No One: Knowing What I Need

I’ve got another short one for you as we move on to page two of my childhood poetry book. Just to recap for anyone new here, I’ve shared the poetry I wrote as a child every Wednesday. I don’t expect these words to be amazing. They are little more than the simple musings of a teenager. For various reasons, I often found myself full of confusing emotions. I was afraid to express them for fear their expression would only increase my bullying or disappoint my parents. Poetry was my godsend.

Last week, I shared a poem entitled ‘Torture,’ where 13-year-old TK gave voice to her emotions and made them real. While this week’s poem may still seem sad, it’s actually a revelation.

(Written March 30, 2004. I was 13 and in 8th grade)

No One

No one listens,

No one wants to hear,

but all I want is to

share my pain inside,

people have their own problems,

no reason to listen to mine,

how I wish to be comforted.

Clearly this is not a shining moment for my poetry ability. It has little rhyme or rhythm. As a poem, it sucks. However, as a personal revelation, this poem is huge. I said before this poem was a revelation for me. This revelation in the very last line. I wanted comforted. I had spent most of my middle school years numbing myself to emotions and convincing myself I would be alone forever. The idea that I would need help made me feel shameful and weak. I didn’t want to need anyone.

Yet, I needed someone.

I wanted comfort and friendship. I wanted a shoulder to cry on. The words of this poem are few, but they had to fight through my shame to get out. I learned, through writing this, that I could not make it through this world alone. I needed people, regardless of the shame I felt for my weakness. For me, this was a huge lesson. There was no way I was going to rise about the human need for social activity.

Next week, I’ll be sharing one of my favorites. The poem will dive deeper into some of the more complex emotions of my youth.

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29 thoughts on “No One: Knowing What I Need”

  1. Its beautiful TK….. ya know I was thinking…. you might very well be one of the only bloggers I know who present a poem; and then present the backdrop from with you wrote it and give literary and psychological commentary regarding it also. Not trying to be a kiss ass, but I swear, I’ve looked at hundreds of poetry bloggers and I’m not sure too many of them are doing that….. hmmm, just something that struck me this morning.

    1. I felt like it was necessary. Otherwise, I sound like just another whiny child. I felt like the only way I could put these out there was if I also shared why they were so important to me.

    1. That’s certainly true. I’m sure my parents weren’t completely oblivious to what was going on with me, but I didn’t make their job easy. I was ashamed of my existence and did my best to hide my ‘weakness’ from them.

  2. I agree with culturemonk – it helps when you provide a background and explain where you were coming from. Helps us understand the poem better and ultimately helps us understand you better.

    1. Thanks. Like I said, I felt it was necessary. I’m not trying to pretend these poems are works of art. They’re more like pieces of who I am. I present them with the intention that they be understood, which requires a little commentary. I’m happy you appreciate the context.

  3. Realizing others, too, have problems, does not lessen the onus of what you face. When my son was diagnosed with ALL, the family was pretty self-consumed. We needed sympathy and the presence of others to help us get through those trials.

    Later, when we would go to the peds cancer clinic, and see all the other children with various cancers, and see that for many, amputation was part of their therapy — it put things in perspective. It did not lessen what we faced, it helped to know there were others, too.

    The problem with problems is that some are more acceptable than others to others. Especially when you are 13 and have real problems.

    So, I would challenge your assessment of the work. It’s a poem, and appears to be an honest expression of need.

    At age 64, the majority of my work comes from a place that begs expression of need. How would it be if you were able to hear the unspoken need(s) of everyone you met?

    Thanks, too, for dropping by my writing website.

    1. I felt like, because other people were dealing with their own problems, it was burdensome of me to ask for their help. I spent a good part of my youth feeling like I was weighing people down and I hated myself for it. I think, if I would have reached out, I might have found others who shared my experiences and who were willing to support me. I don’t know if, at this point, I had figured out that asking for help was not a sign of weakness.

      If I heard the needs of everyone I met, I feel like I would be compelled to help them all, even if all I could do was be a support for them. Sometimes, just giving someone the grace of a listening ear can lesson their burden a bit.

      1. Hearing and helping — maybe the first is the second. Fixing the brokenness of another falls on the shoulders of the broken person and those who are trained — as in, say, a physician.
        I don’t know enough to help someone. It doesn’t take any superior knowledge to listen.
        Coming alongside surely helps by sharing and lessening the load.

