writing prompt

you mean too much to me

She calls him her older brother, though they aren’t related at all.
He always hugs her, makes her feel safe. Forehead kisses, like butterflies brushing against her hair.

He gives advice while smiling, hypocritical advice that he himself doesn’t follow but wants her to keep in mind. “Because I did the wrong things, and I have regrets,” he told her.

He says the same things often, forgetting that they’ve talked about it before.

He talks to her in a way that really anyone else would identify as condescending, at first glance. But she never feels that way, not really, because he is her older brother and he calls her his baby sister.

She loves him.
His laugh — she loves to hear him laugh.

Even when she knows he’s laughing at her.

Soft hair and a beautiful smile, long thin frame that seems almost as if any second it might collapse, he smells like fruit and flowers and baby shampoo.

He makes eye contact when he talks; he has dark, inquisitive eyes framed by long eyelashes.
He tells her that the birds he sometimes sees remind him of her.

He says that he loves her. She wants to believe him.

written for daily prompt: meaningless

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College Acceptance: A Validation of Self-worth

UC Berkeley will release its decisions at the end of the month, on March 30th.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m stressed, that I’m hoping against hope for an acceptance. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was pretty torn up about getting rejected from Stanford, from UCLA. I’m not ashamed to admit that I care, on a deeply personal level.

I poured my heart out for my personal statements; I spent hours trying to force myself to memorize every formula I needed for the AP Calculus BC final; I made dozens of phone calls to ensure that my transcripts were being mailed out on time; I think about college day and night.

For me, and for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of others, applying to college is more than filling out a form and writing a few essays. It’s not even selling yourself; after all, universities are the ones charging.

It’s tearing yourself open and laying your heart and soul and blood and sweat and tears out on a table, and then chasing after colleges and paying them to glance over and give you a chance. It’s giving faceless admissions officers VIP passes to your vulnerabilities and failures, and hoping that they think you have the right ratio of human to perfect to send you that elusive acceptance letter.

So rejection hurts, and acceptance is a relief. Finally, you think. I’m good enough. But that’s only if you get accepted. Rejection is more than a bruise or a scrape or a minor issue; it’s consuming. Because a college rejection rejects you on a very personal level – they know your life stories, your struggles. And they still don’t want you. And maybe the most painful thing of all is that you were qualified – your GPA was high enough, as were your test scores. You had a glittering resume of extracurricular activities, and you had amazing time management, and you didn’t get in because this year, College X was looking for nationally competitive crocheters. Too many speech and debaters are already in the system, and you fall by the wayside.

At the end of March it’ll be over. And by May 1st, we’ll have committed to a school. But until then, we pray for acceptance.

Hopefully, eventually, we can accept ourselves as well, and measure our worth by our own metrics, not by the colleges we get into.

written for daily prompt: acceptance

Minimal Damage

Strange that her aesthetic is so clean cut
When she herself overflows with
oceans
of red paint, dragon scales, endless flower bouquets
that she never speaks of

Strange that she can’t laugh it off
when he tells her it was nothing
and poison boils bitter inside her

She knows for him, for them
it is just a hiccup in the grand scheme of things
A small scrape at most
just minimal damage

But for her it means the world
(or the end of it. Sometimes she’s not sure)
because maybe it’s her fault for
not telling anyone

How can she though
when just one mocking half-thought can
take root to tear her apart the way

Strangler figs choke the breath from trees

written for daily prompt: minimal