The Things I Carry This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 19, 2008
I wouldn’t want people seeing all the things I carry, because then they’d know too much. I wouldn’t care if they saw my tests, even the ones I failed. I wouldn’t mind if they found my poetry books, as long as they didn’t disrespect them.

If someone randomly found my things, they’d come across the books and binders and calculators common to any student’s backpack. But then again they might find The Sea and the Bells by Pablo Neruda or The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Or they might find my own works. And as long as they didn’t toss them on the floor or curse them or bend their pages or dismiss their value, it would be fine. People can see my things for what they are, but rarely will they care to realize why I might be carrying them or what they imply about other more hidden things I am carrying.

That’s why the most important things I carry usually aren’t there for others to see: if they found my thoughts on paper, they would most likely demean their significance. So I might keep Pablo Neruda nearby when I really wish it were the letters my family in Nicaragua wrote me. I might wear a Jewish star around my neck, but all it really means is that I need to have faith now more than ever.

My backpack – from the day camp where I work – was the only one we had in the house, but it also keeps part of my campers I desperately miss with me when all else fails. The sweatpants that I wear mean that I don’t see anyone worth getting dressed up for, worth impressing. Even if I might want a date for prom or think having a boyfriend might be nice, my sweatpants are a silent protest against all that is shallow and all who are shallow. The people who come to me while I am wearing sweatpants and my hair in a ponytail are the only ones I want around me. The reason I always seem so crazed is due to the fact that I haven’t had something genuinely funny make me laugh in a really long time.

You might not know that my backpack and laptop weigh 20 pounds while the emotions I carry weigh 50. You might not know that some days, as I drag my things and myself up the stairs, it’s like I’m forcing a corpse to move. Some days my glass heart shatters. Some days I come home and pull out the shards of my heart that are piercing my muscles and internal organs.

What I carry is not for all to see. You couldn’t find it in my backpack or written in my textbooks. It’s different from every brick that makes up the school being placed on my back. It’s beyond every unwelcoming face I encounter in the halls. I carry the weight of bruised egos and bloody brains; of gray rainbows and swelling hemorrhages; of books and pencils; of red marks ten thousand pounds each; of mosaic façades.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Michelle Saucier said...
Mar. 22, 2009 at 9:47 pm
I loved this. It was next to mine in the print, and I kept reading it because it was so true about me too. Very well done, I love it.
callie133 said...
Oct. 24, 2008 at 12:56 am
Although written by a teen , it is truly written with maturity.The feelings expressed are real and deep and moving.
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