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6527212 July 05, 2009

I'm Stubborn: A Teen Aberration Story

... people view this trait of mine as a bad thing, as a flaw on my part.

Stubbornness can be described as refusal to adapt one's perspective, or being reluctant to cave in to the views of others. It's having a concrete standing on a topic, and not letting anything stop you from thinking that way. And by most, stubbornness is viewed negatively, as an obstacle that prevents us from moving forward with our goals, our relationships, and our lives.

Stubbornness is my aberration.

I am hesitant to admit another person is right and even when the majority of proof shows me that I'm wrong, I argue to defend my point, no matter how hopeless of a cause. When working with others on a task, I push my own ideas forward, dismissing the thoughts of others. And when arguing with accomplices, I don't give up until I win. And thus, people view this trait of mine as a bad thing, as a flaw on my part.

But though my stubbornness appears to be a hindrance to myself and others, it is something that helps me succeed beyond the expectations of all others. My stubbornness helps me earn high grades in my classes, as with my persistence, I never settle for anything less than a perfect score. In group-work, I always push work on people, thus resulting in a better job done overall. And by always questioning views that are different than my own, I learn more about the topic I am inquiring about.

I have grown to level out my stubbornness. I attempt to listen to the opinions of others completely before immediately declaring them as wrong. During group-work, I try to have others assigned to specific tasks, and only focus on my own job. And in general, I listen to people before spontaneously jumping to conclusions and making judgments. While I tone down the negative sides of my aberration, I attempt to enhance the positive. I aim higher in grades and overall goals, always trying to surpass what I previously accomplished. I form a concrete code of values by sticking to my ideals and points. Thus, I have come to balance my aberration.

One specific case of my stubbornness dates back to fourth grade when I felt a certain answer to a math problem my teacher gave was incorrect. I forced my explanation on the teacher, insisting my solution was the correct one. Eventually, the teacher brought over the head of the math department, who confirmed my solution. Though I was right, the stubbornness I used to convey my opinion was uncalled for. I acted in an obnoxious manner, not letting the teacher skip the problem and move on to another. I was so rude that even my classmates were angered with me. The next day, students kept on showing me the golden rule of the classroom: “listen to the teacher”. However, I did develop a reputation of always having to be right. In this way, stubbornness is both something positive and negative in regard to my life. Yet I have come to accept it as a definite part of my life--a part of me that will stick to me no matter what happens, no matter how much time passes, and no matter what type of person I develop into. Stubbornness will always be my aberration.

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6527212 July 02, 2009

Pieces of Penelope (1985, 19 years old)

If you've been following along, this may be a good time to go back and read the introduction to The Aberration Nation Teen Event.

In 1985, my parents divorced. I had managed to isolate myself from everyone. Coincidentally, I studied death and dying in a medical sociology class. No one knew how I felt or what was going on in my day to day world.

Meanwhile, I was making straight A's in college, smiling a lot, and looking as if I hadn't a care in the world. In '84, I'd gotten involved with a guy who, unknowingly, managed to push every button necessary to unleash all the emotion I'd experienced as a result of my dysfunctional childhood environment.

In 1985, I hit rock bottom.

(On a lighter note, now everyone knows why I'm not a a poet ... remember, not award winning just honest.)

My heart is a flower,
That blossoms in the light,
Only to wither in the dark night,
A box that fills the inside up,
That clenches tight,
Deep within,
A desolate place that houses nothing,
My spirit burned to the ground,
Sacrificed for a promised future,
My human mind cannot yet see.


My heart grieves until it drips and bubbles,
Dancing flames, downing maiden,
This life I love drags me down,
Every room is filled with silent clowns,
Teasing me, hurting me,
Reminders of what I used to be.
Today my windows were open wide,
Teardrops fell like thunderstorms,
Time is late for it's appointment,
These wounds are open wide.
This love I feel is out of hand,
It drenches me when you're around,
Don't look my way, obey your mind,
Your silent strength I see right through,
That silence your heart believes,
Has no sound,
It screams at me through your eyes,
And into your heart it let's me spy,
But stay away, I can grow,
Away from you in time.


