As you all may know, October is mental health awareness month. If this were a few years ago, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to it and subconsciously thought that it’s okay and people are able to easily get help. However, now that I’m older and struggle with mental health more than I did at the time, I realize that this is not the issue. In order to contribute to the understanding of mental health, I decided to share a piece based off of how anxiety feels like from my perspective as someone who struggles with it. Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. According to the ADAA, it affects 40 million adults that’s above the age of 18. Something that’s even more saddening, though, is the fact that anxiety disorders can be treated but only 36.9% of the people who have anxiety actually get treated. Anxiety often leads to depression and vice versa and it’s angering and upsetting that we have the materials to help people with these mental illnesses and disorders, yet so few people actually get treated.

Remember the worm who wriggled around in her peach?
Giggling to itself as she bit into the sweet fruit.
She wished she’d known.
It waltzed its way into her body, finding its way into her brain.
“I wish I could whisper sweet nothings to you, but you must listen to what’s important, first.”

It set out to terrify.
It wanted to abolish every well-meaning thought inside her head.
Get out get out get out,
Please get out.
It only laughed though and continued about its job.

She desperately wanted out and needed to stop the worm from talking.
A short time later, she met the “magic” fish.
With the worm and his torment, she could not think clearly.
“What’s your wish?”
“There’s a worm, can you get him out?”

A badger had sat at the edge of the pond, watching with a wide smirk across his face.
“Of course, I can get him out, your troubles will stop in no time.”
The badger began to chuckle silently and whispered, “silly girl.”
The fish opened his mouth wide and it felt as if someone was yanking her brain from her skull.
She looked up, and there was the worm sitting upon the fish’s tongue.

“Wow, how can I-“
The whispering began to start about more terribly than before.
“I thought you got the worm out!”
All three laughed and as the fish sank into the water, worm in his mouth, the badger just smiled.
“The worm only provoked it; it was inside you to begin with.”



forgetful youth pt. 2

You’re such a forgetful youth,

Going and dropping off your childish ways in a nearby landfill,

trying to grow up too fast.

But I guess maybe it may be time to cut ties.

Break your bond with that past self you enjoyed so much,

When words didn’t mean too much and there was always happiness after tears. 

Smiling was never questionable, then.

Only vibrant, rosy cheeks, and laughter.

You seem to be forgetting already?


Why are you so ready to give that up?

It’s not as bad as you think.

Do you not remember when you allowed words to spill out of your mouth without a care in the world?

Can’t you recall the weightless feeling that flowed through your body as you ran through open fields,

Rolling peacefully in the grass and flowers that’d eventually make your allergies bad,

But still not caring at all.

Are you really that forgetful?

All the times mother was there to kiss your bruises and brush away your tears –

You won’t even allow her to see the streams now.

You’ve been wrapping your own wounds,

Attempting to help yourself.

You’re trying, though –

Choosing your words carefully, 

Building barriers taller than buildings around yourself.

You’re right.

You’re pretty dang stuck, so grow up and be a forgetful youth. 

forgetful youth pt. 1

I know I write quite a bit about youth and childhood and blah blah blah but I feel like a legitimate forgetful youth right about now. I’ve been really reminiscent and I just kind of wish I could go back to the days when smiling was a lot easier and the school work was a little simpler and the kids didn’t judge you so much. I don’t really remember the happier feelings from back then. When I was younger, I constantly talked about how I couldn’t wait to turn 18 and that I was going to immediately leave home without any care in the world because I wanted to be an adult. I wish I could punch that Imani in the mouth lol. I mean, I am excited for that independence but the fear of it is way stronger than my excitement. I mean, come on. Who wants to worry about finances and work or having to pay the bills or rent on time? Literally no one. It just blows. 

Lately, life has really been hitting me in the face. Every time it does, I think to myself, “Hey! Two years and you’ll have to be on your own! You know how you stress now? Multiply that by a few thousands and boom! That’s adulthood. You’re gonna do so bad. <3 ” And that, my friend, is my exact thought process when anyone asks me what college I’m going to go to or what I want to major in or even where I’m going to be in the next 10 years. Heck, I want you to tell me where I’m gonna be in the next 10 years, Auntie. Because, I sure as heck don’t know. All these future responsibilities drive me mad and I’m not even a senior yet. I can only imagine how they feel. I keep saying that I’m going to ‘live in the moment’ or ‘live for right now’ but in reality I stress out over so many things that I won’t even encounter in the next 3 years. Crazy, right?

