When I was a teenager,

I used to roll my eyes at adults who would smile,

pat my back and shake their heads at my pain

As if to say I hadn’t seen a fraction of what pain really looks like

In my twenties I find myself shaking my head

at teenagers who hurt over school and young love

And I think there will be bigger heartbreaks,

and they will be embittered by the

world’s indifference to their suffering.

Look how I have become the adult I use to hate.

I wonder if there’s someone older

Shaking their head at me

for stooping my back at this degree of pain

I allow the guilt to visit a little while

And send an invisible hug to the hurting teenager

Because no one knows better than me,

That every shade of pain is valid.


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