“What is it like to be mixed?” by Vienna Rossmanith

“What is it like to be mixed?” by Vienna Rossmanith
Photo by Ernest Porzi / Unsplash

This poem is the winner of the Top of Iowa High School Creative Writing Contest: 9th/10th Grade Poetry

Sometimes, it is lucky.
I am a blend of cultures and foods and languages and music and love.
I am long eyelashes and warm-colored skin
Hanboks and hoodies in the closet
On occasion, I am a perfect shade of light yellow, like fresh blooming daffodils   and lemon candy.

But sometimes,
Mixed is like being a foreigner no matter where I turn
My invitation gets lost in the mail
Floating out there somewhere in the void
And a half-hearted apology arrives in its place.

It is how every skill that I have
Is devalued and dismissed
Because it comes from someone who doesn’t perfectly fit into the place of the   final puzzle piece
I am an amalgamation of pieces, haphazardly stuck together by glue on jagged   edges.

It is envy, a painful pang of desire to be just a little bit more like my friends
Who surround me but don’t let me join in the circle
Our differences reflect off of me, blinding them
As I silently absorb our similarities.

Maybe it is possible to have “too many identities”
Possible to drown in your culture and your food and your language and your
  music and your love
To choke slowly on the hard lemon candy
To be suffocated by the daffodils, constricting around your mouth and your neck
And left to lie alone in the closet with your hoodies and your hanboks.

What is it like
to be a stranger to yourself?

Vienna is a sophomore at Ames High School. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys taking walks with her miniature poodle, spending hours programming and wiring robots, and playing the cello. She is an avid reader and considers writing an invaluable experience and outlet for ideas and emotions.