It only happens in passing moments

When there is a pause to life’s hectic pace

When my thoughts have slowed down,

And my attention is brought

To the environment around me,

And the people around me,

When I make the jolting and painful discovery

That I have always been, and will always be, worthless.

For I am not the student that stares from the yearbook pictures

With a beaming smile or an awkward tug at the mouth

While the titles say:

“Student Gets Accepted to Prestigious Camp for Academic Excellence!”

“Junior Creates A New PR For The School!”

I am not the student that people talk about with an exclamatory voice:

“Great Job! That’s just wonderful, honey!”

“This is stellar! It’ll look great on your college applications!”

I am not accustomed to seeing my parents’ smiles on their faces

Or hearing them brag loudly about how gifted their child is

What I am used to, are

Long nights of panic, when my stomach is tied up in knots

I’m used to seeing my name at the bottom of the list

“S. Chambers-The least amount of points”

I am well acquainted with,

“How’d you do sweetheart?”

“U-um, not as well as I wanted it to be”

With an awkward smile

I have become accustomed to being in my head

With the voice of the girl, who sounds oddly like me, loudly banging in my ears

“Do you really think you’re all that?”

“You don’t deserve anything good!”

And with a softer tone, she whispers.

“So why do you even try?”

“You know you’re useless!”

And I respond, my own voice sounding grotesque, but also melodic,

“Because it is who I am.”

Because after the heavy pants of anxiety

And the tears that prickle my eyes

I know that I am worthless

But I am me and there is no reason

That I shouldn’t be proud of that


Suneeti Chambers is co-founder of the GirlSpring chapter at the Altamont School and a member of the Springboarders teen leadership.

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