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  • Writer's pictureAlesha Lawrence

(My) Life


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Life is a story

Too long to recite

So I wrote it in a poem

For you to listen if you might

Not a life’s story

From birth to now

But reimaging my humanity

And of how


As a first-generation college-educated black pansexual woman, I…

What a mouthful

Not symbolic to my insides

My motivation to appease is doubtful

And I don’t hide

I used to consider myself labelless

Until I started filling out forms

To avoid receiving less

Benefits to pay for my dorms

Because I fill a quota

A check

But am I guaranteed respect?

Dipping and dodging my peers

Who act like the press


But I digress

As I’m spitting my identifier

My label

I would like to just be human

But others not in my opportune are able

To speak

I don’t speak for them

That’s respectful

Yet we can converse about the struggle

Of saying how we’re suppressed into a label


How stating our demographics

Halts the traffic

Of new people coming into our lives

Not that we’re unapproachable

But we have to be mindful every time

Being asked by men

“What’s it like to be with a girl?”

As if they never been with one themselves

And now I’m invited to rock their world

They don’t care for the details

That my identity means I don’t go for one or the other

But whomever

Regardless it arouses them

I refuse to be present any further


Seeing relatives you rarely speak to

Asking in a consistent phrase

“Where’s your man? Hurry up and have a baby”

But telling them my focus is on myself is a shame

As if I did not spend the last 4 years

Buried in books and debt

Battling a broken economy

Hoping my major was worth it


But I digress

Let me get back on track

LIFE

Have I lived it yet?

I’m still young and alive

Can’t say I reached the end of the story

Yet I’m here on this stage

I’m speaking on the annoyances I hear

Instead of my life itself

As if those annoyances are my life

And not myself


The quarter-life crisis is crazy

But my feed is crazier

Hearing my people getting gunned down in the streets

Including the action’s justifiers

Telling my people to power through

And shout their name into the streets

Just to add more names

In the next day or week

I feel weak


It took four years

A PW place

And a group of people the place deemed misfits

For me to reimagine what I need in a space

Is it a utopia where my labels are unnecessary to discuss

Where Justice is served

Or saying no isn’t battled with coercion and nerve

But a place that won’t challenge me, I cannot trust

In my reimagining, I learned to just

Be present

Be heard

Post that article

Step on that nerve

You can’t debate in the comments section

My degree told me so

It did tell me how to paraphrase and reword

So on my labels here I go


As a gorgeous being who chooses to love whoever walks my path

And is educated to articulate that love and pass it back

To the ones before me who couldn’t ride with me

That if I’m taken, they will tell my reimagining, My story

I am proud of my labels

But I am unlabel-able

I am full of flaws

But I am lovable


Which keeps others in awe

If you think I rambled on

It’s cool, It’s fine

But you sat all the way through

So it was hopefully worth your time

However, it’s the end of mine

I hope what I said is close to fantastic

As I try not to trip over these lyrical gymnastics


So, in this instance

I did not speak on life

I spoke on existence

I am not a pro at life

I can only speak for now

To encourage you to do for the moment

And make our kids’ moment better somehow

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