I Saw You
By Akilah Bel
I saw you being smart, I saw you lose your heart.
I saw you at your worst, I saw you stay the course.
I saw you grow and change, I saw you remain the same.
I saw you filled with hope, I saw you being a dope.
I saw you here and there, I saw you everywhere.
I saw you fight the rain, I saw you overcome your pain,
I saw you take the blame, I saw you filled with shame.
I saw you smile and pray, I saw you find your way.
I saw you draw a line, I saw you were sublime.
I saw you find true joy, I saw you lose the boy.
I saw you running away, I saw you save the day.
It matters not what they say,
I saw you, and love you in own my way.
For many of us living in Japan, one aspect of living here is the feeling of always being seen, yet unseen. Being a foreigner, you seem to stand out to everyone, but often feel more like an object on display, rather than a person. The poem “I Saw You” by Akilah Bel, highlights the feeling of seeing, understanding, and appreciating yourself above all else. Drawing on this poem and the need to see one’s self, artist Kelly Pieterse created the animated image of viewing oneself in a mirror, as the purest reminder of taking time, to look at oneself first. After all, no one else can truly see you, unless you first see yourself.