K| One time I hit my brother

One time I hit my brother

so hard I thought I killed him,

but he was never supposed to exist

in the first place, so I didn’t

really feel that bad about it.

But what would I tell my parents?

They call him a mistake,

but in a doting way and I just hate that.

They like him–they really, really like him,

probably more than me.

So do I cry and pretend it was an accident?

He did not end up dying

but he did crumple

like a piece of paper in my arms

and he asked me to forgive him

for whatever he did wrong

and I didn’t know what to say

because he didn’t do anything wrong,

I just didn’t know why he had to exist.

Together we buried this secret

alongwith that time he ate an extra

piece of candy so we called it even

Maybe I was just too young to understand–

except I did understand.

One time I hit my brother so hard he forgot

but I never will.

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K| Last I Heard

We are made up of the same sticks

and stones and mud that we built into castles–

no, fortresses, we called them

in our backyards.

There was a line that separated our respective grasses

and it was on that line that we declared

our continent.

At one point, we were not afraid of cobwebs and attics,

but then, we watched that rated-R movie about that

serial killer in the attic with the cobwebs,

and it seemed like everything changed.

Last I heard, you moved to Atlanta

and that one time you messaged me on Facebook,

late November of last year, you told me about all

the Atlanta boys and the way they stared at you

and I thought about how much

we had both changed.

Maybe it’s a good thing or maybe it isn’t.

Either way it’s too late to do

anything about it now.

I wanted to ask why you didn’t mention

your mom’s cancer, but then

I wondered why I thought you would have.

K| It’s Been a While

So, it’s been a while since I’ve last posted–since any of us from TOTTS have last posted and, honestly, it’s been a good break.

A lot of things have transpired in all of our lives during these past few months (applying to colleges, dreaming about the future, going through senior year, more dreaming about the future) and I speak for all of us when I say, it’s just all happening so incredibly fast.

I think all three of us got completely consumed by the day-to-day of our lives and TOTTS, while still extremely important to all of us, slipped away briefly so that we could experience everything in full.

Sometimes I think you need exactly that–living in the moment before stepping back and reflecting. I’m not saying it’s not possible to do both at the same time (in fact, I’ve just made it a goal to achieve both simultaneously), but when it doesn’t happen that way, I think it’s okay.

But, I’m ready to be back. Definitely. My draft bin is starting to overflow again, so be prepared–TOTTS is about to fill your newsfeed again!

This post is not to say that there won’t be any more hiatuses on our part, because I am sure that there will be. But we’re going to keep living and we’re going to keep writing in whatever order ensues naturally.

I think following each break are periods of inspiration and introspection. Every break and every breath that we all take as writers, thinkers, and people make way for something beautiful.

Stay in touch with us for that something beautiful.

K| At This Point in Time

At this point in time, I am disoriented by the perplexing mess of my room, listening to the song “Something I Need” by OneRepublic, and somehow wearing only one sock, but at least it’s the one with the cats on it from Forever 21, so I’m feeling okay.

At this point in time, my dad is snoring in the room next to me and my mom is downstairs feverishly catching up on an Asian drama, probably about some crazy love triangle that won’t get resolved until the seventy-fourth episode.

At this point in time, somebody is stealing eggs to feed their family and somebody is egging their neighbor’s house. Somebody out there is changing the world and somebody out there is changing themselves. There are girls becoming women, boys becoming men, and people realizing that they were born the wrong gender.

At this point in time, somebody is writing a book and somebody is reading one. There is somebody roaring with laughter watching the GOP debate and somebody starting a revolution. Somebody just finished all 236 episodes of Friends and somebody just swore off watching TV forever.

At this point in time, somebody is breaking tradition while somebody is making tradition. There is a man saying “I love you” to a man for the first time and a woman kneeling on one knee, asking her boyfriend to marry her. Somebody just said something they will regret for a very long time and somebody just said the most significant words of their life.

At this point in time, there is a child leaving his mother and a mother leaving her child. Promises are getting broken and promises are getting made. There is an argument breaking out between two people who don’t know how to love each other anymore and there is a woman who just found the perfect wedding dress.

At this point in time, somebody is saying something racist and somebody is saying something sexist and someone is losing faith in humanity and somebody is choosing to see the good in life. Somebody has no water left to drink and somebody’s village sinking. Somebody is saying let’s end this madness and this sadness. Let’s end it together.

At this point in time, there is a girl is losing her innocence and absolutely loving it and a girl losing her innocence against her will. Somebody is deciding not to kill themselves and somebody is beginning to love themselves. Somebody is feeling lonely in a crowd of people and somebody is feeling fulfilled by their independence.

At this point in time, I am writing a blog post about how I am feeling about the world at the moment.

K| The Generation

We are color, action, and insanity,

Composed of strength, vigor, and joy.

Our nights are long and we like it that way,

We sleep when we are tired but we are never tired.

Hurt us, hurt us again –

Pain is only a state of mind,

Which we will not waste time trying to comprehend,

It’s tattooed onto our skins.

We will not grow old,

We will not lose hope.

We look at those who have with disgruntled expressions,

We make sure they see our scowls,

So they know how different we are.

We are the generation that will never die,

But,

Then again,

Isn’t that what they all thought?

K| A Letter To My Former Self

Every now and then, I find myself looking for you. I wonder how you’ve been doing, how you’ve adjusted to your new life without me.

