I Was a Kid

By: Annie Barry

I was sitting in my private school, around age 8
The religion teacher said, everyone sit in a circle
Don’t speak
Close your eyes
Raise your hand when you hear God speaking to you
One by one each child raised their hand
I sat
I saw on tv that only crazy people hear voices in their heads
** shake head
No, my teacher said “it’s alright Annie, not everyone can hear the light of god”

Open your bibles kids!

But I didn’t understand religion
You see
I was 8 years old
I was the kid that went to a private school and thought god was a woman who rode the subway and asked strangers for money because her kids needed to eat
I thought god was a dog who had just been beat
and I thought god was my aunt Sue

You see I didn’t know who I was at age 8
And I didn’t know who I wanted to be

I didn’t understand my personality yet and I didn’t know when I would turn the age where your childhood photos look nothing like you
I wanted to look like the girls in the movies and act like the girl next door and feel like I know exactly who I am in my core
I wanted to be someone I wasn’t
in order to feel like someone I wanted to be
because that’s who I thought I was
or who I thought I could be
Deranged in a world in which I didn’t understand myself,
feeling like I’m wading in a continental shelf
I’m a creature of creation but in my own condemnation 
against my own frustration for feeling fixated on finding myself
Looking for liberation from my 12 year old self
I didn’t know who I was supposed to be
I hit middle school and all of my friends became depressed
They said their days consisted of migraines
Their moods contradicted each other like political campaigns
Their lungs filled with something like propane
Your veins
Are pumping
And you predict for only 3 more days
Your parents don’t understand because
“being 14 is a part of life.
And you’ll get out of this phase
but right now your mood is pissing me off
and I’d like it if you’d just go in your room 
and study”
So you
***How to tie a noose
***Your collar gets loose

And then three years later most of you wake up
But some of you don’t

We didn’t know who we wanted to be
But I knew I wanted to be good at something
We were just too young to know that
In order to find your talents
Or experience the highs of your life
You have to go through some pretty intense lows
I chose to compose my inspiration from my brother
Went through a starvation of a childhood
When he spent his school days listening to the cruel kids because
he wasn’t a cool kid
but now my brother is the coolest guy
to ever sing you gwen stefani
and britney spears 
and tell you that you look fabulous
But he’ll probably say it in italian or german or spanish or russian or portuguese
Because he’s just that talented now
He showed me and shaped me
He taught me resilience
I didn’t know who I was
But I knew I wanted to be like him

I knew he was once one of those depressed kids
Repressed and distressed
But he’s impressed us all beyond any overcomings
Becoming a man that studied every religion
Befriended every stereotype of a human
Overcame every obstacle his social life encountered
And came out on top

Two months from now
A little boy bullied beyond belief
Will be a man shipping out for training to fight for our country

A scatter plot poem equates that my past doesn’t define my future or your future and clearly not my brother’s future