Ode to Cliques by Jessica Martin

My now departed naiveté used to blind me from the truth.
I was blissfully unaware of your presence in the world,
but I grew up quickly.
The world unfolded before me like an evil present revealing its chilling truths.
Inclusivity was defeated by you within seconds of our introduction.

Your existence has plagued me,
you made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
You labeled me as the prey while you were the predator.
You created a world where new was considered to be undeserving
while fake welcoming was rewarded.
Each member of your exclusive game possessed a cloud of superiority above them
and a gilded nature that surrounded them like a shield.

How was I the only one who could see through the golden layer you gave them?
How could they not see life getting sucked out of me as you entered the room?
How could nobody see the impact you had on me?
I was the one who saw the gold slowly chip away with each snicker, whisper, and stare.

But every other person put you on a pedestal.
Yet I was the one who experienced the torment,
I was the one with the illuminated target on my back,
and I was your victim.
Yet you went along without punishment
as I blinked back the tears that desperately wanted to fall.

I can sense history repeating itself now.
I still feel your presence crawling up my spine,
The constant separation you created all those years ago still lingers on.
And I can still see you hiding wherever you can squeeze your wretched disposition.

I’m not the only one you have haunted though;
you have been here long before me and will be here long after I’m gone.
But I still long for the day when you no longer exist.
Where I can breathe with ease knowing that your reign on Earth has ended,

allowing a world without the separation you have caused.

You should know, I’m different now, and times have changed.
My adolescent self is no longer here to bow down to your foolish ways.
Yes, it’s true, every laugh and fake smile felt like another scratch added
to my endless supply that you started all those years ago. But I denounce you, and
I will fight against you the next time you come my way.

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