Dear Asian Youth,
Expectations are vindictive things,
Pulling and grasping and twisting
At the thin lines of your limits,
Warping them and then asking for more
They are greedy, rapacious, hungry things,
Eager to steal your sense of worth and value.
And even when you have been wrung dry,
Even when you have offered all that you have,
From the oxygen that fuels your blood,
To the skin that covers your palms,
It is never enough.
Expectations you see,
Are like the purest and softest white
Of the stars that glow at night.
Are like the round silvery curves
Of the moon that shines at twilight.
Always within view,
Yet never within reach.
Any attempt to grasp at it,
Is a futile and desperate thing.
Because for each shaking breath you take,
Each painful step you make,
It brings you no closer to the light.
How far must you run,
How high must you jump,
Until it is enough?
Until you are enough?
My blood has run dry.
The light in my eyes has dwindled,
A dull reflection of the world around me.
My hands constantly grasp at something,
Yet each time slender fingers uncurl,
My palm is empty.
They say that only you can determine your self worth,
And yet the expectations they plaster on you,
Like clouds swollen with rain,
Are heavy and oppressive.
They whisper and stare and herd you into a box,
And act as if it is not their fault that
You have found yourself confined to their judgements.
In the face of their scrutiny,
Of their piercing eyes that stare unyieldingly into me,
That bore into my soul and pick me apart,
I cannot help but hiss from the sting of
Face burning with shame
When I fail to meet their expectations.
I cannot help but look at the people around me,
And only see reflections of my faults.
The distance between my fingertips and their expectations,
Is like a never ending abyss.
Like a yawning gaping chasm,
The distance continues to stretch infinitely
Despite my desperate attempts.
Every time I fail to grasp at the stars,
Something in me seems to flicker and fade away with it.
Their disappointment tearing and ripping at my self worth,
Shattering it like the fragile glass that it is,
Until there’s nothing left but bloody hands and broken shards
But worse is,
Is that every time my vermillion stained fingertips
Somehow stretch beyond themselves,
Lightly brush against the stars,
And their eyes turn from disappointment into grudging approval,
A shiver of hope and desperation runs through me
That I hold and clutch at with a fierceness
Only known to a dying man.
It is like a rain storm in the midst of a drought,
And as the blue grey liquid slides,
Over the soft curves and angles of my face,
In place of my tears that have run dry,
A bitter laugh wracks my throat.
How desperate I am,
For their approval.
With trembling fingers and bloody nails,
I achingly glue myself back together.
Cracks and fractures only building
As I ignore the possibility that one day,
There will simply be nothing left of me.
Cover photo source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/124693483417223364/