Sunday, October 2, 2011

"They dont see how much I’m pretending."

Alone in a Crowd of People
Jessica D. Vega, age 22.
Jersey City, NJ.

Alone in a crowd of people
They see me
but they don't see the real me
They see my smile
but they don't see how fake it is
They dont see how much I’m pretending
pretending to be happy

Alone in a crowd of people
Knowing I’ll never belong
never fit in to any group
always alone
always forgotten
always invisible

Alone in a crowd of people
Wearing this mask so well
hiding all my emotions
hiding all my doubts
hiding all my fears
hiding all my scars

Alone in a crowd of people
no on really knows
no one really cares
no one really understands
how I feel
how I really feel
and the way I feel
is alone in a crowd of people

I feel like I've been wasting time.
Jessica D. Vega, age 22.
Jersey City, NJ.

I never got to do the things
that I really wanted to do.
I wonder if it’s to late to start now.
Even if I did start now,
I wouldn’t know how or where to start.

I feel like I’m trapped in a box
that’s sealed tight.
I can’t get out.
I can’t move.
I can’t breathe.
I’m suffocating.

I scream,
but nobody hears.
I cry,
but nobody sees.
Because I’m trapped in this box.
And they can’t really tell what’s wrong with me,
because all they hear from me is silence.

So, how can I do the things I really want do,
when I can’t even get out of this box that
I’ve been trapped in for years.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Flawless. It means everything to me."

Anonymous, age 15
Brooklyn, NY

That's all I want to be
It means everything to me

Not many understand
The need
The want
The strive
To be better

Need to not be me
Need to be you
Need to be different
Not myself
When I am
Oh so broken
Oh so flawed

Not perfect
Not how I want to be
Not flawless

Friday, September 30, 2011

"I don’t need to be the hero."

Carolyn Ursabia, age 28

Tell me how the story ends
I just want to know.
It’s hard to see beyond the moment
when you’re dealt another blow.

Tell me I’m the distressed damsel –
a knight in armour on his way;
The Deus Ex Machina ’round the corner
to materialize and save the day.

I don’t need to be the hero,
or the star that steals the show.
I’m not desperate for attention
when I’m feeling really low.

I need help because I’m cracking
under the pressure of the weight
of every little tiny thing
with which I’ve struggled as of late.

So don’t tell me I can do it.
When what I need’s a helpful hand.
Not just empty, pleasant words
that suggest but don’t mean you understand.

Oh but in the end, I know who’s the hero
The rising star that saves the show.
I asked you how the story ends,
but I guess I damned well know:

I’ll suck it up, and take the hits.
Maybe a couple times I’ll fall.
And when they ask me “How much credit…”
I will say, “I take it all.”

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"I have this power to overcome."

A.M. Young, age 22
Jenkintown, PA

Lonely and abrupt
I sit waiting for the corrupt
The one to take me away
From the simplicities of my day
To complicate things

To manipulate my mind
I climb and I climb.
Out of this depression
I have this lingering confession
That this will be different

I will be no more
From what I was before
Like a flower
I will conquer with a shower
To cleanse my soul

That clean embrace
From my mother’s face
I have this power to overcome
All these things that I have committed and done
That will haunt my thoughts

But won’t bring me down
I no longer hide like a clown
I am a bird, free
I am myself; I am here and I am me

Funny little thing confidence

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"He has made me promise to not burn myself."

Nicole Easterwood, age 20
Jacksonville, AL

His hands are smooth,
as they touch my skin.
At the beginning of each
of my phalanges
lay thick calluses.
My thumbs,
and sometimes index fingers,
are torn up
and bleed from picking.
I can’t stop.
I’ve tried so many times.
I’ve thought of him
and pleaded with my mind
to stop.
I’ve tried.

His arms are free of scars,
so strong.
I look at mine and am ashamed.
Reminders of cold bathroom floor,
mixing with the flame of a lighter.
So many sleepless nights.
So many days of curtains drawn.
So many panic attacks taking over me.
I’ve tried to be calm.
I’ve tried.
I’ve tried.

No one seems to understand
how it feels to think
that you are alone.
But when his hand brushes mine,
breathing ceases
and I am not thinking
of how I can make it stop.
It culminates and I am fine.
Nothing matters
except simply being.

