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.