I never wanted to ask for help.
I thought it would get me into further trouble,
And some of you knew, and didn’t really do anything.
Some of you knew, and did a lot.
And some of you had no clue.
I wonder, for those who knew –
why didn’t you take more action?
For those who didn’t –
Didn’t you hear my silent screams?
In Kindergarten, when I bit my own arm –
because I thought maybe if I had something on my body
to show you,
it would make it valid.
Because it was always my body people wanted.
Or how about in First grade,
when every time someone rubbed their feet or hands
on the carpet I freaked out.
Sensory overload. My tongue itched.
You sent me to time-out.
That’s not what I needed.
In Second grade, you reprimanded me
As you do all students.
But immediately I felt hatred for you,
heat rising in my face –
I wanted to fight you back.
Did you know in third grade,
when I did everything in my power
to get your attention, to be perfect?
To be liked, to be someone?
In fourth grade,
Did you find it at all concerning,
that I was sent to school with a fever?
It would be inconvenient for me to be home..
Or how about in fifth grade,
when I started continually missing music lessons,
And when you got mad at me –
I cried, because I didn’t want to see him.
Did you notice in 6th grade?
When I learned to fear people so strongly,
that I couldn’t make friends?
When you watched as students bullied me,
and you didn’t intervene.
How about in Junior High School.
7th and 8th grade,
When you saw the cuts on my arms
and the bruises.
When you saw me stop eating at lunch,
When you asked me “What’s wrong?”
And my fearful response was: “I’m just tired.”
Then in High School?
In 9th grade, one teacher asked…
Are you safe, is home safe?
But I couldn’t answer.
And I sat on a desk in her room after school
and dissociated for the first time that I can really remember?
Or the teacher who had me write about myself,
And I wrote how my chameleon eyes were my depression.
I channeled my energy into reading I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.
and then I really felt like I connected to someone for the first time.
Or when I wrote my term paper on bipolar disorder?
The one teacher openly criticized my family,
but was there any effort when I showed up to school
Did my coaches ever question why I missed so many practices?
Was it just okay?
And later in 10-12th grades,
when things got out of hand.
And I was sick.
Nobody suspected what had happened,
nobody suspected what was happening.
I slipped by,
The sick student –
who walked the halls instead of going to class
and ran the track to get herself grounded.
My teachers have taught me a lot.
I am grateful for them
It scares me how easily,
I slipped through the cracks,
and my traumas continued under their clocks.
And I silently screamed,
for help that never came.