PONGO POETRY | I Have Forgiven Myself

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with children at the Child Study and Treatment Center (CSTC), the only state-run psychiatric hospital for youth in Washington State. Many CSTC youth are coping with severe emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Approximately 40% of youth arrive at CSTC having been court ordered to get treatment; however, by the end of their stay, most youth residents become voluntary participants.

Pongo believes there is power in creative expression and articulating one’s pain to an empathetic audience. Through this special monthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. To partner with Pongo in inspiring healing and relief in youth coping with mental and emotional turmoil, join Pongo’s GiveBig campaign today!

I Have Forgiven Myself

by a young person at CSTC 

I have forgiven myself

for all the times I’ve hated myself
for the way I act
like when people are giving you weird vibes
and you know it’s all because of you
it feels like I have security cameras all over myself
all the people who want me to fail, watching me

I want all those people to know
you don’t have control over me
I’m the one who has control over me

So I am going to point all the cameras back at those people
so they can watch themselves
all they have to control is themselves

I’m forgiving myself for all the stress I’ve caused myself
and all the people around me
and all the missed fun

I broke free of that struggle
that cycle of thinking

How I Grew Up

by a young person at CSTC

I always felt abandoned
like a leftover shoe that no one liked
I always felt like my mind shattered like a glass bottle
I feel like I’m the only one in this world that’s empty

I feel like I’m a puppy that’s been taken away from his mother
I always saw the color blue when I’m lonely
I feel like a newborn mouse that hasn’t opened his eyes
I call out my mother’s name but she’s not around
I always saw shadows that no one else sees

I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders
I always felt like a discolored leaf, different from others

I know I get through this but the question is how…

I Can Forgive but I Can’t Forget

by a young person at CSTC

Some things I can forgive and some things I can’t
I can forgive my abuser
but I can’t forget what he did to me

I can forgive my parents
but I can’t forgive what they’ve said to me
I can forgive them for who they are
but not their actions

I’ve come to an epiphany
Your actions hurt me
I could have gone without what you did to me
I have grown and become a better person

📸 Featured Image: Artwork by Jiéyì 杰意 Ludden.

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