To Be Young

This is something I just needed to say. And that is what I am doing. Here’s to being young, to feeling misunderstood.

We tell them that they’ve forgotten

what it’s like to be young,

because they have forgotten

what it’s like to be young.

They’ve forgotten what is’s like to be


what it’s like to feel


and that when they were sixteen

they also felt the need to say:

“you’ve forgotten

what it’s like to be young.”

You’d think they would have remembered.

And maybe it’s all the coffee

because adults sure drink a ton of it

and maybe its made them


because once you’ve grown up

you don’t really have a taste for


or maybe they’ve all just lost their footing

trying to balance their cheque books

because I’ve heard that’s something adults


but to this day I still haven’t got a


as to what balancing a cheque book actually is,

but I guess it must be real important because

its caused them to lose their footing

and they must of hit their heads on the way down.

But tell me is it so “important” that you’ve all

forgotten to listen to me when I need you to?

And God, that’s all I really want–

I just want you to listen.

I just want you to say

that you get it,

that you know exactly how I feel,

that I have the right to be angry,

that you know it sucks and you’re sorry that it does.

But you don’t say these things.

And that is the problem.

You hear

but with one


and then out the other.

You hear,

but you don’t listen.

Because I’m just a dumb kid, right?

And I must have two left hands

because I don’t know my left from my right, right?

Because sixteen years isn’t enough time to know a thing right?

But you’re wrong.

Because a girl can learn a fair bit

in a decade add six years.

And God, have I learned things.

I’ve learned that sometimes the people

you care about most are the ones that

are capable of destroying you

and that everyone is a liar

or a hypocrite

or both

whether they admit it or not.

I’ve learned what it’s like to feel like you’re soaring

but also what it’s like to feel like you’re plummeting

and while I’ve learned to love,

I’ve also learned to hate

and that sometimes the people that leave you

are the ones that don’t have a choice.

I’ve learned what’s is like to have a broken heart

and that sometimes it’s better to be broken than

to keep clinging onto the ones that broke you.

And that is why I’ve learned to hurt,

and that is why I’ve also learned to harden myself

so I don’t have to hurt

and that is why I’ve also learned that being sixteen

isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

And that, my friend, is why I come to you.

Because right now, I am lost.

I feel so lost.

And so I was hoping you’d listen.

So that maybe you could help me find my way again.

And I just want you to say

that you get it,

 that you know exactly how I feel,

 that I have the right to be angry,

 that you know it sucks and you’re sorry it does.

But you don’t say these things.

And that is the problem.

And that is why I know you’ve

forgotten what it’s like to be young.

Because if you remembered, you wouldn’t be this way.

And how could you?

How could you forget what it’s like to be a kid?

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6 thoughts on “To Be Young

  1. Dear Jade,

    WOW!!! Your writing is beautifully elegant in its truth within this poem. I loved reading this piece for it spoke upon a universal truth that seeps into an individual without them identifying it. I loved the style of writing here for when you write, “Because adults sure drink a ton of it” there is a softness and innocence associated with that line, it’s a light phrase that is a necessity to this poem. The diction is moveable within this piece for when you isolate the words bitter and sweetener through making each their own line, not only is the stark contrast of the words present, but emphasis of what adulthood embeds within youth and what one simultaneously loses becomes prevalent.

    I love how you describe adults and their inability to understand with materialistic belongings exemplified through coffee and cheque books, which represent to me a sense of emotional detachment. This again places a discrepancy with the youth you write within the narrative “I,” for her experiences have caused her to understand the unforgiving reality that can be associated with life. This angst and almost sense of abandonment she experiences is a universal sense of suffering that I feel we all have experienced and I am awed at how eloquently you have represented a collective emotion. This sense of adulthood you write about is an epoch in which one loses the profound moments that needed to take place to shape them into their future self, and only the result of who they are remains. We somehow got to adulthood, but forgot how.

    For me, this immediately connected to Frankenstein for Victor, when creating the monster, was focused solely on his study and the creation of life, and only through result did he realize the consequence of action. It’s as if we live in the present hoping for the future, and live in the future lamenting this past.

    Thank you for this inspiring and lovely piece.


    1. Dear Sadia,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      I’m ever so glad that you found that I was able to capture this “universal truth”, as you put it ; that is always my one goal as a writer–to write something with that has truth behind it, something that is hopefully relatable.

      I do agree with you when you say we have all experienced this. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful for the adults in my life. However, it’s so hard being young sometimes. I think we’ve all had moments when we’ve felt that the adults in our lives don’t listen to us or understand us. And, like you said, it can definitely make us feel like we’ve been abandoned by the ones we thought we could count on. It is, in fact, an unforgiving reality. I think this reality has made so many of us afraid to grow up–we don’t want to continue the cycle of not understanding, of not listening. We don’t want to embody that same cynicism. I know that is one of my greatest fears. This is why I wrote this piece.

      Thank so much for taking the time to read this poem. This is one piece that I have always been proud of. This is why I appreciate
      your comment! Thanks again!


