

You needed to talk

But who would listen to a girl distraught?

Who would pay attention long enough to know there were many emotions warring inside her head that it became too much that the option of giving up sounded tremendous?

No one did

Because in the end you made a new friend

Paper and pen

Immediately you fell in love with them

Because they gave you a voice that you’ve always had, but couldn’t always use

They let you be the chatterbox you were as a kid

They let you create, envision

 Let you paint your own world in vivid colors

And utilize the ideas of your brilliant mind

When you believed the world could be anything you wanted

They never judged or criticized

They gave you solace you’d seek in a dog eat dog time

And you wrote what was in your heart

Of experience

Of life

Of fantasy

Of childhood memories

Of growing up on the reservation

Of traveling to the other side of the globe

You got to tell stories that haven’t been written in a book yet

But someday you wish to be your talent and your skills to the test

Who knows…maybe it’ll get published

Who knows?

And maybe you’re not the hero you idolized on the tv

Maybe you won’t be…maybe not ever

It really doesn’t matter—no, it doesn’t, but that’s okay

You’ve only had ambition

You’ve only had hope



As a child you wanted to trust the world to be what you’d want it to be

Now you know better

Rather than imagine it, you’d keep yourself on your feet

And take a step

And another, and another, and another

And trust yourself to get there…and it eventually

So you look up above at skyscrapers, the tall buildings, and neon lights, try to catch a glimpse of the blue

You square your shoulders, keep your chin up, and believe that you could be anything you want to be

Even if they don’t agree

You tuck your blazer tighter and defy those around you who want to see you fail

Passion never dying

You love to write so be golden, align your fingers, tap once, tap twice

And write a great American novel

And perhaps the world will see what you’ve always wanted them to

It’s not where you’re from, but what you become to get somewhere

There’s always potential to grow--be whatever you want to be--and it starts with the courage to see where you could go and how your belief will get you there despite obstacles

That’s a difference you hope to make to the world 

Guide that inspired this poem: 


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