A Tribute to Myself
By Ria Parker
This piece was inspired by the Natalie Douglas tributes workshop, along with 2020 being a new decade filled with emotions. Additionally, since I am graduating this year, this decade will be filled with me taking my place in history.
There are so many people who have made a big impact on the world, whether because they stood up for change or you saw yourself represented in them. Whether because they loved you when you believed you weren’t lovable or they taught you the biggest lessons you’d learn in your life. They can be celebrities, family members, friends, mentors, heroes, even fictional characters.
And with death being a never-ending occurrence, feeling like an end of an era, your childhood, you give tributes to these people. You give tribute to those people in different ways and because of these tributes you make yourself a part of their history.
A tribute is defined as an act, statement, or gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration to a person. But a tribute isn’t only for the deceased, it is also for the living, for those who still manage to give contribution or service, doing remarkable things, and still inspire and influence others. That’s why I decided to write a tribute to myself.
A Tribute to Myself: If I were to die tomorrow, I hope I am remembered by:
- My love for my family and friends
- My love for learning
- My love for science fiction and afrofuturism
- My love for Michael Jackson and wanting to fight for his innocence and blackness that the world fails to see
- My need to put my best in everything
- My love for children: the ones who haven’t been robbed of their joy and innocence; the ones who have been robbed of their childhoods because of a cruel world that sees them as voiceless. Both groups are equally important and worthy of real love.
- My activism for all in terms of sexuality, disability, gender, race, class, ethnicity, all intersectionalities—even if mine is already at the bottom.
- My ambition, passion, and risks.
- My drive to change the world for the better.
- Saving you when you felt alone and something I wrote was able to transcend you to my soul and connect us both as if I am whispering “ I love you” in your ear constantly.
- My introversioness, my sensitivity, my blackness, my womanhood—all of which I define on my own terms.
A Tribute to Myself: For now and all the things I hope to accomplish in my lifetime:
- Everything I mentioned above.
- Being a screenwriter, where I am securing seats at the table for me and others like me.
- Owning my own production company, a place where everybody is accepted within good means and where everybody is represented truthfully because I for one know how it feels to not be.
- My fight for the incarcerated, for those whose souls leave their bodies due to living in a world that has done them wrong with an unjust justice system.
- My fight for the innocent, the ones proven innocent and the ones still fighting, who are trying to be treated like human beings and not criminals, because you are worth the fight.
- Giving those who aren’t given a second chance by society that chance.
- Opening up a school where nobody is pressured to a certain field and where creativity and thinking for one’s self isn’t suppressed. A school that teaches REAL and ALL history and is inclusive and informative on ALL topics.
- Opening up a children’s hospital in dedication to my role model AND children of the world.
- Many more failures and successes that will come in all due time.
If I were to die tomorrow and somebody were to give a tribute to me I’d want it to go something like this:
Ria Parker couldn’t move all 100 billion galaxies but she moved ours, with just her writing as it spilled out her words, her thoughts, and everything that made her vulnerable; with her words that could make fire freeze and death question itself. She was an introvert but the notebook was her voice. She wanted to change the world for the better and though there were people who had doubts because of her age, gender, race, and elsewhat, she managed to do that.
And this is how I, Ria Parker, am taking and will take my place in history.
Ria Parker is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.