YWP: Recalibrate – VTDigger

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Young Writers Project, an independent nonprofit organization based in Burlington, encourages young people to write and use digital media to express themselves with clarity and power, and to build confidence and skills for school, the work and life.

Each week, VTDigger features a writing submission – an essay, poem, fiction or non-fiction – along with a photo or illustration by Young Writers Project.

YWP publishes approximately 1,000 student works each year here, in Vermont newspapers, on Vermont Public Radio, and in YWP’s monthly digital magazine, The voice. Since 2006, it has provided a place for young people to write, share their photos, art, audio and video, and to explore and connect online to youngwritersproject.org. For more information, please contact Susan Reid at [email protected].

Artwork by Ellie Eringis

Confidence is a tricky part of our personality that always seems to need one more grind of helium, or 10 less. It can take years before we feel our head move regularly with the other balloons in a given room. But this week’s featured poet, Julia Todd of South Burlington, is already beginning to understand that a healthy, happy ego isn’t built on comparisons with others, but on a humbler self-respect.

By Julia Todd, 15, South Burlington

I still need to learn that I’m not the worst.
That I’m not the only one to have things to regret.
That people don’t walk beside me thinking, She must have been cursed.
That people who don’t think so haven’t always been misled.

And I still need to learn that I’m not the best either.
This “Others are below meis a wrong, false thought.
That they’re better than me, in ways I never would have guessed.
That we have more in common than I ever knew.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean forgetting to take care of others;
Loving others doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love yourself.
Looking out dark windows, all you see is your own face, and that’s because
you’re the one watching,

not because there is no one else.

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