I just hate the fact that I tried to grow up so fast at one point that I wasn’t able to fully enjoy my youth. I was so ready to be like the other kids and I was ready to throw away my childish ways for their acceptance but what even is a group of snot-nosed rug rats’ attention compared to that sweet child-like happiness that you feel. In the end, those people didn’t even matter. It was just the happiness that I felt. However, I wasn’t grateful to that and I wanted to leave behind that sweet happiness and become a forgetful youth but I’m so tired of being a forgetful youth. So, screw it. I’m just gonna have to get my memory together and remember better. 

instagram <3

I listen to music for relatability. I listen to music because of the way certain songs make me feel or the emotional connection that I acquire from them. There are some songs that hit me a little harder than others or give me such a nostalgic feeling. With that being said, the one currently stuck on repeat for those exact reasons is the Korean R&B artist, Dean’s, single “Instagram”.

“Instagram” is a very thought filled song and personally, I feel quite a connection to it whenever it plays. It was the calming feel of it that captured me at first but I suddenly felt the need to actually read the lyrics for myself. In the song, Dean expresses what many people feel while scrolling through Instagram and the toll that it takes on our lives. In today’s society, social media has taken over so many people’s lives and it can even heavily influence someone’s mental health or just how they view things overall. He touched on the loneliness one would feel while seeing people living everyone’s dream life on Instagram.

In all honesty, I believe that every single line in this song has meaning and depth behind it. However, there were a couple that stood out a bit more. For example, his lyrics in the chorus: “It’s a problem in the whole world./It’s the same love song but it doesn’t touch me./In my night, there are too many thoughts.” You go to Instagram and you see many people living their lives problem free and happily. Fun, right? He’s getting at how isolated people begin to feel because of them feeling that their lives aren’t going the correct way due to societal values and what’s being portrayed on media. The constant dwelling on what someone doesn’t have makes them feel down, depressed, or, as Dean says in his song, lonely. He goes on a few verses and says, “As time goes by, it gets harder./Am I the only one?” Throughout the song, he slides these questions in to show the constant doubt that goes through people’s minds while on social media. It’s the doubt of acceptance. He adds in how he doesn’t want to do things anymore or go out and how he spends majority of his nights on Instagram, dwelling. Hiding behind a mask because everyone only sees what he allows them to see and not how hurt and isolated he really feels. 

In a Spot Interview, Dean talked about the composition of “Instagram”. He told the interviewers that he wanted to make something that sounded like him and that a lot of people in the 20 – 30 year age range feel like him. He said, “So if I speak truthfully about myself, other people could empathize with me. So I’ve started to observe myself as objectively as possible.” He elaborated on how after he finished work, he’d habitually get on Instagram and when he did, he often felt depressed. Just like most, Dean went on to say how he compared himself to the people he followed and felt very small because they were very “cool” people and were able to go to so many cool places while he was tired from working in his studio. One thing that hit me was when he said, “It felt like I was a lonely island placed away from all those people.” He didn’t know if he was the only one who felt this way and in that moment, I thought about all the times I felt exactly the same watching people’s beautiful moments in life and not being able to create my own. 

Relative deprivation is a word he used for the process of writing this song and I totally agree. I relate so much to the lyrics and message of “Instagram” and it makes me feel oddly comforted to know that I am not the only person feeling the same thing. It’s my comfort song and one that I will continuously go to for a long time. 


polaroid memories

There’s a lot that’s been on my mind lately. Honestly, too much has been on my mind lately but I’ve just been thinking about life in general and I pretty much have an odd visualization of it. To me, it’s like a polaroid camera constantly spewing out tiny little pictures that represent our memory. Now it’s weird because it’s like how in the world is a polaroid like memories? Well, when you take a picture with a polaroid camera, you don’t know what the picture’s going to look like. You can’t see how it turns out until it fully develops, you just take it in that moment. That’s exactly how I feel like the future is. You’re constantly living life, taking ‘polaroid pictures’ of what you’re experiencing or whatever’s happening in order to form a memory. 

There are moments where the pictures don’t turn out so great, whether it be bad timing or lighting or something that causes conflict. That’s exactly how it is with our lives. There are times in our lives where there’s conflict, lack of satisfaction, or just general unhappiness and there are times where you shove that memory in a trash basket, or you just put it in the back of a scrapbook anyways because mistakes/bad things happen but you learn from it. Maybe you’ll capture it at a different angle. Maybe you’ll change the lighting a little bit. But in that instant, whatever you decide to capture, you cannot go back and change it. Once it has happened, there is no reversing it, just like our actions in life. 

