Adult-ing Before Adulthood

age seven i drowned my pillows in teardrops
covered up my sadness like a pimple on a preteens nose;
a clear attempt that didn’t hide the problem

only kept those from questioning it

age nine i wrote a suicide note

i didn’t even know what suicide was

i just didn’t want to live anymore

age thirteen my best friend slit her wrist
i slit mine
age thirteen i made a list of reasons why i wanted to kill myself
no, there were not thirteen of them
there were more

age thirteen i stopped slitting my wrist
i started slitting my hip instead
people won't notice it now
the skin is more sensitive here

age thirteen i stopped eating
age thirteen i started eating

age thirteen a boy told me he loved me
we’d met once
i said it back
age thirteen this boy blocked my number
wait no
i was fourteen
it was my birthday

age fourteen i had my first kiss
in a coat closet
age fourteen i had my first boyfriend
he broke up with me
over facetime

age fourteen my friend told me to start talking to people online
“there are so many great people out there,” she told me
“that’s how i make all my real friends anyways, no offense”
i was heartbroken

i took her advice

age fourteen i “met” a boy
he was sixteen
within twenty-four hours he wanted to date

i didn’t know how to say no
so i didn’t

age fourteen i talked every night to a boy i thought i knew
i found out he was fake
the age he gave me fifty years from the truth

i wrote my second suicide note
and my third
and my fourth

age fourteen i dug through the knife drawer
needing to find a weapon
none of them were sharp enough
pointy enough
deadly enough
the most dangerous thing in the drawer was not any of the knifes
the most dangerous thing in the drawer was my hand
any one of those knives could have killed me
but my hand is the only thing that wanted to

age fourteen i started antidepressants

all of the time i had spent talking to “boys” online

the times i had spent trying to get over my boyfriend
were now replaced by him all over again

age fourteen and suddenly i was important to him again
i finally had someone to go to
to talk to
i thought he understood me
he did not understand me

age fifteen i was convinced i was happy
safe from myself
age fifteen for the first time in ages i was not searching for fresh skin to slice open

the cuts came back

they always do

i wrote suicide notes five and six

age fifteen my friend told me we were in this together
that she was so proud of me for fighting
she said that there was no one else she’d rather fight beside
age fifteen my friend lost her battle

age fifteen i was back with my boyfriend again
the same one as before except this time he understood me for real

but when he said “i love you”

in the same breath as “just not as much anymore”
i hung up the phone

age sixteen i have my second boyfriend
the day i knew i loved him was the day he ran away
i cried for hours over a boy i hardly knew

age sixteen he’s buying condoms even though i asked him not to
he’s sneaking over
age sixteen i’m in pain but so is he
i hide mine
focus on his

age sixteen i can’t do this anymore
i tell him this
he says he’ll kill himself
the phone call with 911 never seems to end

age sixteen i fell in love with him
i fell out of love with me


age sixteen i cried into the pillow so i wouldn’t wake my parents

we both pretended they didn’t hear

age seventeen i had a new boyfriend

my life seemed to revolve around the boys i demanded attention from

i loved him more than anything

i accept the fact that i loved him more than he loved me

i find myself loving him more than i love myself

i find myself loving him entirely


age seventeen i lose myself within our relationship

i lose everything

age seventeen my best friend leaves me

“we’re not friends anymore,” she says

“don’t talk to me”


age seventeen i wake up at my boyfriend's house

him inside of me

nothing new

just not consensual

but i stay

he leaves


age seventeen everything feels like the end of the world

i am back online

desperate to be loved

even if it is by someone behind a screen


age seventeen i was four months clean

the blade slices my skin like so many times before

i text my parent's goodbye

masking my exit with ‘i love you’’'s and apologies


age seventeen it is not yet my time

i find myself on my therapist's couch rather than the overpass’s edge

an adolescent inpatient program rather than my own funeral


age seventeen i met a girl at the hospital

even i can hear the fault that is that sentence

and yet i loved her

how lucky she is to be the first girl i ever truly loved


age seventeen much to my mother's dismay i am not cured of mental illness


dear seven year old me, you’ll make it


age eighteen

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