My words and how they ground me


Natalie Mix

a picture of me in my dad’s old shirt reaching for books at the top of the shelf

I’ve missed writing poetry.

I’ve spent the past three months collecting stanzas to poems I won’t publish and titles to stories I won’t write—I’m trying not to live for the past, but to write for the future. 

And in past stories, I’ve been focusing my words on a distant future but have decided it’s one that doesn’t need my immediate attention. Because by focusing on the future me who is thriving in a place of her choosing and has found a new favorite place to buy her coffee, I’ve neglected the me that starts her senior year in less than a week. 

I have my last first day of school rapidly approaching and have yet to process that it’s the last first day of school photo I’ll take on my front porch. It will be the last time my mom gathers my three other siblings and my dogs together and the last time we’ll complain as she tells us the quicker we smile, the quicker we can be done. It will be the last time the four of us will suck it up and put on a smile for my mom’s yearly photo that I can trace back to when I was standing alone on the porch of our old house ready for my first day of kindergarten. 

A lot has changed since kindergarten.

I no longer think my father has control over the weather and that he’s to thank for the snow each winter. And my bedroom walls are no longer a light pink, but a faded gray color that I’ve decided makes me feel mature and adult. 

It will soon be my last first day spent in high school classrooms going over syllabuses that outline the classes I’m taking—classes that are preparing me for the rest of my life, the last few classes that stand between me and graduation. 

I’ve started writing poetry again, for no one but myself, as a way to put my anxious thoughts to rest.

Even though I’ve known our graduation date since last year, May 17th seems more significant the closer my last first day of school gets. May 17th is the first day I’ll no longer be a high schooler.

And while I try to limit my thoughts about a future that is so far away, a tiny dorm room full of plants and colorful journals comes to mind. I’m ecstatic to be given a form of independency that only comes with moving out, but I can’t help but fear the days when I’m too far away for my parents to aid me in solving my problems.

I can’t seem to get thoughts like that out of my head and stop them from consuming me; I’ve started writing poetry again, for no one but myself, as a way to put my anxious thoughts to rest. 

My thoughts seems so insignificant and small when I reduce them to nothing but words on a page and lines in stanzas.