In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, which has been celebrated in the United States in May since 1949, a group of Spring Street International students submitted the following creative writing pieces.
by Alex van Dongen
There’s a lot to see in a mirror.
There’s every little piece of physical you up on a flat board, a reminder that people can see you.
You’re not invisible and you’re not sure if that’s a comfort or the worst thing you’ve ever heard.
You turn in the refracting waves, pinching your arms and stomach.
You look like a Greek statue, you say, but that nice thought’s become an empty mantra.
So you steal someone else’s hoodie;
now it’s not your fault you look that way, it’s someone else’s clothing.
So you wear the most formal outfit you can get away with;
now no one can look past your velvet pants and embroidered shirt.
So you wear oversized jeans and a hoodie and a flannel because you need to hide, you need to be invisible, but you’re overheating and absolutely nothing is right.
There are some days that are good.
You look good, and your shoes aren’t too tight.
And there are some days when you tell your friends you’ll just eat later, you’re not very hungry tonight.
You associate bread with guilt and the feeling of a fork touching your teeth makes you sick.
There’s not much of a rhyme or reason to it, but when the nurse with blonde highlights weighs you, and your mom raises her left eyebrow, you know it’s not going to be a good week.
by Liliana Meckling
you can’t see past my kindness.
you don’t see my blueing calloused hands tired of writing emotional baggage down in hundreds of notebooks.
you don’t see my eyes, they are dull now. they were once filled with bright greens and blues out of a children’s storybook.
you don’t see my once full pink lips that are now scabbed and thin, just wishing to be kissed by only his.
you don’t see my stomach, my ribs are showing now and it doesn’t remember the taste of anything other than cucumber and grapefruit.
you don’t see my bruised knees, constantly bumping into things holding me back.
you don’t see my wrists, my veins clouded with scratch marks from when i have felt nothing but helpless.
you don’t see my blistered feet, always running in circles, making sure everyone else is okay.
you only see my kindness.
you say that now it’s my turn. you tell me that now you will repair my hands, give me chamomile tea to help me sleep and my dull eyes will come to life again. you will kiss my lips with sweet balm until they return to their original pale smooth pink.
you feed me strawberry cheesecake, tomato soup and grilled cheese to remind my stomach of how it feels to be full again.
that you will trim my fingernails so my wrists no longer have to take their wrath.
you will ice my knees until the purple blotches disappear and the warm ivory color of my skin comes back.
you will bandage my bleeding blistering feet and then finally lay with me and hold me until my mind heals.
and for this i owe you my whole sane existence and i see
every bit more of your kindness as
you do mine.
by Seamus Summers
Candles flick the smoke rises your heart jumps in circles and spirals.
The beckoning of sound calling your name asking a question danger at the end of The sentence.
Time is motionless standing still.
Snap! The world is back again isn’t a video game.
Pencils fall, hands freeze, footsteps sync to the beating of your heart beat.
The red yellow orange glow overflowing your eyes, your mind caught in a deadly flashback.
So vivid so real you can feel The stones on your feet still.
Locked in those steps and repeated breaths your mind is a haze fogged by The blaze.
Distracted and unfocused the lines of concentration unwoven.
So you run away from that sound away from that spark away from that yellow orange light.
You keep running far as the eye can see your only thought is: can you keep it in like the people on tv?
The thing is when you eventually return it doesn’t make it any easier too hear a match Burn.
Your minds eye focused the pace returns,
The next snap happens
No one knows what is wrong
The traction is gone
As the footsteps come again.