Push Pins

this piece contains content/mentions self-harm

Out of Body taken by Danielle Deculus for Push Pins by Annette Greenberg

I am a child
In two years I will be an adult
I know very little about others
And something about impulse.

At 12 I felt the ground shaking beneath me
so I stuck my feet in place with push pins.
To live a normal life, the pain felt worth it.

I stuck it out and reached 14.
I picked up my feet, letting the pain rush back
Letting the movements ease into my body.
I tried to walk. Hoping to act in perfect health
As if somebody else had stuck push pins in me
And I hadn’t done it to myself.

Books helped me escape the clenching ache in my soles
Letting myself drown in the pages of someone
who didn’t even exist
and didn’t feel the vibrations below her
like an earthquake that never happened.
The pages made me laugh
but the paper cuts tentatively grew
and became visible to the people who knew.

The push pins are gone
The cuts on my soles barely healed
And while the paper cuts on my fingers linger on
my future is not sealed.

If you or someone you know has contemplated suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741. For more information, visit our Mental Health Resources section.


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Annette Greenberg is a member of the class of 2023 at her high school in New Jersey. Her most frequent hobby is reading, and she believes that the perfect book exists for every type of person. She is passionate about creative writing and disability rights and hopes to see more diversity in books to represent every reader.
Accompanying photo: “Out of Body” by Danielle Deculus