Congratulations to Jenel Marcelle, the winner of the NYC New Beginnings Creative Writing contest.
Read below to view her award-winning work, "Rewriting Legacy."
By Jenel Marcelle
What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden that I’ll never get to see
It’s growing up with the burdens that define you and me
Being pushed out into a world that breathes hypocrisy
It’s the knowledge that in another life, there is a prophecy
A written word that exists to lay out my...
What is my destiny?
I mean, for now, I live to appease my family
To make sure that my siblings all live in harmony
That no matter what
The “higher-ups” take all of the glory
To be calm and scrutinized in front of distinguished company
And to never have the privilege of bubbling with envy
Just take a look at the irony
They say your name is attached to your fate
Which means there’s nothing you can break
Unless you manage to change your name
Not just the word itself
But the shackles that define you
The things that tie you to your past
That lets people reprimand
And criticize you
But what am I supposed to do?
The middle child in a group of many
Your classic burnt-out gifted kid story
A child who has potential
But never uses it the right way
A “girl” who doesn’t quite appreciate their name
Since the only emotions involved are mock and disdain
The poor sap that can’t fancy someone of their gender
Since that kind of love will leave them disgraced and rendered
A hopeless case
But what if this is the year I change?
Where I live by my own law
We’re in a new day and age
It’s time to be the person that I know I’ll adore
Not just some black girl from the slums
Snatching goods from the store
I’m proud to be that melanin enby
Who sings as softly as they speak
The she/they that’s madly in love with the girl across the street
I’m no longer code-switching
So it’s time to learn my new name
Breaking free from a destiny that used to chain me down
To fit the mold of a broken society
Stepping out to finally leave the first bits of my legacy
And with that said, I’ll proudly proclaim
Hello, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Kae.