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The Opposite of Untitled This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

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I am standing on a blank white stage. The only voice that can be heard is mine. I am speaking to you, and I am speaking to no one in particular. I am getting nervous; I ­didn't properly prepare for this. I am getting to the point now.
Who am I? I am the lump sum of the adjectives assigned to me: lazy, forgetful, quiet, intelligent. Or am I only the adjectives I choose to be? I am a proper noun, a name I had no say in. I am also pronouns, mostly he, him, I, you, me, and sometimes a portion of us or we. I am the regretful owner of a loft bed. I am the thing that goes bump in the night, but that's only when I hit my head on the ceiling.
I am a burden to bear, and one bear of a burden. But I am not my failures or my shortcomings. I am “okay” and sometimes I'm not, but that is okay too. I am the fall, the onset of something to come. Some days I am warm and others I am cold. To some I am funny, and to others I am troubled. But mostly I am amorphous, a word assigned to something that cannot permanently retain any other words.
I am a collection of cells that has formed a consciousness that strives for individuality among other collections of cells that have formed their own consciousness. I am bigger on the inside; we all are – that's nothing new. I am striving, striving for more than just purposeless survival.
I am numbered: A first child, a first kiss, or perhaps a first love. A second choice that's second best, a second chance second guessing what he does with the seconds passing. I am an infinity expanding in whichever direction I choose. I am near, I am far, I am wherever you are. I am singing “My Heart Will Go On.”
I am an anatomy: a heart, a brain, some lungs and kidneys, and other organs. I am whatever I choose to be until I am told otherwise, or am I still what I choose to be even after?
I am making words and choices and sense and carbon dioxide and mistakes. I am not, however, perfect. Nor am I a character or an idea. I am a real person, unshaped by one singular mind, born of flesh and bone, striving to be more than flesh and bone. I am the platelets that rush to heal your wounds. I am the endorphins that accompany them to ease your pain.
I am contradicting myself. I am more than the name I have been given by myself or anyone else. I am letters and words and syllables and sentences and paragraphs and chapters and volumes and volumes and volumes of volumes.
A curtain is falling. The stage is going dark now; I am exiting. My voice cannot be heard anymore. The only sound is the light murmur of the audience. They are unknowingly assigning me more adjectives. I am absent yet I am lingering. They call me many things, but one thing I am not is forgotten.

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

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the May 2014 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.




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