My Favorite Shirt This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 19, 2008
Love. It’s a simple but overused word. I love you. I love this song! I absolutely loved that movie! The word doesn’t mean much anymore, not to most. Some people scoff at it. We throw it around like a used shirt, wearing it because it’s comfortable, safe, and secure, but never truly understanding why we have it. We lend it out, forget about it, and years later, we think, “Hey, I really liked that shirt.”

But do we care? No. It’s probably gone now, thrown away because of a rip or sold for $3 at a garage sale. We forget; it doesn’t matter after that.

Then we see the world fall apart. From the safety of our living rooms we watch amateur video on the news or Internet, and sometimes we feel so helpless and alone we’re not sure what to do. We cry for the inhumanity, scream for the injustice, and wonder why the world is this way. We think we can change the world; we know we want to help those who need it most … then we remember that T-shirt we threw out years ago.

We want it back; we fight and scramble for it. We go out and buy new shirts, try them on, but none seems to fit. We’ve lost it – we’ve lost love. We are unnerved for a bit; we sit alone and beat ourselves up for letting it go. Then we just we shrug it off. We say, “I’ll do it later” or “I’m too busy.” I’m guilty of it too: “I don’t have the right resources” or “I’m too young” or “No one will care.” And it seems as if no one does. With high school students only bent on the next party or who’s dating whom, you wonder if, in the end, their shirts were ever worn.

Is my generation going to save the world? We try, a small group of us, but our shirts are faded among the bright colors of greed and the everyday and the wanting. We are pushed into the background. We try to push our way through the crowds, and we truly wonder: where has the love gone?

I don’t want my love to fade; though my shirt is tattered and worn, I wear it daily. I am honest and open, and when I say that simple, dead, four-letter word, I mean it. I know I’ve made mistakes with it in the past and I almost threw my shirt away; I carry it carefully now. It’s close to my heart, where it’s meant to be. I do lend it out every once in a while – I let those who need it try it on and feel the safety that I feel. I leave them pieces when I go, but my shirt never seems to tear. It stays just as simple as it ever was.

When the time comes, I will stand alone in this world and stare into the eyes of those with the shirts of greed and want and lust, and I will know that even though mine is not the most beautiful shirt in the crowd, it’s among the best.

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 252 comments. Post your own now!

br123 said...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 10:35 pm
I disagree that the word "love" is dead. Love is not gone either. People still have happy and loving relationships with boyfriends and husbands. Also, the world is not going to end because one teenager says to another that they love each other. It's all teenagers trying to figure out what love is. And once they realize that maybe what they felt in ninth grade isn't the same as what they felt when they were married. Love can mean a number of things, and sometimes kids say things they don't mean. ... (more »)
marzapan replied...
Jan. 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm

well, u see, heres the thing, they may be trying to find out wat love is, but it dousnt meen they have to give their shirt away every time a new crush comes into their lives


ThreeCheers said...
Aug. 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm
This is amazing. It makes me think of the song "Mad As Rabbits" by Panic! At the Disco. At the end of it, they sing "We must reinvent love, reinvent love" and I've been wondering if anyone feels the same way that I do, that we need to reinvent love, because it doesn't mean anything anymore. 
TuffGurl said...
Aug. 11, 2010 at 7:41 pm
this is an article that makes me feel... comfortable. this is a comfort article, i believe. it's hard to describe, but the words are round, comfortable, soft; I imagine a comfortable bed to sleep in, one that you've slept in for years and is fitted to your figure. that's what this article is to me. 
Wicked-princess replied...
Aug. 11, 2010 at 8:55 pm
this article was absolute genius i agree with tuffgirl it was comfortable an warming an really made me think how we throw taht word around
AgnotTheOdd said...
Aug. 11, 2010 at 1:07 am

That was good.  I read the first paragraph and then knew I would click the 5-star button.  Best article I've read on this site and actually one of the only articles I've bothered to read the entire thing.  I'm jealous

It was brilliant

CheerBabe said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm
I really love this piece! Your insight on the word love is unique and I never realized how much we take it for granted until I read your article. You should really continue with opinionated pieces, your views are right on point and may inspire other writers to go for the same unique insight!!!! Keep up the good work!
xxDreamingWriterxx said...
Jul. 20, 2010 at 10:08 pm
I love the analogy you used here.  It is very creative and I don't think I would have ever thought of it.  I love your writing style! 
luckyducky4 said...
Jul. 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm

i love this its so unique and so true its one of my  favorite articles that i have read hear

keep writing ur really good!!!!!!

cara_ruegg said...
Jul. 18, 2010 at 3:23 pm
very inspiring and beautifully written. you are most def a talented writer and this was a wonderful concept. keep it up!
tianaxbiddy said...
Jul. 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm
it depends onhow u use the word love well who you say it to and how you say it to them. i admit i use love A LOT but wen i tell my bf i love him i say it differently,im not saying it as a habit. i am saying it because i do love him.
babigerl1194 said...
Jul. 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm
mindblowing and inspirational. i love love loved it. for real. and and i agree completely. and now wish i knew you...
Niftygrrl said...
Jul. 8, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I think it's funny How everyone avoided say " I love this!! *screams like fan girl*" Haha This is truly my favorite piece of whatever it is!

I sent it to everybody i know!I Love it! =]

Playuca37 said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 5:34 pm
ArtInBlackandWhite said...
Jul. 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Brilliant...really, very true...I really loved it!
Leena_ink This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 29, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I love this story.

You are an amazing writer :)

IamtheStargirl said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm
Beautiful. Now I fell all weepy and strong.
Emerald said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 8:00 am
It's amazing. A wonderful story.
K9_Typical_Islander said...
Jun. 28, 2010 at 2:26 am
Congrats on making your article published on Teen Ink Magazine! People need to read articles like this one to catch themselves being caught up in materials and greed and reflect on their lives. Great Job!
love_on_wheels said...
Jun. 16, 2010 at 11:53 am
I just LOVE the way you used the t-shirt in that kind of situation. I am looking forward to reading more from you!
maci. said...
Jun. 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm
this is an amazing article, I like the way you used the tshirt, very original, great job!
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