Those blank polaroid pictures eventually turn into lifelong memories and just like the pictures, you may just forget about them or randomly think about them while you’re in the middle of class or work actually trying to be productive. Basically, what I’m getting at here is that there is so much unpredictability in life and the future is just like the blank film. You don’t know what’s going to happen or what moments you’ll be in when you use them, it just happens. And although the photos become blurry sometimes or they’re a little too dark and you feel like it was a waste of film, it truly isn’t because in reality, you more than likely will figure out what you did wrong and fix it so that the next picture is beautiful.

FAQ :)

I’m not one to ever deeply open up about my feelings but I’m really not sure anymore. I tend to be more emotionally reserved, continuously trying to stay happy and keep my hopes up for my peers and my family but eventually it gets old, you know? It’s seriously getting tiring. These past few days, my emotional barrier seems to be breaking down and honestly, it’s not too bad, I guess. I’m a lot more blunt and honest with not only myself but other people. I’m not as afraid of social situations and advances like I used to be and I don’t take much to heart. 

It’s just annoying and upsetting how now that I’m changing, I’m looking back and realizing how unhappy and generally upset I was with having to wear that mask and feeling obligated to control my emotions based on how others felt or wanted me to feel. I never really allowed myself to thoroughly go through the process of handling a problem. Where I come from, a lot of people don’t really handle it, they just put up with it. However, I’m sick of putting up with problems instead of actually fixing them like I generally should. A smile isn’t gonna fix anything. A smile isn’t gonna make anything go away. It’s just a coping mechanism for just putting up with it.

It all just angers me, the way I used to deal with things. I was more of a pushover when I was younger. Then, in my middle school years, I was still a pushover but a very aggressive pushover. That just made people want to walk over me more lol. I’ve never been confrontational either which is also another reason why I dealt with what I did. I know I sound like I’m just being all mopey and drawn out but just looking back, it all upsets me overall and I wish I’d been like I am now. It’s just been on my mind all week, especially with the changes I’ve seen within myself. 

I’m overall happy with the new changes, though, whether anyone else agrees with it or not. It’s like a heavy weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I’m a lot more calmer and connected with myself on things I would’ve flipped out about at least two weeks ago. It’s weird how you can change a lot in a short period of time but it feels so good and I hope I just stay like this. This is what I needed. <3

Peter Pan will grow up…eventually.

I often think about when I was younger and wanted to stay a child forever. I’d always look at my grandmother with bright, hopeful eyes and say, “Drann, I’m never going to grow up!” And she would laugh, entertaining the foolish words that came out of my mouth and replied, “You’ll have to eventually, baby girl, but you can stay Peter Pan for now.” I wish I’d just shut up and grown up like the other kids. 

If my future children ever ask me if they, too, can be Peter Pan, I’ll simply tell them no because being Peter Pan is hell, no matter how good a façade he puts on. The childish ways became tiring after years had passed and I no longer wanted to play. Instead, I made up excuses of why I couldn’t hang out with my very own lost boys anymore.

“My mom says I can’t go out today. Neverland isn’t safe for me anymore,” I’d say. They would only cackle and, one by one, pull at my limbs, dragging me back to Neverland, tying it around my ankles. I would always yell at them, telling them to stop. I tried to run but everywhere I went, Neverland went too. I continuously watched my peers blossom and bloom, growing up as a child should eventually do.

However, I had to continuously fight for my growth. Though I finally began to grow up and leave my childish ways in the past, the lost boys continuously came back to remind me where I originated from. They’d hold me captive. I could never tell how long. One day, I guess they got tired of me fighting because they brought along another old friend of mine. Tinkerbell only stared at me with such intensity, gaze tearing into my flesh. Then, she would shoot betrayal in my eyes and I was constantly blind. That’s when my reality became frustrating. I became a mess because I desperately wanted to see. I wanted to understand what everyone else was going through. I wanted to break the hold. Every time I regained my vision, Tinkerbell would make sure that I was to be blinded again. With each time, came more intensity. 

She knew what it did to me internally. She knew the desperation I felt to finally be like the rest of my peers, but she continued to isolate me from them. She continued to build onto my fear. She and the lost boys would sit in wait for me after awhile, forcing me to come back.

I begged them to please let me go. “It’s my time. I have to go.”

