Page 1





















By Jenel Marcelle








By Marielys Martinez JOURNEY

By Kahdija Jabbi HOW





By Nagieliss Belliard ONLY




By Nickaylia Anderson DEPRESSION


By Yisel Dejesus IT'S



By Kaylana Felipe








By Evelyn Opara







By Jehlani Bowers





By Tasnim Khanom



By Sunniha Hussain SUPPOSED





By Brian M.





By Elliot Babilonia



By Suvidya Bishnudat



By Marie Toure







By Kevin Roman and Suvidya Bishnudat



By Stephanie Cuevas, Skye Knight, Ruby Moran, and Mamon Alivio


@journalsofcolor.mag Journals of Color journalsofcolor.org @journalsofcolor linktr.ee/journalsofcolor



Although the Covid-19 virus might've brought along vast devastation, chaos, and deaths, it has also been a time of social awareness in which issues (such as mental health) are recognized as important factors of the human psyche.

These past two years have been mentally straining for low-income families, as well as young people facing a remote learning environment that prevents them from acquiring quality resources and education in the midst of a global pandemic. We've all faced drastic changes in our lives that have affected our routines, relationships, bodies, and overall livelihoods. These immense changes have caused most, to change their perspectives on life and unfortunately face low points and personal battles sparked by these current times. Regardless of the presented adversities, there is always space for creativity to resurface in the form of art or literature. These mediums allow us to use them as outlets for our frustrations, triumphs, inner truths, and pain. Releasing our experiences and emotions in this manner allows for others to connect to our pieces and truly feel completely understood by the narratives being shown. Everyone fights their own individual battles and we hope that these inner reflections from young creatives from the Bronx will help you see how we're truly all in this together.


Nicaulis Mercedes and Layla Hussein


BEHIND Board of Directors Emmanuella Agyemang Marielys Martinez Chazzel Ferbol Teresa Bautista Fatoumata Drammeh Yisel Dejesus

Writers Marielys Martinez Kahdija Jabbi Nagieliss Belliard Nickaylia Anderson Yisel Dejesus Kaylana Felipe Evelyn Opara Jehlani Bowers Tasnim Khanom Sunniha Hussain

ISSUE 06 Writers Brian Buckley Elliot Babilonia Suvidya Bishnudat Marie Toure

Photographers Kevin Roman Suvidya Bishnudat

Artists Stephanie Cuevas Skye Knight Ruby Moran Mamon Alivio Fatoumata Drammeh [cover]

Journals of Color will be accepting applications again in the FALL of 2021.

Rewriting Legacy

By Jenel Marcelle Legacy What is a legacy?

It’s planting seeds in a garden that I’ll never get to see It’s growing up with the burdens that define you and me Being pushed out into a world that breathes hypocrisy It’s the knowledge that in another life, there is a prophecy A written word that exists to lay out my... Destiny What is my destiny? I mean, for now, I live to appease my family To make sure that my siblings all live in harmony That no matter what The “higher-ups” take all of the glory To be calm and scrutinized in front of distinguished company And to never have the privilege of bubbling with envy Just take a look at the irony They say your name is attached to your fate Which means there’s nothing you can break Unless you manage to change your name Not just the word itself But the shackles that define you The things that tie you to your past That lets people reprimand And criticize you

But what am I supposed to do? The middle child in a group of many Your classic burnt-out gifted kid story A child who has potential But never uses it the right way A “girl” who doesn’t quite appreciate their name Since the only emotions involved are mock and disdain The poor sap that can’t fancy someone of their gender Since that kind of love will leave them disgraced and rendered A hopeless case But what if this is the year I change? Where I live by my own law We’re in a new day and age It’s time to be the person that I know I’ll adore Not just some black girl from the slums Snatching goods from the store I’m proud to be that melanin enby Who sings as softly as they speak The she/they that’s madly in love with the girl across the street I’m no longer code-switching So it’s time to learn my new name Breaking free from a destiny that used to chain me down To fit the mold of a broken society Stepping out to finally leave the first bits of my legacy And with that said, I’ll proudly proclaim Hello, it’s nice to meet you. My name is Kae.

this is

JOURNALS OF COLOR the voices of the bronx.

