Today I had the honor of speaking at the UNIS conference at the UN. After I was finished, three students recited original poems from the stage. One of them really blew me away:

Fluorescent Adolescence

Overqualified yet underachieving
It’s singing delightfully off key to the radio
Yet pitch perfect in the shower
It’s spending a half hour in the morning
Perfecting your messy bun
It’s gelling bedhead
It’s lifting weights yet covering yourself up in turtlenecks
It’s being a closet philosopher but blaming lackluster grades on “not trying?”
It’s tumbling, sharing, instagramming
The perpetual pursuit of cool but aloof,
hard to get,
wit,
sarcasm,
invincibility.

It’s the cycle of hurting
Fixing
loving
hating
wanting
lying… and then telling the truth.
It sucks.
But perhaps when we’re older
a new set of problems will cause us to miss those of adolescence.
So I guess we should learn to love the pain,
Since it’s pain that allows us to live and love radically,
feel monumentally,
and smell the coffee or watch the stars, or hear the music
that we might later pass by in the rush of the real world.

For now we are poets
And activists
Astronauts
Bloggers
Writers
Photographers
Teachers
Engineers and Inventors
For now, we are what we want to be.
Some say the grass is greener on the other side but I’d disagree:
I say our grass fluorescent. 

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