Featured Artwork by Lim Cheol Hee
my counsellor once asked me describe yourself in a few sentences.
in response, i stared blankly at her.
she then asked me what i thought my strengths and weaknesses were.
i opened my mouth to answer but when i had nothing to say, i closed them back and stared at her
what i eventually ended up telling her were only half answers that would get me out of the place sooner.
i’m a listener
but because i’m a listener my words often get lost in the crowd and some of them refuse to come out.
so, when i speak, i speak fast.
and i’ve long forgotten what it was like to put myself first.
i can write
and this impresses her but
she does not know how many words and phrases i’ve filtered and buried
my anger is the fire blazing inside me, swallowing my organs whole, the
root of my self-destruction but this anger is why i’m here.
because i’m so angry i want to run and run until i have the last laugh.
all my strengths are my weaknesses and my weaknesses are my strengths.
they blend together so poetically, how can i tear them apart?
i love little chai stalls, their tiny paper cups and broken benches and i love going to Starbucks for their overpriced coffee in my rip-off boots and clothes.
when i wake up, i want to see green mountains and hills and waltz in flower fields in my sundresses and i also want to have really nice dinners near windows overlooking grey skyscrapers and the city lights.
i’m so spontaneously planned that i’ll get drenched in the rain even when i have a brand new umbrella in my backpack just to pull out a towel out of it and dry myself before i catch a cold.
so, what i’m trying to say is how can i describe who i am in a few sentences when i’m beautiful and ugly and bold and shy and basic and hipster and goofy and nerdy and carefree and serious and angry and unpleasant and funny?
when i’m metaphors and facts?
when i’m nothing and everything?
i do not want to stay locked in a four-walled room and let it define me. instead, i will define it.
so, the next time someone asks me who i am,
i’ll tell them,
i am &.
By Shivani Anil
Shivani can be found being a couch potato, obsessing over anime, kpop and kdrama while she isn’t trying to juggle her three majors: Literature, psychology and journalism. In an alternate universe she lives near the mountains and is the owner of an old bookstore but in this one, she collects books for her shelf and dreams about writing a novel. Her instagram is: @pihuehue