Words Unlocked Youth Poetry Contest Winner: Show Yourself

The Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS) recently concluded its fifth annual “Words Unlocked,” a poetry contest for juveniles in secure facilities.
The Imprint of Social Change will publish all of the winners throughout the week. We begin today with one of two “Highly Commended” entries, “Show Yourself.”

We’re not who we are, we’re hidden in a shell

Putting up a front hoping no one else can tell

Hardly doing right, always told that we would fail

Never good support, told our futures in a cell

When we kick it with the homies, our confidence is risen

But knowing underneath we’d never make it up in prison

Too focused on pride and a good reputation

Bullied all our lives and we’re tired of the hatin’

Try to do better, but never working in our favor

And the only thing we know is some pills and a razor

But we’re still hiding, it can hide behind the sleeves

Wipe off the blood and we can hide from what it leaves

We won’t tell others about the wonders of the blade

The mask that we wear or the road that we’ve laid

We adapt to our environment as we run from ourselves

Cause we hate who we are and want to be somebody else

We try to hold it in but we know we can’t contain

We feel we can’t express so instead we just refrain

We can’t be who we are, we’re too scared of the results

We can’t take the hurt from all the untruthful insults

Know we have potential, but we’re feeling like we’re worthless

Never had many sit and tell us that we’re worth it

It’s hard to take a compliment, it’s hard to change your life

But I promise you will make it if you just put down the knife

Tonight can be your last or it can be the day

Where you show your true self and you pull your mask away

Life isn’t hopeless but you have to be yourself

If you want to change your life, just go and ask for help

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