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A Long-Winded Complaint by a High School Junior

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A Long-Winded Complaint by a High School Junior

File Photo - NPHS

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Gabby Corrado

File Photo - NPHS

Gabby Corrado

Gabby Corrado

File Photo - NPHS

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A Long-Winded Complaint by a High School Junior

This piece was submitted to The Knight Crier by a student at North Penn High School. The KC welcomes submissions of all genres from the NPHS student body. 

 

I just want to be happy.

We all want to be happy, that’s why

We keep pushing forward past the struggle,

The funerals, the breakups, the layoffs,

The failures, the betrayals.

 

But we’re not happy.

Who is “we?”

The kids, of course!

Haven’t you seen us? Trudging the halls,

With slouched shoulders and duller eyes

Losing spark to the insulation of stressful expectations

 

We’re so tired! We’re exhausted!

Besides school and friends and family and demands

Oh the demands, the demands!

“Go be this” “Go do that” “What college?” “SATs!”

We’re being diced and quartered like medieval prisoners,

by these apocalypse horsemen!

 

But god, I want to be happy.

Not the happy that some others find,

in the bottles of stolen from, picklocked cabinets,

from vaporizers haggled from the friend of a brother (of a friend),

from paper rolls of marijuana, stinking of smoke and trash

to the cigarettes stamped out in piles,

littering the gutter behind the gymnasium.

 

These are just simulations,

by God, give me the real deal!

These kids want to be happy!

But you couldn’t give them the help

and support they needed so now

they’re dragging their knives,

 

across forearms and thighs,

no longer looking for joy but just

some sort of anchor, a stability,

that’ll keep them alive!

To remind them what it’s like to be alive!

Because what’s life without pain?

 

I’ve been surviving and growing

Under expectations growing faster

and telling me that I should both

“give up” and

“hurry up”

in the same breath,

 

tearing me in two pieces until I implode

Is my GPA the rent I pay to be respected?

Is my potential in high school what determines my right to live?

Is what I do now the catalyst

for what value I will be stamped with in society,

like some cut of meat in a butcher’s display?

 

Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to be educated

but this isn’t education; it is a slow poison

that diseases our wills with numbers that mean nothing

and everything (calculated from useless facts)

“I don’t care anymore!” someone cries!

“Not even gonna try!” they say again, as they still try

(even harder than before)

 

Whatever, I guess. I don’t want pity, or help,

Or assurances that “it’s gonna be okay”, “you’ll be fine,”

“High school is the best time of your life”

(First of all, bull.)

Second of all, keep your quotations: I’ve heard them before.

 

I just want to be happy.

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A Long-Winded Complaint by a High School Junior