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!

Dandelion said...
Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:34 pm
Amazing arcticle. Beautiful metaphor.
toiwhitney011 said...
Apr. 1, 2010 at 7:32 pm
This is absolutley amazing.
bookworm95 said...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 12:40 pm
I loved this article! It really made me think about how many times a day I say "I love you" but don't really mean it. And I really loved how BillyJoe said its a word that is said so much but not said enough. Somehow that makes complete sense lol:)
StarlingChild This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2010 at 1:31 pm
Very well written. I love the unique twist you gave the topic; it really brings about a hidden message. It gave me a lot to think about.
lunaEccentric said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm
This such a cool, fresh perspective. The second I read the first few lines I thought of the line August says in Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, "Did you know there are thrity-two names for love in one of the Eskimo languages and we just have this one. We are so limited, you have to use the same word for loving Rosaleen as you do for loving a coke with peanuts. Isn't that a shame we don't have more ways to say it?"
writergirl13 replied...
Apr. 23, 2010 at 8:18 pm
Oh my gosh! Yes!! I just read that book, but I didn't think of it until I read your comment, but that's so true!! I really like that line in the book. Great piece!! I really felt like this has opened my eyes to something, and I'm a pretty open-minded person, so that's a challenge to do sometimes!! :)
naturelover123 said...
Mar. 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm
This is a cool article...gave me a sense of unity of all the good people in the world overcoming obstacles and spreading love.
lilyxfiore said...
Mar. 4, 2010 at 6:02 pm
I love the shirt metaphor in this! Fantastic job. This is so true and so eye-catching; like a best-seller, I couldn't stop reading it. Very well done.
HOT-P!NK said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm
this is great, i love the meaning and how you made it make sense
sharadyn said...
Feb. 21, 2010 at 11:55 am
very well thought out. good job
They_Call_Her_Amphetamine said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 4:40 pm
This blew my mind. Amazing.
crawfordkid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 11:59 am
Bravo!!! I love it!
robrobrobin11 said...
Jan. 30, 2010 at 6:20 pm
Really moving; so true. Beautiful writing. Bravo.
dragonbiscuits This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 9:24 pm
This was marvelous! And very true, great job!
sunsetclimber said...
Jan. 20, 2010 at 5:16 pm
amazing. very reflective of our society today i think. you did a great job
Sinfulullabies said...
Jan. 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm
I'm very impressed with this article. The comparison between love and a t-shirt is absolutely perfect. I think anyone can relate to this article, and if you continue you will definitely be a successful writer one day (:
Averycullen said...
Jan. 17, 2010 at 9:27 am
I really liked this. It was very thoughtful. You should be a psychiatrist.
riahcakes said...
Jan. 16, 2010 at 12:29 am
The metaphor was sorta out there, but ehh what's creativity nowadays? And I have a question: You say love is overused, but if it is indeed "overused" then...why is there not much love in the world?
Doesn't the world need all the love it can get? Get piece (:
ladytrojan said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm
i dont like the metaphor tht much.
spiceyredpper replied...
Jan. 8, 2010 at 11:36 am
wow..dats really metaphor
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