MCL 711.1-711.3

On the first day of kindergarten music class, i cried because the teacher asked me to sing ‘my name is rachel’ and i thought it sounded dumb.

I could not, of course, articulate this.  I hyperventilated and had to leave the room, I think it was a panic attack, and the teacher made fun of me after I sang in the second grade talent show

my name is rachel

When I was seven I liked drawing fake futures.  One of them was a skyline, dominated by a building with ‘Lyn Kristiansen’s studio’ scrawled across the side.

my name is rachel

Three months into fifth grade, I changed the ‘preferred name’ section on my school forms to Lyn without my parents permission and it still felt wrong.

No one ever called me lyn, and at the beginning of the next semester my mom told me that she’d changed it back without asking me and I smiled and didn’t say anything

my name is rachel

now I’m a junior in high school, and my phone greets me as ennis and my profile website, where all my art goes says ennis and I want people to call me ennis but I haven’t told anyone.  

I don’t know if I will ever tell anyone.

my name is rachel

except it isn’t.  It isn’t just that there were five rachels in my eighth grade class and it isn’t just that Rachel means sheep in hebrew; I don’t feel like rachel.

people say that rachel is this and rachel is that and I never feel like they’re talking about me it’s like a game, try to get rachel to respond when you call her.

Rachel is the name of a morrissey.  It’s the name of a sheep, of four other kids, of a crying five-year-old who couldn’t say that she didn’t want to sing.

This identity, I like to call it a seventeen-year-old palate, with all of the paint that I couldn’t quite scrape off piled on top of each-other, doesn’t feel like me anymore.  I don’t want to be Rachel.

But names are what defines us.  They’re the sticky note thrown on top of my sheet of numbers and titles, 4.65+ GPA and gifted program, IQ unknown, 120 pounds and dropping.  It’s the tag that’s following me around, the first thing the teacher calls you, I can’t make it go away.

But god, I want to.

I want to make myself.  I’m sick of feeling like a slave to my past, every time I cut a tie three more reappear in its place.  I don’t want to be this person anymore.

The Velveteen Rabbit says that generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.

This poem is about: 
Me

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