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I’m not what you want
You think you want me but you don’t
What you want is an idea
An illusion mapped out of your expectations
I’m more

I refuse to be scattered
by your whims
I refuse to be limited
to your desire
Not again
I’ve been here before

This is not love
You think it is but it’s not
You think you know how to love
but you don’t
What you do is run
tracing circles around me
Circles of beauty, circles of illusion
Beautiful illusions

This is not what I want
I’m not what you want


Image by Nikola Pešková from Pixabay

She wasn’t scared of depression. She thought she was. Her reaction was proof of the fact but she was wrong. I should’ve stayed in hiding, I thought. I should’ve continued my self-imposed sabbatical from old flames, lovers, and friends alike. But I hadn’t. I’d decided it was time to catch up so I reached out. She asked me how I’d been and I went with honesty — a mistake of course.

“A few months ago, I was depressed,” I said.

Fear blocked her throat immediately. Words struggled to escape her mouth, spreading an awkward silence through the air. I had…


Photo by Calvin Lupiya on Unsplash (Edited by Author)

I hate greeting people. It’s a simple act. You stop, look someone in the eye, acknowledge them for a second, ask them about their day — most times without caring about their answer— and then move on with your life. Easy peasy.

But not in my culture.

Where I come from, greeting people is an Olympic sport. The mental gymnastics involved could give Simone Biles a run for her money.

“Am I saying the right words?” I think nervously “Is my posture correct? I should be kneeling. I hate kneeling. No one should kneel just to greet another person. It’s…

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“There is more than one kind of freedom. ‘Freedom to’ and ‘freedom from’.” — Aunt Lydia, The handmaid’s tale

“How does she do that?” I wondered. “Who gave her permission to play like this? To jump from image to image. To lie and then quickly admit that she was lying. How does she know how to be herself? Who taught her how to be free?”

I read Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s tale last weekend and as I read it I couldn’t stop thinking about the level of freedom with which she writes.

I can’t explain it. She’s that good. She’s so…

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I shouldn’t be here
I must keep moving
To stop is to feel
And to feel is to die
I don’t want to die
I’m not ready to die
There’s too much to accomplish
In so little time.

So I stroll along
this wasteland of broken dreams
my life’s end — my end
I’m tired
of moving in circles
So today, I die
Today I feel it all
Today I walk into the light,
breaking free of my chains — my illusions.

I wish it were that easy.
But then again, isn’t it?

One of the joys of being human…

Photo by Dids from Pexels. (Edited by Author)

“You’ll have to take drugs for the rest of your life,” he said.

I read everything under the sun — everything depression-related. I wanted to prove him wrong. My psychiatrist had told me I’d live this way my whole life. That this ‘thing’ runs in my family. That I’d forever be exhausted, irritated, scared, and alone(depressed).

I didn’t like those odds. The thought of depending on daily pills to balance chemicals in my brain scared the hell out of me. For starters, the side effects felt worse than the disease but mostly, I was flat out broke. …

Photo by Evelina Zhu from Pexels

What do you want?” he asked. “What do you really want?”

“I want to start watching movies,” I replied. “Real movies(Art). Movies with actors whose names I don’t know, whose faces are familiar, whose faces I know but whose names I don’t remember.

“I want to watch actors who made me feel things: universes of emotion in an instant. Actors I felt drawn to for no reason other than: “I felt seen”. I’ve googled them before. I’ve seen them in Hollywood full drama actors’ roundtable videos on Youtube. I saw clips of their movies and loved watching every microsecond of…

Photo by Rômulo Carolino from Pexels (Edited by Author)

Please don’t open me yet
I’m not ready
You’re not ready
Go live your life
And only then return

I need fullness
You’re not full
You’re not yet broken

I want pain
I want love
I want everything
You’re not everything

Go live you’re life
Until you’ve suffered enough
And only then return

— A poem from my unwritten stories to me.

I sat down to write a story last week and realized I didn’t know enough. I hadn’t lived enough. I hadn’t brewed the suffering I needed to bring the story to maturity. And out of that feeling of…


Photo by T from Pexels

I’ve spent the past few years falling in love with ‘dying’. Slowly, effectively — that’s the only way I could’ve ended up here. See, I always thought — no, I knew — that life and death are separate. That on one day you’re born and then on another you die. But now I know better. I know that everything touches everything else. That life and death are one and the same. That somehow, we are always alive and yet always dying.

I remember the first time I died. I remember it like it was yesterday:

Flames burning holes through my…

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

She was a stranger — someone I’d seen but only once. And yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. Her face had become a permanent addition to my daily mental rotation.

“How they treat strangers, says a lot about who they are.”

I’ve seen this statement in so many stories. I’ve seen it in stories about life. Stories about how to choose a life partner. Stories about love and pain. These stories imply it takes more effort to be kind — compassionate — towards a stranger, someone you don’t know, someone you’re not trying to impress.

And it’s true. For…

Assumpta Nalubowa

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