An exploding bomb,
Subconscious strength,
Hatred escaping,
Finally an open door.


Sitting stiffly in a crowded ugly space,
Faces laughing, bodies dancing,
Yet the space inside
Twists and squeezes
Like an empty swollen gut,
Paralyzed by the pain,
Rejection spreading through my hollow places
Like a disease winning,
Killing me.


Tonight a part of me must die,
I'm growing, learning everyday,
Yet this hidden strength blinds my way,
The strongest part,
The bitter heart,
That can't let go,
That can't forgive,
It's fighting for the chance to live.

Tonight a warrior must surrender,
This chip must crash, fall from my shoulder,
It's time to roll away the boulder,
The hardest part,
The broken heart,
That can't grow up,
That can't forget,
The overwhelming pain it's met.

Tonight a new heart must take form,
It's time to fit, pieces together,
So I can find my own forever,
The saddest part,
The loss of heart,
That must take place,
That must make room,
Now the new can fill its tomb.


A voice said,
"It's time to leave,"
I didn't want to go,
Then it yelled,
"Get out! Go home!"
The voice shed tears
I could not see.

A stream once flowed,
Pure emotion,
Beauty and a feeling
We dared not name,
The single soul
Once created
Now is lost,
No coming home.

Love and hate,
Our closest friends,
For a time,
Filled our cup,
Used us up,
Left behind,
We wagered war,
We paid the cost,
Now we've lost,
Each other.


This icy heart,
Will it part?
Shining through filtered light,
Revealing beauty yet unseen,
With eyes like yours,
Mirrors in my dreams.

If only these chambers could tell a story,
All they've seen and how they've grown,
My human soul is left unchanging, whilst
This heart is forever rearranging.

Two powers struggling inside of me,
Which holds me captive?
Which will set me free?

Dancing wildly on a sea of bitter salt,
A ritual reflecting deep turmoil,
The drumbeat of the heart my rhythm,
Drowning out the pain of healing.

The secret sea inside of me,
Rages wildly,
Building up,
Someday it's power will take control,
And burst through these doors inside my soul.


Dancing wildly about my lover,
As he stands so still,
Upon that majestic pedestal,
I alone built for him,
Beyond my reach,
Place by me in a faraway world,
Where he alone can go.

Now time has bruised my tender heart,
Frightened by his secret stare,
My heart trembles in its tightened space.

Bubbling blood streams from my eyes,
Windows to my inner soul,
That fail to hide the wounds,
Wounds from the battle,
Our battle.


Love slammed her door,
On intellect pounding,
Then she ran,
And drinking up,
She filled her
Draining cup
With you.

The war within,
Raging sin,
The tender heart,
The love
That laughed
With you
Is dead.

Inside of me,
Bleeding blindness,
In times of you,
Where was I?

You live inside
This crystal heart
I've cultivated,
When it shatters
Once again,
Say hello
And smile for me,
Then turn and run,
Forever free.

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6527212 June 30, 2009

Pieces of Penelope (1984, 18 years old)

During 1984 and '85, I wrote less in my journal, and instead focused on writing poetry. As I noted in the the introduction to the Aberration Nation Teen Event, don't expect award winning writing--only honesty.

In January of 1984, I graduated from high school early and started college in my hometown, Shreveport, Louisiana. That summer one of my best childhood friends was killed in a car accident along with two others from my high school. When my novel, Boundaries, is published, it will be dedicated to my dear friend, Virginia Anne Reeves (1966 - 1984). Although it was a slow process, her tragic death ultimately influenced my life in a positive way.

Her shattered heart wears a smile,
And looks beyond the lies,
He unlocked the mind of her.


Disappointment is my closest friend,
Each little dream that falls apart,
Each time a crack forms in my heart,
She appears so vividly,
Disappointment with her melancholy smile.

