“Freedom” as defined in a 2130 American History book

Children are in cages while dogs run free, yet
somehow, they’re the bitches in this situation.
We joke about how our skin glows in daylight,
so why don’t we point fingers and shed some
much-deserved light on what is wrong?
What is your nationality if not “doing what is right”?
Or are you more comfortable doing what is
tolerated? You’d rather sit around and stuff your face
full of democracy, when you’re not even
registered to vote.
We scream at people in the comment section because
disagreeing with someone is easier than being
on the right side of history. Keep typing
profanities and we’ll keep dialing our senators.
What’s so great about patriotism if all we do
is print it across beach towels?
What’s so great about any of us if all we do
is the absolute bare minimum?
Tell me, what’s so great about America if all we do
is turn our backs?
A mother is carrying a child on hers while another
has no idea where her children are.
I spent years in therapy working to tear down my own
walls, and now everyone just decided that it’s okay
to build even more. I don’t think insurance will cover
the cost of how many sessions it will take to bring us
all the way back to the beginning-
redemption has no price tag.

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I broke the fourth wall and found God

Where do you go at 4am?
Back to bed or back home?
Do you have a home?
I think you are my home-
a bunch of bricks plastered together, nails in place with
all the fears you had in third-grade, and
painted with every color you bleed when you’re
sad.

Are you sad?
Do you get sad at 4am?
Is it because he forgot your birthday again, or
because you’re naked in her bed (again)?
Either way, I hope your windows beam with light.
It’s okay to keep the curtains open when you
need to feel alive. Close them when you’re
ready.

I think we’re being watched. The hand on my back,
nudging me closer and wandering too far, is
not yours.
What else is out there?
What are they doing, here, at 4am?
Do you want to be here?
If you leave, your fears and feelings will
cause this house to crumble and
I’m not ready to succumb to the madness
yet.

Please,
don’t

go.

Okay.

I write what I feel, and sometimes what I
feel is dark and sad but it’s the truth.
Not many people admit that the bad things in life
are the most prominent aspects of their lives.
I am unapologetic. I refuse
to dismiss an absence of light.

I write because I have this belief that even
one person will read it and nod silently
in agreement that not all days are good days,

and that’s okay.

What it’s like to be loved by you

I’ve been running for as long as I can remember because I forgot when I started. I forgot where, too. My feet are pounding against pavement like secret code. I inhale fire. There are ashes in my lungs, and exhaling only brightens the coals. The sun rests in my throat and I long for a finish line. My ears pick up breath some distance behind me. I don’t dare turn my head, but I know it’s you- I can tell from the heaviness in your gaze. Exhaustion begins to consume me, but you’re sprinting like hell. We’re side by side now and our shoulders polarise like moon to tide. You’ve always said slow was never an option, but it wasn’t until this moment that I realised, for you, I wouldn’t mind coming in second.

A thought that popped in my head out of nowhere (I’ve found that those are the ones worth writing about)

The sad thing about the human race

is that we think we need to choose

between having a backbone

and having a heart. 

In a world where kindness is bought reluctantly

in a Starbucks line

and rules are screams in students’ quivering faces,

I don’t understand the necessity for such a decision.  

My queries are simple.  

Why not both? 

Why should I have to choose respect over sympathy?

Compassion over dominance? 

God, do I wish more than anything, that I had all the answers. 

Hey, I have something kinda important to say:

The recent passing of Robin Williams took a huge toll on the world and has sparked many different conversations. While death isn’t easy to talk about, the topic of suicide is even harder to discuss. I’m no expert in mental illness, nor do I really feel qualified to be writing this right now, but I’m going to do it anyway.

 

Mental illness almost seems taboo in today’s society. Like it’s one of those things that everyone knows goes on and, obviously, has the potential to take peoples’ lives. But we all refuse to believe it’s actually happening right now at this very second, and every second of every minute of every hour after that. It’s probably happening to the person next to us, and we don’t have a clue. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about mental illness growing up. I thought those “scary” kids hanging out at the mall dressed in all black was pretty much the worst of it. Then I really grew up and realised that I was so unbelievably wrong. About a lot of things.

