A Contemporary Scarlet Letter

Dealing with Labels, Stigmas, and Stereotypes

A Contemporary Scarlet Letter

A joke.

That’s all it seems to be

To them.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

A word.

That’s all it is

To them.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

A mistake.

That’s all I’m seen as

By them.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

A slut.

I hear it and they don’t know but

I almost believe it.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

A low-life.

I hear that too and they don’t know

But I do.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

A loner.

The only reason I am is because

They always leave me out.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

A…

I thought they were kidding at first but…

And I struggled for a while

All on my own.

No one knew—not even my mother or father.

And I knew I wasn’t alone, even at ten years old

And I knew that I didn’t want anything my parents would find and…

I didn’t want them to feel like they’d let me down.

Because the reality is that they didn’t.

They told me what a real parent should.

They didn’t deal with it for me

They said I had to learn

And grow

And be tough…

But most of all be me.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

And I didn’t see it at first but they were right.

I didn’t understand why they made me—from such

A young age—be so independent.

They saw what was coming.

They didn’t tell me because they knew

That at just ten years old

I’d be too naive to believe them.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

And it was like the case of my brother

And his stigmas

And his addictions.

He didn’t know what he was getting into.

Yet my parents had still told him and told him

That drugs would destroy him

Especially if he let it

Get out of hand.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

And for me, those words others said

About me

Behind my back

To insult me

Ridicule me…

Those were those ever-so-deadly drugs.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

And for me, I let it get to me

For quite some time.

It ate at my

Light,

Joy,

Happiness…

I almost gave up on what I loved—

Writing,

Music,

Love itself…

And above all

Honesty.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

And there was no part of me,

My personality,

That they left untouched.

I had heard just about everything

A ten-year-old shouldn’t have to hear.

Then they just left me—

Didn’t even acknowledge me.

I could not have felt more alone,

More naked and vulnerable,

More sensitive and hurt…

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

And the part that no one knows:

Why I write,

Is why I’m still alive.

Why I sing,

Is why I’m still alive.

Why I just don’t care anymore

Is why I’m still alive.

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

And I was ten, eleven,

Twelve, thirteen…

I was younger than my brother,

And while I had soon found my way,

He had yet to find his.

I tried and tried to help him but

He was afraid.

It was all he knew.

It wasn’t what he wanted but

It was what he was used to.

There was hope for him;

Hope that he denied himself.

And I never thought that

So young I’d be saying this—

These words that my parents

Had said to me.

“A stigma is not the end of the world.

But a stigma beneath your skin is the end of yours.”

I am a different soul

A different case, a different…

A contemporary Scarlet Letter.

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Bianca Wargo

artist, writer, photographer, mental health advocate, & entrepreneur

insta: @biwargo

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See all posts by Bianca Wargo