Becoming the Word

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 23:21 -- LBLRRH

Labels are a dangerous thing.

It’s good to feel like the happy girl,

But then you are always pressured to be the happy girl.

It’s great to be known as the smart kid,

But then you must be the smart one


Otherwise you’re a disappointment

And you’re not who everyone believed

Because you screwed up

And that’s all you can see.




And the correct things,

The positive ones,

Become unimportant.

The average situation,

For statistics students,

The sixty-four percent that will typically happen,

The “A-” isn’t good enough.

What’s wrong? You look upset.

You’re normally so smart.

What happened to the happy girl?


And it’s the same with other labels.

Show a boy the word “depressed”

And he will show interest.

He will prove to himself he has it,

And go deeper,

And deeper,

Until hearing the word was the actual trigger

To was was always under the surface.

And that’s not to say he isn’t depressed,

But choosing the word,

Taking it to be yours

Makes it harder to be rid

Of something that feels like it’s yours.

It’s no longer “I have depression,”

But “I am depressed.”

The label feels safe and stable,

And that’s all most want

To put on the table.

Something is the same,

It’s sane,

It’s normal.


And if she didn’t label herself

With the word “anxiety,”

Maybe I wouldn’t have lost her.

I know that she was anxious

But she became so obsessed with filling

The stable quota

That she became stable

In the instability.

She began to feel whole

While she was breaking.

And much less than the holes

Are terrifying.

She wasn’t told

That there are other ways,

And I hate that she became lost.

It still hurts today.

And on days where she was actually calm

It felt wrong,



I never feel correct so my norm

Has been destroyed.

This feels nice, but it’s unstable,

I don’t want it,

Get the nice things off the table.


This isn’t to say that academics are unimportant.

And this isn’t to say

That these people don’t really feel it.

But we can’t be so encouraged

To say behind their backs

“She’s seeing you because of the anxiety”

Because then other people know the word,

And some become the word,

And others call her the word,

And then, more and more, she is the word.

People ask

“Do I seem like her?

Do I look like her?

Is my life harder

Than I let myself believe?”


It’s not simply that he is depressed.

It’s not just the anxiety.

There are also ways to fix it.

There are also ways to change it.

To feel better so fewer feel like outsiders,

So lesser is the number

Of funeral goers.

Elizabeth, they miss you.

We miss you.


If someone confides in you,

Don’t spread the information.

Don’t say it so others can hear you

Because now everyone knows about

The girl with anxiety.

And the rumors spread.

And she felt destroyed.

And she didn’t deserve it.

And she died of suicide.

And I know it was her doing,

But she was so tired of harassment

There was no point in living.

So she walked away,

Hoping no one would find her,

So no one would know her,

And no one would wonder

Where the blood stains came from

Or how the body fell dumb.

She’s gone now,

And I feel I was not enough

To make her stay.

People don’t know respect,

And, teacher, you broke her confidence,

So she wished for ignorance,

And the best she could choose

Was death.


I get it, ask if she’s okay,

Let her talk as loudly as she wants to,

But her secrets are not for you

To spread around

Or say so loud-

Ly that she feels the overbearing attention.

She’s already been driven to feel this way,

You don’t need to worsen it

Every time you say

You know the anxious girl

And her depressed boyfriend.

They’re both plenty broken

And need no breaking

To be done by you.


Labels are a dangerous thing.

They drive some to having their only identity

In the things

That hurt them the most.

This poem is about: 
My community


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