In sixth grade I had a teacher pull me aside and say, “You carry the weight of the world
on your back,” and being what I am, I took it like a compliment, something for which I should feel proud.
I didn’t understand he was saying, “Why are you so burdened? Why are you so weighed down?”
And that same year I had a crush on Brian, a golden boy way out of my stratosphere, but down
to fool around. He wrote me a note letting me know I’d be worth more to him and this world
if I’d only weigh less. Oh, to be a possibility, a maybe, a note-deserving girl to this boy- so proud.
Middle School was lonely and I spent a lot of time alone. My mom said I was too proud
to make proper friends, I needed to smile more and laugh more and couldn’t I play down
some of that somber disposition? Couldn’t I be lighter, like the others little girls in this world?
My shoulders slump like the curve of the world, and I’m not proud; I couldn’t find a place to set it down.