I've always had a best friend, even from an early age (3 years-old to be exact). It just so happens that my first best friend was African-American. I never saw myself different from her, where being white or black had no importance in my mind. There were many times where I'd spend the night at her house, and her family would be over. I'd never felt more out of place. The loud and rowdy conversations, the slang I'd never heard, and just the atmosphere was totally different. This is where I feel I can relate to Mishna, when she began "capping" with the neighborhood kids to fit in.
I had always felt the need to change how I spoke and behaved around her family. I had never felt more out of place. In addition to fitting in, Mishna had also joined many different sports to please her father and win back (or an equal amount) of favoritism. I can also identify with this experience as well. All throughout my childhood I had hopped from one sport to another, from taking agonizing ballet classes, swimming, soccer, and finally cheer-leading. At first I started involved myself in them because I wanted to try something new; but it ended up being because I was competing for attention from my younger brother.
My brother had been playing baseball since he was six years old. My mother and father, and even some of my extended family would never fail to watch every single one of his games. My father would emerge himself in my brother's baseball practice, spending hours after-school coaching him and some of his teammates. With all this attention spent on my brother and his baseball, I had always felt left out. My parents would drop me off at my own practice and neither one of them involved themselves in any sport I was in. Mishna is pictured in the book to be, for the most part, fairly easy-going and doesn't let too many things bother her.
When her father says something outrageous or just plain unfair, she resorts to keeping everything to herself. I can also relate to her in this way. There are many times when someone says something I disagree with and I'm able to just shrug it off and not let it affect me. However, there are many things Mishna did that I don't see eye-to-eye with. When Mishna's father told a group of people right in front of her that Anora was "his girl" and just let it slide like that, see, I wouldn't let that go as easily. To me, that's something extremely disturbing to hear, seeing as your father is supposed to love you unconditionally.
Had it been my next to the stairs eavesdropping on that conversation, I wouldn't have thought it over twice to call my mother and go live with her. Moreover, if I was Mishna, I wouldn't have let Anora get away with everything. The unfairness is just incomprehensible and I would never allow it to go as far as it did. If my younger sibling did things that were inappropriate or was doing something wrong and one of my parents just shrugged it off like Mishna's father did, I would have said something or acted in the same manner as Anora until everything was justified.
Had Mishna done something about it, I don't think things wouldn't have gotten as bad as they did regarding her sister. Ultimately, Mishna and I are very alike in the things we think and do. I have been able to relate to almost every experience she shared with us in "I'm Down", from the problems of fitting in to the problems with her father. I feel that all these things make us the person we are today, and for that, we shouldn't be ashamed of any of it. Mishna writing this book just shouts to be proud of who you are and where you come from.