Reflections is a body of work with a heavy burden of raising more awareness about mental health illnesses and instigating concrete action.
It is theatre. It is dance. It is poetry. But each poem is an attempt at uncovering the many complex layers many faced when afflicted with mental health illnesses.
Alien words escaped from your lips.
As if they’ve been dying to break out of a cell of tempered enamel bars.
Self-esteem is a fleeting thing, still in its formation in young people, yet still presents itself in various degrees in adults.
There’s an attempt we all make as human beings to lie to ourselves, or try our hardest to believe in a truth. ‘Escape’ is a strong word that needs highlighting – the words could have fell out of the mouth of the protagonist, but that itself means there’s a willingness to let it out.
‘Escape’ captures the full conflict many face when trying to describe their own beauty or self-worth, and there’s a hidden will to push it all down deep in the subconscious, using any method available – tempered enamel (teeth) bars. A heavy clenching, a heavy struggle.
But they didn’t belong in your prison.
No, this was YOUR prison.
What does ‘Home’ mean? A place of comfort. A place to return to. A place where we perhaps feel truest to ourselves. Yet it’s described as a prison. This deliberate comparison is to hammer home the idea of feeling comfort in the cage we create ourselves. Being okay with not being good enough, in an almost bittersweet manner.
How often are young girls portrayed in this stand-off. One on one, against themselves, in the comfort of the most familiar place in a home, the bathroom. Our protagonist in this segment of the Reflections triple bill is however a young man. Facing his demons (himself) with that same stereotypical portrayal. Boys and men suffer too, and this observation is to show vulnerability.
Planted in front of a window where empty eyes looked back at you.
Hazel hatred scanned your fragile existence, searching for purpose.
Looking for someone, anyone.
Looking for you.
Too often do we look at ourselves and see nothing. Too often do we stare and question all that is present – from features to body parts.
You too fat
There will always be something wrong with us. Always. Regardless of our qualities, people have a tendency to focus on negatives more so than positives. And with this tendency develops an obsession over every wrong we do, and every wrong we are.
What would we be like if that ceased to be? If we recognised our rights as much as our wrongs?
With laser surgery eyes and liposuction hands,
The bits that stick out,
the bits that stick in,
the bits too bright,
the bits not bright enough,
the bits the wrong colour,
the bits the wrong magazine cover,
the bits the wrong size,
the bits the wrong truth.
If you could change something about yourself, what would it be? A question we’ve all entertained at a certain point in our lives.
With a knife held at Selfhood’s throat.
On a blank canvas propped up with rustic emptiness.
With a wrecking ball will,
Ready to redecorate your home,
Into the colour the sky weeps when the moon doesn’t visit.
This is where it gets dark. Self-harm is an avenue many take, for many complex reasons; but mainly as a coping mechanism.
We feel as empty as a blank canvas, with harm being an attempt at feeling, at painting something. When all emotions have deserted us, pain and sorrow become the last resorts.
And at its very worst, our insecurities drive us to darkness. Where even the prison, our home, needs redecorating into dark.
There have been many cases across the world of young people self-harming and taking their own lives. And most cases develop from a way of thinking, a distorted perception of ourselves. Unless we tackle the issue at its root and talk it through elaborately and eloquently, many people will continue to arm themselves with wrecking ball wills.
Reflections is theatre. It is dance. It is poetry. But it is so much more.