by Neesa Suncheuri
There is no one to choose from.
No one to love.
The faces of everyone around me
Form into scary sneers
Whenever they pass by.
I am impaired inwardly,
And everyone knows it.
I used to live in my mother’s basement.
Unemployed and helpless.
She kindly cared for me,
And the neighbors felt bad for her.
Even now, as I am well and all,
My past still fuels the stigma around me,
And sympathy only for my mother.
Why no sympathy for me?
Why not a pat on my back:
“Well done, Minnie! You’ve fought the voices!
You’ve defied the odds with Herculean effort!”
But not a commending comment to be found.
For them, getting rid of voices is
Merely becoming normal.
Anyone can do it.
My wounds were invisible.
No curious scar for me to proudly wear.
No evidence that I ever heard voices.
It is as if it never happened.
If I left town to reinvent myself,
It would be as if I never was ill.
I could become normal,
That ultimate dream.
So here I am. A new place, this city.
Everyone is accepted here.
Eccentric people, as I once was, and
Normal people I now resemble…
But where do I belong?
In my past or this present?
Who here can understand me?
I’ve made it a single friend.
I wander amidst concrete, solitude festering.
Strangers pass, I’m in their way.
Sneers jaded, no longer scary.
I jump to conclusions,
And my assumptions are crippling.
I cannot get rid of them.
They are real…
Nobody likes me.
Nobody likes me.
Nobody likes me!
This subway is caving in on me.
I grab the pole, sobbing and staggering.
No one cares.
I love you. Find me.
I love you.
Find me. I miss you.
I just heard…
I love you. Come back.
I love you, and I will give you the life you have always wanted.
Yes. Come back home.
When I exit the subway, I take out my phone and dial my mother.
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 is a singer/songwriter, and performs in various venues in the city. She writes poetry, maintains a blog and is currently working on a memoir. Follow her on Twitter at @aquariumspeaks.