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When did I Learn?

by AilahEvelynMae

First 0-4

When did I learn how to open my eyes?

When did I learn to smile at mum and dad?

When did I learn to laugh?

When did I learn to cry?

Second 5-9

When did I learn what divorce and remarriage are?

When did I learn that begging for help gets me hurt?

When did I learn to want to hurt someone when they hurt me?

When did I learn to feel scared all the time?

Third 10-13

When did I learn that I am not beautiful enough?

When did I learn that people hurt themselves to feel better?

When did I learn that I can see things other people can’t?

When did I learn that pencil sharpeners have really sharp blades?

Fourth 14-15

When did I learn to stop playing with toys?

When did I learn that I am a burden?

When did I learn that I have the ability to end my life?

When did I learn to eat Tylenol like candy?

Now 16

When did I learn to stop feeling and eating?

When did I learn that sleeping is better than being awake?

When did I learn the name of every nurse in the psychiatric unit?

When did I learn who I am?

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28 Reviews

Points: 573
Reviews: 28

Fri Aug 13, 2021 11:46 pm
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Avis wrote a review...

I know I'm a bit late to be posting a review, but when I read this...just wow. I can't say I relate to everything here...but a lot of it if I'm honest.

The repetitive "When did I learn?" forms a steady rhythm throughout, and the intersections with first, second, etc. and the ages grouping the questions add really meaningful structure throughout. Looking at the age groupings and the corresponding lines of poetry makes me think that this character (whether fictional or based on yourself) was far too young to deal with this. And still far too many children and teenagers struggle like this.

The way you begin with ordinary things to learn, and the way it gradually escalates, creating a sense of alarm and anguish is truly incredible. Some of those questions are so raw and emotional, and the way it feels like you're looking back on your past and wondering how it ever got like this is beautiful and all too relatable.

You've done an extraordinary job creating strong emotion with a simple poem (I don't mean simple in a bad way, just referring to the repetitive structure, which makes it even more remarkable how much emotion you were able to pack into this).

To be honest, I'm lucky I only relate to some of those lines and I have seriously struggled with stuff like this in the past, and whether it's a character you created or based on your own life experiences, I hope you're doing okay.

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12 Reviews

Points: 97
Reviews: 12

Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:53 pm
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Kelisot wrote a review...

This is really an emotional roller coaster, and before you say, no, I'm not crying. (*silently sobs in the corner*)
However, to be serious, I like how this story keeps repeating the phrase "When did I...?" throughout the story's setting. And as time passes by, the "When did I" statements are becoming more sarcastic, more grim compared to the first few "Where did I" statements.
Bottom line, love the alliterations, and how these "blanks" are filled out. The story it tells really tells about mental health, and how fortunate some people's lives are, compared to others.

Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind