Who I Am
I am my homeland.
I am the towering pines under whose branches I sat as a child. My hair is made of pine needles, pine rosin runs through my veins.
My feet run downward like a tap root into the sandy, loamy soil and firmly hold me to my birth place.
I am the boggy swamplands on whose mucky edge I grew up. My knees are knobby like those of the cypress, my ankles ringed with mud and the tea-colored water in which alligators swim. My arms are the limbs of the tupelos and sweet bay trees wearing a mossy boa, they reach out casting shade along the swampy waters.
I am my upbringing.
I am a born and bred Southerner and I revel in its idiosyncrasies. “Bless your heart” and “Well, I declare” are staples of my vocabulary. Good manners and congeniality are expected behaviors, respect for my elders are a commandment. I know my family history and yours too, if you are from where I grew up.
I am my parents.
I am a fusion of genes, a mixture of two very different people, an amalgam of traits, personalities and quirks combined with my own individuality.
I am my mother; I know this for I have been told so many times. I have her sense of humor; I absorbed her sense of duty. I’ve inherited her steadfast love for family and her strong sense of justice. My heart beats with the same compassion for others that she’s always shown.
I am my father. The pine forest whispers my name and beckons me, as it has called to him since he was a child. I know some of its secrets, though not near as many as he holds in his heart. Like him, I long for its quiet solitude and the barrier it creates from the outside world.
I am myself. I am a patchwork quilt of situations and encounters, created from the many pieces of the life I’ve experienced, all sewn together by the thread of years to create the whole.
Daughter, sister, friend, aunt, cousin, wife, and mother- these roles all fit me like pieces of clothing I’ve bought along the way in my life’s journey.
I am a writer. A label I was once too timid to call myself, but have now accepted. I have no choice, for words leak from my pores, spill from my fingertips, leach from my lips, pour from my brain, and I can only confess them here on page like some dark sins before they burst my heart into.
All of this is who I am.
Rose Steedley Williams
Rose Steedley Williams