KidSpirit

Me and Me

The StrangerPoetry

i’m a pretty energetic person
i’ve asked if i can stand on a chair and sing happy birthday
in public, I’m
kinda all over the place
a little bit of willa, just off center
of the room

laughing at a dare i gave myself
a little willa talking to you
neatly placed sarcasm filling the cracks of the conversation
a little bit of willa trying to find food
dramatically overly upset at the inhumane lack
of dinner — it’s 7:30!

no one really sees the little bit of little willa
sitting in a chair
with a cup of water
watching the party

making a game, figuring out people’s relationships
critiquing their fashion choices
like a pre-x-factor simon cowell

but in her head
that’s a little bit of private willa
she came along even though she’s not supposed to
and she’s going to be punished later
punished when the sound of a human voice
makes her want to scream and cry
even the voice in her own head
as she reads a book
gives her a headache
even drums pounding in her ear
and Billie Armstrong screaming
about American Idiots
gets under her skin

everyone who knows willa
knows she likes to have fun

i’m stuck here in the world, might as well
enjoy it, right?
I dare myself to do stupid things–
why not?

and i go looking for people
specifically because i know they’re gonna tease me
hey — I need practice to keep my comebacks quick
i’m never serious
(right)
every story needs comic relief
and I sing at the top of my lungs
who cares if my voice sucks
no one would guess
that people exhaust me
no one would think
that as a rule
saturday afternoons i’m alone
from the time i get home
until dinner
and as a rule
i hate going out past 4:30 PM

i’m not living a lie
or a double life
(exactly)
because public willa
doesn’t really understand what it’s like
to be
private willa

and private willa
has no idea
how public willa does it

me and me are nemesi
the first hates the second
because she never wants to go out
and the second hates the first
because she always wants to

one lives for excitement
the other for still
one despises peace
the other agitation
one needs change
the other habit

if they were to meet
one would find the other
loud and obnoxious
“take a chill pill”
the other
would find her
too quiet
boring even
“honestly, have some fun in life”
i’m glad they haven’t met

maybe the other me
the one people know
maybe she’s just protection
maybe she goes outside
because all the bad stuff
mean stuff
bounces off her skin

except later
as she stands in the shower
and washes her skin off
Look-It’s-Willa!

the bad
comes crashing down
breaks over her head
seeps into her bones

she climbs out of the shower
cuddles into her sweatshirt
and
-like a typical girl-
she flicks on her phone
and surfs the internet
absorbing cute romantic stories
and feeling alone
until
-finally-
sleep comes

the next day
she wakes up
contacts
jeans
and her side braid
boots
and the sweatshirt
she pulls on her skin

and public willa leaves the house
one earbud in
arm shoved through her backpack
pressing the elevator button

friends:
don’t take it personally
if you didn’t know about private willa
it’s only because
she doesn’t like to come out and play

Willa DuBois is a 12-year-old from New York City.