Living with an anxiety disorder: a spoken-word poem

Your heart is racing,

And your mind won’t stop pacing.

Light-headed, confused and dizzy,

You may be entirely still but your mind is overwhelmingly busy.

A burden, a load, an imposition –

I can’t help it, it’s just my condition.

I feel like I’m in the way,

When my emotions are sprayed in an open array.

What have I done to deserve all this?

It’s all too much and not something I can dismiss.

You feel crazy, stupid and alone,

It’s not on the outside so it’s not even shown.

Pressure, goals and ambition,

I’ve put myself in a difficult position.

You can’t have it all, yet you work as though you can,

Your emotions are bottled up, but that’s a dangerous plan.

You can’t silence them forever. Not for long.

No human being could ever be that strong.

But don’t let it get to you – it could be far worse,

It’s a blessing in disguise although it might seem a curse.

Anxiety and panic – it won’t kill you,

But it may put your confidence, your presence, your well being askew.

You’ve worked way too hard,

And your mind is scarred.

Why do we push ourselves way too far?

It’s not the way we’re built and it’s not who we are.

But the worst is not your fight-or-flight action,

It’s everyone else’s baffled, repulsed reaction.

It’s not your fault that they don’t understand,

But all I need is a helping hand.

I’m neither weird nor deranged,

It’s just that my reactionary behaviour has changed.

It feels like the peak of vulnerability,

Of fear, humiliation and emotional instability.

I can wish all I want

That it wouldn’t be anxiety attacks that haunt.

But this is how it is, and I’ve got to learn

That things might just have taken an unfortunate turn.

But isn’t it good to know,

That despite all this you’re not unable to show,

Your talents, your passion, your dreams.

You’re not incapable, no matter the way it may seem.

It’s a bump in the road,

A heavy, annoying load.

But you are still you,

Although it may seem different from what you previously knew.


Yes, I am a feminist

Yes, I am a feminist.
Because sexual harassment happens everyday,
And it’s okay for men to tell a woman how much she should ideally weigh.
Because it’s considered funny to joke about a woman’s body entitlement,
And groping a woman in public, well that should just be considered a ‘compliment’.

Men don’t have to walk at a fast pace at night,
Holding onto their keys so very tight.
Checking over their shoulders every so often,
To wait until they get home, to let their tense muscles finally soften.

We make up excuses, just so we can be left alone.
It’s not enough to say you just want to be on your own.
“My dad’s waiting outside”, “I have a boyfriend”
Why do we even have to pretend?
He respects another man more than you,
What happened to just a simple ‘no thank you’?

Yes, I am a feminist.
Because rape jokes aren’t funny,
I’d like to be referred to anything but a demeaning “honey”
And calling me bitch, slut or hoe is just offensive
I shouldn’t even have to be this defensive.

Girls saying no – such awful rejection.
But I think I’m entitled to my own affection.
If I don’t want to, I don’t have to return the feelings of some guy,
Because this so-called “friend zone” shouldn’t make me feel shy.
Or guilty. Or ashamed.
My feelings and comfort with another partner should not be blamed.

Women and girls have been roofie’d, drugged and abused,
But it happens so often that we are the ones accused.
“He was probably drunk”, “Surely you provoked him”,
This gender unfairness is just too grim.

Yes, I am a feminist.
Because every girl should know that rape is never her fault,
That they are never responsible for someone else’s disgusting assault.
And don’t you dare tell me to wear longer skirts and hide my skin,
Those twisted excuses belong nowhere but in the bin.

We’re not even able to call someone out on a sexist joke,
We’re just supposed to let our comebacks go up in smoke.
What kind of world has this become?
If girls can’t defend themselves and have to pretend they’re dumb.

Yes, I am a feminist.
Because the lack of gender equality is not yet considered a serious ‘issue’,
Poor little girls are just supposed to wipe their tears away with a tissue.
The fact that the discussion of feminism even continues today,
Should be a clear enough sign that gender equality is a long way away.

Yes, I am a feminist.
Because we deserve to live free from sexual assault,
From domestic violence and crimes because of gender’s fault.
Women and girls are human beings too,
So imagine the day when equality of the sexes is finally true.

Emilia Persson

Catcalling is not a compliment, it’s harassment.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a girl who has never been catcalled. It can happen anywhere, at any time, whether that be during the day or the night. “Catcalling” usually refers to the situation where a male whistles or yells at a female, in the hopes that the female will sleep with him. Now, if a guy whistles at you or yells at you in the middle of the street, “hey beautiful” or anything similar, it usually suggests that he thinks you’re good looking. But boys, let me tell you… this is not how you go about it.

