Tamar Shapiro-Tamir


My name is Tamar, and I’m fourteen…
all those commonplace details.
I am a girl…more or less.
Like my role in this year’s musical,
“The womanly fills my mind, my heart, and certain of my dreams.”
(If you know me, you probably already know this, but it’s an important part of who I am.)
Yes, I am in this year’s musical,
playing a part that seems to hold
my own secrets, longings and fears,
beneath her tough exterior.
Singing and acting is not all I do, though: I also write,
weaving pieces of myself through the stories I tell.
About a year ago, I remember telling my father:
“My life is perfect.”
As if Fate wanted to test that belief,
I fell in love.
My life changed drastically.
To protect myself,
I had to become stronger, harder.
I was sure that everyone would hate me when I came out.
But keeping secrets has never been part of who I am.
So slowly, I began to tell people.
It has been hard in some ways.
Some people didn’t believe me at first;
some relationships have been damaged
seemingly beyond repair.
But others have become closer.
I guess it’s true what people say
about how you find out who
your true friends are.
My interest in other things than romance,
the way I present myself in general,
has changed, but most people
love and accept the new me
as they did the old one.
Deep where it counts,
I’m still the same person,
passionate, thoughtful,
maybe a little crazier
than I used to be.
And I’ve come to love that person too.
Okay, maybe I’ve had more pain and confusion in the past year than in my whole life…
but also more joy and certainty.
Just as it is,
my current life is perfect.

Tamar Shapiro-Tamir wrote "Autobiography" when she was fourteen. She is now nineteen and the writer of the novel Extrema, the first chapter of which can now be seen in the Write Launch, the short story "Matthew, Mark, Luke and Jon," which can now be seen in Zimbell Press' After Effects anthology, and the poem "The Resurrection," which will be published in the Poets' Touchstone in December of 2017. "Autobiography" is Tamar's first published poem.