  2. Jade,

    What I have always loved about your writing since the last year of Creative Writing was your voice, and this piece is an excellent example of what I am talking about. You speak for all of the Grade 11’s, if not the entire student community of the high school. I hope this piece gets some recognition, because it is worthy of such. In fact, it may be a good steal for your spoken word. The poetic format you use that switches in and out of rhyme helps to highlight the important messages in the piece. It’s a very relatable work for students, and it was a pleasure to read.

    I’m sure some adults would disagree with this point of view, but you’re able to convey the message of the narrator in the poem so well, that for every disagreeing adult, there would be two agreeing teens. Here comes the difficult part, where I have to critique your work. It’s difficult because I have to actually find a fault in this piece. My only note of improvement, would be to watch the use of repetition. In this piece it worked really well to help convey the message, but in other works, be careful of using it so generously. It can get redundant and lose the reader’s interest. I guess that was more-so advice than an actual improvement, but hey, with a great piece like this, I can only hope with comes in handy for your next amazing work of writing.

    Keep up the great work!


    1. Dear Lucas,

      Thank you so much! Like I told Sadia, I’m glad you found my poem to be relatable. While I wrote it to express myself, it is also dedicated to all of my fellow classmates and any other teenager that has ever felt unheard; I know we’ve all been there. This is for all of us.

      This was actually written as a spoken word, initially. I hope I get to perform it some day.

      I’m glad you appreciated the rhyme in this poem. You’re spot on–I used it to intentionally highlight different ideas in this piece. This is especially true for the slant/near rhymes such as “bitter” and “sweetener” as well as “unheard” and “misunderstood” They were meant to sound abrupt–maybe even a little bit harsh–in order to impact the reader.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate your compliments as well as your advice for next time.


  3. Dear Jade,

    Honestly, where do I begin? You are, in so many aspects, a manifestation of what I aspire to be. Your writing has not once disappointed me, however I do believe this is my favourite piece of writing that you have done. It amazes me how much power you can wield with your words Jade, and as I sit here typing this comment after my third time reading your piece, I can still feel my heart beating in my chest. The accuracy of this poem is unreal. It feels like these days, we are defined by a number; the age we are becomes the only thing people choose to look at, and in the process, our faces, the words we have spoken, the deeds we have done seem to fade away into nothing. Our age glows bright like the feelings we have trapped inside us, but the surface image of us is all people choose to look at. Speaking personally here, as a student int the eleventh grade was born later than everyone else, I can understand how painful this can be. My name is Yasmeen Diaz, and I am a writer, an actress, a singer, a friend, and so much more. I am young, but having said that, I am also human, and therefore, I am perfectly capable of maturity, and I am perfectly capable of being hurt. These are things that are forgotten too easily.

    This poem has the ability to move mountains, my lovely Jade. I admire you so much, and I feel blessed to have the right to say that I know you as more than just a peer, but as a friend. I believe that this poem is a reflection of your maturity. Yes you are 16 and yes you are young, but I know for a fact that you have been hurt, and after reading this, I pity the people who choose to view as anything less of what you are: magnificent. There is really only one number in my mind that I categorize you with, and that is #1. You are the first person who has been able to capture such a relatable struggle in words that can actually do this concept justice, and for that, I truly thank you.

    I am gushing, and that is because there is so much love here for you Jade Bartlett. I have always known you have the talent to be in this class and I have told you this since last year, and this piece only reaffirms my beliefs. I look forward to being blessed with more of your work. Bravo.

    With love,

    1. My dearest Yasee,

      I don’t think you know how much your comment means to me. As lame as this will sound, I will admit that I teared up a little.

      This piece is my baby. This is one that I will always be proud of. This is why getting such loving feedback from you, Sadia, and Lucas truly does mean the world to me. I’m glad that you think this piece is powerful. I think there are so many times when we feel so powerless, especially at this age. I wrote this piece to regain some of the power I’ve felt I’ve lost in this past year.

      You’re right. As teenagers, it is very easy for people to define us as nothing more than an age–a number. Sometimes people think that we haven’t experienced enough to know anything about life. That we know nothing about pain, that we are immature, and therefore shouldn’t have a say in things. But this is not true. Especially in the times we live in. Life can be cruel. It doesn’t matter if your’e 60 or 16. I hurt. We all hurt.

      We’ve all been betrayed and been lied to at some point or another. We’ve all witnessed the hypocrisy and malice that exists in our society. We’ve all had our hearts broken at one point, and we’ve all had the people we love leave us. We’ve all loved and we’ve all hated.

      These experiences should unite us, despite any age gaps. But it doesn’t. And that truly is the problem. There’s a real stigma around being young. I think this is why people find it hard to listen to us and understand us.

      You’re right, Yasee. We are so much more than people say we are. We are the pain, we are the brokenness. But we are also the love and the beauty.

      I’m so glad that you have found some sort of personal connection within this piece. I have so much love for you too, my dear Yasee. Thank you for your love and your thoughtful comment.


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