I have grown up six times.
The first time, I was stitting on a couch, watching television
when my father stormed in with eyes red as hot embers
yelling at my mother
who pretended she didn't remember
tearing our family apart from the inside.
I was 10 years old, but I knew I was no longer young.
The second time, I was sitting in my school cafeteria
with nothing on my plate.
I would have rather died than gain weight,
so I sat there and stared at the floor.
I was 11 years old, but I knew I was no longer young and happy.
The third time, I was sitting in my room at my mother's house,
staring at the wallpaper in a psychosis-ridden fit,
believing I was God and the world was fake
and I didn't know how to snap out of it.
I was 14 years old, but I knew I was no longer young and sane.
The fourth time was when I was sitting in my therapist's office,
and I had to listen to my mother angrily accuse my timid and tremblind sister of lying
as my father escorted us to his house for good
and my stepfather got away with his hands free.
I was still 14 years old, but I knew I was no longer young and innocent.
The fifth time was when I was sitting on my living room floor
and nothing my mother was sending to me made sense.
And as I stared closer at the screen,
I had caught her red-handed,
red in the cheeks
as my eyes grew red
like the rising sun that she danced under in Hawaii
while I believed she was getting cancer treatment.
I was 16 years old, but I knew I was no longer young and secure.
The sixth time occurred just recently
when my mother sent me a text asking to hang out
and I told her
"Not until you tell the truth."
when I started taking my medication on a daily basis
when I started taking care of myself
rather than letting my mind and my mother control me.
I am 16 years old, and I know that I am no longer young,
but that I have grown.