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Neither Here Nor There: A Poem

Updated on November 1, 2011

Neither Here Nor There is a poem that I’ve written to explain that feeling that adolescents often have of not fitting in anywhere and yet so desperately wanting to. I have tried to capture the memories of what it was like to be young and to feel like there was no place that was quite right for me in life. I have also tried to evoke the feelings of that time using some of the same language and formatting that I might have used had I tried to write the same poem as a teenager. It is intentionally formatted in a way that breaks the rules and doesn’t stick with one form or another but meanders through different options because that’s precisely what you do as a teenager who is trying to find her way in life. In the end, I’ve tried to give a vote of confidence in myself but there’s a little doubt in there that reflects the fake self-confidence that teens must exude before that real self-confidence is developed.


I have always been a girl

Who was

Neither here nor there

Who was

Neither good nor bad

Who was never quite enough

I remember being stuck in gifted classes where I was smart enough to excel

But not smart enough to fit in

And way too smart to be happy

My supposedly gifted peers didn’t understand the ghetto speak of

My not-so-privileged friends

Friends who spent their time with me

Until the drugs and the babies came along

And I wasn’t quite daring enough or rugged enough or bold enough or crazy enough

To fit in anymore

Neither here nor there

I was here

Then I was there

Then I was nowhere

Teacher’s pet until I stopped going to classes

A boy’s lover until he broke my heart

A good daughter until I unleashed my acid tongue

A wild child until I pulled back and said enough is enough

I was never enough

Neither here nor there

Neither innocent nor soiled

I was the third based, oral doesn’t count, virgin slut

I was the fourteen year old nymphomaniac with the sober body and the straight A grades

I was the high school dropout with a house full of books

I was the girl doing nothing and everything at the same time

I was neither here nor there

I wanted to be here

I wanted to be there

I wanted to be somewhere

And to feel like enough

I thought it was a problem

This never fitting in

This never feeling right anywhere

Someone told me once that

There were cliques in my high school

I didn’t agree

Because I didn’t know they were there

I traipsed over boundaries and across lines I didn’t see

Because I wasn’t here or there enough to see them

I didn’t care what people thought of me

I didn’t fit in enough to care

And now I’m old enough to see

That sometimes it’s better to be neither here nor there

It opens up possibility

I can be here

I can be there

I can be everywhere

Everywhere is not nowhere

Being me is not nothing


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