Sunrise and Grey Skies By Marielys Martinez You know, it's so crazy to think about how just a few years ago life looked amazing, full of yellow, pink, and orange, just like a sunrise. Each day was a new adventure, and no matter what happened, whether it be that you fell and hurt your knee or the other kids picked on you during lunch, the next day started off with excitement for what is to come. Now, life is no longer full of soft and happy colors. Instead, the sky is painted in boring grey the grass is angry red and the lakes are a toxic green. A tone can ruin your day, a word can send you into a spiral, and even something as easy as breathing seems hard. I’ve recently turned 17, and my mom jokes that I actually turned 71. I can see why. Life is no longer something I strive to keep safe, it’s no longer something so precious, so valuable, that I treasure it. It’s become an old childhood toy, long abandoned. It may have memories and old promises written within its seams.

but there is no longer that childish optimism, the fragile naivety that made you believe there is a meaning to everything, and that the world is anything but a lonely barren place. If anyone asked me what it’s like to have depression, I wouldn’t be able to answer them. How do you explain something that you, yourself, don’t know? How do you explain how it feels like to be inside a body, but having your brain scattered. Not knowing if what you feel is genuine, or if you’re forcing yourself to feel such things for attention. I would love to say that one day I will put on glasses to help me see clearly, so that the beauty I know the world can be is a view I wake up to each morning. But for now, all I can say is that I will hold on as tightly as I can, until glasses aren’t necessary, and I can truly say I’m Alive.

Journey By Kahdija Jabbi

Anxiety says don’t speak Anxiety says don’t move Anxiety says you aren’t good enough Anxiety says a lot of things But anxiety is still so quiet Sometimes you may not see anxiety Until it shows up in the night When you need to sleep Or when it shows up When you need to speak These thoughts are silent but are quite loud to me Watch how you talk to people They could be fighting battles you can’t see Mental Health is a priority And access to it should be free The beauty of psychology The human psyche is a conscience of nature That should be nurtured with knowledge and peace Continuing to find ourselves Is an endless cycle But it doesn’t have to be lonely

How do I get out? By Nagieliss Belliard Whoever said there is always a light at the end of the tunnel is a liar Because I have been treading my footsteps along the rocky ground for so long I haven’t been given a flashlight to help me I can't seem to find the way I came in How do I get out? There are no cracks of sunlight coming through these dark walls There are no echoes or voices for me to follow How do I get out? Sometimes I swear this cave has eyes watching me Waiting for me to trip Sometimes I can feel the ground judge my footsteps I can feel my shadow daunting me, even in the dark I have been stuck here for so long that my eyes have adjusted to the dark At times I feel like the cave is closing in on me I run and get nowhere How do I get out? Sometimes the cave likes to mask the darkness as light I feel as if the cave swallowed my voice How do I get out? I walk and I always end up in the same place The cave often turns the darkness into a pop up cemetery of my fears There was never a light at the end of the tunnel

Only when she's dead By Nickaylia Anderson Mental illness is a fairytale in the media It’s romanticized and laughed about as if It's as simple as ever to be solved. It’s something described as a happily ever after You see it being described on television. It’s as easy as that to address behind a screen But no one wants to face the uncensored realityWhen your mind has gone beyond There seems to be no end to this void No outside relief to numb yourself But it’s as easy as that for everyone else to say ‘Try harder and be happy’ It’s as easy as that for the outside world To brush off her pain and outcry. “She was such a beautiful soul” They will say when she turns her back on them And the will to survive. It’s funny how that’s the only time she’s beautiful huh? When she’s a corpse lying dead in the groundOver a few years, her body will be rot and dirty But she’s beautiful enough to be missed right? But was is used as if she’s truly dead When she weighs on your hearts Like steel and cement. Her life mattered right? It’s only when she’s dead. People cared only when she was motionless. Cold. Void. Rotten. Soulless. Care is meaningless until you are six feet under. But you said she could talk to you whenever right? She’s a coward because she killed herself. No- she’s a hero because she fought herself For so long and no one ever noticed.

But it’s only when she’s dead that anyone will see Truly see and open their eyes To half the pain she was going through. She was a nuisance when she was here But only when she’s dead is she beautifulCaring. Loving. Loved. Human. Human enough to be human but not enough to be helped Only when she’s dead does the world seem to slow down And silence seems to thrive amidst the bustling city noise Strangers taint her name so easily as if feeling pity But not pity enough to prevent the next outcome like hers. It’s only when she’s dead that she’s missed and celebrated Only when she’s deadshe stands a sliver of a chance of being heard. The problem doesn’t get addressed or solved But in a way she’s happy now right? Happiness is untouchable to her now. Life is unreachable for her. Because she’s dead and all of a sudden What was once meaningful and promising, Is not anymore. It’s as simple as that. Too late to go back.

