The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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POETRY: The Untold...Retold
Cady Elizabeth Gambrell, 16
Eureka, CA

Do you know who I am? You really don’t know.
I cover my face, only the mask I show.
You think you know, but you really just see.
To you and all others, the out is what I have to be.

I’ve always been just that child,
picked on, shy and never wild.
I’m so confused…so frightened.
You didn’t know that, did you?
On my face you see a glowing smile and bright, brown eyes.
I walk so confident, yet sometimes kind of shy.
I walk away with such poise and posture,
But did you know that when I am unseen,
I break down into the tears you will never see?
All of which that has me bound, every single scary fear.
All the horrible cries I make, you will never hear.
Different settings have different masks.
Different lies and different tasks.
All the risks I make to become one of you.
To not show that I am different too.
An outcast I don’t want to be,
So I cover up to what you see.
Do you really think you know me?
Well, you see something else that I’m trying to be.
You will never understand, because neither will I.
I’m sorry, but my life is a lie.
I don’t hide for the joy you find.
It’s the insecurity that takes over my mind.

Underneath what I cover, is a girl who doesn’t know.
The world, the fears, the highs and lows.
The jewelry, the makeup,
The lovers and breakups.
Lies of my life, that’s fiction.
There’s no boundaries, no restriction.
Times have changed, but you can’t see.
That wild thing, is now what I have to be.
Completely opposite of what’s inside,
A totally different person is what I hide.
I’m not who I am, I do what I have to do.
My mind tells me that I’m here just to try to please you.
You may think I’m outgoing, you may think I’m smart.
You can love the way I write, you may think I’m a sweetheart.
But you will never know about who I really am,
Unless you were what I hide, yet that’s hidden behind my dam.
The worst is done for now, for all of my hope is not lost.
All things have not gone away and no lives claimed at a cost.
I have no choice, but to face the fear that’s here,
For I have yet to lift that mask, that was summoned upon my dare.
So I take this important moment, one step at a time.
Make careful of every error, making sure of every rhyme.
I took the dare for life, I wish not to see my soul die.
I have lifted myself up, without ever asking why.

So as I slowly connect these pieces, and fill up the doubted hole.
Completing this single task, uncover and pay my toll.
There’s a whole person behind that I wish you all knew.
Behind the covering eyelids, underneath the words I chew.
One day you will understand, because that’s when I will too
The reason I use this mask, the reasons for what I do.

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