As a child,
the world is one of whimsy, fancy, and fun
A dandelion fluttering in the wind
Is an instant command to make a wish
The florets take to the air
Just like me
“Momma, why is the sky blue?
The daily adventure to school
Is to learn and play
Upbeat music surrounds me
As I sing and dance along
With no regard to whether anyone’s watching
My fingers untangle the mess that math is
Numbers follow my every command
Everything is simple and sweet and clear.
I wish these ephemeral moments would last forever.
As a teen,
the world suddenly turns upside-down
The dandelion in the park
Doesn't deserve my time
It remains ignored
The skies turn purple and pink,
A strange, new kind of unexpected beauty
And the clouds are no longer cotton balls
I don’t ask my mother “Why?”
She doesn’t know everything
School prepares me for my future
But I don’t know what I want yet
The voices hurry me onwards,
Suddenly, I can relate to music about
Sadness, loss, and grief
I plug in my earphones
Locking myself in little haven
Away from reality
Nobody needs to know
Everyone with similar dreams fly above me
The joy I used to feel doing math
“You’re your only competition.”
That’s not true.
I’m competing against everyone
And I have to win
The looks of disappointment burn
They all expect so much
And I can give so little
When did it all become so hard?
Why does it have to be me?
“Endure the hardships now, and enjoy later.”
What if I die before anything becomes worth it?
Would a normal life really be so terrible?
Should I continue along this downtrodden path?
The life is mine, but the decision isn’t
Why do I need glasses?
Suddenly, I can’t see clearly anymore.
Everything I thought I knew disintegrates into dust
The world’s suddenly complicated and bitter and murky
Is this the magical thing they call youth?
Why do people sing songs and tell stories about