Poetry On Odyssey: Am I The Problem?

Poetry On Odyssey: Am I The Problem?

For all of those who felt disoriented from their past. This one's dedicated to you.

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We sat on the red velvet carpet to be read a story. I was going to sit down next to my friends when two girls pushed me aside and I sat behind by myself. Am I the problem?

I raised my hand to answer a problem in the first grade. My teacher looked over and yelled, "Put your hand down, you talk too much." A teacher passing by pulled me out into the hallway to hug and comfort me because she told me I did nothing wrong. I replied, "Am I the problem?"

A teacher told us to stop talking in class. A classmate tried talking to me and terrified I'd get caught, I wrote a note saying I didn't want to talk because I don't want us to get in trouble. I crumpled the note up afterward to discard later, but it wound up on the floor. A student took notice and the teacher yelled, "Who wrote that?" I got pulled out into the hallway to later be screamed at relentlessly. I began to explain myself but she cut me off to tell me I am a bad person who deserves to go to detention for not following rules. She later told me to not tell my parents about what she had said to me and that she'll be nice and not punish me. At home crying to my parents, I asked, "Am I the problem?"

Text messages came and went on my new slider phone with a keyboard. New attention I was not used to began to soften my heart. Conversations began to play in person and I started to smile wider. However, a few girls didn't like that there was attention not being paid to them. So they intervened. Newer, better, and prettier came into play, and I was pushed to the back of the stage. No new notifications on my phone to be seen. I whispered to myself staring at the blank screen, "Am I the problem?"

While drawing in my notebook, I began to plug in my earphones to listen to new songs on my iPod nano in my history class. "Katie, why are you so short?" "Have you always had buck teeth like that?" "You are like a midget, let's call you midge." "Your feet are freakishly tiny, what size are you?" "You know, you should wear a bigger bra than that. It's noticeable and even _______ is talking about it." I turned around and stared until their noise got dimmer. A tear fell onto the page where I was writing the words, "Am I the problem?"

*Kick, kick, kick.*
"You're eavesdropping aren't you?" "You don't talk much, but I know you do talk huh." "She's probably telling all her friends our conversations." "You still can hear us with those earphone on, don't you?" "Guys, have you seen her chest? She has HUGE tits." I whipped my head around to be shown laughter in my face. I glared around the room, seeing if anyone would speak up. Everyone lowered their head and I swung myself back around, choking back tears brimming my eyes. I replugged in my earphones. I lowered my head and listen to the song that sang, "Am I the problem?"

Furious typing is exchanged with instantaneous beeping and buzzing. We were fighting again and my patience began to wear thin. A blue bubble of text showed up that along the lines read, "If it wasn't for me, none of those friends would have invited you anywhere or liked you. I'm the only reason you have friends in the first place."


But wait, that isn't true

...am I really the problem?


"Katie, were you invited to the party?" No, I didn't hear of one." "Oh, I assumed you were. Everyone your friends with is going so I guess you're the only one."

"We knew she'd be sad because you'd be there. So we didn't invite you. Sorry. Find somewhere else."

"Sorry, there's someone else."

"You're not as great as I thought you'd be. I paid for dinner and this is the return I get?"

"You have massive tits omg what size are you?! That looks insane."

"You're not a good person."

"If you'd only lose that weight of yours. You'd be perfect. You have a pretty face, but I saw how you were eating back there. You need to cut back and try to lose weight. Then, guys would like you."


morphed into


"Would you recommend surgery? I want to get it done and I want your advice."

"You have buck teeth" morphed into "I love your smile."

"You are so freakishly short" morphed into "You are the cutest height, I love it."

"Wow, I really like your outfit" wasn't a joking compliment to ridicule or make fun. It morphed into genuinity.

"You are the someone I want to talk to."

"Katie, I want to invite you to the party and I really hope you can make it."

"Katie you look really good, wear that outfit."

"You look healthy."


From grade school, middle school, and high school.

The answer to the questions I have been asking myself throughout my whole life.

"Am I the problem?"

Is "no." I wasn't the problem.


They were.

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade.

I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass, and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school, and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone, it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach:

Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off," and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake, I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself, not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, but you also turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It's about the players.

You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won't have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Poetry On Odyssey: My Thoughts As A Teenage Insomniac

"Shifty minds in a shifty night."

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My thoughts have hit a new low,
My bedroom is feeling too cold-
I wanna sleep but my bedspread's only made for two.

DON'T FIX MY AESTHETIC,
I'M CALLING A MEDIC-
I'LL F**K ON THE TABLE,
AND HOTBOX WITH GOD.

Illusions depicted,
Writing hometown fictitions,
And drinking big bottles with uplifting tongues.

I'M PLAYING WITH RATTLES,
I'VE UPSET SOME CATTLE
WHO WASHED UP A BOMB-

Rolling around twisting some thoughts,
I've gotten insomnia-
And switched on and off.
I'm subtle and bitter,
I've craved for hard liquor,
But felt gross off the thought.

GO DRINK SOME BEER,
AND THEY WILL ALL CHEER-
I GO IN AND OUT
OH F**K I JUST SHOUT!
I PUNCHED MY FRIEND BOBBY
I'M MAKING A HOBBY,
TO SUCK ON MY THUMB!

My mind is a gutter,
A repulsive mess.
I shift around-
On and off bed.
For the nighttime thoughts lingers
And I'm shriveled with thought.
For graveyard hours really just suck.

LIGHTS ON, ON AND OFF
I THINK FELL,
THESE MOMENTS SUCK

I'm a teenage insomniac,
Whatever will I do?
When my mind comes down under,
I relapse again.

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