Meet me and my “METAL” exterior

When I was in high school, I read this poem in my Film Literature class. It’s stuck with me whenever I try to think of metaphors and ways we could use meaning in works of fiction. It’s called “Southbound on the Freeway” by Mary Swenson:

A tourist came in from Orbitville,
parked in the air, and said:

The creatures of this star
are made of metal and glass.

Through the transparent parts
you can see their guts.

Their feet are round and roll
on diagrams–or long

measuring tapes–dark
with white lines.

They have four eyes.
The two in the back are red.

Sometimes you can see a 5-eyed
one, with a red eye turning

on the top of his head.
He must be special-

the others respect him,
and go slow,

when he passes, winding
among them from behind.

They all hiss as they glide,
like inches, down the marked

tapes. Those soft shapes,
shadowy inside

the hard bodies–are they
their guts or their brains?

What stood out to me was the fact that the aliens think our outsides are us and that the insides, meaning the real us, is what controls the outside. Metal bodies controlled by warm tissue. Kind of made me think of Artificial Intelligence and how robots will take over the Earth one day. But what really got me thinking was that the metal outside of a car could be a representation of anything. It could be the front you show everyone tell them that you’re perfectly fine when you’re not. Or it could be some secret.

Most people don’t really like analyzing the books they read if they are not in school anymore. I am the total opposite. I like taking down the exterior and breaking it down to see the soft interior. Maybe something that seems simple might not be the most easiest thing in the world. When I’m reading Young Adult fiction, I don’t just see the action and conclusion. I see so much more. I can see character development and a differing outlook on the real world. Fiction has always been a way of combating the realness of reality. Yet, at the same time, tells a truth about all of us.

A lot of people will tell you that I am a super positive person. But in actuality, I’m kind of a sad, pathetic girl. I put up a front most of the time and you really have to chisel away till you find the real me. I kind of bring this topic up of finding someone’s true self because I will shortly be going on a trip to find out who I am. I have to stop fooling myself and saying that I’m okay with the way life is for me. I need to take a stand and just let everything fly to the wind. If I fail, I fail. At least I know that I did something.

I’ve met people throughout my life who look down at others, yet have yet to fulfill their own lives. They blame so many things for why they can’t do something, their life gets filled with “I can’t.” And I know some may say that it is easy for me to say since my parents can somehow afford it and that I didn’t have to work hard in my life. That is not true. I worked hard for the place I am today. I may feel down about the fact that I’m still stuck at the same job, but I know that it’s only a stepping stone. I will be out of the country in less than half a year from now.

I know for a fact that there are people who look down on me and think that I am no better than the filth on their shoes. I may not be rich, but I have showed the world that I am able to pursue my dream. If you really wanted something, you would do whatever it took to achieve that dream.

This has been a public service announcement from yours truly.

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