Hey, teach .... RED

Thu, 12/12/2013 - 16:27 -- baltzc

Hey, teach,

I wanted you to know something

I wanted to tell you all about the kind of shit I’ve been through over the years

How I’ve seen the inside of the psychiatric ward and made friends with the other kids there

Been inside an MRI machine as I waited for the sound of mechanical gunfire to start

About how I teared up during the nerve conduction test, where I spent an hour and a half being stuck with electrified needles

I wanted you to hear about every single low point in my life, every sick, scary, traumatizing experience I’ve ever been through, because trust me, there’s a hell of a lot.

I want you to know that none of those have left very deep scars

Time healed those wounds already

But there is one thing that I will always be afraid of; something that will keep me up at night for the rest of my life and leave me shaking in my bravest moments.


The color RED. The damn color that you mark your papers with, the color with which you write the numbers that are supposed to tell me my intelligence, my ranking, my worth.

The most terrifying thing I’ve ever faced.

But guess what? Fuck that


I will always be afraid of failure. You’ve hammered the importance of that stupid color and those meaningless numbers into my head for so many years, that I’ll never be the same.

However, despite the innumerable odds against me, I’ve realized that my value is NOT a number on a piece of paper

I can draw. I can write novels. I can produce beautiful costumes and performances and blow away a crowd whom had expected nothing from me.

Life isn’t about numbers. It’s not about red marks on a page, or letters on paper, or a grading scale, or even school at all. It’s about how much passion you are willing to put into your life and just how far you want to go. Not everyone needs to be a Harvard graduate.

I am the only one who can say how much I’m worth

Not you

Not the school board

And DEFINITELY not my grades

So you can take that stupid red pen of yours, and…


Make somebody smile with it, instead.



Guide that inspired this poem: 


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