A poem written for people who are tired of being labeled.


A teacher once called me a sponge.

She said it because I “soak up” facts.

She had pigeon-holed me as smart.

And at the time I was happy and wide-eyed,

Until I realized what the label implied.


It meant I couldn’t slack off,

Sign off,

Back off,

Nod off,

Take time off.


She was right about me being a sponge.

But not in the way she thought.


I soak up words,

Those things which have hurt me,

Those things which have helped me,

Those things which have damaged me,

Saved me, beat me, exalted me, changed me.


I soak up music,

That thing which has liberated me,

That thing which has teased me,

That thing which has made me,

Talked to me, killed me, survived me, revived me.


I soak up emotions,

Those things which have thrilled me,

Those things which have chilled me,

Those things which have filled me,

Those things which…dammit I am not a sponge!


I am not what you want me to be! I am me!

And I might be a sponge to you!

And I might be a nerd to you!

And I might be a robot to you!

And I might be a prude to you!


But I know that the only thing that matters is who I am to me.

I do soak up things, but only what you have called me.

It has come time to wring me out.

I wash all of your labels out

Like yesterday’s spilled soup.


A daisy is left instead of that sponge,

And no matter what you say I am me,

I am this daisy,

I am surviving,

I am thriving,

I am who and what I want to be.


Now is the time for you to listen.

I may be smart,

And I may be asexual,

And I may be a hippie,

And I may be fat,

And I may be depressed,

And I may be angry,

And I may be a fucking ray of sunshine.

But I am only those things if I say so.


To you, I am no labels because only I can label me.

To you, I am Casey.

To me, I am everything I want to be.

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