So many visions have passed me by,
All they gave were tears to cry,
Life to me, a mystery,
Illusive clues lurk in my mind,
Their tool, the imagination.

As images grow into clear reality,
Disappointment comes to rescue me,
The me I gave,
The ends I seek,
Broken, battered children
weeping at my feet.


Cold breezes,
Chill my heart,
In the night,
The bitter fight,
Rages on.

Summer day,
All the way,
Time erases,
All the pain,
I feel.


Renegade lover,
Stand still for me,
My shattered heart wears a smile
And looks beyond the lies.

Someday I'll be your secret friend,
I'll know your dreams,
I'll feel your sorrows,
Sweet, sweet lover till the bitter end.


Tiny dancer in my soul,
It's time to live,
It's time for me,
Regretful smile lurk in my mind,
I wonder if they'll fade in time.


On lonely days I miss your smile,
I miss your condescending style,
I miss your cruelty,
I miss your scorn,
For what we lost,
I'll always mourn.

On lonely nights I miss your voice,
I miss the way I had no choice,
I miss your smirk,
I miss your singing,
Echos of my recent past,
In my heart,
Forever ringing.


Shadows plunge the light away,
The color dulls,
All I have is what I am inside,
Attempting to recall the used to bes,
How I loved,
How I hated.

Void of you my heart is clean,
Now remembering is empty,
Like you.

I see and feel the final truth,
You were once my reality,
You are the lie I lived.


A space in time,
A place that's mine,
Yet not mine,
I give to you this,
Brightening dream,
On I fight against the current,
Fighting now just for me,
One day I'll fight for you.


Eyes meet,
Souls collide,
Lips touch,
Fears subside.

Hands touch,
Dreams mingle,
Hopes rise,
Two now single.


One teardrop fell from my eyes,
It fell beneath a thundering sky,
Falling with it were my dreams,
In that one tear,
A thousand things,
All died.

Love to me was all my dreams
Of what I felt love should be,
Storybook endings and preconceived notions,
Forever in place,
Never in motion.

I made a vow inside myself
That I would put love on the shelf,
Never again would this heart break,
There is so much my heart can take.

Lying here,
Being still,
I'm trying to say
Just how I feel.

There is a dream you're reaching for,
You own a dream that's coming true,
If I could only make you see,
I'm reaching out for my dream, too.

Slow dancing with me in your dark,
Your laughter talks straight to my heart,
Happy smiles that pierce the night,
Could it be,
It's finally right.

Confusion tangos with my heart,
Cobwebs creeping through my dark,
Is this a dream or is it real,
Is this the way true love
Should feel?


Building bridges,
Running across,
Changing the truth,
Compensating loss.

Saying they care,
Building bridges,
Running across,
Fraying the ridges.

Running across,
Leaving me behind,
Saying they care,
Playing with my mind.

Changing the truth,
Causing me pain,
Learning to build,
I'll do the same.

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6527212 June 28, 2009

Pieces of Penelope (1983, 17 years old)

... I HAVE TO love myself the most--not be selfish but just have self esteem, and know that I can accomplish so much in my life--and I will...


... I feel like I'm just walking through a dessert and there's no one around for hundreds and hundreds of miles. I just don't understand, and it hurts so much to feel so rejected and so lacking. As if there's something missing that I'll never have. I'm actually afraid for the school year to start. For the last two years, terrible things have happened, and I want so badly to be happy. Why does God allow me to feel this way? I'll never know. I just have to tell myself that all people go through lonely times and that there is nothing wrong with me...


I just feel lonely today. I wonder if other people feel like this as much as I do? I wish I knew. I just have to face reality so I'm trying to figure out what it is.

Lonely does as lonely is,
Lonely gives as lonely is.


My Life is a paradox,
My heart a lonely hunter,
My melancholy smile,
Isn't real at all ...


I feel so bored and lonely. This is ridiculous. I have so many things to be excited about but yet I feel like all there is before me is a blank space that I have to fill in order to get somewhere, or to someone or something. What is it? Maybe I'm just going through a stage. That must be it.


