“You just can’t fly on off and leave a body.” –Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
When I first read the epigraph for this course, it reminded me of my struggles in high school. In high school, especially my freshman and sophomore year, I had many friends with whom I spent much of the time with. Although we had our good times, they had so many problems (both personal and not) and because I was their friend, I thought it was my responsibility to let their problems into my life and to even try and fix them. Unfortunately, by doing just that, it took a very negative toll on me. As a result of this, I spent the first two years of high school worrying about other people’s problems instead of taking care of myself and it impacted my mental health in a negative way. It was something that I kept from my parents and friends because I didn’t want them to see how badly I was really suffering.
When COVID hit NYC and they had no choice but to keep us all home for the rest of my junior year, I was able to take a break from these people and I realized that I needed to spend some time worrying about my mental health and my family. After talking with some people who guided me to make the right decision, I also realized that in order to keep myself from going insane and finishing off the year strong, I needed to move on and let go of those people who were damaging my life to help make myself feel better both physically and emotionally.
When reading the course epigraph, I couldn’t help but relate it to my junior year when I moved on from those people who weren’t doing any good for me. The way I interpreted the epigraph was probably different from what others may interpret it. When you move on from someone, it is important to know that you will always have a piece of them, and they will always have a piece of you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sexual relationship too; it can simply just be a friendship. Although those two years of my life were rough, I had friends with whom I went out and had experiences with that I can never forget about. Even though I might be moving on from them doesn’t mean some of the times we had were awful. In many cases, we bonded over a lot that we did together. Growing up in NYC was fun because there was always so much to do and although I may not be close to certain people anymore, I can’t hate on them. Something that I always hated was people who stopped being friends talking trash about each other. It always bothered me and even though I was upset with those people for involving their issues in my life, I wasn’t going to trash them because to me it feels like a terrible thing to do. As I looked over the course epigraph, I realized that this one seems more fit for me: “When you let go of someone, it is important to know that you will always have a piece of them, and they will always have a piece of you.” This new course epigraph feels better connected to my personal goal this semester which is to make some true friends. Being a freshman in both high school and college can be a challenge sometimes. Many people have told me that we make friends in college that will last a lifetime and I really want that for myself. Yeah, it may seem a bit selfish but after everything I have been through, I deserve to be a little selfish.
Based on this newly made epigraph, I believe that a goal that I have this year that can be based on the course is to grow as a writer. Based on the events that happened to me during those two years, I was able to take my personal experiences, write them as part of my personal essay and I was able to get into every college that I applied for with that essay. I think with this epigraph and with the readings of Song of Solomon and From Here to Equality I will be able to grow and become more mature as a writer. Something that I enjoy about this class so far is the idea that the students grade themselves. Although some people might use it for granted, I think this will be good for those who are honest with their skills and want to improve as a writer. I never met a professor/teacher who allowed the students to grade themselves for a semester and feel confident that those students won’t use it for granted.
Another goal that I have is to learn more about the history of African Americans and exactly what is being done to compensate those who had ancestors who were enslaved. When I first opened it up and read the first page of From Here to Equality, I honestly thought that this book would be boring. Whenever I read new books, I always look at the pages and if the font looks a certain way, I automatically assume that it is going to be boring. When I looked at From Here to Equality the size of the font made me assume that this book would be boring. However, as I started to read more, everything just unfolded in my mind almost. This book talks about many events in the 1800s and 1900s that I have either heard once about or not at all. (In the book, there was this one event that occurred in Florida I heard maybe once before but having the authors expand on it made me even more intrigued about it). I believe that this book will educate me and my peers more about the tough past many enslaved people had to live in. I love history so whenever I learn something new it always excites me. When I first bought this book, I thought that it was going to be another book from like 20 years ago talking about justice for those who had families who were enslaved. However, I was surprised and very happy with the fact that this book is only a year old. This helps provide us with way more accurate information in which I am very excited about.
After reading most of the book Song of Solomon, there was this one quote that stuck out to me. “You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.” This one quote relates to the struggles that I have been through and what I want to leave behind. Valuing yourself is something that everyone should do, and it is important that we remind ourselves that our needs come first before everyone else’s. After everything that I have struggled with, I always tell myself that it is time to move on and try something new and exciting and I plan on just doing that.