Submissions: A Poem by Rebecca Abronski

They’re simply just scars residing on my wrists
Reminder of a pain I once felt
Liquid sadness pouring from my body.
A temporary escape,
A high,
From the battle in my mind
Tears floating through the space of nowhere.
Sayings of “I’m here” and “I care”
When all they are is lies.
Simply shattered dreams residing in my memory
Leaving behind only traces of the girl I used to be.
The truth of others words plague my conscious
They stream through my brain like fish in a fresh water stream
They say it’s just sadness
Just a chemical imbalance or something like that
“Just a phase”
“Get over it”
“She’s only doing it for attention”
“You have no reason to be sad, so why are you?”
Knives in my mind telling me what I feel isn’t true
They’re just scars on my wrists.
Reminding me of a sadness I once felt
They’re.
Just.
Scars.
That fact,
Nothing more,
Nothing less,
Shows Just how strong I am now.
They’re just scars.

You’re Confused, It’s Just a Phase

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“You’re just confused.” “I think you’re just experimenting.”It has to be a phase.”

These are some of the comments I received when I came out as bisexual. It was pretty invalidating and just overall annoying to keep hearing these things said from my loved ones. I know who I am better than anyone and I do not need anyone to dictate to me who they “think ” I am. I know this much, I am bisexual and proud.

What is bisexuality? I think bisexual activist, Robyn Ochs, said it best when she defined bisexuality as “…[acknowledging] that I have in myself the potential to be attracted–romantically and/or sexually–to people of more than one sex, and/or gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

Being bisexual does not mean you are half attracted to men and half attracted to women. You could say that you are 10% attracted to men and 90% attracted to women, or whatever way you want to define your bisexuality. Being bisexual does not mean you have to be in a relationship, sexual or otherwise, to know whether you are bisexual or not. Bisexuality is not defined by who you have been with. Being bisexual does not mean you are confused or experimenting. Just because you are not gay or straight does not mean you are somehow in the middle, you are simply bisexual and that is okay.

I define my bisexuality as little bursts of happiness, finding and loving myself, loving people for who they are regardless of their gender identity, poems written about beautiful girls, googly eyes at beautiful guys, coming out on my own terms, and being completely proud and sure of who I am.

-By Ayanna Bates: Author, writer, blogger, motivational speaker from NY

 

Mental Health Advocacy as a Black Woman

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I am writer, a blogger, a black woman, and a mental health advocate. Some people may be taken a back at the end of that sentence. Some wonder, do black people even suffer from mental health issues? Well yes indeed, mental illness exists amongst black people. In fact, “according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, African Americans are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the general population.” (Nami.org)

One of the most common mental illness that black people experience can be depression. I for one have suffered with depression for about 3 years. It took a lot of strength to ask for help and to advocate for myself. However, I faced a great amount of stigma when doing so, most from our black community. I heard things like, “black people don’t get depressed” and “that exist only amongst Caucasian people.”

It was very discouraging and invalidating to hear those things. There was some time spent understanding that what I was feeling was valid. Depression and any mental illness can affect people of color. The sooner we acknowledge this, the more people will come forward and seek help.

-By Ayanna Bates: Author, writer, blogger, motivational speaker from NY