My War Within

December 21, 2019

Written by Ina Joseph

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Artwork by Saumya Chung


I feel like I say this every semester, but this semester may have been the hardest of my life.

I experienced what may have been the truest form of depression I’ve ever experienced.


Not because I’ve never been sad or because I’ve never gone through shit,

But because everything I’ve been bottling up for the past three years finally exploded.

You see, I’m the kind of person who hates to feel. Hates to think, hates to long, hates to deal.

The queen of emotional compartmentalization I pack all those feelings up in some hidden location.


Deep in the cracks and crevices between my muscles and tissues and bones I stash them away.

So no matter how deep I feel them no matter how hard they hit, I’ll know those feelings aren’t here to stay.

It may be a cultural thing—we didn’t talk about mental health in my hard Haitian household.

It may be a me thing—I don’t want to be weak.

Whatever it is it creates this unsustainably tumultuous cycle of self-deprecation in my head.

I gather up my feelings, shove and tuck and conceal them in a corner, momentarily see red...

But then I’m fine.

And I move on.


What’s going on in that corner full of hidden emotions? Utter chaos.


That corner has become a miniscule battle field in which every neglected insecurity or sadness clamors to regain control over me. To make its way back to the surface and to take precedent tenaciously.

It’s a nightmare. It’s warfare.

And now that some of them have begun to surface, the war has only escalated.

I shove away the feelings, physically and emotionally deteriorate as I keep them from imploding, hate myself whenever that physical deterioration shows, and the cycle begins again when I need to shove away those feelings of self-hatred.

It’s a nightmare. It’s warfare.


And now that the war has escalated, I’m left feeling so frustrated because for the first time I’m not capable of tucking it all away.

I don’t want to call this poetry

It really is just how I feel

The rhetorical stylings of this piece

spinning round and round and up and down

Like some convoluted wheel

That is how I feel

That is my war within.