When I was fourteen years old one of my best friends died.
I wandered the halls of my dreary middle school where
my anxiety levels rose and my confidence fell.
My heart raced as I ran from my classroom
to the nearest bathroom stall where I would sit and write.
I sat and I wrote about the horrors of panic attacks,
about the shortness of my breath and my deep longing to escape reality.
When I was fifteen years old I was better and I was worse.
Some days I would smile and it would be from the joy
deep within my heart that I forced myself to grasp onto.
I searched for love because it was what I always longed for, and
I dated an immature boy. I thought what we had was real.
What the hell did I know about love?
Nothing, that's what.
When I was sixteen years old I discovered the beauty in driving alone on
long roads with the windows down and my favorite music in my ears.
I came to love solitude and the peace that overcame my soul.
I began to learn more about who I was and who I wanted to be,
all the while discovering my vast love for the arts.
The day I witnessed one of my own photographs develop before my eyes
was the day that my perception of this world opened to a whole new view.
When I was seventeen years old I was deeply in love with
being alive and finding beauty throughout my journey.
I had always felt that I was a girl with a depth that not many people could understand,
and I could not help but believe that to feel as deeply and intensely as I did
was a blessing that tended to bring a lot of pain.
When I am 18, when I am 19, when my hand quivers as I pick up my pen,
I will remember that I harnessed my poetic voice.
To this day I find myself too often writing about the despair
that comes with living and the pure joy I find in being alive.
I am sane, and I am insane.
I am free, and I am caged.
I am okay, and I am not okay.
It is so exhausting to be the biggest paradox I've ever known,
but I grow and I learn and I could not be more thankful for this life I get to call mine.