Even though I know why you’ve gone (we had a long, strewn-out fight and I finally kicked you out), I don’t know where you’ve went. To be honest, I can’t say that I miss you very much. Your awkward fashion sense, your out-of-place bangs, and your Hello Kitty underwear were good riddances. But, I do, of course, wish you the best of luck because I still care about you at least a bit, although, either way, you’re not going to survive out there.

I’m not trying to be mean or anything – I just figured you deserved to know about your impending demise.

You will not be able to survive out there with your cynical attitude, your refusal to listen to other people, and your lack of appreciation for your friends. You are not going to make it out alive by talking back to your mom every time she tries to care about you.

You think you’re so cool just because a cute boy threw you your surprise 12th birthday party, but in less than a month you’re going to find out that he didn’t invite you to his birthday party, because, by then, he would have already ditched you for some other girls. You think you are so much better than the boys your parents force you to carpool with and that’s why you never talk to them, but in a few years they would have gotten higher SAT scores than you and you’re going to congratulate them and really mean it, because you would have realized that it was incredibly stupid to think you’re better than them when you’re not. However, they will continue to be really annoying. You will just have learned to appreciate them regardless.

You are just fooling yourself when you say you don’t like dresses and you hate the color pink, because you have always known deep down that you are absolutely a girly girl. You are not a tomboy even though you try so hard to be one just to impress some people who have never been nice to you before and never will be nice to you.

You will start wearing make-up. It will be messy at first. You will face backlash from your dad, but you’ll eventually figure out how to wear make-up as a way to enhance your features, not mask them. You will learn how to feel pretty and in turn be pretty. You will become confident. You will forget how to be jealous of people, instead, you will only admire.

You will say “I love you” to some guy who doesn’t deserve it and you will let him touch you in ways you don’t deserve it. Then, you will date a few more boys that weren’t the best choices, but you will learn from those mistakes and you will become a stronger person. You will then grasp the importance of independence. You will realign your priories. You will stop craving attention from boys and instead crave to be a better student, crave to be a better person.

You will spend a few summers taking on the most amazing internships and you will learn how to talk to adults for the first time while maintaining eye contact. You will make money. You will spend some of it, stupidly. Then, you will learn how to manage your money.

You will start looking up to your mom, and I mean really, really looking up to her, because she is a truly inspiring woman. You will start taking her advice. You will start hugging her every single day.

You will also start appreciating your dad. It will take you a long time to notice all that he does for you, but once you do notice, you will never forget to love him.

Pretty soon, you will realize that you are no longer you.

You will be older.

You will be stronger.

You will be happier.

You will love yourself and even though you will never ever want to back to the way you once were, you will realize the beauty of your growth and take the time to write this letter.

K| Dear Catcallers

When you pulled up next to my friend and I as we walked out of Target a few weeks ago and rolled down your window to shout “Could you fold it over for me?” did you know I almost threw up? It was in the middle of the day and we were surrounded by families and children, yet you thought that that was an appropriate situation to harass us.

Did you know that we had no idea what ‘fold it over’ meant but that we knew it was perverted by the way you were eyeing our bodies? Did you know that we urban-dictionaried the definition after and felt ashamed of our bodies?

Did you know that the reason we tried so hard not to make eye contact with you was because we were so absolutely terrified of you that we physically could not do it? Did you know that those few seconds of our lives were nothing but absolute horror?

Did you know that I spent the next few hours of that day wondering if I dressed too “slutty” to be in public and contemplated never wearing shorts again for the rest of my life? Did you know that you are the reason I am scared of going to even the library by myself?

When you whistled at my friend and yelled, “Damn, what a fine ass!” when she was walking with her mom the other day, did you think about how your own mom would react to your behavior if only she knew? Did you think about how your mom goes through the same kind of discrimination and abuse that you are putting onto other women? Did you think about your sister? Your aunt? Your daughter, perhaps? Any female at all in your life?

Of course, you didn’t.

Did you think that I liked what you said? Did you think you made me feel good about myself?

Because I didn’t like it. I didn’t feel good.

I felt disgusting. I felt dirty. I felt nauseous.

I felt like I wanted to die. 

People like you petrify me. People like you make me scared for my beautiful baby cousin. People like you make me scared when my best friend texts me that she’s about to go to the mall by herself.

People like you are the nightmares of women all around the world.

It’s not funny. It’s not a game.

It’s our lives and you are making us scared to live them.

K| Running

I’m running because that’s what they’re all doing,

all around me,

all the time.

I’m running as hard as I can,

but it’s not fast enough.

It’s not nearly fast enough.

There are no breaths left for me to take,

so I stop trying to breathe.

Can you run without breathing, though?

I have more questions, but I’m afraid to ask,

So I won’t.

I’m falling behind, everyone can see that.

All I can make out in the distance are the shining logos of shoes

that I cannot afford.

I pretend not to notice how slow I am compared to

everybody else, but here I am,

noticing.

I’m running and I’m running

and I’m running.

If you ask me “where to?” I don’t know,

so just don’t.

I am afraid to stop running

but I am more afraid that I’ll never stop.

K| Loud

is the sound of my voice, the pulsation of my heart, my biggest shortcoming (says my father), something I could never grow out of, my reluctance to adhere to the rules, the recalcitrance of my footsteps, and everything I never wanted to be, but found too difficult not to be, and I learned to kind of love it.