[Photo Source: Same Quizy]

by Susan Kokura

Too many scars that cannot be revealed in a culture so closed off,
I cannot open up without feeling judged in this community of mine,
Why am I so sad?
Why do I not fit in?
Why can’t I fix the acne on my face or the frizzy hair I drench in coconut oil?
Why did I gain so much weight?
Why can’t I talk to the people I live with or my friends? That’s right, I cannot because I have none.
Does anyone even hear me?
Is it cultural?
Is it the color of my dark skin?
My heart is heavy,
I am lonely, ignored, walking around like a ghost through the real world,
Am I a distraction?
I mean nothing.

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Emotionally exhausted, the feeling is a normal part of me now,
I do not look like the pictures on social media,
No one will notice me even if I’m gone,
I will be a forever faded memory.
You’ll get over it, they say, don’t tell anyone it’ll make us look bad, our image is more important than how we feel, they say,
You look physically fine, they say,
Just put on your mask and hide who you are, they say,
Focus on your studies, they say,
Focus on being the best, they say, so you can look good in front of other people,
Your expectations are too high for me; I cannot achieve them.

Maybe an “I love you” and “I’m here to support you” would have helped to climb out of the depths of darkness that I am no longer able to get out of,
Maybe an “I’m proud of you for getting out of bed today” would have helped me,
Maybe an “Are you ok?” would have been better than a “You’ll be ok!”

Susan Kokura is a South Indian born New York City based author, pharmacist, wife and mother to two boys. Susan is an avid international foodie and cook, is a whiz at whipping up delicious cocktails (thanks to a bartending degree she got in college), and enjoys writing poetry in addition to her other writing projects. A kid at heart, don’t be surprised to see her playing with her sons’ toys and games more than they do, and soon she will be an accomplished trapeze artist.