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A Reflection on Becoming

Poetry, Prose, and Reflections from WriteGirl Teens

The NHM Commons is a transformative project opening to the public in 2023. In the spirit of our “front porch” becoming a multi-space community hub, we paired up with our Community Partner, WriteGirl, a creative writing and mentoring organization that promotes leadership skills to empower teens. In this collaboration between NHM and WriteGirl, teens were invited to reflect on the theme of “becoming” to celebrate NHM Commons becoming a new kind of museum.

Below are their reflections, questions, poetry and prose on the theme of “becoming.” 

 


 

WriteGirl Neha
WriteGirl Sally

 

How does every day change you?

Kendall, 16, Santa Clarita, CA
Becoming Me

I was a castle made of stone, the thick rock protecting me from hurt
but as the stone weathered, shimmering streaks of lightning 
divide the sky and my fortress in half,
tangled vines of ivy snake their way through the widening cracks of my walls, 
my moat floods with koi as red as the blood running through my veins,
thick moss settles on the surface of the shimmering water.
I let go.  
I became vulnerable and vulnerability is power.

SAM, 18, REDONDO BEACH, CA
Katie's Reflection
Tree, becoming

Here beyond my window is a pomegranate tree
Bathed in sunlight
My tree is always becoming
Leaves emerge and fall in the same breath,
Each day morphing into a new version of itself
Roots penetrate the ground and infinitely change the geographic landscape 
in the small space beyond my window,
Its metamorphosis produces the most beautiful fruit.
I remember my pomegranate tree
When I feel as if the world beyond my window is far too big
I do not deny my tree the room to grow
And I will not deny the same for myself.

Georgia, 17, South Pasadena, CA
WriteGirl Annabel

Changing y Cambiando

El mundo cambia
Developing and changing
We can change with it

Paola, 15, Culver City, CA 
Reconstructions

I stared at the fossils
towering overhead 
and I asked you 
where their feathers
had gone.

And you told me: 
the best specimen 
is still lying 
somewhere 
beneath the ground.

And you told me: 
sometimes 
a reconstruction
is the only thing 
that we have.

And you told me: 
sometimes 
it’s okay
to be unfinished.

Emily, 24, Riverside, CA
WriteGirl Paulina

여름 (Yeoleum)

Umma knows when they are ripe–
Come out and taste the sweet tomatoes. 
Fresh in yeoleum, yeoleum, gone.

Enni, 14, Baldwin Hills, CA
Ma vie scolaire

New schools, new places.
My friends and I are moving on.
New shoes, new looks.
My favorite jacket doesn’t fit anymore.
New faces, new friends.
I laugh with my group in the cafeteria.
Everything’s perfect.
Change of plans.
New rules, new changes.
New plan, new teachers.
A different start.
New grade, new beginning.
I walk through the school halls with everyone but sometimes I feel alone.
New day, old and new friends.
Every change makes us stronger and we become more of who we really are.
C’est la vie.

Audrey B., age 13, South Pasadena
WriteGirl Machaela

 

How are you becoming a person your younger self would be proud of? 

Sofia, 22, El Monte, CA
Laurens reflection
Write Girl Eve Cherry

Becoming

And though I was but small I
shifted, I
became magnificent

Delaney, 14, Santa Monica, CA 
Surrender

As I wandered along the edges of my consciousness
and traced my fingers across long-past memories,
I was humbled by the thought of how the 
crashing waves, gentle ripples and dancing waters of time had
smoothed edges, made impressions, and carved canyons within me.
It was then that I realized that all along I had feared change 
when I should have feared stagnation.

PALLAVI, 16, NISKAYUNA, NY 
WriteGirl Annie

Change?

Change, like the ancient Chinese philosophy of dualism, contains both bad and good, never one. Always both. 

Isabella, 17, Glendora, CA 
WriteGIrl Leilani

Like the Trees

All forests begin as handfuls of seeds;
to change means to evolve,
I am becoming what I need. 

Nature works at a rapid speed
making bodies bloom like flowers;
all forests begin as handfuls of seeds. 

Like when you move forward as you read,
a new page must be turned.
I am becoming what I need. 

All barren land can one day become green,
nothing stays the same forever.
All forests begin as handfuls of seeds.

“Be patient,” Time tells me,
“It is the way of the world to keep on growing.”   
I am becoming what I need. 

To be at one with Mother Earth means
to embrace the wonders it’s working in me.
All forests begin as handfuls of seeds;
I am becoming what I need.

Alejandra, 21, Los Angeles, CA 

 

WriteGIrl Sally 2

Onward: The Only Way

Onward, my friends,
We must march,
Never forgetting,
But instead learning
From the worldly mistakes of our past.

Sofia 17, Upland, CA 

 

WriteGirl Rachel

Building

From the ground up
my concrete roots sprout
into walls and ceilings
and I become whole

Eve (Cherry), 15, Culver City, CA 
WriteGirl Machaela
WriteGIrl Alejandra

 

What do you dream of becoming?

Eve (Cherry), 16, Encino, CA 
WriteGirl Victoria
WriteGIrl Abigail

 

How does every day change you?

Kendall, 16, Santa Clarita, CA 
WriteGirl Grace

A Breath of Stillness

Life passes us by
as daughters become mothers
as 5th grade becomes 10th
as friends become distant strangers

Sometimes we’re a bystander in our own story
Spectators observing the river of life flow past 
Every ripple and unforeseen current a jolt 
in our fragile understanding of who we are

Sometimes life passes us by
but there are times

when the ethereal glow of a setting sun illuminates your room
when you feel the rumble of a clanky car pulling in the driveway, 
knowing exactly who’s home
or when the familiar melody of your favorite song sings out of your car 
as you fly into the night, windows down, hair floating

Then, time seems to stop.

Abigail, 14, Los Angeles, CA 
WriteGirl Piper
WriteGirl Machaela 2

Hasan-Minhaj-Hilarious

The mood shifts when you become enough. Each word rolled like roti and thick like honey in milk. Sewing together the pieces of culture for something treasurable.

Amelia, 16, Altadena, CA 
WriteGirl Nijah
WriteGirl Charlotte

 

Is there anything you should shed that you're still holding onto?

Danya, 14, Riverside, CA 
WriteGirl Ella
WriteGirl Adriana

Every person is a unique mosaic of everyone they've ever loved. What are some traits you learned from others that are valuable, and what are some traits you learned from others that you can let go?

Sam, 18, Redondo Beach, CA
WriteGirl Althea
WriteGirl Aahna


What has the pandemic made you realize about yourself?

Gianna, 16, Westlake Village, CA 
WriteGirl Ella
WriteGirl Maria

Midsummer Rain

After the storm, I welcomed the cooling rain with open arms. I stood there in the darkness as the sun left me alone to bloom, and on that night I grew taller than the stars.

Annabel, 15, Irvine, CA 
WriteGirl Weronika
WriteGirl Danya

 

 

We become ourselves more and more each day.

Sophia, 14, Los Angeles, CA 
WriteGirl Izzy

A big thank you to our collaborator

WriteGirl Logo