I've Made It


If I were to tell you of school room days,

you would never believe me.

“A girl like you,”

you would say ignoring the tears in my eyes,

the crack of my voice.

“I’m sure you’re fine, you’ve got it together,”

you would say sending me away

none the wiser,

none the braver,

and none the safer.

It began in fifth grade,

when I decided I preferred the company of boys to girls.

The logic was simple,

the girls were mean,

the boys weren’t,

so, stick with the boys.

Out of jealousy or spite,

I'm not really sure which,

the girls targetted me.

Painting a target on my back

so all other mean girls would know,

I was a victim,

there for their entertainment.

Sixth grade, new school, new start.

That’s what they told us the very first day.

And like many other grade school victims,

I believed them.

Determined to tear the target off my back,

I created a new identity, a new image.

A tough image that would make everyone back off.

I ditched peace signs for skulls,

pretty purple for black.

While picking out my outfits in the morning,

I’d ask myself,

“what goes with black? Right, more black.”

The image, meant to protect me, only brought me another label,


As I walked down the hall each day kids would stop me,

“I heard from so-and-so that you cut yourself.”

There was no question in their voices.

They knew everything there was to know about me

and that was that.

Indignant I would yank up my sleeves and present my wrists,

but like most of my attempts to protect or defend myself,

it did more harm than good.

For upon seeing a two inch burn running across my forearm

received after an incident involving a large sheet of pizza rolls,

their suspicions were “confirmed.”

I’d turn away and dart down the hall, ashamed and humiliated,

their cruel comments digging their icy, barbed fingers into my back

clinging there like bugs on a windshield that laid just outside the reach of the wipers.

I phantomed my days.

Hiding behind too much black eyeliner and oversized sweatshirts.

Walking eyes to the ground,

shoulders slumped.

Counting out the fifty six steps it took me to arrive safely in English class.

I created an impermeable facade around myself,

hung a “Keep Out” sign around my neck,

locking everyone and everything out.

And despite this,

despite the word “pariah” branded into my forehead,

despite my battered heart and beaten brain warning me against it,

my soul attached to another.

His name was Noah

and he was probably the only person who was as weird as I felt.

A chubby little twelve year old

with sandy brown hair obscuring aqua eyes,

clutching HP Lovecraft novels,

as if the tales of horror and mystery could blot out the horrors he faced in his daily existence.

Needless to say he became my best friend.

I can’t say what drove our two broken souls together, but

perhaps it was the fact we both preferred discussing the symbolism in foreign films,

as opposed to “dabbling around” with the opposite sex.

Perhaps it was the fact that our souls so broken and incomplete,

that when bonded together created a beautifully broken, but somehow complete, soul.

Or perhaps it was simply because neither of us had anyone else.

But no matter the reason, foreign films or broken soul,

we became inseparable.

This is the part of the story when the author, joyfully exalting,

tells of how our lovable outcasts save the day

rallying fellow pariahs to create an uprising against the popular elite!

Or all receive a detention together, give one another makeovers and bare their souls

therefore making themselves and each other better people.

I could tell you that,

but I won’t.

That’s not real life.

This isn’t an ‘80’s movie,

this is isn’t The Breakfast Club.

This is my life, in all it’s beaten, burning and bloody glory.

In all honesty having a friend doesn't make the bullying stop.

It just makes it all a little easier to take.

It’s easier to laugh in the face of cruelty

when there’s someone sitting beside you,

suspending your smile by marionette strings

because your face has forgotten how to hold up a smile on its own.

That’s what Noah and I became to each other,

a puppeteer.

The one person who could hoist up the strings high enough,

hold them tight enough

and steady them in their own shaking hands.

We’re not the only kids who grew up this way.

Countless others were victimized by the “mean girls” and the “bullies.”

Kids are mean?

You don’t know the half of it.

We became punching bags

for the angry,

for the jealous

and for the just plain mean.

They'd beat us down,

tearing us down like old dilapidated houses,

starting at our foundations and working from there,

brick by brick,

shingle by shingle.

With each passing beating a piece of our soul was taken

as a souvenir of superiority,

a momento of cruelty.

Our souls and minds picked over like after Christmas sale bins.

And the vultures sat hovering above us,


waiting for the moment to plummet down on us

and ravish our one remaining piece of self,


Those kids, those cruel kids, would take it and pit it against us,

pulling it into long, tattered ropes.

Just long enough to tie a noose to hang ourselves with.

We became punching bags, suspended by the final shreds of our own dignity.

We became part of a ritual,

"having a bad day? Go wail on one of them."

And so it was.

No one ever actually hit me.

But I wish they had,

I would have preferred it.

Someone would have noticed, right?

People notice thirteen year old girls sporting black eyes

and thirteen year old boys polka dotted with bruises.

But no one ever hears the pleading, bloody screams of a secondhand heart.

Alone, we beat on.

Beat on endlessly against the blank horizon.

That blank horizon, we were told was our futures;




We were told we would never be anything,

that our dreams were illusions,

and that nobody would ever love us because we were different.

But did we believe them?


There was something small and deep that made us refuse to believe,

something that kept saying, “they’re lying, they’re jealous, they’re just plain mean!”

Something inside us that made us keep trying.

Every child whose born a little different has this something.

The something inside that makes you keep trying,

that something that picked up off the ground, patched up your torn jeans and told you,

“keep your chin up, someday you’ll prove them all wrong.”

Rising up from the ashes you realize that you already have.

And you only have yourself to thank for that,   

Because every time you were knocked down you had the nerve to stand back up and keep   smiling.

They could beat you, bruise you.

They could take away your dignity and pride,

but never could they silence that something that kept saying, "they're wrong."

So, you beat on,

  Holding your head a little higher and smiling more honestly when they tried to knock you down

Because for the first time in your life,

You loved that person looking back at you in the mirror.

You took those ugly scars and turned them into something beautiful

Because one day you knew you'd be standing above it all saying,

"Look, guys. I made it."


Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741