What It Means to Be Seventeen


Opportunities in life are bursting at the seams.

My eyes are almost as big as my dreams.


So many things I haven't done, far too many places I haven't been.

But ahead I have a life of adventure and adversity unforeseen.


I know how to drive, wash dishes, and keep the house clean,

I think I'm already an adult, but I don't really know what it means.


Strappy tanks from the mall and brand name skinny jeans.

Mascara and lipgloss form a part of my daily routine.


Going to sleep at 8 p.m. or 3 a.m., no in between.

And all of my friends have all been replaced with caffeine.


All day I type words onto a backlit screen.

I'm tired of being a relentless machine.

Tired of running on gasoline.

Working out just to look like a figurine.

On the glossy pages of a magazine.

Who doesn't even look like that herself.

I'm seventeen.

But my parents seem to think otherwise

When about a boyfriend, I'm five

When getting groceries, I'm twenty three

When managing money, I'm sixty

When it's bedtime, I'm eight

I'm seventeen

And everyone around me

Is like everyone else

All trying to be "cool" and "funny" and "lit"

But I just can't seem to get with it

I remain an anomaly

I'm seventeen and I'm breaking the flow.

I'm tired of ignorant people who don't bother to know

About the problems that plague our world today

I'm seventeen and I have something to say.

I know I am the embodiment of your expectations

Still, I am but a child, and I succumb to my temptations

Forgive me for failing you every once in a while

I try, really, I do.

I believe I am the youth,

That my voice has a purpose

Can I really use it to make change?

The thought makes me nervous

Still, I'll push on

Through the calculus problems

Through the fading friendships

Through the crippling self-doubt

Through the crumbling walls I glued apart at the edges

Through the sleep deprivation

Because at seventeen, I can't do without


And his sugary texts at midnight.

And scrolling endlessly through Instagram memes.

And literal liquid gold, also known as queso from Moe's.

And my best friend, eight thousand miles away, sending me a message every night.

I can't do without the promise of a new tomorrow.

A tomorrow I build with my own two hands and those of my generation.

A tomorrow where I find myself, and also the cure for cancer.

A tomorrow where I, like my poetry, can be anything I want it to be.

Because I'm seventeen.

And this is just the beginning.

I have my whole life in front of me.

It's going to be legendary.

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