I have my pride and I'm not gonna be put in the same category with a bunch of love sick girls. I realize now that I've been acting just like all the other girls in the world. I've got to be different and I will be ...


I just wish school would start so I can think about something else. I'm going to study hard. Right now I really don't have any close friends. I'm turning into quite a loner. It's what I want in a way but yet it's really not. I'm just going to try to channel my ambitions or passions or whatever towards studying. I've got to start giving myself more credit. I've got to grow up a little. The time has come for me to start seeing myself as an adult and acting like one.


Try as I might to break loose from sorrow,
She walks with me,
Every yesterday and tomorrow,
Trust is gone,
From my heart forever,
Perhaps someday I'll find my place.

'Till then I'll forge on ahead,
Never look back,
Let the dead be dead,
Fate has a surprising future for me,
Someday not only I but the world will see.

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6527212 June 27, 2009

I Lost My Leg: A Teen Aberration Story

It was so strange to look down and have that empty space.

The following Aberration Nation interview of a teenage amputee was conducted by a teen:

Of the many struggles life brings about, I find physical strains to be the biggest nuisance. I have a slight case of juvenile arthritis, and I hardly manage. Ordinary pain fills most days: walking up the stairs, running down the street, participating in gym class. Every day is a hassle on bones and muscles, especially those of the legs. Disease or not, everyone experiences some sort of relief when getting a chance to sit down, when getting the ability to relieve the pain that overtakes our knees, ankles, toes. We all complain, and we have both legs in tact.

Josh isn’t so lucky. After having his right leg amputated, this seventeen year old is faced every day with a challenge most can’t even begin to imagine. I wanted to ask him just how the amputation has affected his life, and what he has learned from it.

How long has it been since the amputation?

It’s been about two years.

What was the cause for your amputation?

Peripheral arterial disease. My arteries hardened so my limbs were injured, and my leg had to be amputated.

What was the hardest part about losing your leg?

The phantom pains were really bad, but I guess just getting used to the idea of my leg not being there was worse. It was so strange to look down and have that empty space.

How did you manage with the emotional pain?

It was really difficult to cope. But I just had to let out the things I built up inside. Talking to my family really helped, and my friends were supportive, so slowly I started to accept my situation.

Have any positives come from this experience?

It’s taught me many things. I learned how to face fear, since I know what it’s like to be scared for my life. I also learned to be optimistic, to find the bright side. I could have lost more than a leg.

I’ve learned to be thankful for the leg and arms I still have.

Have you emotionally recovered fully? Is there another step to the rehabilitation?

I think I’m pretty close to getting over it. I’m hoping to get a prosthetic leg, though. It would be amazing to walk again.

Any advice to fellow amputees?

Just not to dwell on the negative in the past. That’s a waste of time. It’s better to move on and look towards the future. That’s where you can actually change something, because the past is done with.


This brief but powerful interview is a fantastic avenue for also considering the unseen missing pieces some of us recognize, yet fail to understand, at an early age.

If you've been following the Pieces of Penelope posts, consider that up through age 17 (tomorrow's post), I lacked the insight to connect my loss and loneliness with family dynamics. I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I was too close and too young, brainwashed, in a way, by the dysfunction. Instead, I looked to my social environment for reasons and answers, and in the end always blamed myself.

Just as Josh can never grow back a missing leg, I suspect Lisa and I will never fully replace or replenish the lack of love and acceptance we felt as children. But we can all find positive avenues that enable us to live productive, happy lives. After all, life isn't about what you've lost, it's about what you find.

The book trailer for my novel Aberrations asks, Are you missing pieces of yourself? This seems like a good time to share it again. If you haven't seen it yet, I hope you'll take a look.

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6527212 June 26, 2009

Pieces of Penelope (1982, 16 years old)

... All I know is that if I just had one kiss from that guy, that's all I would need to sustain me for at least another six months ....


