I’m from the suburban dream,
from watching the ice cream truck approach,
from my mother’s thick Spanish accent that
only I could understand.
I’m from discovering the f-word in fourth grade,
from shaky hands, my voice caught in my throat,
from betrayal by friends I thought had my back.
I’m from my mother’s cooking,
from boring brown eyes, bleak brown hair,
from being told I had to work hard for what I want.
I’m from anxious lip-biting,
from “finding my Zen” and learning self-control,
from “focusing on the little victories” and being proud of getting through the day.
I’m from month-long trips to Ecuador,
from the peak of Cotopaxi to the shores
of Same Beach,
from the sweet, fresh air of the forest, to the littered streets of Quito.
I’m from realizing who’s there for me,
from Goodwill, shopping in the men’s section,
from the quarry behind Lisbon Park, with the lakes of crystal-clear water.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.