  4. Thank you for sharing these older pieces of yours. It is so important for young people to have emotional and creative outlets, and it’s important for us adults to try and remember what it was like to be kids and to validate their feelings. Reminds me of a project in my home state, Oregon, ran by the nonprofit Literary Arts: It’s called Writers in the Schools, and every year they release a collection of work by young writers in the program. I think you’d enjoy the students’ work: http://www.literary-arts.org/what-we-do/wits-home/anthology

    1. Thanks, I’ll have to check that out. I honestly think they should teach healthy stress relief activity to children, starting in elementary school. It would expose children to different ways of expressing their feelings in the same way P.E. exposes them to different forms of physical activity. I choose poetry, but I saw too many other choose self-harm or drugs to deal with their experiences.

      1. I work with a man who taught English to elementary school-age in China for a few years. He had difficulty at first, he said–perhaps because of the language barriers, I’m not sure, his students were mostly unruly. That is, till he read about opening each day with a brief (5 – 10 min.) meditation. He said that that settled the students, prepared them for a morning of hard work. I wish that this and what you’re talking about (stress relief) would both be employed in our schools. You’re absoluately right–young people need outlets, but we aren’t always offering them creative, healthy alternatives to what I suppose comes naturally to people: lashing out, or lashing in. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your work. Best, –Mark

  5. Your poem is beautiful…simply because it’s expressing something very precious: the heart of a teenager, her emotions and her struggle to be accepted, loved, comforted. I found myself in your words and i felt the need to comfort the scared lonely child i used to be. Thank you for being so honest, so courageous and strong…to share this amazingly sensitive, loving and pure part of your heart. Because the inner child lives forever in our hearts…
    I also wanted to thank you for visiting my blog, i’m honored. And it makes me feel special knowing you liked my latest post, it means very much to me.
    Blessings,
    Carissa

    1. I’m happy you found it moving. Hopefully you’ll like the next week’s poem even better. This one is far from my favorite, but I love what I have in store next week.

  6. I find it amazing that as a young girl who felt she had no friends and no one who could be there for her, for you to grow up to share so much with so many people who’s lives are truly touched by viewing your writings. I’m really glad I can take part in the Chapter TK fandom =^_^=

  7. Hi TK! That’s one brave post. Thanks for sharing.
    Here’s a quote from Janet Fitch (White Oleander): “Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”
    It is not meant to discourage you, at all. You can feel loneliness, however you are not alone. And by sharing your soul, you’re connecting to others every single day.
    I had felt it, and I expressed it as an image: http://ruoxiangchau.com/2013/07/01/loneliness-is-the-human-condition/
    Best wishes,
    RX

    1. That might be one of the best quotes I’ve ever read; I totally get it! For whatever reason, I don’t think a lot of people focus on understanding. Their too focused on trying to achieve what society says will make them happy.

      I think there is a sort of beautiful contentment with a constant search. We will never fully understand ourselves, but we can find happiness in constantly striving to learn more.

      1. Actually, I do think that people are focused on understanding. But in order to understand others, we shall start by ourselves. Once, we learn how to love ourselves and forgive ourselves, we’ll be able to do the same for others. We understand people with the means we have. And it takes time and compassion to acquire these means.
        I’ll be happy to follow your blog. Have a great day/good night, sweetie.
        Hugs from Paris!
        RX

  8. I actually get you, expressing something precious as emotions, and everything beyond that struggle. I also have a lot of them, but i dont feel like sharing them yet, because of the feeling of…what will everybody say.
    Its cool that this sort of things show that there are still lots of kids with adult superpowers somewhere lol XD

    1. I know what you mean. I’ve had the blog for over a year and kept thinking about posting these. I’m happy I finally did, but it’s stressful every time I hit publish. The only reason I even have these in my apartment was because I was afraid my parents would find them. It’s not a problem that they read them, but that they wouldn’t have me there to provide context. That’s probably why I add context to these post. It helps easy the anxiety of being judged.

  9. TK….I can identify with that piece. as you say it may not be top billing, but it meant something to you at a critical kind of time. in my teens, I spent a lot of time in my room just listening to music with the album jackets open going over the words time after time when i’d replay it. it’s the only place I could find feel. unfortunately I couldn’t find the kind of feel in the human experience as a teen or as an adult. I pretty much blended those two time periods in my latest piece. you are in a good place if my memory serves correctly as to being with another. that’s a good thing.

    1. I had specific songs that I used to calm me as well. Poetry was my way of identifying what I was feeling and music helped me get to the root of the problem. Maybe I’ll share a post about that music someday.

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