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?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2011 Nat'l Poetry Month Contest & It Gets Better project

Hey friends. I wanted to let you know about the It Gets Better project. It falls right in line with the goal of YouMakeMeFeelLessAlone. Sparked by incidents of LGTB kids being bullied and committing suicide, Dan Savage (the well known sex columnist) created the It Gets Better campaign of video diaries from LGTB people who are speaking about how life gets better after those wretched teenage years. I am honored to know several people that have contributed videos. There is also an It Gets Better book available now! Check out the videos, the book, and the site. Maybe you'd even like to contribute a video.

The sentiment of It Get Better doesn't have to be limited to LGTB issues. To celebrate National Poetry Month and get the word out about It Gets Better and YouMakeMeFeelLessAlone, I am holding a POETRY CONTEST. Contribute your writing to YMMFLA and give others hope that dealing with issues like mental illness, addiction, sexuality, and relationships GETS BETTER!

Click here for info about PRIZES and GUIDELINES.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

100th post to You Make Me Feel Less Alone!

This is the 100th post to You Make Me Feel Less Alone! Thanks to everyone who has submitted, read entries, and commented. Keep the submissions coming!

Karissa Doll, age 18. California.

Just Another Drink

Just one more sip
But somehow the bottle's already gone
It never stays full for long
She lays in her room
She knows nothing's okay
She knows she's right
But it's all wrong

Through a nights sleep
The day disappears
It just disappears
It's already gone

Just another drink
And another bottle
Things fall apart
The roots so deep
What you've come to be
Just another drink

So unforgiving
It won't leave her glass
This isn't her
It's all just a blur
But I see so clear
The ending so near
Of my loss of faith

Another drop
And my heart stops
It can no longer feel

I've become so numb
I'm just too young
To know who you've become
Would you want that for me
To do as I see
To give up everything
For just another drink

"I'd just stick with you If it were up to me."

Colleen, age 15. Kentucky.

Poem: Too Many People

Their is too many people
in this world I see
I'd just stick with you
If it were up to me

Exposure Therapy I might need
but, even after sessions
I still believe
that their's

Too many people
& I feel like I have
no room to breathe

So many people
that I block out
So I can't see
because it causes so much anxiety

If it were up to me
I'd just stick with you
I don't like being alone
but, I would be okay with finding alone with you.

Poem: His Kind of Red Sky

Lying in the grass
Staring up at the sky
I got a glance
Of his kind of red sky

Poem: He Comes Close

You're a fighter
& you've come so far
Holding on
So don't let go now
No one will ever understand completely
But, he comes close
With your thoughts & your feelings
You may be alone
& in severe pain
But, tomorrow's a new day
& it's never too late
To begin again.

Poem: Though You Hurt

Though you hurt
Though you suffer
Though you may never be the same
You are constantly picking yourself back up
& trying again
'Cause all you really want
All you really need
Is happiness somewhere in between

Things are starting to change
You're realizing you won't be the same
Though you hurt & are afraid
Who says things haven't ever been this way?

Poem: To Make it Make Sense

To make it make sense
You call it beautiful pain
Is it possible the sun will come out tomorrow?
Will the moon & stars show again?
Does something beautiful end?

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Like a captured rabbit I pounce at a chance of freedom."

A.M. Young, age 22. Jenkintown, PA.


Reality flickers on and off
Like a lamp in my mind
Sacrificing sanity in the process
I am lost
Anxiously breathing, heart pitter pattering
Like a captured rabbit
I pounce at a chance of freedom
But I am lost

I am unsafe alone
But worse crowded within the mob
Reality an occurrence
I am uncomfortable
Now a light which once flickered
Is the spotlight on my mind
I am forsaken by my spotlight
Still I am uncomfortable

My spotlight shines
When it once flickered in and out
Now blinding my eyes
I am in pain.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

At last, new poems!

Sorry, folks. It's been a really long time. But here are several new posts for YMMFLA! Check them out. Post comments about what you think. Send in your own work!