They couldn’t hear me, though. Their ears were clogged with fairy dust that deafened them because they only chose to hear what they wanted. I couldn’t leave until I let them have their fun and, again, I would return to reality only to feel stupidity rush over me. I would shake vigorously, trying to shake the shame away. 

Don’t get me wrong, Peter Pan is growing up now. Every now and then, though, Tinkerbell will sneak in my room, blinding and deafening me with her fairy dust again and I’ll recover, shaking. But even still, Peter Pan is escaping Neverland.



There are circles running laps around my eyes.

They told me that the remedy was to close them and fall into myself for at least one more night but my eyes refuse to stay closed.

Night after night, they poke and prod my eyelids open, not wanting to miss a single moment.

Not a video not watched, a text unread, a poem unwritten.

And once the sun breaks dawn, while the circles run around my sockets, I run circles around Red Bull, coffee, and B12.

Just a little something to stop the shaking in my fingertips.

Filling for the emptiness in my head.

A rope to attach around my eyes to keep them from sinking into the holes in my face meant to keep them from falling too deep.

I have to tape the smiles to my face now, though. 

I’ve run into far too many walls and my face is a little puffy.

However, that does not stop my eyes from staying wide open, wanting to see every little thing that happens and analyze every single shadow that hides the bedroom corners at night. 

They frantically dart from side to side, curiously, taking everything in.

Taking in way too much at a time, deepening the circles that cling and stick to my skin like cement.

Soon, my eyes hurt and I try to shut them but enter another sleepless night, playing tag with the circles around my eyes.




favorite past-time.

i told myself I wanted to learn how to fly.

i know that sounds stupid and sure it was impossible but it was a dream.

an escape. 

a way to feel at peace, even though it was not a lick of anything but false hope.

but I told myself over and over that this was an alternative – a way out.

eventually, what started out as an innocent get away turned into an addiction.

it became something I lived and craved for, painting an entire galaxy in the back of my mind, hidden behind a dull door. 

i could do more than just fly – I was powerful.

i was loved and feared.

i stood on top of my Earth with a crown sitting crooked upon my head, a toothy grin spreading across my face.

i wasn’t me. 

however, the impossible was still the impossible regardless of what was being produced in that door at the back of my brain.

my childhood began to falter and reality began to coil around me, ripping me from what was my home.

it was the angry dragon in every fairy tale … except the dragon won this time.

there was no prince charming, no fairy god mothers, no transforming animals. 

just a child too afraid to face the outside world because there was no type of safety for her there. 

only here, where her loneliness and frustration blossomed into a sea of sunflowers, could she find safety.

only here, where no one could point out her flaws and crack open her walls, could she find comfort.

only here, where there were no IQ tests or surveys to make her brain swell and burst, could she find peace.

only here, could she find a home. 

but time after time the dragon opened it’s mouth only to heave out the tears and fear that tainted what was the only escape – the only thing that could be trusted with life.

hEAvY heAD

There’s a thing that the old people say,

“I’d lose my head if it weren’t attached to me.”

But my head’s not even attached to me and I’ve seemed to have lost it.

I’m continuously attempting to screw and nail it back into place with calming words and gentle lyrics.

However, my brain begins to form into iron and my calming words turn into letters with teeth that gnaw viciously at the seams of my neck which desperately want to hold my head in place.

The letters win, though.

The seams didn’t seem to fight back too hard, huh?

Wait. Maybe that was just me who eventually cut the seams from my neck and released everything.

… Now it’s too heavy and I’ve waited too late.

It tries to attach itself back onto my neck and I cry out because it was never this heavy.

Never before.

I’m fighting and I’m pushing but the skin begins to become a noose, tightening itself around my throat.

icannotbreathe icannotscream icannotspeak

I. Can’t. Brea-

I’m now held prisoner to my own head.

This thing I used to use to escape in order to obtain comfort.

Yes, yes! This thing right here that is now filled to the brim with danger and anger and fear.

It reaches out and snatches me back, screaming in my ears, yelling,

“Run, you stupid girl, run!”

and then it laughs.

It cackles disgustingly when I sob because we both know that I cannot.

It’s been years yet it is still. heavy. and I am still. struggling.

Forced. Forced to drag it behind me as it follows heavily along the cracked ground.

Oh, and when it feels like I want to escape?

It pulls back the skin around my throat and pulls too hard. just a little too hard. hard enough to strangle me just enough though.

afterwards, there’s nothing except I’m back where I started with my heavy head attached to my shoulders, only for me to lose it once again.