When i grow up

Niina Tsuyuki dubik



They ask

And you say “Psychiatrist”

They smile

Or say “Oh dear, sounds difficult!

Are you really up to it?”

But nobody sneers

Whispers patronizingly

“She’s still a child.

She’ll find a real job when she’s older.”


Once you dreamed of being a writer

A poet


Loved words

Loved the way they felt

Loved the stories in your head.

A writer visited your class

You asked about the publishing process

The writer smiled

And used a lot of big words

To say

You’ll never get published.


After she left

Classmates gathered around

“You’ll show her!”

“Scared of competition, eh?”

You smiled

Pretended to agree

Felt something break inside.

The same breaking


You felt when you grew older

And told people you were a writer

“Writing’s a nice hobby.”

“Better learn to beg; you’ll never make money.”

So, you settled for smaller dreams

Top marks

Medical school

High-paying jobs

They stopped sneering

Started complimenting your intelligence.

You told yourself that you loved science

Loved stability

Loved money


But then

When you walk into a bookstore

See shelves filled with people

Who did what you could not

What you’re too scared to do

You realize

You can say 





It doesn’t matter

There’s only one truth

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”


(I want to be enough)

(I want to be enough)

“I want to be enough.”




Niina Tsuyuki Dubik is a university student. She lives in Manitoba, where she attends the University of Manitoba and writes poetry.

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