[break her down]

Like a flower in the sky, I fall gently, creating disturbance beneath me and natural disaster across the seas. I take my place on the stone ledge, fixing my eyes on the edge, begging some part of me not to go through with it, all the while knowing I won’t do it. I witness fear enter in, starting to call revenge my closest friend, daring the eyes to see all they have done. I pinch myself, this is no dream, catch a deep breath, finding in me, searching deeper for more meaning – nothing. Getting closer, feet are trembling, my heart keeps beating; now its racing, somehow being torn between, never knowing if it is worth it to stay alive. I hold my head above the water, those who follow, somehow stronger; though they stumble they find footing absent from my own. No one sees me, the sun betrays me, I jump into the black beneath leaving behind my last words and a final goodbye - not even a shadow. I am beauty, see me falling? Catch me.

Latoya Brathwaite, Age 18. Barbados.

I smashed the mirror on my bathroom wall
And watched my reflection shatter
Depressed, sad, ugly girl...she was gone
The memories, the revolting pain, it all ceased to matter
I smeared on some makeup
I dyed my hair red
And that night...that night,I left her behind
Lost within the sharp shards of glass, her face, once was mine

My words dripped with forged bouts of happiness,
Sentences punctuated with the whitest "Oh-emm-gee"
Ten, eleven, twelve...ficticious tales of a wild, exciting life
I laughed until I cried, I cried on the inside, inevitably
I signed on to Facebook
I added my new "friends"
And when in pain I told myself, she would fade after a while
So I drowned her out in sleeping pills and bullied my mouth to smile

The moon hid behind the cloud, the crickets screamed
The night I lost my virginity
When it was over, he pushed me off the bed and laughed when I started to cry
Where were my friends
I felt ugly again
In my hand, the butcher knife gleamed
Before I could carve a line on my wrist...I saw her reflection
The knife distorted the image but I recognised her
Clarity replaced insanity...the wrongs I did to her,came flooding back to me

I made her overdose on the wild life
Evertime I pretended to be like them, the noose tightened around her neck
I stabbed her in the heart when I gave away my innocence
Her reflection would always be mine
When the knife slid from my hand...I realised, I had already murdered

Joshua Diehl, age 18. Denton, Texas.
Concerning Inadequacy


How you torture me as a flipping switch
Turning swiftly, repeatedly, from marriage to suicide
Between art and happiness, I cannot decide
But sorrow never seems to kick me into the ditch

My heartstrings have become sanguinary
But this could never be a fault of yours
Lord, I do not think this has been a dream of sorts
Although I am not certain of anything, anymore

No longer shaped like a cradle, both hands on the rusting rail,
Barely shuffling up perished steps
I forgot to take the time to reconstruct a liar’s bed
No wonder I come home only to the coffee she left

Time will spread her wings and fly
If you let her stare too long into the sky
I do not think your love will fix everything
But God, how I would quite love to try

A.M. Young, age 22. Jenkintown, PA.

Binds me to the past, like a pair of steel clasped hand cuffs
Tightened to my wrists, I feel them squeezing the blood
Blood that should be flowing from my hands to my heart

My heart beats rapidly as I am linked to the past barely surviving
Laughing at the notion of thriving ever even considered
Soulless it seems from the lies of the deep abyss

Light indigo lines ran rapid in the child’s eyes
Or were they dark like the color of the soil
Forgotten now the simple description of the doer

Look what ignorance has done to the Molested
Ignorance of the molested and the doer
Ignorance of the guardian, the watcher, the closeness

Binds me to the past, like a shackle of a slave
Crippled I am soul, body, and mind
My innocence forced out

Driven out of the soul like a whipped, beaten horse
A stallion beautiful once, but now a simple ass
Loaded with the stress of a strain not its fault

HA! Says the molested, HE! Says the ass
I am wounded, forgotten, overlooked
I am bound to this past, the emotion of a tumultuous storm

The storm rages on and pours down over my body
Cleans dear lord of all my oppression
“Blessed are they who mourn,

For they will be comforted”
I can only pray
The binding of the my soul to the molested

Little Word

If I were going to write you
it would only be one word—

I’d print it so small
that it would be barely
visible, just a whisper
of lead on paper
I am still here.