Innocence is a Child

 

Innocence is a child.

She laughs at silly things,

And is easily mesmerized by stories.

She believes

That good exists in all people.

Her energy is limitless,

As she hangs upside-down in staircases,

And handstands up against the wall.

She tip-toes into the kitchen,

To find a late-night dessert.

Her laughter echoes

And her bubbliness is infectious.

Innocence is a child,

And that child is me.

 

I sprint down the stairs,

Strike a handstand on the second step,

And pause.

Feel the heartbeat echo against an old soul,

Which inspires adult-like conduct.

She is the voice of responsibility,

And reason.

Don’t forget to wear your seatbelt.

Make sure to arrive to class on time.

She emanates wisdom,

Serving as every friend’s therapist,

and motivational speaker.

She protests injustice,

And is determined to speak truth to power.

Wisdom is an old soul,

And that old soul is me.

 

 

 

Stop Sign

Writer’s Note: The goal of this poem was to experiment with parallelism to convey that the decision to create a positive mindset is very much a choice. Tomorrow can either be a dead-end or a vast field of possibilities. The thoughts we illicit in our minds is the determining-factor of our moods and sometimes even major life-decisions.

Stop Sign

A stop sign

A dead end

A “no U-turn” signal.

An empty tank of gas.

Driving on a single-lane road in the wrong direction.

 

A starting line.

An endless cross-country course.

Sun-lit dewy grass.

Tireless legs.

Running on a vast cross-country course on the right path.

 

A full-tank of gas.

A heart bursting with energy.

A green light.

Positive thoughts that illuminate even the corners of darkness.

 

Wake up.

 

Your heart continues to beat,

And the tank is half-full.

 

All you have to do

Is choose your state-of-mind.

The outcome of your days

Will fall in place.

 

Tomorrow is no dead-end.

Rather, it is a step closer

To reaching your ambitions.

 

 

 

 

 

Planning for the Future

Hours fly as we converse under dim lights at a newly-opened Japanese restaurant, and our plates are nearly empty save for streaks of sauce. I don’t notice that the sun has set until I press the home button on my iPhone and see that it’s 6 o’clock. I remain planted in my chair, still, anticipating the next burst of laughter, or an astounding piece of advice that remains grounded in my mind like the dense air of a breezy autumn night. I tell Ms. Scharl, my former English teacher, about my concerns regarding the future. Informing her about my career and academic ambitions, I notice as fear and uncertainty coalesce. My greatest ambition is to live independently, but the only way to reach this destination is to successfully travel along the unpaved path of academia and career search. I am not a materialist, but rather a minimalist, and unfortunately, affording the cost of living is the prerequisite to living independently. And so the expenses will pile on, but Ms. Scharl soon shushes the voices of my uncertainties. She says, “Naima, you’re a go-getter. You’re going to get a good job.” Her words hold abundant weight, as they rest firmly at the bottom of my heart. Uncertainty withers away in veins that once pulsated arrhythmically. So her words rotate in my mind and follow me before I tuck myself into bed. The mind loves to plan for the future, often forgetting about the present and questioning, “What if?” Hushhh. Naima, you’re a go-getter. My brain ignites a chain-reaction of positive self-affirmations: I am confident. I am strong. I will succeed. Rinse and repeat.

I aspire to earn a Master’s degree in Information Technology (IT) at George Mason University so that I may become a college professor. My passion for teaching and being a leader among a group of individuals are aptitudes I would like to apply in the workplace. This profession enables me to choose a wide range of public universities nationwide, so I will have the opportunity to live in other states if I so choose. And even if I change my mind about teaching at the college level, I will have flexibility in choosing a wide range of professions worldwide, as Information Technology is a high-demand field of expertise.

I am thankful for those who continue to encourage me to fulfill my passions and to those who support me unconditionally. Thank you, Ms. Scharl, for fueling the fire in this 18-year-old. And when I am holding my diploma in a few years from now, I will thank and remember you. Your confidence in me is unmeasurable. Thank you so much for helping me take another step closer to achieving my greatest ambitions, for surely, this act of kindness cannot be repaid. But rather, it is vital for me to pay it forward. So when I look at all of my current students at Mathnasium, and even the ones in my future workplace, I recognize my responsibility to encourage my students just as you have encouraged yours. Thank you.