Posted in Poetry

Gen Z’s Promise

In high school, mental illness is a joke we tell to hide the fact that we need therapy. 

Counselors are our free trial therapists
But we caution, “don’t say too much”
Or else they’ll know we really need help

Instead of parents
We turn to our friends
Therapists that need their own therapy 

We cry for help
While holding back 
Because we don’t want to be a burden

We drown in responsibilities
And pretend we’re okay

Laughing about our absent fathers
While we act as the second adult 

We’re not okay. 

No one should dread going home
Or break down over grades that shouldn’t matter
But parents put too much pressure 
Because they care. 

They protect our future
While forgetting our present
We love them 
While crying ourselves to sleep 
Because as much as we love, we despise 

The perfect catalyst for change

We promise to be better
Better than our parents
Better than how we are now

We make promises to our futures 
We’ll live our lives, not our parents’ 
We’ll work to love our partners, make soulmates 
We won’t weigh down our children with expectations 
We’ll cherish them 

And if the point comes where we’re not okay again
We’ll know when to stop.

We won’t burden our children with our problems
We’ll go to therapy
And heal  

We promise to be better
To be the change that we want to see
To break the cycle that we got caught in 
When our parents’ parents cared too much too

This is our promise. 

~ calista


- high schooler - poet - wanderer

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