Mary Sue

I still don’t know what it means to be my own.



Elliot stands on the edge of the shore. The water is bright. The wind is high.


I think I might be insane.





I think I might be insane.


I think I might be insane

but I keep it in my head.

She reaches for my hand and I don’t pull away

but the touch is enough for me to want to

curl up



beneath the waves.


How do you tell someone you love “No”?

I still don’t know what it means to be my own.

I repeat mantras in my head,

spells and runes to guard against the demons at my door.

I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay.

Depression is a word I don’t dare speak

in my parents’ presence.

They didn’t raise me to be unhappy.


I’ve spent my whole life looking to be strong.

They tell me, “Never give up,”

so I never learned how to rest or how to breathe.

I spend my days clawing for ambition,

pushing at my limits.

“Never give up,” echoes in my head

as I stay up past 2 am studying.

as I skip meals and skip bedtime routines.

as I let myself fall apart in the pursuit of

something people call success.


How do you tell yourself “Stop”

when the going is all you’ve ever known?



Light filters in on Lucy’s head. She speaks animatedly. Elliot watches on fondly.



I don’t think I’m the protagonist of my own story.


Always stuck on autopilot,

we fill the roles our parents set out for us

more often than we don’t.


I fall apart on a Tuesday,

the last thread is pulled out,

the last pin is dropped.

I’ve never cried so much over nothing.

I go home.

I recuperate.

For the first time in my life,

everything stops.

I start relearning what it means to be my own.


I meet her while tutoring at a library.

She is small and young.

A kid version of me in every way.

She sits quiet, doesn’t talk, doesn’t mind the noise,

and works through homework like it’s easy.


I’ve spent my whole life working

to be someone worth noticing.

As the months pass, everything click click clicks into place.

If you’ve read The Awakening,

you know this story doesn’t normally end well.



The curtains are drawn closed but they still allow thin bands of golden light to filter in. Elliot sits at a computer.



Learn to speak your story. Even if it is boring.

It is worth hearing.

And if not hearing,

it is at least worth writing.


I write a new fortune for myself,

a new plan.

I’ve spent my whole life working

to become someone worth noticing.

I’ll spend my whole life working

to become the inspiration for others that I never had.


“Never give up,” they say.

An addendum is in order.

Rest so you can continue on.

Rise when you fall down.

Allow your goals to change.

Allow yourself to change.

Never give up on living as the protagonist of your own story.


This poem is about: 
My community
Our world


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