In my everyday life I could fall upwards to five times, and it is quite embarrassing. One instance I can remember is when I went to Montgomery, Alabama. I was walking along the river on one of those raised ledges, thinking everything was fine. It was not fine, I fell off, and now I have a lasting scar. I did not cry and it barely hurt, I was more embarrassed than anything. Everyone who was on that river that day saw me and kept coming up to me to see if I was okay… I did not like the attention.
Another embarrassing moment is everytime I see a person I know in public. I do not like talking to people and I know that if I see someone I know, they’ll come up to me to talk. I do talk to them because I don’t like being rude, but I am worried that I am going to say or do something weird.
Each year, spring seems to be the most overwhelming season. School begins to speed up as we are faced with tasks each day.
Now that the pandemic is slowly returning to normalcy as more students come onto campus, we are catching up on what we missed. This, however, results in the cramming of a years’ worth of experience into a single month. It is enjoyable in its little moments, though when I look at my planner, the words begin to blend into each other as the pages are smeared with hastily placed pencil marks. I return to my planner hourly, adding both academic assignments and extracurricular events. It is covered with reminders, such as bring my costume for the musical, or drop off a scholarship application.
I enjoy each day thoroughly, though looking ahead can be overwhelming. The tasks for one day are manageable, though skimming the multiple notes and plans for the week can feel as though it all must be done that day.
Perspective is vital to managing a planner. I always note that I am living in only one of the days on the page, and it is not yet time to manage the others. This spring may be busy, though it is my last opportunity to experience high school. I plan to enjoy every day, as they are my final moments on this campus.
Journalism can be strange. It is a new way of facilitating my love for writing, yet with emphasis on the most important element – storytelling. Instead of researching my topics online, I now must go into the world and obtain information from people.
The reactions differ – some are more than happy to tell their story. Others, however, remain reserved as you push your way into their schedule. I enjoy the social element of journalism. I have an intriguing conversation with at least one person per week.
Journalism has taught me how to reach out to people, even if you don’t know them. I understand the format of an interview request email, and how to conduct a conversation where I get the other person to say all the right things. In journalism, I am but the message man, bringing other people’s stories into the limelight. I have enjoyed this experience as it has shifted me away from academic writing, improved my social skills, and made me a better storyteller.
When I was young, I had straight hair: golden, shiny, long curly hair. People would say, “Olivia, your hair is beautiful, don’t ever touch it.” In a sense, I felt quite pompous because of my hair. I knew people were attracted to it. My mother called it mermaid’s hair and I took extreme pride in the comment. I loved the attention my hair drew; it became key to my identity. Being young and blind to cultural and social cues, I flaunted my hair and reveled in the jealousy of others.
But then I grew up. I stopped living in the trance of my innocence. I became aware of the culture of my family and I didn’t know where I fit into that.
Being African American, Filipina, and Caucasian, I was surrounded by many cultures at a young age but grew up in a town where the ethnicity was mainly white which was reflected in my appearance with my long, straight, golden hair. The blonde hair that tickled my back as I walked side to side was a label for things that I didn’t understand at five years old, and that was my heritage. My hair was not the type of hair that you would see on a little black girl.
My African American family and my Filipina grandmother would always have something to say about my hair. It was too frizzy or too straight and never right for their standards.
As I grew older and insecurities rose, my hair became frizzier, longer, and harder to manage. During my middle school years, I was confused and grappling with a loss of identity. With no relationship with my heritage, and trying to guide myself through my pre-teen years, my hair reflected the struggles I was facing. My hair was developing, and so was I, but I didn’t know how to control it. It and I were lost, and this struggle for a sense of identity lasted years.
Then something happened during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year where I felt a sense of need. So, I cut my hair, all of it, and I felt fantastic. A fresh, ear-length, haircut was what I needed to not only feel confident but awake.
My sophomore year of high school was a major awakening for me and my relationship with my ethnic identity. I understood the history of blacks in America as I began to read poems from Maya Angelou and read about corrupt African American communities in the works of Toni Morrison. I explored music relating to the struggles of black men and women, and began to experience my culture. I also felt a need to connect to my Filipina heritage as well. I began to cook more of my grandmother’s traditional Filipino recipes and shared them with my friends and family that didn’t understand my culture.
My hair reflected the feelings that I was developing for my culture. It was curly, big, darker in color, and felt like me. I finally accomplished the sense of identity that I had been searching for in my young teenage years. I wasn’t just a girl, living in caucasian town with frizzy uncontrolled hair. I was a woman, who knew what she wanted and who she was who just so happened to have big curly locks on her head.
Now, I love my hair just like I loved it when I was a little girl. I am able to bounce my curls all day without feeling the judgment of my family. I don’t care about what people have to say about my looks and how I am not enough in terms of my heritage.
I promise to love my mother, my father, my sister, my brother
I promise I will represent my filipino nonnie and my black grandfather
as I walk down the street with my hair as
big and curly as ever.
I swear to be as spiritual as my grandmother,
And to not let the stress overcome me.
I vow to teach my sister everything I had to learn alone.
I promise to heal those around me with love and joy.
I pledge to never bleach my hair.
I vow to not express through harshness but through
I will never forget my heritage
I will remember where I came from and be
I will come home,
wherever home may be
I will always listen to soul and jazz music that comes from
the heart of New York,
or the deep south.
This is set of rules, guidelines, and obligations that will set a path for me in my near and far future. I may break or might not keep these promises but I will try. These promises and statements will shape me and prepare me for the unknown.