Learning how to fly

The summer before the school year started, I dreamed of being popular, unafraid of talking, good grades and more extracurriculars including acting. This year was like a clean slate, another attempt at this goal. The first day of 10th grade went the way I expected it to go, but as time passed I was unable to create new friendships with my classmates, making me wonder what was wrong with me. Everyone else was able to talk to each other, why can't I do the same? What if they're all avoiding me because there's something wrong with me that I just can't detect? I began feeling a sense of inferiority. It wasn't difficult to keep up with the work at first, like I was able to swim amongst the waves. But they became stronger, and I didn't know how to stay up above them. My motivation and happiness slowly waned, meanwhile my grades fell down until I had no A's in any of my classes and the only class I was passing was gym just because of attendance. I started waking up every morning, pondering on reasons to go to school. Yes, I wanted to learn but how did wanting to learn turn into learning only because it was like I had a knife at my throat? And if I even took a single mere break I'd get stabbed? School was a place I went to because I wanted to learn and socialize with others, but soon enough both of those were eliminated. It started off with the workload, going from a hill to a mountain in one month. I constantly believed I didn't have enough time and even when I finished my work it felt like there was still more to do. As a result of the decrease in motivation though I stopped doing some of my homework. It didn't help that all my teachers moved at such a fast pace, I often guessed on assignments. I knew other people were stressed too, but I wasn't a part of other people because deep down I knew they all shared homework answers since they had agreements about it. For example one person does the physics homework in return for answers on the latin homework. I didn't know how to create a relationship like that, and to me it felt wrong. I wanted to do all my work myself so that at the end of the day when I graduate I'm proud that I was able to get these grades from using my brain alone. When I received my progress report my highest grade was an A-, then a B+ and everything else was in the C/D range. I was a failure already. At first I believed it was me. What if I'm too distracted? I started cutting out my hobbies to focus on school, which didn't seem to help. Next I cut out time for self care. That also didn't help, so I cut out the one thing I never dared to cut out- my dreams. As I began cutting things out, my mental health crumbled down. As I woke up my head was in a cloud that only became denser, making me struggle to think. My heart sagged like I was carrying a 100 pound weight everywhere. I felt disconnected from life, like a lifeless robot with no purpose or emotion. There was no reason to go to school. And, it's only November. Imagine if I'm still here in February. I've never been able to picture the future, I back then wondered if it was a sign I was gonna die soon. The thought of my mental state in February scared me, I didn't think I'd be alive to see that whole month. There had to be a solution to this. That's when switching schools became the topic I thought about the most. I spent a month going through the process, desperately crying out loud about how much I needed to switch. My parents were adamant about me staying at this school, but once I opened up about how stressed I was they talked to my doctor about it and reluctantly agreed. I felt so relieved once I walked down the halls of the new school for the first time. I remember thinking about how I knew I was gonna live past February now that I'm not at that old school. When I switched it felt like a hurricane had torn up everything in my world and it finally just went away, the calm after the storm. From there I started working on healing by engaging in self care and started taking writing seriously. I wrote poems and attended open mics to read it out loud. Soon enough, I rebuilt everything including my mental health and my dreams. I've started using this saying to talk about this journey- bird in a cage. My old school was like a cage, and I needed to be free from it in order to fly. I pushed through until I was able to escape my cage, however because the battle was so difficult I had a lot of injuries and healing to do. I spent the first few months since I switched out trying to heal, before learning to fly. I'm in 11th grade now, still alive. But most importantly, flying like my spirit animal- the dove.

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Desiree

Creative Soul/Restless Mind

Tortola, Virgin Islands