a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
a space for youth writing on mental health & identity
everyday my body morphs into the emotions that run inside my veins. one day i’m the sun, everyone’s talking about me, everything revolves around me. my brightness is a force that’s overflowing. other days, i’m a messily arranged chocolate cake, designed to be looked at/picked at/sneered at. the feelings are temporary, however. the sun inevitably bursts and the cake is swallowed up, evaporating into nothingness.
Then it would my laughter merging with my best friend's,
causing a dent in space, a permanent mark saying "we were
here, and this is how"
i am so drained
from the static. A
tide incessant cannot tell
another to collapse. but /
when / i drown / in pools of
ebony / you watch
who taught herself
to shatter in unfeeling,
the girl who split herself
open into halves
when staring at the belly
of a fruit bowl.
Trigger Warning: Suicidal Ideation
i look up at the stars and i look and i think
and keep searching,
why are those little lights in the sky
Please read poem from top to bottom, then from bottom to top.
Your skin color defines you
Don’t ever think
You’re good enough
insomnia by Hallie
It’s quiet here
& the birds have stopped their
call, probably to sleep for
a few hours, which i carve
into my mind in the luminous red
numbers on the clock which read
too late, too late, too late
Same old sorrow,
I tire of you.
You smell like stale bread;
You’re brittle as war-torn porcelain dolls.
I wash you for days,
But you linger on my sleeve like an oil stain.
[Content warning: themes of abuse]
I used to have trouble understanding what secrets were. What the term meant. Why people felt the need to keep things locked away from one another. What was the purpose of hushed voices, or solemn head shakes from my mother, signifying that this was not the place to discuss things like that? It seemed that there were many things that I didn’t understand.
Dirt piled as you buried me with lies.
Behind our school, surrounded by bright flowers and trees, you dug my grave. I lay there, starry-eyed, as my lungs filled with fertilizer.
Lobotomy by LaVie Saad (California)
It’s a traditional house, because every morning when the sun rises, when sweet yellow rays reach to kiss our bronze skin through the hand-sewn curtains and double-paneled windows, they only find mine. Habit. A syrupy morning dew floods my eyes, its own brand. Through the glass panes of the kitchen window I see an image of Grandmother and her shriveled pink lips that stretch and shrink and tell me the sun must always find the females first. Her buck teeth are bared, and her tongue spits house myths. I scrape cucumber seeds from their wet pockets over the marble island. And that’s only because Grandmother likes when I am at sacred work, upholding the rituals of a good Muslim girl. Habits and legends
How to grapple with this spewing
Out of the airport
We drove past concrete lilypads
Man’s calloused hands pressed against stone
Shoulders stung with saltwater.
The dried white roses that planted their seeds in your stomach nally begin to bloom. They rise up and through your liver, leaving you blinded by the orange light,
Math and her by Anh (15, Vietnam)
Trigger Warning : depression, panic disorder, childhood trauma (verbal abuse), therapy
This is going to sound like a sob story. It’s tragic, it’s dramatic. Perhaps she is overreacting because it sounds like something that came out of a movie. And she was the main character.
is it the tinkle of
bottle meets giddiness
slow slow slow slow slow slow
why don’t the words come out when i want?
why don’t the words come out as i want?
Trigger Warning: Mentions of rape, violence, objectification of women.
I hope for the flowers of my language to intrigue the Reader enough for this piece to warrant publication, for I offer no unfamiliar thoughts: only reminders. I surmise that, upon consuming my chronicle, the Reader will remember that She had identified Herself in it once; amendments will abound. I see no medium for this other than through publication; a voice unheard is rendered voiceless. So begins the Tale of the Ideal Woman.
[Content warning: self-harm and suicidal ideation]
this morning my dad caught me
beating on myself
When you’re seven, you have trouble writing your name in the box. Your hands are too cramped around the pencil and it scratches on the paper, flying out of your control. Worries are out of your comprehension, and you only live day to day.
he never doubted it for a second.
she always knew that she was capable of greatness. one day, they sat her down and told her
Lost by Anonymous (16, Idaho)
My hands gripping
Red Ocean by Sumedha (22)
With each touch of yours, you turned me into a glacier
And the glacier flows in me-, sings in my head- like a linnet’s songDon't turn back this time, I won't ask
My bones, my mind, and my soul are freezing
In my sophomore year of high school, I was elected as the President of the Debate Club. I was already very popular by then: tall for my age, top of my class, proficient in off-beat languages like Hawaiian and Lemerig that I had learned on Duolingo over Christmas break, when my parents were fighting over who was having an affair and who would pay the bills and who would fix the washing machine.
TW: eating disorders & suicidal ideation
screams echo through the walls of the house
and ricochet off cold blue bones
landing in our laps with the fire ants
that our shaky legs landed in
running outside, begging Death to leave our hearts alone
same footholds i tread, same day-glow awash with sweat
but it’s winter now. cold changes tarmac the same way that
frost nips at potholes (or maybe just people). this pavement
is a prayer, every crack a scripture. you’re more devout in the dark
Damai by Cheryl Tan (16, Singapore)
In light how I am flying. The path to the beach is pebbled with joggers, kissed by friendly passers-by. I am cycling with the sea in my eyes. Yellow brine smell everywhere. I am in love with it all. There’s a cup of tea somewhere, soft like rooibos, tart as Earl Grey, spinning on the axis of tomorrow. I’m making tomato soup when I come back. Roasted tomatoes and crisp carrots. Marmite in warm oats. Garlic confit spread out good and thin. I am looking forward to that.
* = Editors' Choice work
Unless otherwise noted, all pictures used are open-source images in the public domain.