Contagious

Written by: Miranda Bell

When did I grow so old?
When did the glow from my childhood become erased from my face
to be replaced
by this frown and worried furrow in my brow?

When did my worries turn from homework and drama
to bills, survival, and fears of suicide
(these, I secretly hide)?
I'm afraid to lose myself within this.

But twenty years old is not ancient!
These are the days of high heels, afterparties,
never saying sorry,
and rebellion against authority.

For me, however,
these are the days of feeling like I'm forty-five,
barely alive,
and holding up a reputation I never personally obtained.

These are the days of apologizing for my values.
Apologizing for my emotions,
slightly-intelligent notions
and beliefs.

These are the days of hiding within the four walls of my room,
never alone,
rarely home,
and wishing for a sanctuary.

No family.
One friend on the West Coast
(whom I miss the most).
A lover who thrives in my demise.

When did I grow so old
and began to fear
that, through the veil of tears,
my worthlessness would become contagious?