This poem is about how hard the ages of thirteen to sixteen, and even now, were for me mentally. I experienced a lot of change, and I didn’t express how I felt back then and I barely do it now so this is my outlet for every bottled up feeling I had in middle school and beyond.
I am thirteen and I am dancing to the soundtrack of my life, around in my room with no idea if my neighbor across the street can see and I do not care. Home is where I feel free. I am constantly surprised. Surprised by my ability to make new friends in a whole new space., surprised when those friends don’t feel the same attachment that I do after only a few months of sharing classes. Who wouldn’t want to be reenacting “Grease” numbers, surrounded by these teal walls of mine? I am surprised by those who pay attention to me, and those who don’t. I will grow used to it quickly, I think, forming this exterior over my 13-year-old self, trying to get certain friendships with certain people. When I look back, trying to chip away at the sham of a personality I am putting up, I hope I have learned how little it was worth to try so hard. It hurts as the music pulses through my room and it will continue to hurt.
I am fourteen and I feel as if I am on fire. I feel like I am burning, whether it is out or with greatness, I’m not sure. Every day there is more fuel added to the flames and I can barely contain myself. My limbs feel like they are livewired in certain rooms, around certain people. Parts of the kindle are positive, my new found friendships and how I have learned how to make middle school teachers laugh. Others are negative, how the girl across from me in science will have a quick upturn of the corners of her mouth when I say something to get a laugh and she hadn’t quite deemed me worthy of one yet. the way I fill with my first true drops of anxiety at the sight of my best friend in pain, bearing her scars so unwillingly to our seventh-period gym class. Every day I tell myself to not react to the way their eyes take in my actions, to not care about whether they find me too loud or too quiet. It doesn’t work as well as I like to pretend it does. That’s how I am this year: finding the area between too loud and too quiet and never quite resting there long enough.
I am fifteen and I am in a coming of age film. Only in my mind, but that is enough for me. My friends and their battles with each other provide the much needed dynamic between supporting characters. My mistakes are the life lessons younger girls would take to heart. Some are year long mistakes I don’t realize I am making until that boy sent a certain text, some are immediate and fill my gut with a sense of horror. My battle with my emotions and constant itch to do something irrational and so typically teenager is the plot that some would deem worthless, other sentimentalists like me find fascinating even as I experience them. I have no clue what was happening, I feel as if this is okay. That my battle with my level of volume is over and I am now existing in this ever-confused state, a mantra of “this is what high school is” playing in my mind.
I am sixteen and my first thoughts at this age are produced in a smoke cloud, my first true step of rebellion. Everything is a haze and I spend my birthday, and every day thereafter, wondering why my best friend has gotten tired of me. Why I feel as if I am choking in a room full of people who love me. Why I can’t explain myself to anyone and watching my friends grow into their true selves as I grow inward on myself. I didn’t want to become a subdued version of myself I wanted to be erratic. I wanted to smoke, I wanted to talk to more people, I wanted to drive off a cliff to just see what it was like, I wanted to punch god in the teeth at my weakest moments. This age is where you are supposed to feel a dramatic change, you’re supposed to feel victorious in your teenagedom, but I feel as if everything is overhyped and as I sit with the smoke around me I try to piece together the puzzle as to why that is.
I am seventeen, and I am looking at the dust swirling in a slice of sunlight peeking in through my window. It is a calm Sunday afternoon, the soundtrack to my life that I sometimes dance to playing softly in the background. The dust seems to swirl along to the beat, even with my hand cutting across the specks. My friends are obsessed with stars, and while I pretend to get it, I think I prefer these; day stars. They exist at all times, seen mainly in the daylight and unlike the stars in outer space, they are underrated. But they are present and they are beautiful. I hope that’s what eighteen feels like.