Illustration by Leanna

Illustration by Leanna

This year has been undoubtedly tough for me. Things started to escalate in October; not only did my schoolwork and tests begin to engulf me, but my emotions were runnig amok, and I was not happy overall. I started to read more; I turned to classics that I borrowed from my mother’s friend, since they seemed to portray the raw realness that I was experiencing more than the young adult novels in my library. It was around this time that I rediscovered Sylvia Plath. I had found out about Plath through my seventh grade creative writing class, and she quickly became my favorite poet. But she was even more than that; she was the one person on earth that I felt would truly understand what I was going through, even if she couldn’t respond. So I started writing to her.

Dear Sylvia,

I feel like there is a colossal weight bearing down on me, not only because there is currently a headache shiftily making its way toward me, but because people and being around them can be so burdensome. I feel as if I’m trapped in a Barbie Dreamhouse from hell; I should be content with my plastic friends, but really, sometimes I just want to run into them with my Dream Car.

It’s become too hard to adhere to what people want me to do. It seems like it’s almost always been about what others want me to say or do or think. Sometimes I feel the urge to channel Lesley Gore, leap up onto a table, yell, “YOU DON’T OWN ME! I’M NOT JUST ONE OF YOUR TOYS!” and run out of the room without ever stopping, sprinting until I a become a wave of light, having only to worry about streaming ever so subtly through a broken window pane of an abandoned house. Content.

Alas, I’m stuck here, for a few more weeks, in this hell that masquerades as a place for young men and women to learn. Ha. It feels like a stable. I’ve gotten sick of everyone’s voices and sweat and questions.

Sylvia, I have a question for you: Have you ever alienated yourself before? As in, have you ever been around others, yet felt lonely? Distanced yourself? Wanted to cry without really having a reason as to cry? Self-ostracizing has become an ugly stain on my existence.

Whenever lunchtime rolls around at sixth period, I feel the oddest feeling of discomfort, one that’s more than an issue of “how do avoid people, especially those who are supposed to be closest to me?” rather than “Where do I sit? What do I do? Will someone I know be there?” The familiarity that I strived for for so long now seems stressful to handle, and I can’t meet my social requirements anymore: It hurts to laugh at so-and-so’s joke, or to smile at so-and-so from across the room. Things that should be second nature seem so foreign, like I am viewing them through some sort of cracked lenses.

Sylvia, I don’t know. I just don’t. My headache is even worse and lunch is next and I can’t look my friends in the eyes, not out of guilt, but just not being able to. I feel lost. I need stability. I wish I could go home, but of course, it will be hours before that happens.

My headache is HORRIBLE now. I’m not sure what to do. Thoughts? —Britney

Sylvia Letter 1 Part 2