When we grow up they told us we could be anything we wanted to be.
A doctor, a lawyer, the President of the United States of America.
We had hopes and dreams and ambition.
Nothing could stop us, we feared nothing going into 5th grade.
In sixth grade we feared being the bottom of the food chain once again,
But it brought out more than that fear.
It brought to our attention that we were not a size zero with 32D bras,
We were still short, and maybe a little chubby,
But we still fought on.
In 8th grade we were the highest grade once again,
Surviving 7th grade by the skin of our teeth.
We grew up, we learned, we started to fear the real world.
Next year would be high school,
The last step before you jump.
Some filled with excitement, others with fear.
We don't often talk about those with crippling anxiety almost too much to bear.
9th grade starts, you're all alone.
New friends, new teachers, new classes.
Your body stays still as your mind, it races.
This is the time where panic sets in.
You leave your classroom,
Trying to be still,
Though your hands are shaking at your thighs,
Your hand touches the wall as you try to balance upright,
You got out of your classroom, now to the bathroom.
You go into a stall, you lock the door shut.
Your head starts to pound,
Your heart is racing,
Your breathing is shaking,
Your mind still racing.
Ten minutes have passed.
You know you'll be noticed when you walk in the class.
Your cheeks burn red as they look at you,
Your teacher says to see them after the period ends.
The bell rings, the group leaves, you sit uptight.
Your teacher asks what took you so long,
And somewhere within you, you need to stay strong.
You look down at your desk, and then they tell you to go,
"Don't let it happen again."
If only they knew you were raped two days ago,
And being in the same classroom makes your skin crawl,
But you nod your head,
And walk out the door.
10th grade comes and alone you stand again,
A new school, new friends, new classes again,
Your breath is shaky when you enter through the door,
You again find a bathroom to settle yourself again.
By now you make yourself throw up to stay strong,
A grounding technique some would argue is wrong.
But you purge out your fear,
Dry tears of your face,
Chew some mint gum and you're fine.
Praying to a god no one notices.
In August you're wearing your long pants in the sun,
Hiding your scars of the battles you haven't won.
The anxiety creeps up as you feel you're dying of heat,
Will someone ask about your scars, will they even notice?
11th grade is here, you're gonna graduate early.
Taking college classes already,
You're smart and you know it.
But deep down inside,
You know you're not normal.
You like girls, it's not right,
You surely must not own it.
You like girls which means you should be thin and pretty,
But the numbers on the scale go up and not down.
You binge everything you can in sight,
Ice cream and ramen and pasta.
And with anger and disgust you purge it all away.
Sad and disappointed with yourself you hurt yourself again,
Leaving the words marked in your skin
"NOT GOOD ENOUGH, NOT THIN ENOUGH."
Graduation comes and goes,
You're a sophomore in college
A bad job,
A fake friend,
You feel like your life's at an end.
Somehow you've made it to your junior year in college,
And you're sitting with a cup of tea asking yourself,
"Where did that ten year old, crooked smile, me go?
Where did the fearlessness go to?
Where are my young childhood friends?
But most importantly, where did all my innocence go?"
But if only you knew dear child,
You had to grow up too fast,
That life threw you a curve ball you didn't know how to catch,
If you knew that you were handed lemons and limes without sugar,
If you knew how much your worth was beyond what you see in the mirror,
If you knew my dear child that all of your past,
Doesn't have to dictate who you are now,
Would you be asking the questions you're asking yourself?
Or would you look in the mirror and try to accept yourself?
Because what you don't give yourself credit for is far too great,
You overcame a rape,
A miscarriage ending an unwanted pregnancy.
You battle PTSD,
With little to no sleep at night from nightmares,
But you still pass your test with an A.
You fight everyday with an Eating Disorder,
You fight her harsh words and her powerful lies,
You overcome what many cannot,
You prevail when others doubted you could.
You battle anxiety and depression every day,
You do it with grace and a smile on your face,
You very little break down, and even when you do,
I still think you're as beautiful as you.
And I wish my dear one that you could see what I see,
If only you could be me,
Looking at you from the other side of the mirror.
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This is a note and a reminder to myself that even on bad days, I will be okay.