The following is an expanded version of Madison’s poem that appeared in the May 2021 print edition.
Whether or not the world became what it has become.
You would still be here.
Whether or not the door to this unsolvable escape room
We have trapped ourselves in was ever opened.
We would still be here.
Whether or not you were still contemplating
The day that everything changed,
Everything would still be here.
We would still be trapped inside of our own minds,
Worse than any lockdown we could ever imagine.
We would still be getting burned by the heat in here,
Way worse than any wildfire we’ve ever seen.
We would still be left crying with no one to wipe our tears,
More painful than any tear gas ever used.
We would still be starving ourselves until we were never even there,
Because we were told that’s the only way to be accepted.
We would still be alone
No matter how many people we were with.
We would still want
What we could never have.
But the second we found something we could have,
We were told otherwise.
We would still be told by the opposition
To do the thing that we want to do,
Yet the people we thought were on our side
Will end up being the most against us.
We would still be wishing that the world was different,
Even though we know we still wouldn’t be happy.
Because we never will be if we’re thinking like that.
There will always be something stopping us.
“You should eat more,” they say.
“You should eat less,” they say.
“Get up,” they say.
“Shut up too,” they say.
“Be more social,” they say.
“But you are annoying so never mind,” they say.
“Grow up,” they say.
“You know you’re still a kid, right? Stop acting like an adult,” they say.
“You’ve let yourself go,” they say.
“Why do you wear so much makeup?” they say.
“You should stand up for yourself,” they say.
“It was just a joke,” they say.
“You have to love yourself,” they say.
“You’re so self absorbed.”
It would be like this whether or not this year happened how it did.
This wouldn’t have changed.
When you care about what other people think, you’ll never be happy.
Or when you care too much about what you think.
And even if you had your dream life, you wouldn’t even care.
You wanna be someone else.
When they wanna be you.
They know how perfect you are, yet you haven’t realized yet.
So instead of drowning in your thoughts about all the imperfections.
Just think about how amazing your life is.
And how amazing you are.
Whether or not the world became what it has become,
You would still be here.
So why not make the most of it?