by Somjeeta Pandey
The times have been rough,
You have always been asked to remain calm and strong-willed and not waiver at the face of grueling times,
There always has been some chicanery going on around you,
People, who claimed to be friends, moved with serrated edged knives, ready to lacerate your trust.
They succeeded, of course!
Hollow humans, they never deserved your love.
Your parents are growing old, you need to shoulder their responsibilities,
Time is running out!
The teacher you bestowed your respect upon treated you more like a slave who would keep you running errands for her,
You were broken, you were lost,
You would break down at the slightest provocation,
You would sulk in your room for days, alone, aloof, alienated,
Nobody ever asked how you were, nobody ever bothered to listen to what was wrong with you,
A pinching pain had engulfed your existence,
Moving out of your bed and even going about the diurnal activities was a humongous task,
You just wanted cry, you just wanted to get rid of the pain.
Terrible thoughts inhabited your mind, you wanted to end your life,
But slowly you decided to rise up against the odds,
You knew something was just not right,
You knew you desperately needed help,
And today as you stand in front of the counseling center with trembling legs and a thumping heart,
Let me assure you that it is just okay to not be okay,
It is okay to be vulnerable,
It is okay to break down,
But it is not okay to give up,
It is absolutely not okay to keep living in sorrow and pain,
It is absolutely not okay to not seek help.
You have been a brave woman,
And let me assure you, this too shall pass.
Somjeeta Pandey is working as an Assistant Professor of English at a government-aided college in West Bengal, India. She is also a part-time PhD scholar at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. Her poems have appeared in The CQ:A Literary Magazine and her poems will also appear in two upcoming anthologies, Faces to the Sun: A Mental Health Awareness Anthology and Point Positive Publishing’s Rebloom Anthology. Ellen Benson is a member of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers, a group that’s been making art out of cast-off pieces of the urban landscape for 25 years. She makes figures that may incorporate twigs, plastic bags, old doll clothes and limbs, toys, used paintbrushes, yarn, twine, ethnic textiles and found objects. She has a goal of creating 1000 figures called “DIVAS.” She’s made over 600 so far; 200 have been on display at the Philadelphia International Airport. See her work at InLiquid and Unexpected Philadelphia.