Poem by Chicago Finalist Mariam Keita
Winnie Mandela Options High School
The shine of your star is fading
The glitter in your eyes is dimming The pride in your body is crumbling The hope in your heart is dying
A star has descended from the dark sky Falling down over a million miles away Then you come to a shocking realization That fallen star happens to be you
What happened to your shine? What happened to your glitter? What happened to your pride? What happened to your hope?
Oh, I know what is happening
As you fall deeper into the darkness The love and joy once filled your veins Has been buried alive under self-hate
Little one, why do you hate yourself?
Why are you disregarding your talent?
Why are you throwing away your self-worth? Why are you stabbing your self-identity?
Don’t you know you have matchless potential? The monster of self-hate has come to possess you Pulling you into its whim of silent suffering
As you are afraid to call out for help
As your cries go unheard throughout the cosmos A light has come to extend its hand to you
This is the light of everything you have abandoned For it has not abandoned you
It has been waiting of your return
For it is bonded with you with your essence Its mind suddenly drawn in pain
As it sensed your anguish and distress
Your light of hope did not come alone however… Behind it, you see the light of your loved ones Family, friends, mentors, role models,
Ready to widen their arms for your arrival.
“Don’t leave us.” The light of hope said.
“I can’t.” You tear up. “Everything is a lie!”
“What made you think this way?” The light asked once more. Tears blind your lifeless orbs as you speak
“Everyone has a better life than me!” You shout
“Everyone is beautiful, and I am the ugly duckling. I am alone!” “Everyone has talent, love, popularity, everything! I have nothing!” “What is the point of smiling when you have nothing to smile about?!”
Everyone listens to every word has sprung out of your mouth, Everyone feels that terrible hornet sting in their hearts,
Every word you cry out, every tear that fell down your cheeks, Makes the darkness grow, drawing you in its power.
“You smile…because you are alive.” The light of hope responds. “You smile because you have strength to move on.”
“You smile because you are independent.”
“You smile because you are YOU.”
“Why try so hard to be like everyone else?”
“Is it because you want to fit in? To belong?” “Sweetheart, that is not everything in life.” “Sometimes, it is better to not be one with the crowd.”
These words radiate with truth as it bombards your ears.
To think, you wanted to be someone special,
Maybe that popular girl, or to be someone else for that one to like you. But as you think about it, is it really worth that effort?
What have you become, or attempted to become?
Just a cutout of a piece of cardboard labeled ‘society’? To be this useless puppet to fit a stereotype?
Are you really worth less than what others say?
“You are not pretty.”
“Oh goodness, you are such a loser!”
“No boy or girl will ever ask you out!” “Why are you even alive? You are nothing!”
NO! This senseless hate must stop!
No more personalities crumble to dust!
No more depression eating away our sanity! No young, unique lives have to end!
Oh, I know what you are thinking
It’s hopeless isn’t it?
There will always be people who have something to say There will always be people who will try to cut you down
But you can put a stop to that.
You must stand up for yourself
You must stand up for your identity
You must stand up for what you believe in!
You are worth more than your appearance.
You are worth more than your skin tone.
You are worth more than your popularity.
You are worth more than what negativity people say!
You are beautiful. You are strong. You are talented. You are you.
As the darkness weakens by your sudden strength. It had released you from its death grip.
You fly into the light.
The light into your abandoned self-love.
The lesson here is quite simple actually.
Do not follow the crowd.
Do not fall victim into society’s expectations. Do not become a puppet of the darkness.
You are a star up in the night sky.
The star that those across the world will look up to. You are the outline of your own constellation. What will you name yourself?
You can build up that lost hope. You can get your self-love back.
All you have to do is start believing. Believing in your own individuality.
Become that bright star.
Start loving yourself.
Illuminate your life and shine brightly!
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