we build ourselves up *(might make this into spoken word)

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we build ourselves up

only to be torn down

by the words of those

who feel like hurting us will make them better

or that being better than us means bringing us down

we have become experts

at picking up the pieces

and putting them back

as best we can

but in our own eyes

we become a puzzle with missing pieces



something to be discarded

we too easily conform to the so called “norm”

eager to fit in

we forget our dreams

we forget everything that made us us

happiness becomes just another far away place

first class seats only

we wonder if it’s possible

to remember who we are

and who we want to be

will there ever be another day

where we aren’t bound by the rusty chains of our privileged




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tell us when to go
when to hold up
and when to turn

dictating our lives
like only our souls can

cautioning our foot on that pedal
in the same way we build walls around our hearts


tires screech
as metal clashes on metal

hearts are broken
as lives are lost
or put in harm’s way

what is a driver without a stoplight?

if we cannot rely on even this guidance
what hope do we have in the rest of the world?

I am me.

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I am me.


You are you.


But she is her

and he is him.


One word:




The word weighs down on those around it.

Crushing every ounce of their individuality

until it has been replaced by a new word:



Fear of being different.

Fear of failure.

Fear of being looked down upon.


A young girl sits in the back of the room.

Ahead of her are girls who have been molded into one:

curled hair,

bright shirts,

expensive jeans,

and Nikes.

A boy sits at the park

and watches as every other boy his age is asked to play basketball.

He looks at his cheap white sneakers and knows he’s an outcast.

He has not conformed

but he wants to.


Three words:


Be. An. Individual.


Be who you are.

Not the person the world wants you to be.

it’s there

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it’s there

itching at our core

waning our strength


like the second hand

ticking on a clock

mesmerizing us




fear of failure


fear of the unknown


fear of never being good enough


fear of growing old

or not growing old


fear of death


fear of being criticized


fear of proving people wrong

or of proving people right


fear of losing control




constantly surrounds us

swirling around us high above our heads

all the way to the ground




or the brightest shade of red

you’ve ever seen