by Neesa Suncheuri
No more do I fear the boulders of failure.
They once pressed me flat, defeated me well.
But now I’ve grown strong, and I lift them all high.
One by one. Step by step.
Each one leaves me stronger than the last.
But at times, I am still lost and confused.
When opportunity strikes, success is but a stone’s throw away.
Surely I can choose a pebble from the pile.
But there are so many to choose from.
I never decide, because I’m afraid to make the wrong choice.
My mind is marbles. Useless and cluttered.
Whenever I face change, they rattle in my head.
Yet these stones are my Art,
They are glassy, colored and perfectly rounded.
Are they more beautiful than Nature’s opaque spheres?
There’s a stream in the woods, where flows a wide creek.
Big rocks litter the place, the water flows around them.
Hikers brave across, but I am skeptical.
I only know the labor of lifting stones.
But for me to step on them, and make them useful to me?
That has never occurred to me.
Amidst all these challenges, as I build up my strength,
I am entirely alone. These aching muscles, only I can feel.
When people approach me, I cannot smile.
My face is stone. To laugh is weak.
This is all I know, and I want to be strong.
Only stone makes me strong.
Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York. She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness? A Mental Health Discussion Group.” Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia. She writes poetry and fiction, and maintains a blog called Unlearning Schizophrenia. She is also a singer/songwriter, and an enthusiast for the German language and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @neesasuncheuri.