The new year is creeping up on me like a seductive predator. I want to be better to myself after a long time spent playing the martyr. But I fear that when I go back to school after winter break, I will let the same people—my classmates, some of whom call themselves my friends—walk all over me again. These are supposed to be the best years of my life, or at least somewhat good; I do not want to look back at it one day and see nothing but a requiem for a dream. I am already beginning to see it that way now.

I look into the eyes of the boy I thought was the only one who really saw me, and I see cold silence. I don’t look up when someone calls me a downer or tells me that I have no reason to be this way and that I ruin all the fun. I let the knives that shoot out of my friends’ mouths find a home in my chest. I have to stop being a casualty. ♦