It was on my mother's birthday that I understood what it meant to be a man. My heart fell into a dissonant rhythm, I panicked, trembled with fear. My surroundings constituted of terror and agony, I could sense the fear in the atmosphere. The cries and tears of millions all at once create a dreadful harmony of fear and destruction. Some waived their sanity for mental suppression of the events. Death did not follow segregation, individuals from all classes and gender spontaneously dying, without warning or knowledge of the occurrence. The vivid memories haunt me every day.
In 2010 an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 dismantled the already indigent island of Haiti. An anomalous island of moribund beliefs in voodooism, a cursed island of failed collusions with other nations, ubiquitous and feared for its sadistic beliefs. Thousands of intelligent individuals, tedious due to the lack of proper education. The earthquake caused maelstroms among families, the youth transformed into pugilistic beasts with no sense of guilt, all thinking the apocalypse has arrived. Some prayed, others fought, but most lost hope; the artisans lost their hands, the singers lost their tongues, the dancers lost their feet. Hopelessness prevailed, the depressed displaced their anger on the government and each other.
I witnessed hell, surrounded by thousands of decaying bodies, the ground tremored, the houses crumbled. Then came the smell of the burning bodies, as burying would pollute our water. I felt powerless. Two weeks after the transitory quake, we no longer feared the ground, but we feared our comrades. I vividly recall the shot being fired by bandits in my communities and fearing getting robbed or killed. 6 months after, I moved to the United States, leaving family and everything behind.
Accommodating to life in America became a strenuous task. An arcane life of forbearance for both my father and I, a maelstrom of emotions, fear of being rejected, wanting to be conciliatory to all enemies. I was denigrated for being of Haitian descent, bullied for my dialect, avoided for my culture, I felt alienated. My first year of High School in Georgia marked the beginning of my quest for intelligence, I had now repressed some of the haunting memories of the earthquake, I left the ESOL program to a more advanced honors language arts, I felt so proud I called my best friend in Haiti to tell him the news. My sophomore year, I took advanced classes (mostly science) to challenge my intelligence and perspicacity, it was effective, I gained monolithic knowledge on abstract scientific thoughts. I was now addicted to knowledge, information, facts about nature, nurture and philosophy. I initiated my junior year in a more aggressive manner, participating in the beta club, student council, the national honors society, the academic decathlon team, I played tennis; all in a hope to find meaning. Although my academic perseverance brought me solace, there was something missing. I wondered if this darkness stemmed from my parents not being in the united states, or maybe due to the inability to fully assimilates to a culture that at the time felt abnormal.
To create we must be willing to destroy; for quantum mechanics to exist, some classical physical laws had to be challenged. I believe that a man cannot build without being willing to dismantle, expand or defenestrate his beliefs; to dispose of customs and biases for the sake of discovery and service. Innovation prevails when one steps out of their comfort zone. 3 years ago, during my freshman year of college, I made the decision to free myself from many of those biases; and more importantly to mutate my way of life. One of these changes was to not just hear but to listen to the stories of people. The two greatest assets that we have as social creatures are our minds and the people around us. However, this blessing can turn into a curse if not handle with care, flexibility, and empathy.
My true-life goal is to grow into somebody that facilitates change in my community. I want the ability to give back (in the form of honoring their efforts) to those that contributed to my life. From my callow ages roaming the towns of Haiti, attending an American college remained a dream of far reaches. I feel very fortunate of residing in the United States but also blessed for my past; as dark as it may be. My gratefulness towards my family, teachers, and friends are infinite. 8 years ago, as a French and Creole speaker in the depth of the hidden struggles, I could not even fathom applying to universities in the United States. I shall not dwell on the past, but instead, use that energy to plan my future. The Haitian culture has gifted me with my conviction and the American system had shown me hope. My past remains a big part of my life; however, I must focus on my dream as a Haitian Immigrant.