The following is the poem I read during my Portrait Of presentation. I haven’t tweaked or changed it at all, as I believe that it is optimal to have it remain the same, and thus convey the same intention I had during my presentation.
Why does the past seem like nothing but
A daydream? We all lived there, yes, but
Were we truly alive there?
As if the past was a dream, and I, the dreamer,
Losing my teeth and curly hair,
Friends I would make, birthday cake devoured,
The number on the cake would rise,
But the amount of friends and family at the party would lessen.
We are accustomed to loss, by the time
We grow old enough, and we’re supposed to
Feel it – it’s too late now.
How can you have time to feel loss
When we’re all natural losers:
Loss is inevitable.
Age comes swiftly, and
We call ourselves wise for pushing
How we feel to the back of our skulls.
They call us young adults,
When we’ve been rushed to the adult part,
And never really knew what young was.
So by the time we’ve experienced
All a loser can, and how dull our senses
Have become, all we can do is look back
And ponder, “Did I really grow up?”
The beginning of the poem reflects my youth, and the days when I was innocent and ignorant of the world around me. In fact, I don’t believe that many people take time to realize the changing nature of celebratory parties such as birthdays. They used to be such magnificent occasions, but as we grow older, they become simple acknowledgements of time going by. The reason this holds such significance for me is the idea of losing family members, and the impact such an absence should have a child, and yet it does not. It’s not until we’re older, that we can fully comprehend what we’ve been through, yet at that time, the circumstances stemming from such events have already heavily rooted themselves into our identity.
I go on to criticize the idea of growing up and past our problems by simply experiencing them, as some people have told me this is the right way to cope: by not coping at all. This idea was prevalent in my coming of age, as I had to fill the role of an absent father in my family unit; meanwhile, I did not have time to cope with my own issues, and thus, dismissed them. I never really got to experience the stereotypical freedom that most kids got to see, and it was only recently that I retrospectively noticed this. To demonstrate this feeling, I make sure to ask a rhetorical question at the end, to bluntly express the feeling behind my newfound insight.
This may have been a personal piece to write, but I believe that the circumstances that shape our individual character should be reflected in our writing, as this gives a taste of humanity in the words on paper and on screen.