In My Mother's Womb
In this piece, Tya Johnson, a sophomore at Essex High School, expresses how her life, her view of the world, has been different than others because she's always wanted to write it down, to get into words what she sees and understands. For more work from students around Vermont and parts of New Hampshire, go to youngwritersproject.org.It feels like I have been a part of this world for longer than my life,
like I was born into these twisted words
and thoughtful imaginings,
thinking up the story of my life before it even began.
My mother assures me that I kicked in
like any normal baby,
but I wonder if I was really kicking
and not throwing notebooks of unfinished pieces
in complete frustration
at their failure to get across my feelings and emotions.
I wanted out of that balled up space,
into the open air of the world where I could breathe
and contemplate my thoughts,
your thoughts, their thoughts,
the actions of that man who knocked over my mother
in his desperation to get away from the store where he had just robbed a coat,
for his little daughter.
I wonder if I know her,
have ever seen her before,
bumped into her in the never-ending hallways of high school?
I remember kindergarten and preschool
where the teachers' rules meant nothing,
to me, and I broke them over and over and over,
all the while moving ahead of my friends and classmates,
reading full sentences and chapters of old English
way before they could,
and then, later,
writing sonnets and love poems
before they could even begin to fathom the depths of high school love.
I've been called "normal" by some,
but what is normal?
and do I really fit that category?
How many of you were writing on the inside of your mother's womb
and leaving messages for the little siblings you knew would follow after?
And while my peers spend their time
trying to understand each other,
I am trying to understand the world.
I mean seriously,
why are teachers paid so little and treated like nobodies?
Because you must notice that the somebodies would be "nobodies," too
if it weren't for them.
And what about this racial prejudice
and hate of anyone who's different?
Don't tell me that it doesn't exist anymore,
look around you.
People have views and they show them,
but is the way they do it really necessary?
People call me insane because I question society,
but I have a word for you,
and your non-respectful, hating, prejudiced language:
I don't understand why or how or when,
but I know that all this time I have been putting thoughts on paper
and fighting for what I believe.
I think my mother was wrong,
I was not kicking in her womb,
I was busy writing and hurling unfinished notebooks
in pure frustration
at the chaos of words on paper
and the failure to portray
this strange world.