“You have so much potential”
Must be the worst phrase
In the English language.

“You have so much potential”
Implies that I am
Unfinished, incomplete, insufficient
This phrase - the worst phrase in the English language -
Implies that I am
A fragment of a person,
The ingredients to a meal, uncooked,
A free sample that you may decide to buy,
But only after trying it.
It implies that
Maybe, possibly, someday, somehow
I may become whole
With hard work, dedication, and pixie dust
But until then
I’m still only a fragment.

“You have so much potential,”
You say,
Like I’m merely a rough draft of a person
I am not a novel in progress
I am not an incomplete lyric
I am not an unfinished product
And I am not a rough draft. 

I am human
A teenager - growing and changing, maybe -
But I am not incomplete,
That’s not how living beings work
“Potential” is not a word meant for those who breathe
Clay has the potential to become pottery
Letters have a potential to become words,
And words, have the potential to become poems
I do not have the potential to become a person
Because I am already a person.
And I am not clay for you to mold

- the problem with potential