He has made me promise
to not burn myself.
To stop
inflicting pain.
I promised.
And I will
keep my promise.
Because he’s worth it.
Because I’m scared
to say I love him.
To tell him
he deserves someone
who is well.
To tell him,
“You make me
feel less alone.”

Friday, May 6, 2011

Winners: National Poetry Month Contest

I am thrilled to announce the three winners of my National Poetry Month Contest. I got loads of submissions on all sorts of topics: relationships, self-injury, depression, anxiety, medication, self image, violence, racism, and more. But the common theme was hope...and that things get better.

Check out all the submissions here on my blog. And, of course, take a moment to read the three winning poems below.

The grand-prize winner is Anonymous, age 22 with "Fall."

She'll be getting a great prize pack of books
including: It Gets Better by Dan Savage, I Don’t Want to Be Crazy and You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz (signed by me!), It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, Cut by Patricia McCormick, and Talking in the Dark by Billy Merrell.

Anonymous, age 22


I try to suppress the grin on my face
As I rush, alone, to my next class.
The campus is graceful in its nature
and colors and I’m alone, not
lonely, thanking the empty sky for
getting me to this place.
I’m in awe of the bag on my
shoulder, heavy with overpriced
books. Proud that my four successive
classes give me some place
acceptable to be.
I take notes and study and wear a genuinely
rehearsed contemplative look. I can’t understand
the groans around me at another assigned chapter
or announcement of an upcoming test.
This is it.
What I’ve been struggling to attain for four
excruciatingly long years.
To sit in a class and learn, to abandon my corner
of safety and pain and thoughts designed to
derail me at every haphazard venturing out.
I spent the better part of my first two adult
years screaming on a locked ward,
but the piercing shrieks have faded,
and I don’t think I have to be so afraid

I don’t think they can control me anymore.

* * *

The two runners up are Anu B., age 18 and Stephanie Faith Sizeland, age 19.

They'll both get signed copies of I Don’t Want to Be Crazy and You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz (me!).

Anu B., age 18

Maybe I’m not who you want me to be,
But I’m me. Incorrigibly, irredeemably, painfully
Maybe I’m not where you want me to be.
Maybe my hair is too long for your liking,
Or too short for your delicate sensibilities.
Maybe my pants hang a little too low,
Or I hold my books a little too close.
Maybe my eyes are too sad for you,
Or my hips too wide,
My arms too long, my smile
Too blithe.
Maybe it’s just that I’m too tall, too short,
Too skinny, too fat, too strong, too smart,
Too loud, too quiet, too immersed in my thoughts.
Maybe I’m not everything you want me to be,
But I’m me. Incorrigibly, irredeemably, painfully
But, maybe it’s not me.
Maybe you’re too…too.
Maybe you’re heart isn’t big enough,
Maybe your heart only feels its own pain.
My heart will have to be big enough,
I will survive your incorrigible, irredeemable,
Painful Disdain.

Stephanie Faith Sizeland, age 19
Stop the bleeding

As she heads for the book shelf
She apologizes to herself once more
“I’m sorry, I can’t take it anymore.”
She lifts up her book titled “Glass”
“Story of my life” she whispers…
Underneath hides a secret kept from the world
The story of a broken girl.
She picks up the translucent piece
Sharpened edge
Sharper than the rest
In need of one more release.
Glass to skin, she carves
Another scar
One more line to match the rest
Closes her eyes and lets it slide
“This is the last time.” She lies.
As the blood runs, she weeps
Always abides by her one rule
“Never too deep”.
The lines are straight
She holds her arm to the light
Studying the horizontal cuts
Always left to right.
Never does it for attention
Or sympathy from anyone
Does it for herself
Because she feels she has no choice
Not tonight, not ever.

It’s about stopping.
It’s about having the courage to stop.
Having the strength.
Relief is possible without the knife.
Don’t cut your life short.
Make an effort to stop.
Make an effort to get better.
Tell someone you love.
Help someone you know.
Stop the scars.
Stop the bleeding.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nat’l Poetry Month contest submissions

All of the entries for the poetry contest are up! Check them out! Winners will be announced this Friday. Who do you think should win?