?: A Culmination of my Life By: s.Jones

From the time my life began, I've been a renaissance kind of person. My interests stem from visual, literary and musical arts to physics and history. A big part of this is my upbringing. I am the only girl and the youngest out of three siblings. I have two brothers, one is 23 and the other is 17. Having older siblings has had a great impact on my life. Since we're close in age, we learn from each other. I've learned from the mistakes that they've made. not only has this saved me from getting myself into any future turmoil.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known.”, says Chuck Palahniuk, an American novelist and journalist. The first eight years of human consciousness, also known as the formative years, serve as a substratum to our identity. During those years, certain values and beliefs are instilled in our minds, that may or may not change in the years to come. Exposure to different kinds of relationships contribute to identities as well. Relationships and origin have the utmost impact on a human’s identity as a whole. Throughout the span of my life, the relationships that I've formed have affected the way in which I interact with others, my perception of myself, upon many other things.

Throughout the span of my life, the relationships that I've formed have affected the way in which I interact with others, my perception of myself, upon many other things. In the first three years of my life, I lived in Florida with my grandparents. My bond with them is very strong due to this. As Haitian immigrants who came to the U.S. in the late sixties, a time of sociopolitical turmoil, they taught me to work hard and allow my actions and feats speak for me. Not only have they built my work ethic, but they've also impacted the way in which interact with those around me. Most people tell me that I'm an old soul, but that's all due to my upbringing.

My mother is Haitian. She attended a boarding school in the countryside for the first seven years of her life. At this school, she was taught to speak French because Creole, the native dialect of Haiti, was not considered "proper" due to the colonization of this country. When she came to The U.S at seven years old, she learned to speak English. Eventually, she learned to speak Creole as well. My mother's multilingual background and interest in literature and global history has impacted me greatly. In some instances, I feel like a "diluted Haitian" due to my inability to fully speak in my native tongue and limited knowledge of my culture.

The brown man kneels, awaiting his freedom.

He wants to know why others supersede him.

His opportunity, barricaded by chains.

Despite his enervation, his will to live remains.

He sought Nirvana which seemed unattainable,

but as night time hit, he had a change of thought.

The mountains was where he found his refuge.

These mountains admonished him “ I will lead you”,

The mountains said “Listen for the sound of freedom”.

The mountains had continued to feed him.

Plans to abscond conjured in his mind, with a machete, chain, and conch, these plans were defined.

By cutting his chains, he emancipated his mind

Reflection: Le Negre Marron, or The Maroon, is a monument located in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Sculptor Albert Mangones created this statue in 1969. It tells the story of a slave who was liberated by his own means. The man being portrayed in this statue is shown kneeling on one knee with the other one extended, blowing on a conch and holding a machete and chains. During slavery in Haiti, slaves would congregate on the mountaintop when they heard a conch being blown. Usually, they'd speak of ways to liberate themselves. The machete was used for self defense and lastly, the broken chains represents emancipation. In this sonnet, the personification of the mountain shows the subject’s strong connection to nature. The mountains are guiding him to his freedom.

From a young age, I've been aware of my "blackness". In pre-k, I attended a Jewish organization called Yeled V'Yalda, which, in Hebrew, translates to Boys and Girls. I was one of three black students in my class. I was constantly being force-fed images of Aryan men and women in the media, but this never served as a hindrance to my personal development. I was always being told to embrace my Haitian and African-American roots which, inevitably, instilled a huge sense of pride in who I am.

“Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known.” Everyone that I’ve ever met has had an impact on who I am as a person, whether it’s family, friends, or strangers.

Created By
Safiya Jones
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by abdallahh - "Calgary Carifest 2010" • Roaring Jellyfish - "Conch"

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