Love that hurts,
Love that takes,
Love that loves
For loves own sake ...


... Yesterday I had the most traumatic experience of my life. I cannot explain it but all I know is that it was hard and it hurt, and I will remember it until the day I die ...


... It seems like the good things that are supposed to be in life just don't notice me ...


... I'm tired of hurting. I know there is some hurt I can't avoid but as I look back at my past, I know there was so much I could have avoided. I bring so much upon myself ...


... I hope I'm growing up so bad ...


... I think I tend to idolize people too much ... even the people I don't like. I've been trying to see myself in the way that I see everyone else. Maybe that's the root of my problem. I've excluded myself from my overall image of the world, and maybe that has made me feel like I'm never good enough ...


... I think I just realized why I don't trust people. All this time, instead of trying to see myself the way I see everyone else, I've been trying to see everyone the way I see myself -- which doesn't work because it's giving me a depressed outlook on life and people. I have people idolized and the next, I have them hitting the floor. I don't want to trust anyone for fear that I'll be the fool and just prove over and over that I don't belong in the good world -- but only in the bad. This doesn't even give me a chance to be in the good world because trying to drag people into the bad world turns them off and away, which leaves me totally confused and worse off.


When sorrow speaks it calls my name,
When love laughs it laughs at me ...


Tonight I have been thinking ...

I have committed many a sin in my life. Greater than any man can know. In my heart, I will never know the reasons or will I feel forgiven ... What counts is how you play the game, live the life. I will be happy for my friends when they are happy. I will weep for them when they are sad. Never will I judge a person for I know my sins are many. I will be happy with life, for who I am, for what I feel, and will not waste joy by living in the past. I will treat each man the same for fate will bring love when love is right. I will not worry about useless things. I will not be saddened by things unsaid but will rejoice in words I hear. Life will be fine. The happy moments will outlive the sad. I will sin a great many times to come but yet I will be content for I know life would be but an empty shell if I had not sorrows to contrast with my joy. Forever, I will live each day in Springtime and when pain knocks at my heart, I will endure and love just the same. "Never stop risking" will be the words in my heart. I will remember to risk and to feel sadness is better than to not risk and not "feel." This way, at least I will know I'm alive.


A rainstorm rages in paradise,
Her nature split,
Struggling against the tide,
Trapped inside,
She hides ...


So many times I've missed the point,
I've stayed too long, and left too soon,
You'd think by now
I'd learn to play
the game.

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6527212 June 24, 2009

Pieces of Penelope (1981, 15 years old)

... Lately I feel pulled between my true values and the tempting human feelings I often have. But through this, I'm learning more about myself. I feel that I'm finally getting to know just who I am ...


... I feel like crying out and saying, "God, I want what they have." It's a hunger so deep that I just want someone I can cry to and explain the feelings I have of wanting this special something they have. Yet I know in my heart I'm so unworthy. I don't deserve anything, but I want it all so much.


... I'm beginning to see people as so human, with such precise feelings ...


... I've discovered what my life needs is humility. This is the hardest thing for me to achieve. Is it something you achieve, or is in, in fact, something you find? There is a certain kind of humility and I feel that when I find this, I'll be free from this human bondage that prevents me from expressing myself. Sometimes I need to express myself so much and then I think, What do I need to express? I think it is my fear ...


... I need to not go out with anyone so I can devote myself to cleaning up my act ... I always say that you go through stages during your life. Each stage you experience and learn from but to be a growing person, you've got to know how to tell when it's time to discover what you've learned from it, grow, and move away. If you hang on to things that must pass, then you're damaging yourself and possibly others ...


I'm basing my new life on the most important things: unselfishness, loving others, not judging, and most of all, forgiving ...

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6527212 June 22, 2009

Selective Mutism: A Teen Aberration Story

Most people think I’m just shy. They’re not wrong; not really. It’s just that there’s more to it than simply being shy. At age 4, I was diagnosed with Selective Mutism. I didn’t really know what it meant back then, only that it was difficult for me to make friends every time I moved to a new environment.

