At the Top

Image by Alex Hanks

Image by Alex Hanks

Jada Thomas, Copyediting Coordiantor

I’ve never believed in my ability to climb the stairs.

The ones I’ve always been warned to avoid, 

the ones people have told me measure nothing of my worth, 

but I can’t stop them from being a defining factor. 


The struggle to climb has been constant for what’s felt like years. 

So much tripping, falling and stumbling

results in times where I don’t even feel like moving.

I always get back up though, 

because I have to reach the person at the top. 


There’s always someone waiting at the top, 

flaunting some achievement, quality, or trait that I want.

That’s why the stairs exist. 

I climb and climb and climb 

trying to reach what they have. They always have something I feel like I lack.


I look up to them at the top, standing proudly, and all the fault falls back on me. 

Why can’t I be as skilled? Why can’t I be as productive?

Why can’t I be as liked? Why can’t I be as intelligent? 

And I know reaching the top, being like them, won’t solve all my problems. 

It sure will help though, at least I think so.


I wish I could acknowledge what I have, how unique I am. 

Instead, I’m always so focused on how long until I reach the person above me, 

that I’m never satisfied with myself.


One day I’ll realize that this climb is doing more harm than good.

That the climb will never stop unless I get rid of the stairs completely.

At the same time, I feel like I have no choice but to keep climbing 

because being content with myself seems like more of a challenge

than taking the next step.