A Sea of Fragments


When I look into the mirror,

I cannot help but do so with a tense kind of anticipation.

My nerves gush forth in waves of intense trepidation,

a salt water sea filling my lungs with every breath I take, until I swear

I will burst.

Every time I catch a glimpse of my face,

I cannot help the surge of disappointment that surfaces once more

when I see

the girl I don’t want to see.

Why is the girl in the mirror

never who I want her to be?


I wish for a soul that’s content

and a face that never lies.

I want wings feathered with trust and fear and love,

wings willing to provide comfort

to a girl who’s only ever learned to fall.

But when the wind falters once more beneath my wings,

when your words,

your breath,

no longer cushion my bones,

tell me,

who do I turn to when I fall

once more?


I’m broken by the one who pieces together every frail shard of my existence,

distorted by the one who has stared into

crooked lines and

sharp edges and understood my truth.

Tell me,

why am I always the second choice to my other half,

the Plan B to your grand scheme?


Tell me, why are the rivers that flow down my cheeks

just another part of your picturesque little scene?

Something you shift aside

as though it’s got nothing to do with you?

Feather by feather,

you pluck my wings and gift them to another,

twist my words until they serve

only to tear my skin,

draw blood from my smiles,

drip hate from my tongue.



Tell me,

why is the girl in the mirror weeping?

Why is she never

who I want her to be?

Ah, poetry. Another way in which I can display the vast inadequacy of my soul to the world. To be completely honest, poetry frightens me terribly. I’m scared that my intentions will surface from underneath the pretty words and pictures, that somehow, they will manage to escape from my careful spacing and secretive format to bare their teeth. The thing is, however, I want to be 100% real with the people around me, even if it’s to my own detriment.

Which brings us to this explanation behind my attempt at poetry.

First things first- the concept of mirrors and reflections. My feelings towards my appearance, and myself in general, tend to fit into one of two categories.

Some days, I wake up and feel like an utter blessing to the whole entirety of a universe that just can’t contain the vast extent of my greatness. I love my appearance, my personality, my voice, my smile, every single little thing I bring to the table of the universe.

Days like these, I want to grace everyone with the most unapologetic, over-excitable version of myself I can possibly be.

Days like these, I can’t help but want to love and understand and laugh with every individual I have the pleasure of meeting.

Days like these, I want to impress upon the world the image of a girl who smiles much too often and laughs a bit too much and can’t take a compliment for the life of her, before she fades from its fickle sight and is forgotten once more.

God, I love those days.

Now that you’re probably convinced I’m a narcissist, let’s turn our gaze towards the darker side of my numbered days, punctuated by the cruel casualties crashing down in callous waves all around me. Some days, I swear I’m just a few seconds away from the insanity that is understanding my reality.


On these days, I see the vast myriad of flaws that just won’t get off my back, that constantly nag at the back of my mind and tint my eyes with poisonous shades of hate no tears can wash away.

I am incompetent.




Waste of space.




I am not who I want to be.


And I’m not special in feeling this way, in thinking that perhaps everyone would be better off without the girl who smiles so much it’s probably fake and laughs because she pretends to be happy and can’t take a compliment for the life of her because maybe





Some days and most nights, I wonder if perhaps the world would be better off forgetting this girl as fast as it possibly can and save her the pain she feels when she is confronted by waves of her own inadequacy. I’m afraid I won’t be able to save myself in time. I’m scared my bones will shatter when the burden of lightening them becomes too much for a heavy heart and clumsy fingers. I am not enough for anybody, not my family or my friends; no matter how much of myself I give and how much you take, we’re all still empty. Hollow. Useless. I hold Heaven inside of me, so why can I only feel my inner Hell?

God, I’m afraid to fall. I can’t stand the thought of my wings burning. So I think I might hide instead.

I am an individual composed of layer upon layer of excuses, hiding in my own self-deprecation, because maybe if I tell myself all these horrible things on a regular basis, it won’t hurt so much when it’s true. If I screw up, I can just blame it on my laziness, or my lack of time management, or the fact that I slept late, and I wouldn’t have to bend under the weight of more blame; my excuses would do it for me. If I call myself all these things that aren’t always true, I can prove myself- and everyone else that underestimated me- wrong. I distorted myself because I didn’t want to confront myself. I placed myself second in almost everything, be it my relationship with my family, friends, or myself, so I didn’t have to come to terms with the fact that I’m not who I want to be. I became an expendable resource, when all I wanted was for someone to remember me, even if it was just a little.

Life lesson, guys: ignoring yourself doesn’t do anything except make your issues more prominent.

Pushing myself further back into some vacant corner of my mind served only to fuel my hurt. I lash out at family members because I can’t keep it bottled in anymore, because some days, nothing makes sense except vocalizing my hurt.

I’m still trying to work on realizing that sometimes, it’s okay to feel less than.

What’s not okay is putting yourself down because you think you’re not good enough. Bottling up all your emotions and unleashing them on some unsuspecting soul, because everyone’s got issues. Humanity’s ability to struggle and survive is its saving grace. It’s not okay to stop trying, because a human that stops developing, growing, feeling, being, is no better than a corpse. I may not be good enough right now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be. Everyone, every single individual on the face of this planet, has the potential to be better.