Selective Mutism (SM) is a little known mental disorder similar to autism. Children affected by SM have an extreme fear of speaking in public places, reaching the point where it becomes physically impossible for them to utter a simple string of words. Many parents of children with SM aren’t even aware of their child’s condition. There isn’t much information on the subject, so most people just dismiss their behavior as shyness. Often, children with SM are thought to be stubborn, misbehaving kids who refuse to speak on purpose. It’s not that we choose to remain quiet, however. Children diagnosed with SM are actually physically unable to speak. The success rate for SM is low, and many of the affected never really grow out of their fear.

Selective Mutism is, in a way, my aberration. Throughout my whole life, I’ve struggled with communicating with others and making new friends. Signs of my SM started showing up when I first started preschool. While the other kids liked to play on the monkey bars during recess, I would sit on a bench in the corner and draw lions. I was fascinated with their silky coats, dagger-like fangs, and majestic manes; no other animal was quite the same.

I remained the typical, sugar-fueled preschooler at home, however. My mother didn’t notice a thing until our school’s Parent-Teacher Conferences came around.

“All the child does is sit in the corner and draw. She doesn’t talk to the other children,” Ms. Wahn said, sniffing as she shuffled her papers around and crossed her legs. “We have a guidance counselor. I’m sure you two can swing by anytime you’d like,” she added, pushing the bridge of her glasses up her nose.

To be honest, I don’t remember my sessions with Cathy very well. I’d get pulled out of class every week on the same day, at the same time and we’d play a game of Monopoly Junior or UNO. She also had this little dollhouse stacked under a box of memory cards of Winnie the Pooh characters and a chessboard in her closet of games. She may have asked me a few questions about school or what I was doing on the weekend. I felt comfortable around Cathy. She was quiet, like me, and when she smiled her eyes would sparkle and the creases around her eyes would show.

In third grade, I stopped going to see my psychiatrist. People were asking why I kept leaving during class, and for some reason, I felt embarrassed to tell them. Deciding that I no longer needed therapy, I told Cathy and my mother that I was better and that I didn’t want to go anymore. They accepted my decision and I didn’t see her again. I vaguely remember feeling both sad and relieved, knowing that I wouldn’t ever see Cathy’s tiny, lavender-colored room again as I walked down the hallway back to my classroom.

Luckily, third grade was the year that Myra came to our class. Myra and I were complete opposites. Bubbly and energetic, Myra approached me in her color-coordinated outfit on that first day during lunch: green T-shirt, green sweater, green skirt, green headband, green socks.

“Hi. What’s your name?”
I looked up from Harry Potter.
“Hi, I’m Myra. Whatcha reading?”
Slightly annoyed, I looked up, yet again, and closed the book. “Harry Potter.”
“Oh. Cool.”
I could tell she didn’t know what I was talking about.
“I like Nancy Drew.”
My eyes brightened. “Me, too!” I liked all books back then.
“Mysteries are fun.”
“Yeah. Harry Potter’s kind of a mystery.”
She examined the school’s copy, slightly worn with years of use. “It’s kinda thick.”
I took it back from her. “It’s not that bad.”
“Oh. Okay.”
We sat in silence for a while, not knowing what to say. I smiled awkwardly and eyed the book, wishing I could get back to it.
“You can keep reading and stuff if you want,” she finally said.
“Okay,” I said, relieved. “See you later.” I picked up the book, flipped back to the page I had dog-eared, and waved.
Smiling politely, she left the table and headed to the next one, her wispy, platinum blond ponytail swinging behind her as she sat down and introduced herself to another of my classmates.

We ended up becoming best friends. That year, I had my first sleepover at her house, where we gossiped about our teachers and classmates. She liked to lie, probably for the attention. I could always tell whenever she was making something up, but I listened to her anyway and went along with her stories. Gradually, I pushed myself away from Myra. Finally, in fifth grade, I heard that she’d started to talk behind my back. I was too timid to approach her about it, but our friendship was never quite the same after that. I still haven’t seen her in two years.

