A Published Poet Part Two

Last year I entered a Mental Health Poetry competition with Make Our Rights Reality (MORR), my poem Did You Know made it in the top 25 and the prize was for my poem to be published in an anthology. The digital anthology has been released, the physical anthology will be out after the lockdown in the UK is lifted.

Did You Know is a poem I wrote about my darkest time a few years ago, when I was suffering with depression. It is a letter I wrote to let those around me know how deep in depression I was. Poetry for me has always helped me process my emotions. Many of these poems stay in a notebook or on my computer, as I once found them too personal to publish. But I saw this competition as an opportunity to make my voice heard amongst those who have suffered with mental health issues.

I am really pleased with this poem. I can look back on the words I wrote and be grateful that I no longer feel that way. But knowing that this anthology will be read by other young people who may be suffering with their mental health and my poem may make them feel less alone, makes me proud.

Did you know?
by Emma-Jane Barlow

Did you know that in my darkest moments,
I imagined a world without my heart beating and I smiled?
Every day, I wished for a way out, searching for salvation,
a path that would lead me towards the light.

Did you know that before I shared the positive picture that you liked,
I was drowning in desolation on the bathroom floor?
On the edge, pierced with panic in my chest, the walls crumbling around me.
Trapped, desperately watching my dense tears descend to the ground.
Alone, clock ticking, waiting for the storm to pass.

Did you know the immeasurable time I spent fighting with my own mind?
A damaged wasteland, a toxic atmosphere, somewhere you would never want to be.
The countless moments I spent revisiting old conversations.
Analysing every-spoken-word, every-emotion-felt.
Exhausted by the endless cycle of never-feeling-good-enough.

Did you know the infinite seconds, minutes, hours that I struggled to find silence?
Wanting just a fleeting moment of peace amidst the chaos of my unruly thoughts.
Every day, I dragged my legs through the mud until the sun set in the sky.
Sleeping, my only sanctuary, my only safe space away from the bleak.
In my dreams, I was free from the demons that held me hostage.

Did you know that despite the glimmer you saw in my eyes, inside my soul was breaking?
The mask I wore was due to the fear of being misunderstood by a disapproving world.
When it slipped, the eyes would stare, the voices would whisper, the fear returned.
No one recognised the hopelessness in my heart, the desire I felt to eliminate the darkness
that was growing inside me, once and for all.

Did you know that although I am walking on solid ground today,
I am waiting for it to dissolve, without warning, beneath my feet once more?
I see the light, I feel the light, I am the light. I can finally breathe without pain.
Yet I know that one day, when I’m not watching, my demons will return.

View the full anthology here: http://makeourrightsreality.org.uk/young-people-use-poetry-to-speak-out-about-mental-health/

The Fault In Our Stars Film Review

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The Fault In Our Stars is the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent and witty teenager living with terminal cancer. Her parents encourage her to attend a cancer support group and it is there that she meets to love of her life Augustus Waters.

Hazel and Augustus embark on an ambitious journey to grant Hazel’s only wish, she wants to know how her favourite Imperial Affliction ends. After contacting the author and taking a life changing trip to Amsterdam, the two fall in love and enjoy every moment they have together.

I read the novel shortly before the film release, but knowing the contents of the story did not spoil the film adaptation for me it only enhanced the emotions I felt as I turned the pages of the heartbreaking novel. I often feel an aching disappointment when I watch film adaptations of novels I feel emotionally attached to but in this particular situation, the film amazed me with it’s similarities to the book. John Green stayed clear of the typical cancer clichés and approached the story in an original way, the film also achieved this.

The film is sombre in places but the balance is restored with lots of laugh out loud moments between the cute on screen couple. The chemistry was electric between Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort and many readers will agree with me when I say that they are the perfect Hazel and Gus.

The plot of the book and film isn’t anything exceptional but the story is character driven and the beautiful simplicity of young love pushes the story forward and keeps you on the edge of tears from beginning to end.

The Fault In Our Stars is a roller coaster of emotions and it explores the honest, funny and thrilling moments of being alive and in love.

Five Stars!