Is This the End of Me?

Here’s something new. When I turned the page in my old high school poetry book, I didn’t find a poem. I found a song. Yet, Wednesdays are poetry days here on Chapter TK and I wasn’t too keen on publishing a song. It’s not like it even follows a rhythm.  It’s just another poem with a chorus.

Maybe that’s what all songs are. I remember trying to help my brother with a Language Arts assignment. They were supposed to copy down the lyrics of a song they liked and write a short paper on what they thought the song met. At the same time, they were reading classic poets. The teacher’s lesson plan was clear. She was trying to connect her students to old poems using whatever music they enjoyed.

So, I’m choosing to publish this terrible excuse for a song. Bare with me. This was written on December 8th, 2004. I was 14-years-old and a freshman in high school.

Is this the end of me?

I walk into a crowded classroom.

I’ve no idea what I’m doing here.

I’m nervous and confused.

Little did I know,

stuck inside these walls I will be,

for twelve years of eternity.

_

(and I drown in the water,

of worry and fear.

I reach for the light.

No one hears my cry.

Are they ignoring me?

Shadows hands grab me.

I can’t break free.

I hold my breath.

is this the end of me?)

_

Years go by,

the room changes.

It’s getting smaller every day.

More people crowd and shove me.

Their minds are corrupted and

their actions speak of hate.

They want me to follow their way.

_

(and I drown in the water,

of worry and fear.

I reach for the light.

No one hears my cry.

Are they ignoring me?

Shadows hands grab me.

I can’t break free.

I hold my breath.

is this the end of me?)

_

Eight has gone by and four more to go.

They won’t stop trying to pull me under.

Though I’ve escaped their grasp,

I have not surfaced.

Everywhere I look I see darkness.

Is this what I’m meant to be?

Will I ever find my destiny?

_

(and I drown in the water,

of worry and fear.

I reach for the light.

No one hears my cry.

Are they ignoring me?

Shadows hands grab me.

I can’t break free.

I hold my breath.

is this the end of me?)

_

Finally it’s over as I find my way out.

I’m covered in black,

darkness and blood.

This battle I’ve finally won.

I have found myself and I can move on.

As I look around I’m the only one?

How many still suffer?

How many are hurt?

How many have died in the blackness and dirt?

_

I hear the cry of strong souls below me.

They cry out in pain,

and this is what they say:

_

I am drowning in the water.

I am worried and afraid.

I am am reaching to you.

What are you ignoring me?

Can you not hear?

Do you see these hands grabbing me?

I can’t break free

I hold my breath

Is this the end of me?


This photo, “Depressed” is copyright (c) 2014 Sander van der Wel and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license
This photo, “Depressed” is copyright (c) 2014 Sander van der Wel and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

This song sums up my life through 2004, at least the life I was forced to endure while in school. I think it also shows the transition I was going through in high school. Having ‘graduated’ from my Catholic school, where every day was spent with the same 20-some kids, I now attended a public high school. My class sizes were about the same, but my class now composed of more than 140 students. Each class had a different mix of them.

You can really follow the timeline in this song, from my first days in school, to what I cam to know as my average experience in my Catholic school and ending in my impressions of high school after one semester. In the end, I recognize that I am not the only one who has suffered, is suffering or will suffer again. When I started high school, I used to say that the walls screamed with the lost souls of all the students who walked the walls before me.

I was nothing if not dramatic.

However, I think I was noticing an issue bigger than myself. I was good at the whole school thing. Even though I got great grades, I still felt like most of the classes sucked my soul out of me. You really had to push against the grain to be creative in any sense. Everything was about the test in most classes. The reason why students were lucky to leave the school with their soul in tact wasn’t because of peers or teachers, it was because of they system. It seemed to strip creativity from everything

I mention the souls below me as I climb out of the darkness that had colored my life until that point. Despite all the problems, I was finding myself in high school. More free to explore my interests then I had ever been before, I started to thrive. The school was still small, though. There weren’t as many opportunities as a larger school would have and everyone was very much the same. Same people, same culture, same interests, same dreams. Being different was hard if you weren’t good at sports or didn’t have a lot of money. I was climbing out of my misery, but I recognized there were people I passed in the halls still down in the darkness.

How would you sum up your grade school experiences? How do you think we could change the school system to maintain creativity as students learn? Do you think ‘soul-sucking’ is an accurate or overly dramatic way to describe school? What’s better, TK’s poems or TK’s song?

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10 thoughts on “Is This the End of Me?”

  1. For some reason I never disliked school. As for soul sucking. I think in a way i could say yeah. but the school I intended had a drawing and a sculpting class and i think like most schools music as well.

    I know it was there to liberate us from focussing. and look at another side of ourselves.

    I do believe school hold on to much on their believes. As the public and Christian schools I seen did all the above while the attendance of my Catholic school was very tight and more soul sucking.But those are personal experiences.

    Each school has a different belief I think on what might be right within the boundaries set by a organisation that keeps an eye on the schools.
    And with all reforms it might get even worse since children have to start even earlier.

    Sorry it was such trauma. Good thing you slit got your soul right 😀 and creativity .

    1. I think it really does depend on the school. Going off of my own experiences and those of others, I think you just have to be good at the things that make you popular. If you had money and/or were good at sports, high school was easy for you socially. If that’s just who you were, there would be no problems. At some schools, it’s the drama kids that are on top, on other the computer people.

      But that might also be an American thing. I have no idea if cliques are that bad in other countries.

  2. Having freedom to be alone or in groups was my answer. Some days were for being alone in the art room, some were for being in a team sport. Finding your groove to fit into TK

  3. I sum up your grade school experiences as a great cultural experience that has aided me throughout my life. I was 1 of 11 “white” kids from 1st – 8th grade. We were all just poor intercity youth, no one was really well off so we all shared the common goal of growing up and climbing out of the dirt and ash we were born into to make a better future not only for ourselves but for future generations. Remember, computers were still a fairly new thing and even as small children we understood what change they offered. Still we were kids, and while I could never jump double-dutch, I was still one of the best at turning criss-cross and click-clack.

    I think we could change the school system to maintain creativity as students learn by implementing the Gardner Theory. If you don’t know it look it up. My high school psychology teacher taught us about it and it makes so much sense it’s stupid that it’s not implemented.

    Soul-sucking is definitely accurate! Or at least it was for me b/c my HS was in the middle of no where and the kids I met there were just as desperate to escape that hell-hole as I was. Teacher’s weren’t bad, just the curriculum they were forced to teach us. 1 Town up there was a really awesome HS though. I worked with some girls who went there and they said it was great. So I don’t think everyone shares the soul-sucking sentiment, just the unlucky ones who don’t have giant schools.

    1. “The teachers weren’t bad, just the curriculum they were forced to teach us.”

      I think that’s part of the problem. I knew many good teachers who knew great ways to teach us the material. It wasn’t even really the things they were supposed to teach us, it’s how they were forced to teach it to us.

      Everyone learns differently, it’s stupid to expect every kid to excel using the exact same method. There needs to be more diversity in the methods used to teach.

  4. I think you do your poem and songs very good, that was another one right there. I think though we need more inspiring teachers cause they can give us great ideas, maybe do like a school trip on one of their specialist subjects so that they can inspire students as well.

    1. I can think of a lot of inspiring teachers, I think they’re just forced to fit their creativity into the methods the states force them to use. They’re only allowed to teach certain things certain ways.

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