I Learn Library

A human library inspired by the stories in the film

I want my voice to be heard!

By Anastasiya  |   From : Staten Island, NY  |   School : Susan Wagner High School

My immigration story began 20 years ago, when my aunt moved to the U.S. During her childhood she was really close to my father, that’s why she felt very lonely in America. Aunt Luda decided to reunite with her brother across the Atlantic Ocean. However, it was decline, because my dad had divorce with his first wife. Fourteen years later after I was born, on December 31, 2014 we got an email-invitation to meet with consul in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. My mom was afraid to go to Kiev because just one year ago Ukraine had a revolution. For me it is complicated because I was born in Ukraine, but I left my home as part of Russia. We went to Kiev together, my dad, mom, my step-brother and me. Four months later we came to the U.S.
In my last day in Russia, I was more happy than upset or scared but I fell safe because I knew my family was with me. My mom is very social and communicable person. She had a lot of friends in Russia he closest of them came with us to the airport. I remember it was an amazing and warm night, the stars were so bright. One of my Godmother even brought the sparklers. For me it was an important day not just for making a big step into something unexplored. Although I did not know I would meet my best friend in another country after of three months of fights and Cold War in my country. Very clear, I remember Lena’s floral scent of hair while she hugged me as she would hug her teddy bear. She was crying so hard that her pink t-shirt became wet of  tears as well as mine. My grandma was wearing the very soft jacket, which I loved when I was six years old.

My dad moved to America a few months earlier before us, to get everything that we’d need for living. He was staying in his sister’s apartment for a while. It was extremely hard for him because he didn’t speak English. My mom is this amazing woman, I’m sure that not every woman might be so strong to completely change her whole life upside down in forty seven years. As soon as mom and I came to U.S., my step-brother had to finish his studying in Ukraine. After not a long time finally he joined our small but friendly family. He loves me but he also loves his younger brother Max, which lives in Russia with my step-brother’s mom. I’m Anastasia but my friends call me Nastya. It’s a short version of my name. My cousin told me to not use my short name with American friends because it sounds like the word “nasty”, which means disgusting and annoying so people might think that I’m annoying. In reality I’m just a normal person like anyone else. I believe your name does not totally describe you as person. I was very shy and afraid to talk to anyone. Also I’m a very intelligent person. My most favorite hobby is to create another world as I’m a writer. I write stories and poems. My major inspiration to write poems about me or my life was by Joseph Brodsky and Sergei Yesenin. I like to read some types of philosophy literature and then make my own observation. 

I was scared of bullying in school. I thought that everyone will bully me of my Russian accent. Also, that I wouldn’t have friends and that I will be lonely I was afraid to show myself. In the same way, I was carrying a lot of society opinion about me. Basically, I was afraid of everything. But it was just a beginner end of my long story.

   After a long flight of eight and half hours. I felt lonely for a whole summer. Back in Russia I had a lot of friends. I lost almost all of them although I still don’t know why but I may guess, they were envious. However, now I know who is who and who is a true friend and who’s not. Finally, summer was ending and I went to school. I don’t remember almost everything from two months of school. However, I remember my first day of school. On that day I met my best friend Karina. She is the best she helped me with communicating, classwork and with her as a friend my life become better but I was still afraid to look different then everybody else. Per diem (day by day) I was making new friends. No one was bullying me. As a girl, I was trying to be nice to everyone. Without kindness it’s just impossible for one person to like you for who you are. In fact trying to be nice to everybody isn’t what you really are. My friend told me one day, “you can be yourself, You should do what you want.” Months later, I found a quote by John Andreas Widtsoe, “Decide what you want to be… Pay or Price… And be what you want to be.” By analyzing my final decision was a “Price”. Metamorphoses began. Step by step I changed, by small tiny pieces. I started to wear what I like, but not what everyone wears. My next checkpoint was being proud of myself. 

           In my new life almost of all the time, I spend my time with my friends. Karina is my best friend she showed me the most amazing sides of friendships. She motivates me to be responsible and be able to realize my feelings towards others. Her parents became friends with mine. Alex wasn’t my friend but he made some of the changes in my opinion about myself. Sasha became my muse. She is a writer like me. We like to write stories in co-working. Abigail is my art muse. Her drawing is very nice, bright and poignant. She is funny and very friendly. With George, I realized that I wouldn’t be shy to explain my minds. By that, I mean, he showed the way of being open to people. In addition to all my friend, I might add my brother. We had really difficult relationships in the past but now he is the first person for whom I would go if I have troubles, questions or need some support. I still have amazing relationships with my old friends as well as with new ones. 

As a result, I became myself I became who I really am. I achieved almost all of my goals, but I’m kept moving to new ones. I have friends and I’m not lonely my English is much better now. So now I can do what I like, write more poems. Famous Zimbabwean politician said, “Follow your heart, listen to your inner voice stop caring about what others think” this quote became my life statement. 

I want everyone to know that it’s not so easy to change yourself. It might seem easy but if you are working hard and constantly, you can achieve your goals. In my story there was a lot of sadnesses and happiness. One of the most amazing feelings is the understanding that all is not in vain. I learned that being yourself is normal. Everybody should enjoy their life. 

The summer of 2016 I went for a vacation in Russia. I met my old friends, my old teachers, etc. They all were saying that I changed a lot. My best friend was the last person I saw in Russia. Lena and I been friends for twelve years. She was in the pink t-shirt, she was hugging me as a Teddy Bear and our last goodbye was the same as before, but she added at the end, “we will meet again soon…” 

Almost half of this school year past already. This year I met more new and amazing people who become a part of my life. 

  I am a book, with my own stories inside
I want my voice to be heard!
I am a good and a bad person in a same time,
And it’s my choice to narrate my way on a pedestal. 
We are the same, we are people,
And everybody has something to say 

            I’m a writer not for glory or respect.
I write for being human, to save someone one day. 

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