Photo by Yves Moret on Unsplash

you know what they say during drills.
get under the desk, it’s safe. 
well, I’m the desk,
stuck in the corner as the first wave hits,
the dishes and pots hit the ground, 
my legs threaten to give way but not quite, 

then silence. 
“it’s over,” says the child, 
crawling out from under me. 
I laugh, I work, I study, I write. 
but smile no more,
because a bigger wave is about to come.

I’m not prepared,
not for the breaking, the shaking,
the dramatic screams that call for danger,
I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m okay.
except I’m not, 
except my legs crumble under the pressure,

then silence again. 
the mother attempts to glue me back together,
and I stand somehow 
with my wobbly legs and flustered face. 

see, that’s the thing about earthquakes,
they come unexpected,
causing so much destruction in their wake,
then gone like nothing ever happened. 


Sensory Overload

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

I shouldn’t have to be scared of letting people know about me, but that was not what was going on in my head as I deleted this very poem yesterday out of fear that came from nowhere. Today, I found courage in myself to upload this again.

one person, then a group
one voice, then a cacophony
one blade, then a block of knives

to stab me, 
one beat,
one laughter,
one scream at a time

I run from the noise
like a tortoise running from a hare
into a corner where there is no border,
where the noise only grows louder 
and the pain only gets harsher

until I don’t know where I am anymore
I’m sinking but I can’t see the bottom,
I‘m drowning but I can’t feel the water,

the distorted orchestra continues its concert
and each musician rises from his or her seat
and turns into a grenade
the music stops

then bang

I’m back in my chair,
arms wrapped around my head
and tears running down my face

but I don’t know why. 

Social Anxiety

Photo by Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

This poem was inspired by Sabrina Benaim’s “Explaining My Depression to My Mother.”

all I had to do
was to leave the car,

but my hands froze,
and my heart beat faster and faster
until terror rose above me
like a boat facing a threatening wave
until the wave capsized the boat,
and my breath stuck in my chest

and I said,

Mom, why can’t you understand
that socialization
is like entering a battlefield with a plastic sword,
knowing that I will lose
but charging anyway,
because I have no choice,
because people are everywhere

Mom, why can’t you understand
that this war doesn’t kill me,
but drives me further and further into a corner
where I accept the swords
with welcoming arms and a fake smile

Mom, why can’t you understand
that you are one of the soldiers

Mom, I am scared,
scared of the classroom,
scared of eye contact,
scared of the gym,
scared of my dorm room,
scared of my friends,
scared of my family

Mom, I am scared,
scared of people.

Mom, I want this nightmare to end.
except it is real,
except it only ends when I close my eyes.

Mom, I can’t.
I can’t get out of this car.

Mental Illness

Photo by Artem Kim on Unsplash

the monster is awake.
it is a bad day.
it reaches inside my cage,
it starts clawing me,
I tell it to stop.
it replies back, you deserve it.
you are nothing,
you are pathetic,
you are despicable.
I open my mouth to scream,
but all that comes out is, I agree.

I make my way to the monster,
because I deserve it.
I deserve the monster.
but the monster goes slack.

I turn around, and tied to a bar
is a balloon. it is a good day.
I say, the balloon isn’t real.
it’s too good to be true.
I am afraid of it,
afraid it would pop,
afraid it would float away.

so again, I make my way to the monster,
because I would rather feel something
than nothing at all.
the monster lifts its head.
our eyes meet, and I am not sure
if I am the monster, or the monster is me.

it is a bad day.
it is a good day.
it is neither.
I am not sure, not anymore.