Wow! I made a spoken word poem! Yippee!! If it’s your thing, the original written poem for this piece is here.
There are a lot of hidden references to my childhood in this poem, that I wrote with the full intent of being very mysterious and sneaky about them, but since I have no self control and can’t keep a secret to save my life, I thought I would do a sort of Genius-lyrics style breakdown of the references in this poem, since, I dunno, I’m extra.
1. a little girl with bug-eyes, and dollar-store sneakers
When I was little, as many kids are, I was pretty awkward. But unlike most kids, I was very much aware of it, due to a lot of bullying that was directed at me because of it. My eyes were just normal eyes, that part is just a metaphor, but my face was constantly covered in scabs from picking at it whenever I got anxious, my teeth were a mess, and my hair was always frizzy and chaotic. There was this one specific time in first grade, one of the most distinct memories I have of feeling different, when I was wearing these cheap sneakers my mom had picked up at the dollar store, and they weren’t like the ones the other girls were wearing, and I totally freaked out about it and thought not having super expensive sneaks somehow made me a lesser human being. So as a kind of way of punishing myself for it, that recess, hid in a corner alone in the cold, watching people pass by–pretending I was invisible. It was just a little thing, but it hurt, to hate myself that much–and I still remember it very clearly.
2. whose stamping feet caused earthquakes, whose sobs controlled the tides.
When I was little, I was very sensitive. Honestly, I still am, but obviously I express it in very different ways now. I didn’t really know how else to express my anxiety at that age, honestly–so I ended up lashing out a lot, and crying a ton in general. During my early elementary school years, my dad was also trying to get an accounting degree, and my mom had just gone back to work, all right while my mental illness was starting to fester and worsen. So my first and second grade years were just kind of a nightmare. There wasn’t a single person out there who I trusted with my thoughts and feelings completely, and both my friend group and my family was almost always fighting about something.
- a girl in a glass house
As a kid, I was definitely a bit of a hypocrite at times. In a weird way, lashing out at others at that age was my way of indirectly hurting myself. Because I wanted to make them to hate me, as much as I hated myself.
And I’d love to say that I’m over that… but honestly, I’m not. It sucks, and it’s something I’m trying really hard to work through. But I’ve spent so long desperately racing to the top, believing my only worth as a person lay not just in being isolated and different, but being better than everyone else in the room, at any given moment.
Also, in fifth grade another class did a unit on metaphors and had to illustrate them on the school walls–and I remember how that was the first time I heard that metaphor, and I really overused the hell out of that metaphor that year.
- a girl dressed up like a christmas tree
This refers to this really specific memory I have from eighth grade. I had a choir concert, that I had not practised for at all, so I had no idea what I was doing. It was my first year taking classes at a regular school, and one thing I really struggled with during that first month or so was how I wanted to dress, and the fact that I literally had not talked to a kid my age for longer than five minutes in two years and just sort of rotated between the same three outfits. I remember that night, how sleep-deprived I was, how i felt like I was suffocating or something, the walls pressing in closes and closer on me. I didn’t have any friends, so I didn’t even know who to talk to, and just kinda drifted around the room aimlessly. I ended up wearing these hand-me-down pants my neighbour gave me, and this old, worn out, red T-shirt, and my favourite green comfort sweater that actually is really cute if you, yanno, don’t wear it with a clashing colour–and was agonizingly aware of how awkward the whole thing looked all night, and had a whole panic attack in the bathroom about it. Hence, “dressed up like a christmas tree.” Honestly, what I most remember from that night is how paralyzed I felt inside my own body. I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted, or how to fit in, or if I even wanted to fit in. Which pretty much sums up the first couple months of eighth grade, actually. For some reason, that’s another memory I can recall very clearly.
- a girl curled up on the couch
In my elementary school and middle school years, I would spend a lot of my bad days curled up on the couch, just sitting there for hours, reading, or writing, or scrolling through Tumblr on my laptop, my brain just sort of turning to mush. I still do that sometimes. I don’t know, there’s no specific memory that inspired this line, it’s just somewhere I’ve sat and felt really sad, and hopeless, and not really wanted to do anything at all at, for a really long time.
And with that, I think I’ve broken down some of the easter eggs in this poem! Hopefully this was interesting! If it was, please let me know, I’d love to do it again if this is a hit.
What was your elementary/middle school experience like? I’d love to know, I feel like mine was pretty strange, and I’m definitely glad I’m out of that period in my life now.
Lots of love,