13 years old
New Plymouth Girls’ High School

Wake up at the first light’s ray,
A competition, every day;
We cannot loose, we would pay.
We are cattle to be judged,
And of our others we begrudged.
On our scores, personality is based.
Beauty, determined by the width of our waists.
With glamor, we are superior;
But be plain, and we’re inferior.
Our thighs may not touch, and our stomachs may not fold
As we are forced into society’s mould.
And into it we must squeeze,
Or silently, we will be teased.
We won’t accomplish anything.
And to the world nothing we will bring.
We’re told to be afraid of our competition,
To be like them is our “ultimate mission.”

All our worries, all our fears,
Are not really of our peers.
They are figments, our imagination.
More so horrors, our own creation.
Yes, we are worried that we will fail;
But also, that we might prevail…
Fear of standing out,
To go our own route,
To stand apart from the crowd.
Speak our own thoughts out loud.
Able to be seen,
On a silver screen.
That we might be considered insignificant, small…
That we did not deserve the curtain call…
That we are nothing at all.
This is what we were taught,
And this nonsense we bought.
All because we did not fit into their mould,
That by everyone so often we were told,
Was the expectation,
Of our generation.
But now I ask you; who told us that?
I question, Who told us that fact?
We are taught in school,
that others are cruel.
In articles, comments and magazines we read,
we are told that to be pretty we must not feed.
It seems people have an obsession,
Of saying “all kids will have depression.”
Expecting us to cry so sad,
Anticipating that we’re bad.

This is the problem that we face,
The issue of our teenage race.
We are taught that children are mean.
That behind their facade there is a keen,
Hungry desire to watch us crumble, hear us cry.
There will always be people who want us to die.
This, is what we are continuously told.
To then survive, we are taught to be cold.
This is what all adult lectures seem to tell,
“Teenagers are terrible,” is what they sell.
But what if we are not?
Could we avoid all fraught?
If we could, erase, scorn,
What was said before we were born,
If we forgot teenager’s predisposition,
And learnt to love our so-called “opposition,”
Then possibly expectations we could defy,
To previous teenager ways, say “Goodbye.”
Comrades in arms we can unite.
Make past kids’ mistakes right.
We may finally win this teenage fight.

This poem is part of the TEARAWAY Young Poets feature for National Poetry Day.

The Common Room