By: Jada Essary

When I was born
I had an indigo purple streak
among the crop of bright orange hair.
My mother was so proud of that streak
though she had done nothing to cause it.
I was proud too.
I felt special,
I loved my purple streak.

But one day it faded
like all earthly things do.
My special streak packed up and left
and now I remain
with no purple streak to make my mother proud.

When I was seven
I was taller than everyone around me
in my seven-year old world.
I could reach up and pat the tops of skyscrapers,
and see over the tallest of mountains.
I inherited my height from my father
who was so tall
that when he picked me up and carried me
together we could brush the stars.

But one day it faded
like all earthly things do.
My father’s height dwindled as everyone around me grew
and now I remain
too short to brush the stars.

When I was fresh into this world,
a babe so small and fragile,
I was the brightest head around
with my fiery orange hair.
“Our furious little fire engine,”
my dark-haired parents said with a smile.
Do you know the odds?
It seemed like a sign
that I was spunky and unique,
full of bravery and life.
What does that say of me now?

Because one day it faded
like all earthly things do.
My hair is not brown!!
And now I remain,
with no fiery orange hair to proclaim that I have defied the odds.

What will leave me next?
My intellect, my kindness?
My passion for learning or my enthusiasm for reading?
My Native American heritage, or my headstrong outlook on life?
And what of my mother’s warm brown eyes?
What of my father’s mind for business?
Will they leave me too?
I am afraid of this woman I am becoming. 

I am afraid of her
because she is me, all of me and none of me.
I am afraid of her
because she hides all the things unique to me.

I want to un-mask the woman I am becoming,

to show that she is not made of plastic.
But she resists, and I no longer know who remains.


Jada Essary is 14 years old; she lives in Missouri.  Jada’s favorite season is summer, and some day Jada would love to build her dream home – a library ten stories tall.


image:Matheus Bertelli in Pexels