A path leading to a hilly forest area.
Photo by Simon Berger via Pexels.

Persistence and the Path Home

A poem by McKalee Steen

Even with the legacies of my family holding me up,
Imposter syndrome still comes knocking
When it does,
I open up and let it in, tell it that
in order for the caterpillar to become what it is meant to be,
it first has to dissolve in a pile of goo
Tell it that my curiosity and grit
Are as natural to me as breathing
These days
I think a lot about the people I come from
The ones who walked a trail made of their tears
And the ones who crossed oceans
Because water is cleansing and destructive
I don’t know what it means when my colonized taste buds
don’t like traditional foods
I hope the ancestors will understand when I add a spoonful of sugar
just to help the taste of grief go down
Is the colonial project complete
when they’ve claimed the last frontier of our very senses?
One thing I know for sure
Is that the meaning of the land is sacred
that our obligations to it
are what have kept us consistently cultivating
new generations of beautiful beings
Know that we speak a language that does not yet exist
For how to persist in this ever changing world
And when that legacy feels too heavy
I set it down for a moment
Look through my family tree, and
Remember my mother telling me,
that she wouldn’t have the courage to do what I’m doing,
but it’s her who paved the path
Remember my dad
Who taught me a sense of direction so strong
that I always know where I’m headed, no matter what road I’m on
Deep roots keep me grounded
Knowing that every path
Leads home.