Writing: ‘I’m From’ by Peter Andara-Jacquez

This piece placed second for middle school writing submissions in the 2022 Ánimo Voices Writing and Art Competition, which invited students to respond to the open prompt “I’ve Got Something to Say.” The competition is an opportunity to motivate, recognize, and celebrate our strong student voices through writing, spoken word, and art.

Peter Andara-Jacquez


By Peter Andara-Jacquez
Ánimo Legacy Charter Middle School

"I'm From"

I am from bright lights and tall trees that make up my personality.
I am from the heritage and ethnicity of my family.
I am from the hospital hidden in all the tall buildings that make up Downtown Los Angeles.
I am from the comfort of a mother's hug.

I am from the reassuring careless whispers.
I am from the rough concrete that taught me how to heal.
I am from meaningless birthday cards filled in with a five-dollar bill.
I am from the fortune cookies that taught me the life lessons that I'm still trying to learn today.

I am from debates between me and my sister that taught me I'm not always right.
I am from lectures that taught me to accept my emotions
I am from learning so quickly just to forget within seconds.
I am from planning goals just to change them 5 seconds after.

I am from the lies of a friend that turned out to be the truth.
I am from tough love which taught me the idea of being tough.
I am from brave scenes in my head that turned into cowardly scenes in real life.
I am from the fights that taught me how to fight.

I am from the fear of opening the door to find out it was just the wind howling a tune.
I am from the closet door shut and open at the same time.
I am from chasing the bus just for it to zoom away from existence.
I am from the answers that I ask myself just to receive a blank response.

I am from my grandmother's home-cooked meals that fed the family.
I am from the restaurants where my family were regulars
I am from the conversations with my family that taught me it's ok to use my voice
I am from the people in my life who are distant memories in my large mind.

I am from the music that taught me life isn't always perfect.
I am from new and past friendships.
I am from the long lines that taught me patience.
I am from the laser that ignites the burning fire in my eyes that makes up my imaginative mind.