FIRSTS BY ADRIANA KIM

there are so many firsts

 

the first time that i got called a bitch on a ballot

uuuuuuumy second tournament, unsure of how to speak, how to construct arguments, uuuuuuuhow to utilize my voice

uuuuuuuuuuuuuui felt tainted, silenced, hurt, afraid

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuui was fourteen

 

the first time i stood up in a practice round and

uuuuuuucouldn’t breathe

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuthe only girl in the room, so many eyes, so many expectations, so uuuuuuuuuuuuuumuch room to fail,

uuuuuuubut, even worse

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuthe tangible desire for me to fail – to crash, to burn

uuuuuuui still remember stuttering through that speech, watching their smirks,

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuknowing i’d failed , become their expectation

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuustumbling to the bathroom after, throwing up twice

 

the first time that my boys turned their backs

uuuuuuuturned me into a

slut, crazy bitch, attention seeking whore, psychopath

uuuuuuui was just trying to fit in,

uuuuuuuuuuuuuubreak the boys club, but

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuit was only when i no longer recognized myself

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuthat i realized that the price might be too high

 

and yet

 

the first time i watched them debate

uuuuuuuwhen i thought to myself

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuthat is how i want to be, that is how i want to speak, that is how i want uuuuuuuuuuuuuuto carry myself

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuthat could be me 

 

the first time i won a bid round,

uuuuuuuwhen,

uuuuuuui was flying, exuberant

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuon the greatest high of my life because

uuuuuuuthe achievement that i was trained to believe i could never reach

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuwas right there in front of me and

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuufor a second

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuui had realized that this dream, this dream was uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuupossible

 

the first time i was excited, ecstatic to go to a tournament

uuuuuuujust to see the people that i loved

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuthe people who were still there

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuthe reason i love this event

 

there are so many firsts and

 

they have burned me in all of their

uuuuuuuexhausteds, and devestateds, and overwhelmeds,

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuwhen i have hurt, so much, because the world, this world

uuuuuuuisn’t easy on a girl with so much to say but

 

these firsts

define me

they have taught me how to break,

uuuuuuufake a smile,

uuuuuuuuuuuuuubreathe ‘i’m fine’ through clenched teeth

uuuuuuuuuuuuuubut also

uuuuuuuhow to love genuinely

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuspeak up

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuforce a change

 

uuuuuuuthese firsts want to silence me

uuuuuuuuuuuuuupush me out of something i love

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusomething greater than myself but

 

it’s the firsts that remind me

uuuuuuuthat i love what i do

 

By Adriana Kim

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