Before you begin reading this poem, I advise a strong trigger warning. This poem deals with topics such as depression, suicide, and self harm. If any of these topics trigger you, please do not continue reading. Thank you.
We are born whole
Yet with every lesson we learn,
every mistake we make,
we lose a part of ourselves in them
And maybe that means our most valuable lesson is how to get away with it
How to convince others that we are whole while we still haven’t convinced ourselves
But we are broken
Is this how it’s supposed to be?
Are we supposed to be so accustomed to forcing a laugh that we forget how to smile?
Are we supposed to be fooled into thinking a strong face is the only acceptable one to show?
We can no longer ignore the boy crying in the corner that we all avert our eyes from
We can no longer pretend we didn’t see the smile on the girl break when she looked away from her friends
We can no longer pretend that this is how it’s supposed to be
We all live our lives on repeat
We let our cassette tape play convincing smiles on our faces and laughs from our mouths
And at night we rewind them just to play them again the next day
But some nights we forget to press rewind
We have nothing to tape our seams together in the morning
Our insides are revealed to the outside world as we break
We bleed out
But we don’t make a sound because we already look weak to everyone passing by pretending we aren’t there
And that night we press rewind twice
Truly see the girl pressing rewind with hungry fingers ready to have this day end
Ready to start over
Truly see the boy with bloodshot eyes and shaking hands as he fights a war in his mind on whether to press rewind or give up and press stop
And some of us do press stop
People press stop daily
And only then do we pay them any mind
We can no longer ignore those who are hurting only to pretend we did everything we could after they aren’t here to deny it
We can no longer ignore those who are broken
We can no longer pretend that what we say can not affect someone’s decision to press stop
Broken lives left on repeat because what else can we rely on?
What happens when our shaking hands miss our rewind button?
What happens when we press stop?
Do we make a sound?
Or are we extra careful to stay quiet so we don’t have to watch those around us convince themselves that they can convince us
No one knows that it’s the last day our tape plays our smiles and laughs until we fake our last one
And only then will they care
Only then will they know you’re hurting
Only then will they stop shooting spit balls your way because your’re no longer there to be their target
We are born whole
Only to be torn apart by the lessons we learn and the mistakes we make
We decorate our skin with lines of red as if pain from ourselves will make us numb to the pain from others
We are left to protect and defend ourselves because we don’t know how to rely on anyone else
Notice the girl wearing long sleeves in summer
Notice the boy hiding in the stairwell during class
Our aching hearts cry out, craving human contact
Begging for someone to ask if we’re okay
But, of course, they never do
So we sing a sweet melody or sorrow and heartbreak and wish things were different
We used to cry ourselves to sleep at night but now we just cry
Because we’re scared to dream and fall in love with our fake reality just to open our eyes and return to this hell we accept as our life
We hold our breath and bite our tongues in hopes of not being seen
We perform balancing acts, teetering between life and deah
Yet we never fall on either side because, yes, we are still breathing, but how can this be called living when all we do is fantasize about the other side?
But we so easily ignore the fact that we are still here
We kept trying
We haven’t given up
And we don’t get enough credit for that
We’ve made it this far despite every challenge we thought was a sign
We were told
“Maybe life isn’t for you”
And whether it came from ourselves or from others
We didn’t listen
And we can all be pretty damn proud of that
So why aren’t we?
They told us that the monsters under our beds weren’t real, that the monsters hiding in our closets weren’t there
And we never saw them, so they had to be telling the truth, right?
What if they were wrong?
What if the monsters under our beds were real?
What if the monsters in our closets were there?
What if they just stayed out of sight until we were asleep?
What if that’s why we are like we are- because we lived with monsters for so long, we became like them?
Maybe it’s rational to be afraid of the dark because we can sense what is in it
Ready to make their move once we fall peacefully asleep
But they tell us we’re safe
That there are no monsters
They tell us we’re fine
But we weren’t fine then
And we’re not fine now
People will play a game with you and pretend they understand, pretend they can fix you
As if placing a pebble in a wound the size of a boulder fixes everything
As if the hurt in our heart is just a paper cut that can be healed with a band-aid
Because what good are we if we can’t be fixed?
Who will stay with you if they can’t help you?
They only want to stay with us if they can help because all they want is to be able to say
“I stopped her from killing herself once.”
“I stopped him from cutting once.”
What if they can’t stop us?
What if she swallows those pills?
What if he drags the blade across his skin and watches his blood mix with water?
They move on from us
We hold onto praise because we need some form of validation
To make us feel like we are truly here for a reason
That we’re doing good in the world
Because if we are no longer living for ourselves, we have to learn how to live for others
And that’s all we have left to desperately cling to
We turn our knuckles white and form callouses on our palms just to have something to hold onto
Something to support us
We find our value in like and subscriptions
The comments become our worth
Once an idea with good connotation
Now a fantasy
Because how can you have any sense of self-worth when all you feel is worthless?
How do we disguise it all with a smile?
How do we so easily miss others like us?
To feel or not to feel?
A much more difficult question to answer
Because we prize our small victories
The pure joy that comes along with them
But is it worth the pain we feel on a daily basis?
We don’t know
They say time heals all wounds
But what if it doesn’t?
What if time can’t heal our broken hearts?
What if we have to heal ourselves, but we lose the motivation to?
What’s one more heartbreak?
We’re already numb
What’s the point?
We think we have no point
But we’re wrong
Place your hand over your heart
Hold it there as long as you need
You feel the beat of your heart under your palm?
That’s called purpose
You are loved and you do have a purpose
Thank you guys so much if you read all of that, I know it’s long. I wrote this from personal experience, and I know what it’s like to be struggling. I know what it’s like to give up, that’s why I wrote this. I want those of you struggling right now to know that you are loved. There is someone here for you, whether it’s a friend, family member, teacher, colleague, or peer, we are all here for you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know personally, you can always reach out to me, you are loved. ❤
Write with conviction,