A Place To Stand, B.W.

In my opinion to be whole is to speak and feel your true self, without the interruption of any emotion, just who you are without any other input or adaptation.  I feel this way because it is very easy to be caught up in an environment or action while containing an emotion. While playing a competitive sport I would say I am fueled with a bit of anger and rage, while in school I am bored and relaxed, which sometimes makes me irritable. To me it all depends on the current mood of the person which upon itself relies on multiple factors. So to make it short, no one is ever one-hundred percent “whole”.

Since being introduced to the question, “what does it mean to be whole” I have been trying to evaluate my actions, past and present. And due to this, I have realised I am as whole as I can be when at home and in my form of a “comfort zone”. I would say this is my closest place to being whole, true to myself, due to the ease of getting there. Inside my comfort zone I am not under any influence from the outside and am able to be myself without any interruption. While in the outside world many factors contribute to the makeup of whom I am, while in my safe space I am unchanged, without any influence. This goes along with my definition of being “whole”, which is to be true to yourself and those around one hundred percent of the time. I believe this because I think it is very easy for people, including myself, to get caught up in their feelings or the emotion of the situation. When at home I rarely have a care in the world, and due to that, never get put into an emotional state. Unfortunately for some they do not have the option of going to a comfort zone so they must deal with the cards they are dealt. In A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Jimmy’s mom, for example, made for her own life the focal point of her decisions which made it really hard for her to be whole. First, the willingness to forget her heritage and to become more white is hard for me to comprehend. It more or less seems that throughout history, and across the world, having a culture is very representative of who you are and where you come from. This is a source of pride for many and can even provide benefits,  and unfortunately for some there is still harsh attitudes in the corners of the country. This is what seems to have sadly influenced Jimmy’s mom into giving up her hispanic heritage, and given her already white features, made it easily possible. She was able to create a comfort zone for herself by not being her true self; for me that is hard to understand because I have access to a comfort zone where I am whole, but she has a comfort zone where she is part of the mother she used to be. At this moment I came to the conclusion that She saw herself as the most important person and emotionally acted to keep things that way. The part I’m truly calling into question is the fact that she makes her own children feel inferior and bad about being non-white. She says things such as “ act like those kids”, or even her not saying things to defend Jimmy’s desire to eat tortillas around Richard. I can see that she wanted a better life but to make your own child think that he is “not good” is very bothering. Even when Jimmy saw his mom with her new kids, she introduced him as an old friend and nothing more. She became dependent on her comfort zone and in turn could not be whole, this showed how she only cared for what benefited her life and did not act without emotion. These actions, and mindset, clearly impacted Jimmy later in his life with incidences arising as he struggled to become the man he is today. In the end this gave Jimmy a great example of how to hold himself high, to represent himself as a true person.

While reading at times I’d realize that his past would haunt him for a very long time. When he found himself attending Harrison Junior High he stated times when he felt overwhelmed with the ease that the other kids moved around and held themselves with. He was way out of his comfort zone and in turn could not associate wholly. Especially when it came to the academic aspect he felt very out of place, so he easily went into a safe zone of doing what he knows and likes, daydreaming. Not knowing how to read, do math, or generally associate with the other students Jimmy quickly stopped participating and did his own thing until the day was over. Jimmy would create his own safe environment where he could be whole with himself, this would come in handy later in his life.  What made things worse was his attitude towards himself and the other students. He said things like, “ they were the kind of kids my mother would point to, saying I should be like them,” this already mentally told Jimmy that he was bad and dumb, and that these kids were better than him. Luckily he was introduced to Coach Tracy he was immediately hit with his kind nature which made Jimmy open up. Eventually Jimmy was seen as the star of the team that the other kids looked up to. When looking at his time on the football field it is clear Jimmy is the most himself there, he is in a safe zone. He still was seen as an outsider but some of the kids already put out a helping hand, this showed Jimmy that he wasn’t just what his mom said, which helped start him in his process to become whole.

When Jimmy found himself in Jail he had to use his raw emotion to stay alive on the inside, but hide it to stay alive on the outside. He regularly created his own time to spend on what he wanted to do which put him in a natural environment. This was the beginning of his transition to find his whole side. From the early months of incarceration he learned how to act without emotion, even though throughout his life his mom did the opposite, he was able to surpass her. This all became extremely helpful for Jimmy when he went into solitary confinement, he had to rely on his non-emotional state to stay alive. This all created the man that writes the great American poetry we know today, and the whole-hearted person that has inspired us all.

In the end I think that it is hard for the average person to be whole due to many factors from outside life, private life, and social media which will all take an impact into the type of person you are and the choices you make.


Writer’s Memo: I was introduced to the question what does it mean to be whole while I was in my Diversity class and it was phrased to be one about comfort zones and vulnerability. Nonetheless, it made me start thinking about my life and how I present myself, added to the prior thoughts from my diversity class to what was running through my head while reading APTS. This all led me to the prompt “What it means to be whole” in which I tried to analyze using my prior knowledge, however I regularly found myself sidetracked from what I truly meant in the introduction.  I strongly feel that if I sat down with no outside thoughts to interupt me I could easily express myself, but for some reason I feel as if I am restraining myself from showing 100% myself. I still agree with what I say in this piece of writing but just that a lot of the content is put in the wrong place, or wrong time. Regardless I found myself contemplating my day-to-day actions past and present and as well what I could do in the future. My favorite take away is how I have begun to judge those around me. More specifically those on tv, news, internet, and social media to see if they are being whole, or what their perspective on the situation is to give them an opinion. This has given me a more understandable approach to things, besides a traditional black vs white argument, I try to see in between as to why.


REVISED: I reevaluated what I had written in the draft and focused in on the main idea of being whole. I got more evidence to add to the body of the paper. In the end I cleared everything up and made it sound like a good traditional paper.


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