Although SM has been tough on me, both Cathy and Myra helped me greatly. Cathy was my confidante. She was probably 50, maybe even 60, but she was my friend. As for Myra, I was definitely hurt to hear that she would say anything bad about me, but eventually, I realized that she couldn’t change her personality and that it would’ve happened sooner or later. Besides, she helped me learn how to make many of the friends I have today. I don’t know if I’ve completely gotten over what happened with Myra, but I think, overall, I’ve gained more than I’ve lost.

I used to think of my SM as a burden. Of course, I’m not always glad to have SM, but it’s taught me to value friendship and family even more than I normally would. And that’s what keeps me going.

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6527212 June 22, 2009

Pieces of Penelope (1980, 14 years old)

My Diary

Pages of love and tears,
Special tidbits picked up through the years,
From girl to women,
From daughter to mother,
The pages may tear and fade,
But the hopes and fears will live forever.


... Sometimes I feel sad, sometimes glad, to be me. Am I the only one with problems? I cry out for someone to solve them. I'm proud to be me, but sometimes I wish I was different ... I realize now that I'm just one of the little grains of salt in the world.


The End

The end is here, now, after so long,
Your love is gone, transferred,
Where did I go wrong?
The end is sad, frightening, hard to bear,
The end has begun,
How long will it last?
Will it last till the end?
When the end is over and love goes on,
Where will you be?
Will you be near?
I'll always be here, at the end.


... They'll never know how I feel. I'll never let them know! My mind is searching, scanning but never finding the answers. I guess this is the final path. The path through darkness into light. Is that the light there? No, just a shimmer of hope. The light will come someday. I'll be happy then. Someday ...



What are words?
Words are means of expression,
Then where are the right words?
The words to say, "I love you?"
What is "I love you?"
"I love you" are the words that mean there are no words ... for me.

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6527212 June 17, 2009

YA Author Melissa Walker Invites You ...

Popular teen magazine editor and Young Adult author Melissa Walker invites you to join me for a special teen event on Aberration Nation:

I've been a teen magazine editor for years, and I write Young Adult novels as well. Here's why: I love teenagers. It may sound strange, but I don't think I ever left my 17-year-old state of being. Sure, I know more, maybe I'm a little wiser, a little more mature ... but at my core, I'm still that girl who swooned over a new song and cried her eyes out when she left her best friends for college.

The high highs and low lows of that stage of life are the stuff of fairy tales, of epic adventures, and, of course, of novels. The teen audience is honest and open, raw and real--they'll tell you if they lovelovelovelovelovelove!!!!! something, or if it just plain sucks. And they care about whether it's good or bad. They care about the story you're sharing. They're engaged in a way adult readers often aren't.

And so I'm excited to read the Aberration Nation Teen stories ... because at that age, which is full of aberrations, every moment is alive and singing with possibility and passion.

Thanks for having me here, Penelope.

Here's how it will go down beginning on Sunday, June 21st. Every other day for approximately two weeks, the following posts will go up:

1) Why Teens: Penelope's Explanation

2) Selective Mutism: A Teen Aberration Story

3) Runaway Lisa (Part 1): An Aberration Story

4) I Lost My Leg: A Teen Aberration Story

5) Runaway Lisa (Part 2): An Aberration Story

6) I Did Not Cause 9/11: A Teen Aberration Story

7) Runaway Lisa (Part 3): An Aberration Story

8) I'm Stubborn: A Teen Aberration Story

9) Final Thoughts

As always, each post will include a few introductory thoughts from yours truly. Also expect a glimpse of the poetry I wrote as a teen throughout the event. (And if I'm brave enough, I may toss in some of my journal entries.)

Don't forget to join Melissa and I for a thought provoking journey into the differences and similarities of how we experience, view, and express our aberrations as teens and as adults.

See you on Sunday!

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