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Nicole Orejuela: Poetry Collection

If I Were A Boy

then people would not comment on the color

of my clothes.

Red is too provocative,

Yellow is only for the spring, and Black

should only be worn at funerals.

Way to kill the mood.

If I were a boy,

then I would not be expected to


my tongue.

Don’t you know that a Smile is an assumed part of the dress code?

Good girls are polite;

they’re sweet and well-behaved.


Don’t be so emotional.

If I were a boy,

then the most important number on the scale

would be my GPA,

not how much I weigh.

Being strong

is a physical achievement for men

and an emotional requirement for women.

But they don’t understand the weight I carry

that no one can see but


The invisible weight that they

have placed on my shoulders

that never goes


They don’t understand

how the weight


me, breaking

my back

and my soul.

They don’t understand

how it suffocates me,

tightening around my neck and

forcing unwanted tears

to pour out of my bloodshot eyes.

How everyday it only gets tighter

and tighter


I can’t breathe.

I can’t breathe

I can’t breathe

I can’t


A soft hand rests on the curve of my back.

I gaze up, misty eyes clouding the reflection

of her gentle smile.


I gasp,

feeling the pressure slowly lift from my chest.

I greedily take in desperate puffs of sweet air,

the fog finally clearing from my muddled mind.


I look up at her again,

this angel sent down from the heavens to save my life,

and I realize

She's me.

About the Author:

Nicole Orejuela (she/her/hers) is a 20-year-old undergraduate junior from

Brookfield, Wisconsin studying psychology at Northwestern University. An ardent

writer since elementary school, Nicole won her first writing contest in the

4th-grade for her essay on the Peel Mansion Foundation. Since this early accolade,

Nicole’s love for writing and storytelling has only grown as she’s progressed in her

academic career, evidenced through leadership roles such as serving as an

Editor-in-Chief for her high school newspaper. When she’s not drinking too much

coffee at a local café or reading a new psychological thriller novel, Nicole enjoys

creating new literary pieces in the form of short stories and poetry and hopes to one

day publish a book.


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