Photo credit: James Stamler

The following is a poem from high school student Tiffani Williams. Tiffani walked right up to me after one of my workshops and asked me to read this. I knew right then I had to post it to C.R.Y.

I used to be afraid of the dark…afraid of what exists that my eyes cannot see. Monsters….ghosts…bad people. Now I find comfort in darkness. Not because I realized that monsters don’t exist and that they’re just horrible people, with skin, features and lives like everyone else. Not because I realized that the ghosts I saw were lost souls that needed help, and bad people just need love and guidance. But because the darkness is where I belong, among the other freaks and souls who got lost.

Being in darkness means that nobody can see the flaws…the pain…the suffering. It’s a place where I can hang my mask and skin to dry after wearing it for long hours. Why I wear it? Because society says so. Because it’s easier to wear a mask than to try and explain the silent war that takes place in my head. Because it’s easier to wear a mask than it is to scramble for words that are comprehensible enough for people to understand, but complicated enough to even be compared to depression. We are taught to stay in the dark.

“Don’t let them see your disease. They will run and whisper. You will become a topic.”

We are branded with one word. Crazy. As if anyone could call a name that cut deeper and hurt more than the self inflicted cuts that have been made in an attempt to wake myself up from this nightmare. But the joke’s on me…it’s not a nightmare…it’s depression…and this is my life.

It’s incredible how talented teenagers can be. An incredible poignant poem from a young and talented writer.

C.R.Y with me.