Stones Can Break

by Janine A. Ríos Morales

Please, don’t ask me to man up.

I’ve held emotions for so long, and I’m breaking.

I’m no black hole of negative comments.

I’m in a pool trying to go afloat,

That turns into the middle of the sea

And I’m drowning.


I wish I could talk about my emotions, struggles, and insecurities;

But all I get is, “Man up”, “Get over it”, or “Weak”

Used as a double-edged knife pointed at my heart.

Before I know it, I’m struck again by my own pain

which I’m supposed to walk away from, again.


My depression doesn’t mean I don’t want to be with you.

I just feel hopeless, overwhelmed, and unhappy.

I’m sad for no reason and it’s eating away at me,

Like being in a dark cave with no way out

It’s a monster’s mouth and it devours me alive.


First my mind, now my body.

Too much meat on my bones or not much at all.

Someone will find me attractive somehow, right?

Hairy, or not hairy enough.

How am I supposed to fix that?


We don’t come from a perfect mold.

This is no Build -A- Bear Workshop, can’t create no dream man.

We come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and heights.

We don’t come in a one-size package,

or a Ken Doll box, nor some superhero movie.


A man will always and forever be a man.

No matter the way we live, how we dress or who we love.

Let us not be defined by our X’s and our Y’s.

Let us be who we want to be, being free,

Not who you want us to be.

About the Poet

The poet is Janine A. Ríos Morales, currently in 12th grade and 17 years old. She was born on September 2, 2003, and lives in Añasco, Puerto Rico. Her hobbies include doing her nails, listening to music, and watching anime. What inspired her to write this poem was the lack of talk about male body positivity and emotions, especially in music. She took actual phrases from men and how they feel about the topic, apart from her own, to create this poem.