Young Writers Project: Siena Stanley, Esra Anzali, Lucy Poduschnick

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve, and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences, and online. YWP also publishes an annual anthology and The Voice, a digital magazine with YWP’s best writing, images, andfeatures. More info: or contact YWP at [email protected] or (802) 324-9538.
This month, we present General Writing responses.

Loving yourself
Loving yourself is probably
the most difficult thing to achieve.
People are constantly putting us down,
talking behind our backs,
laughing at our flaws,
and those messages become our thoughts.
Do you know anybody who
truly and completely loves themselves?
I don’t. 
We are surrounded by a society that tells us
we need to be pretty, smart, strong, popular.
And as time goes on,
these expectations just get higher and higher,
to the point where “acceptable”
means perfect beyond attainability.
So how do we learn to love ourselves?
We have to be courageous and confident enough
to say we don’t care what others think,
and truly mean it.
We have to fight against stereotypes
that are making us hate ourselves.
We have to stop wishing we were
prettier, smarter, stronger, more popular,
and just accept ourselves for who we truly are.
Easier said than done, am I right?
Do you think you are strong enough
to stand up for your happiness
and pave a better path
for generations to come?
— Siena Stanley, 15, Bristol

I am imperfect,
something that I came
to terms with
years ago.
My smile is crooked,
soon to be covered in
purple braces because
I have always thought the
color purple would make
me look a little bit prettier.
My laugh is loud,
but I’ve always liked
it because it can make
my friends smile.
I am short,
but I like that
because it lets you
blend in without
being forgotten.
My eyes are big,
but I have always liked
the rich brown color
because it reminds me of
I hug a little too long,
but I don’t stop,
because when I let go
I notice a smile on
their face.
I am quiet with
people I do not know,
but it makes it all the
better when they finally
see my smile, hear my laugh,
hold my gaze, feel my hug,
look down at me and all my
My imperfections are loved
by few, but I don’t care,
because those few people
are the people I have
laughed with, cried with,
spent my darkest days with,
and I would never give them up.
— Esra Anzali, 12, Middlebury

Rain is a funny thing.
It pitters and patters,
but it has no feet.
It splashes,
but it has no hands.
It taps on the window,
but it has no fingers.
It falls,
but no one pushes it.
It makes different noises,
but it stays the same.
It comes one day,
but is gone the next.
Rain is a funny thing.
— Lucy Poduschnick, 13, Middlebury

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