Anonymous, age 17.
I am known: like a child, so eager to receive, I take my place. Like a timeline, I make a mark, so afraid to run out of space. This is where I have brought myself, like a choice I just couldn’t make. Like a sudden break, I fall. Like a final failure, I risk it all. This is who I have become, shattering into a million tiny pieces. Like a voice, just a voice, with no words of reason; like charades, and the only one left guessing is me. This is what it’s like to anticipate the fall. Like a wound that refuses to heal or a single moment that changes it all; I am afraid. I am no child, begging to panic. I am not a timeline, counting each second. I am not broken beyond repair or a carless mistake. I want to be heard, to be understood, even by me. I am not left alone to infect myself, to die a lost cause. I assure myself of all these things, reminding myself when I forget. I make sense of it all, trying to tighten my grip, but there is something that brings me closer to the edge, haunting me with fear until all else fades. This is too close for comfort, too real to fake; too much to handle, too blinding to wake. I will not live my life this way. I was made for more than this. So I take myself away, as I try to heal and breakthrough, I encounter the life I’m brought to. Full of refusing to relive my past – this is me, this is who I can be, free of past struggles, no longer controlled by anxiety. This is how far I have come: from child to years down the road, mending together my broken whole, leaving behind the mask; I have a voice that speaks volumes and a life worth living. I am not a victim. I want to break free of how you know me. Are you listening, please? Know nothing about me. Forget about how long it took before I finally could be, just be, without panic or fear. Forget about the attacks that waged, surrounding me. Forget about how I was on my worst day, or on my best. I know it seems necessary to understand, to see it through my eyes, to try to break the fall, but let yourself refocus. All you need to know is I have left behind everything, all of me, except the parts that matter most. I have never forgotten the way it felt, or walked away from the story I have to tell. I know I can reach out, touch the dark places where no one else can reach. I know there is life outside the cage, and a reason to keep breathing. I know, because I’ve been there. Know you are stronger than you think you are. Know, if nothing else, that in ever battle, victory is on its way.