Catcalling, or anything similar for that matter, is disgusting. It’s not a compliment, regardless of what your intentions are, because it’s simply just harassment. It’s extremely uncomfortable for us girls. And I guess now is the time to note that these are strictly my own opinions and perhaps there are girls out there who are flattered by someone who catcalls them. But this is how I see it: the mere name “catcalling”, suggests that we are subordinate to the man, and that we aren’t even human. We’re not dogs or any other animal who is willing to listen to any of your commands.

It’s offensive. It’s frightening. I shouldn’t have to feel like I’m being watched while I walk to school, or to the bus stop, or even just on my way home. If you catcall me, or any other girl, you’re not taking us seriously. It’s not okay for you to harass someone while they’re going about their own business. Harassment of any kind should not be tolerated.

It’s also humiliating. How could I ever consider a whistle to be a compliment? If you want to compliment me, then talk to me like a normal human being. But don’t invade my privacy, or go up to me with the intention of trying to have some kind of sexual encounter. Why can’t men just talk to women, without having the mere aim of undressing the woman at the next best available moment? I highly doubt that you honestly believe that all there is to us women is being able to have a sexual relationship with us. And if you do, well, then there are even bigger issues to consider here.

So don’t expect to us be flattered by your demeaning whistles, or your condescending comments about how “sexy” we look today. Keep it to yourselves, gentlemen. Women deserve the exact same respect as men do, so don’t ever assume that such harassment is considered to be a compliment. Ever. Continue reading

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
– Maya Angelou

Ambitious or just self-destructive?

Recently I’ve been living in this little bubble of unexpected irritability, continuous anxiety and just overall dissatisfaction. I’ve had strange outbursts of anger where I start raging about the smallest of things that have annoyed me throughout the day. Has it been worth it? Absolutely not. More than anything, it’s only made things worse. I’ve gotten into fights with my parents, clearly annoyed my friends and just made myself feel more miserable about how I react to situations. This has come out of nowhere and so I turned to my best friend google. Here’s a tip – never search for symptoms on google. It will, guaranteed, always tell you that you have cancer. Always. It makes no sense but nonetheless, it got me thinking. What is it that really has made me so irritable?

Expectations. I am so grateful that I have gotten the opportunity to be a part of the IB Diploma Programme. It such an amazing programme that will challenge you and really push you to do your best. Even if it causes you unbearable stress and unavoidable sleep deprivation, it is pretty great anyway. But I’ve gotten to the point where I am constantly aware of what my achievements and failures might do to my future choices. I am such a perfectionist, and I have this terribly disgusting competitive side. I will literally compete in almost every aspect of life possible. It is of course a good source of motivation and ambition, but it is also something that I have a difficult time controlling. I have recently, for example, started to compare my grades with everyone else in my class. I mean, I’ve been aware of my grades in comparison to others’ but now it has become increasingly more important to me. It shouldn’t be though. What I do is completely up to me, and what someone else might achieve has no effect on me or my own achievements. Basically, what I’m getting at is that I have really high expectations. I want to be the best at everything I do and yes, people call me an overachiever or a “try-hard”, but what is really so bad about that? I admire anyone who is ambitious and aims high whether it be in school, work or anything really. But the problem for me is that I have set almost unrealistic goals for myself and in a way, I have always thought that people around me also expect the same high standards of me too.

I am no genius. I’d like to think that I am, but no. A girl can dream though. I need to learn how to handle my stress, my expectations and my goals. Because when I fail to meet my unrealistically high expectations, I punish myself for it. I become so terribly disappointed in myself and I know, I am a harsh critic of myself. But moderation is unfortunately a word that has not yet been included in my vocabulary. A little bit of self-criticism is necessary, because narcissism will only get you so far. There is always room for improvement…. even if you’re Beyoncé.

So to conclude, I need be critical of myself and I need to push myself to do better but I need to find a balance. I’ve become so consumed by my studies and my academic achievements that I have sort of forgotten to enjoy myself. To be honest, I’d rather get a decent grade and be happy, rather than achieving the best and feeling miserable and absolutely shattered. Ambition shouldn’t make you feel more miserable about yourself, it should be a healthy form of motivation. I think there is a fine line between extreme ambition and self-destruction. In some cases, less is more.



Lots of love… ♡