Editor’s note: The following essays and art are part of Xpress‘ 2016 Kids Issue, a colorful annual feature that offers local K-12 students a chance to express themselves through art, poetry and prose. This year, we asked kids to focus on themselves with the theme of “Who am I?”
Who am I? I am fun summer days spent eating and uniting with family at my grandparents’ house: grilled chicken and cheeseburgers, rolls and salads, macaroni and cheese, and then cakes and frozen treats. The kids would rush through the meal and then head outside to play games. The yard was no boundary as we spilled over into the neighbors’ yards. They didn’t mind.
Who am I? I am winter bonfires and chasing little kids and little animals. Afternoons spent out in the woods. Climbing high in the mountains with my cousin. Getting up on my roof and just sitting there. Fun, long nights at our house, playing Black Ops and watching movies with my family well into the morning.
Who am I? I am fun days at my uncle’s camp. Riding four-wheelers all over the camp trails. Watching football and laughing at my uncle’s house. Swimming in the pool and the lake, and hiking; walking all over camp, and sitting on his porch and talking.
Who am I? I am my house, my big yard, my biggish house with a big chunk of woods behind it. My animals have their whole section of it, or they used to (my goats now control the whole yard.). My pigs live in what used to be the chicken coop. The roof is the best part of the yard, because you can see the mountains: the rolling curve of the peak illuminated by the setting sun.
Who am I? I am all those things. I am guitar and basketball, soccer and siblings, humor and sadness. My yard and my cousins, my parents and grandparents, my favorite camp and winter afternoons. I am all of those things. I am living this life in the perfect way, in the perfect place.
— Sam Edwards, The Learning Community School, eighth grade
At times people will ask me, “Who are you? Tell me about yourself.” I often answer the obvious: I’m in the seventh grade, I go to The Learning Community School, and my favorite color is pink. But I never say I’m the girl that can be sensitive, can be caring and kind. I’m the girl who has to be strong, has to get told to try and stand up for herself. I’m the girl who can’t hide behind people her whole life.
I am an empty water bottle, sweaty shin guards, New Jersey, broken noses, smushed fingers, field hockey. It was love at first sight when I had my first field hockey lesson four years ago. I was fascinated by how the ball moved back and forth on the smooth stick. My coach is from South Africa, and she has a beautiful accent. When my dad got me my first very own hockey stick for my birthday, I was ready to commit myself to my sport. I play forward, and all I want to do is scrimmage. In high school I hope to be the captain of the field hockey team. I’m really glad that I found field hockey, because it is truly my passion.
I am Texas. My dad grew up in Houston. That place has fascinated me from the very beginning. I remember very clearly when I was about 9 years old, my parents, grandparents and I were looking around in a small shop. I was looking at all the Texas flags when I heard a bunch of rowdy people walk in the door. I looked over and saw this big biker gang with different colored bandanas tied over their bald heads. It was just like in a movie: They came in slow motion, popping their collars, while everyone stared in awe and “Back in Black,” an AC/DC song, played in the background. Their big leather cowboy boots made a clicking sound each time they stepped on the creaky floor.
I have this Texas vibe to my personality, and I like it: cowgirl hats, fringe vests and the sweet smell of leather boots. That’s me.
But who am I exactly? I’m the girl who still dosen’t know who she is. That girl doesn’t know what she wants to be; she doesn’t have it all planned out. That’s OK; she’ll know it when she sees it. I don’t want to pretend to be someone that I’m not: I’m my own human being.
— Fields Wright, The Learning Community School, seventh grade
CHINESE AND VIOLIN
Who I am is my house in Montford: Waking up, coming downstairs. Murphy, the dog, greets me at the bottom of the stairs, and we walk into the kitchen together. I’m the kid who wore rain boots on a perfectly sunny day, a bathing suit and goggles in the bathtub, the kid who stuffed her things into the closet when her mom told her to make her bed. I am made of 10 years of studying Chinese and hating every minute of it, desperately trying to get my parents to let me quit. This is me, the 5-year-old girl who wouldn’t let her parents help her with homework, getting dressed, making food or anything else. As well as all that, I am made of Asheville, of all the people who live here and just the city itself.
In preschool, I was the girl who wanted to be “leader of the day” so badly that I would put my name at the top of the box for the teacher to draw out. I was the kid who was so stubbornly independent that if a teacher or anyone tried to help me or tell me what to do, I would pitch a huge fit. At my preschool, we weren’t allowed to close the door when we went to the bathroom (probably because they didn’t want us to drown in the toilet). Whenever the teacher “reminded” me of that rule, I closed the door in their face and locked it.
Ever since the age of 2, I’ve taken Chinese; ever since the age of 3, I’ve played the violin. The difference was that I actually enjoyed the violin lessons. When I got older and found out that a person is legally an adult at age 18, I became obsessed with turning 18 so I could quit Chinese.
I am all of these things, and together, they make me who I am today.
— Sophia Ewing, The Learning Community School, eighth grade