Even Trump. I think.

I can change and improve both myself and how I perceive myself. It’ll take time and effort, so I’ll put it to good use while I can. It’ll be hard, but so is everything worth fighting for.

I am worth fighting for, and so is every individual I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Change happens the moment you realize that. It happens now. So instead of apologizing for the lengthy blog post like I usually would, I want to thank you. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a bit better, and for accepting me into the AP community, and for being people I can trust. My idea of fun now is to scroll through the blog and read and absorb all the wisdom I can from souls who are trying to find their way; thank you for that. Thank you for being amazing, beautiful individuals and for being people I can fight for.

Thank you more than words can ever convey.











Fragments: Portraits Drawn in Ink and Tea by Carne Griffiths






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4 thoughts on “A Sea of Fragments

  1. Dear Hijab,

    I’ve read your blog posts before. And I can confidently say that your posts–this one included–never fall short of amazing me.

    This in itself was a very dynamic piece. What I mean by this is that the tone of this piece does not remain the same; the tone is initially very self-deprecating, but, as the piece progresses, it seems to transform into something more hopeful. That being said, however, I just feel the need to reiterate that you are ALWAYS enough, especially within our AP family. You have such a beautiful, insightful, and colourful soul–something that was made obvious to the entire class during your Portrait Presentation. You are never inadequate, my dearest Hijib–don’t you ever forget that.

    Oh and this poem! UGH–It’s absolutely brilliant. I love the entire premise of the poem itself–the trepidation that is associated with looking at reflections, with confronting who we truly are or at least our perceptions of who we are. This is something that we all struggle with, so thank you for writing a relatable piece that encompasses what seems to be a universal suffering that we all experience.

    One thing I would offer is to some shorten the lines of your poem. Right now, the poem feels somewhat unbalanced in the sense that some lines are incredibly long while some are incredibly short. I would recommend never starting and ending a full sentence on one line, as well as breaking up the long lines into shorter lines. These line breaks refer to a poetic device called enjambment (” the continuation of a sentence without a pause beyond the end of a line, couplet, or stanza.”) This helps provide more variety to the poem and help prevents monotony.

    Other than that, I don’t have much else to say in terms of improvements. Thank you for being brave enough to share such a vulnerable part of yourself with us!

    Never stop writing, girlie,

  2. Dear Jade,

    Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! With the self-deprecation in the beginning and the hope in the end, I was looking to contrast the dark and light I feel within me, the hope I try to inflate with the despair that seems to trail behind me. Thank you for being someone I can always look up to in AP; I really hope to bring something to the classroom, but I always seem to absorb more of the wisdom around me than I can leave behind. That’s the beauty of it, I think; I’m always growing. Thanks for the advice on the poem, Jade! I absolutely adore your poetry (I love reading your blog), so any advice from a poet as amazing as yourself is much appreciated!



  3. Hijab,
    I just want to start off by saying that we all have our good days and our off days. Everyone has times when they feel extremely self confident and truly believe in themselves, but can turn around within a matter of a few hours and suddenly feel as if they’re nothing but garbage. It’s a part of human nature to go through these mood swings, I feel that it’s something that’s especially prominent among young adults and teenagers. I’m actually very glad that you addressed this in your writing, a lot of people don’t seem to be able to understand how someone can love themselves one day but suddenly be full of self loathing the next, so I appreciate that you had the courage to explain this.

    You did call this an “attempt” at poetry but I will say it was a very, very good attempt at poetry. I believe that there’s a lot of importance in this poem, and that a lot of people (including myself) can connect to it. Many people feel a deep feeling of inadequacy, and to give a voice to this inadequacy that it is felt by so many individuals is an important thing. Representing issues in writing is something that needs to be done, even if it’s not the most pleasant of things. Now, like Jade said, I think that in order to make your poem cleaner looking, that you should even out the lines. You have some very long sentences stacked on top of much shorter ones, which gives the poem a bit of an uneven appearance, so in order to make it look more aesthetically pleasing, I’d offer that you make the sentences of a more equal length.

    Many people probably needed to hear the advice you placed at the end of your piece. Like you, I have a bad habit of bottling up my emotions to the point where it’s unhealthy, and every so often, it’s good to let it out and focus on yourself, so I’m glad that you gave that advice to both yourself and the readers. There are so many different profound thoughts scattered throughout the piece that I needed to hear, and because of that I would like to thank you for writing this piece.
    – Genevieve

  4. Dear Genevieve,

    Aw, thanks for commenting on my blog, and for appreciating my poem! It felt really weird to be so open about this, especially considering the fact that it’s on the internet where literally anyone can see it… But, if I was able to help both myself and maybe even someone else, then I guess good things can come out of vulnerability. I also feel like your comment was a good reminder that things are going to be okay even on days when everything seems to be heading downhill. Emotions, no matter how much I cringe away from them, are apart of humanity as well. On a side note, thanks for being such a good ‘mother’ on our Theme Statement Project! You’re an individual that I truly feel comfortable around; thank you for that!



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