There was an organisation I had heard a little bit about called To Write Love on Her Arms. This was probably in sixth grade? I was 11 or 12 years old when I started educating myself on the horrible things people could go through in life. I was still pretty young and naive at the time, so I didn’t totally grasp it for what it was exactly. It wasn’t until I was around the age of 17 that I really understood mental illness- because it was happening to me.

I began waking up thinking awful things about myself and things around me and just life in general. It was confusing to me because I used to think that things like depression and anxiety/panic attacks happened to those kids who wore black all the time. Like I said, I was so wrong. I became this completely different person, and I was scared. I was scared of myself. And I was honestly scared of everything for a long time.

And here’s the thing: I had not asked to be this way. Who would? Seriously, who wants to walk around with a gloomy, grey rain cloud above their heads all the time. I didn’t wake up that morning and choose to be plagued by mental illness. It just happened. Do I know why, nearly three years later? No. Do I wish I knew why I had to be this way? Uh, you betcha!

It truly saddens me to know that there are people in this world who think mental illness is a choice, and all the repercussions of mental illness are choices that person can make. Mental illnesses, such as depression, interfere with your ability to think rationally about the simplest things in life, including life itself. So, no, it wasn’t really a choice Robin Williams made to end his life, it was a mental illness that took over every bit of logic in his mind. And to be frank- that sucks. It plain old suckity sucks that that happened.

Experiencing depression firsthand, I can say that it does get better. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time and an infinite amount of patience with yourself to get there, but you will. It’s a tiring journey and you’re going to need people to hold you at times and people to keep you moving. Everyday is a new battle, and it gets exhausting after a while, but the feeling of conquering even the smallest things is a victory no one can take away from you. Like for me, pressing send on a text message to an old friend the other day was huge, and so is writing this. But you and me? We’re going to be okay.


If you ever need help or feel like things are getting to be too much, call a friend, reach out to an old teacher on Facebook (I know you’re friends with them), or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. Anything to keep you here.

Happy Birthday

I saw your face in a crowd

yesterday. We caught gazes

and our glance gave way to a feeling I still

wasn’t used to. I hadn’t seen you in weeks prior and 

the awkwardness that washed 

over our pale complexions 

remained fixed in your 

green eyes. My hand began to rise up with excitement 

when I realised it wasn’t actually 

you. I fell for the devil’s mean 

trick for the hundredth 

time this year. He then 

reminded me today is your 

birthday, and I forgot to buy 

a present for when we met again 

tomorrow. 

Accidentally on Purpose

I thought a coffee shop

was a good place to get to know

him. He wears a god-awful striped

sweater;  it matches his

bowl cut well but clashes

 

against black Adidas and

the smile that got him this

second date. We’ve been here before.

I’ve been here before.

 

This place has become all too

familiar to cold fingers and stale coffees.

Nights linger on and my fingers linger on

naked bodies that don’t deserve my

attention. But this one stays,

 

and so does his ugly sweater.

Sometimes he leaves to tend to

insecurities like his coked-out

mother and the car that is now soaked

with rain water because she forgot

to roll up the windows again. For now

 

we sip on warm drinks and soften

our lips in preparation for

the night ahead. He speaks as though

there is nothing behind his skull.

I know this because he doesn’t break

 

eye contact with the birthmark on my cheek

he doesn’t know is really an aged

scar from my coked-out mother.

I thought a coffee shop was a good place

to forget about our demanding pain. I

thought it was a good place to

 

get to know him. 

My head is a pink balloon full of marbles

Small, glass spheres rolling around and weighing down my ambitions.

It’s in my nature to float away, yet a habit to stay on the ground.

Tie me to a lamp post then cut me free.

Feel time stand still as the marbles pull me lower while the helium fights to sail me away.

Stagnant.

One prick of a needle. I can pop this prison.

Watch how the marbles shatter and helium dissipates.

The pressure to be perfect floats on the wings of a butterfly

And struggle is made beautiful.

I am more than a pink balloon full of marbles.