Throw $$$ At Our Wounds

This piece was written in February 2018 while I was still working at NAMI Keystone Pennsylvania. It served as an outlet for what I was feeling at the time, but couldn’t safely express until I resigned in May 2018. It was first performed anonymously at the February 2018 Anonymous Open Mic, then again (but this time publicly) at the June 2018 Anonymous Open Mic.

***

Every day, I walk into work, and no one says hello to me.
Some days, people even forget I’m there.
Every day, I walk into work, and I have to sit quietly and listen
while my bosses discriminate against my community,
openly and with impunity.
Every day, I walk into work, and I hear them whispering.
I wonder if it’s about me,
because I’m a part of the population they serve.
No, shake it off, because they want to gaslight me.

See, you wouldn’t expect that from a nonprofit organization, would you?
Aren’t they supposed to serve us? Help us?
“Find help. Find hope.”
But monetize our stories?
Co-opt our voices?
Push us into the margins of society?
Then feel good because they “helped the crazy people.”

I don’t need your fucking help. Take your hands off my life.
Stop acting like you know what’s best for a community you despise.
But you’ll continue to provoke me, make me feel less.
Then when I snap you’ll call me crazy.
(despite your stigma prevention program’s advice)
“The signs were always there. Those goddamn borderlines.”

I fantasize about quitting, but I need the healthcare.
But the toxicity of this job is making me need that healthcare.
I fantasize about quitting, but I know they’ll control the narrative.
But it’s my goddamn narrative to control.
I fantasize about quitting, but then what?
I don’t know.
I just know it will be better than
crying in the bathroom,
screaming in my car,
and constantly wondering if I’m fit for this world,
if I’m crazy.

Turns out, I am crazy, but not in your “inspirational” way.
But please, market my trauma for your benefit.
It’ll get you some donations
to help the very people
you yourself
exploit.

It feels good, doesn’t it?

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