Let's face it: life is hard. And as a female college student, I can attest to the fact that sometimes, being a girl doesn't make it any easier. With so many pressures to fit in, to look a certain way, to discover ourselves, and decide our futures at such a young age, it’s no surprise that we often find ourselves in a dark place. But, April was National Poetry Month, and if there’s anything that can help shed some light and truth on our lives, it’s poetry. Here are 42 mini poems I've collected throughout the month of April that every college girl needs to read:
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Little things remind me all the time.
For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"
It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?
I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.
Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.
I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.
I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.
"I can't imagine my life without Kelsey. I am so blessed to have her in my life," I say, dropping the last line of my speech. Standing in front of the crowd of attendees, microphone in hand, I raise my glass of cider and the guests join me in a toast.
"To Mike and Kelsey!" we chant. Tears glisten in the eyes of the guests. I tip my head back to prevent mine from pouring over the rims of my eyes. I already want her back.
Kelsey stands from her seat at the head of the bridal table. My speech is finished, but my admiration for her lingers like sugar on my teeth. The guests return to sipping on wine as strawberry crêpes from dinner plates tunnel down their throats.
Kelsey makes her way toward me. Her feet shift beneath thirteen layers of laced fabric, stark white and delicately shaped to dress her figure like a porcelain doll. Brown curls float to her shoulders. She's never looked so pure.
Kelsey embraces me, softly petting my hair. My eyes close for a moment before two women pull her away from me. I pull back, but I lose my grasp on her.
"Hi habibi! How are you?" one woman, her mother-in-law, says. She draws Kelsey into a warm hug, tracing ribbons along her back.
"What are you going to do now, hatta? Slice the cake?" the other woman, her mother-in-law's sister, says.
I stand beside them during their exchange, but they don't acknowledge me. I glance up at Kelsey, hoping to catch her eye. Look at me. I'm right here. Can you see? Please don't ignore me. She isn't facing me.
Kelsey and the two women begin to move away so I follow behind them, a lost puppy. My head lowers into a scowl. She cared about them now more than she did about me. They didn't care about me at all.
Trekking through the red-orange heat of the summer, Kelsey flows through the rose garden to the cake table. Petals cling to the edges of her dress as it rivers behind her. She sprouts past the flower buds to meet her husband at the cake table, laughing and shaking her curls like a lion's mane. Her skin glows as the sun kisses her face.
A new family, a new language, a new home. I don't understand this language. I don't know this culture. Baklava shimmers in the light of the sun. The mother-in-law says religion is everything in Jerusalem. Kelsey Salameh will be printed on all her legal documents. We no longer share the same family name. I want her back.
Her new family has the sun in their hearts, and they consume her whole. When she chokes on the bones in her throat, I fear she will have forgotten me. I will still want her back.
Kelsey is my sun, my center. Everyone calls her honey when she sits on a throne. She's been my queen since the day I was born. I want to be the one to shape the crown to fit her head. I made sure to stand beside her when the photographer took family portraits so when she crams her wedding pictures on her bedroom walls, I'll be painted beside her in her tiny picture frames. That way I couldn't be erased.
Kelsey will no longer just be a friend to her husband's family. She is their beloved addition, their new daughter and sister. She is legally bound to them. I want my sister back. She is part of this new family, and she is not mine.