it’s not all sunshine and rainbows like it was when we were all but children. it’s dark and mysterious. you hear ominous footsteps in several pitches and consistencies. you never know what’s around that corner or behind that tree. maybe it’s a pitfall? or maybe it’s the portal to a better, much happier place.

we never know what’s lurking in the dark so be careful, and become the bad girl you were raised to be.

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at this age i find myself full of polluted ideas

and watered down philosphy from my favorite poets

but this is the contentment stage because before all of this

i found mysef at age thirteen listening to bands no one has ever heard of

typing the lyrics out and printing them on pristine paper which i folded neatly

tucking into the pocket of my now too small jeans.

before all of this i found myself at age fourteen sucking in breaths

because the world had seen fit to deprive me of oxyegn

and i found myself using all the right sources

to get all the wrong answers

as i tried to untangle what was happening to me.

but even before my anger was furnace

and before i learned not to trust boys with sharp smiles

i first learned that i was a girl

and by being a girl i was suddenly reduced to a low status

with my body no longer becoming my own with each stroke of a mascara wand

that i believed held the magic to make me beautiful.

and at this moment in time i understand

how our bodies can contain so much water

and how some of the prettiest things in the universe

can never orbit too close

and most importantly i know that out of all the events that have happened to me

all of the scars and dictionary words i know

my most treasured possession is the letter ‘i’

because that is what has stayed for the entirety of my life

when people changed and left me

superman

for drew

 

he sits alone before class starts

his eyes looking so bleak

but as a man he can’t show his sadness

or else he’ll be labeled as weak.

 

he does classwork quick

but never the best he can

because he can’t seem too smart

for he is a man.

 

at home his father raises a hand

tells him to man up and take it

and if he turns to walk away

the harder the hit.

 

since elementary he’s been told

the rules on how to be a man

but no matter what he does

he is always less than.

 

he doesn’t understand why

men are labeled by society

supposed to be strong and brave

and without anxiety.

 

he’s sick of being dehumanized

to a man of steel

because out of all the expectations for superman

none of them are real.

 

real men hurt and cry

real men feel fear and can be smart

and he believes he is a man

all because of his heart.