Depression Speaks

By Yisel Dejesus

Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which stops you from doing your normal activities. Different types of depression exist, with symptoms ranging from relatively minor to severe. Generally, depression does not always result from a single event, but from a mix of events and factors. Depression The three-headed snake that cannot seem to die The evil thoughts that race through our minds telling us we aren’t good enough Making us insecure Depression Speaks through our eardrums Amplifies the voice in the back of our minds We hate to get consumed into this long chain of words we call a sentence It wraps itself around our necks and drags us along Because when depression speaks, it deceives us And tells us we cannot make it It breaks our windpipes and leaves us breathless It electrocutes and leaves us shaking Confuses us to make us in denial Kalief Browder could have had a chance at life But depression speaks loud enough to silence us Dim down our voices Belittle us

The mind of the depressed is an inescapable jail cell. And it tells us we cannot make it. Let lose the shackles and break free. There is power in our silence. Depression has a weakness. It cannot stand to hear us speak Instead, it tries to speak for us The mind of the depressed is a battlefield. A war against the voice that pretends to be your own. We’ll be damned if we wail loud enough and still go unnoticed. Even though we escape covered in bloody scars, We birth a new version of ourselves. Depression Spreads like venom. A disorder that can be cured and reborn. A monster that produces 130 suicides per day. Because depression speaks and it creeps in every nook and cranny of the brain to expel all the wisdom we have gained about ourselves. We wail to have one day to stand in the sun. But depression speaks. And it has spoken.

The mainstay of treatment is usually medication, talk therapy, or a combination of the two. Increasingly, research suggests these treatments may normalize brain changes associated with depression.

It's okay to not be okay.

By Kaylana Felipe When people talk about health they think eating right, making sure you aren't too fat. Now, when mental is mentioned, you think of the brain, positivity, energy, etc. Now, when you add both those words together we have a problem. We have a problem because of how this country treats mental health. We all have things going on in our lives, between doubt, our future, hate, etc. It can be a lot for all of us to handle alone, but if we try to speak to someone about our issues they will judge us. Older adults judge us, young kids, because they think we don't know what it's like to struggle. What it's like to breathe in hate and still manage to exhale positive vibrations! We have so much going on inside our heads that the least we can do is try to speak to someone who gets us. Who gets why we cry ourselves to sleep, why we overeat because we think we are too skinny. Why do we join a gang because we think it's the manly thing to do? Why do we date so many people to only end up hurting them in the long run because we think it's the adult thing to do. We shouldn't be feeling like this, but we do but with doing so we've managed to put on so many expectations on ourselves when it's truly uncalled for. If you care about your mental health do something about it, whether it's smoking that blunt to make you feel safe or it's taking a bubble bath so you can feel like a queen! Do what makes you feel good, text your friends, go out to eat, take pictures, love yourself. Dealing with PTSD, depression, anxiety, or even trauma doesn't have to be the end of us. We choose how to change the narrative about our mental health, reclaim our thoughts and inner emotions, it's okay. I would be lying if I said I felt happy all the time because I don't, but that doesn't mean I'm going to allow society to label my mental health or label me as depressed when I'm only human. We all are only human, I think it's okay to feel, it's okay to love yourself, & it's okay to put yourself above everyone else to better your mental state of mind. Choose to love today, choose to be happy today, but of all choose yourself today! Don't let mental health define you, define mental health!

"The Kids of Nowadays"

By Evelyn Opara The kids of nowadays With scars on their arms Drinks in their hands Cigarettes in their mouths The weeks become days As everything passes by in a blur Too emotionless to care, Stuck in an endless cycle A terrible world Filled with terrible people Doing terrible things With terrible thoughts Amongst their terrible action... The cycle repeats Memories are made But not one seems to be joyful Left to deal with the pain They resort to these things The kids of nowadays With scars on their arms Drinks in their hands Cigarettes in their mouths Filled with hurt With no one to count on No will to live on With nothing to look forward too

The kids of nowadays are Hurtin and Cryin Unable to hide it anymore Unable to contain the dread A broken mirror Never the same Even when put back with precision The kids of nowadays With heavy shoulders They carry the burden of their pain What do you do when you feel like you’re meaningless Whom do you count on when you have no one What do you do when the emotions come crashing down Exhaustion... Not from running with friends Or a stressful day at school But rather a mental exhaustion The kids of nowadays... They need help

I'm Comfortable Right Where I Am

By Jehlani Bowers Everything is going to be okay Everything is going to be okay I WILL find a way I WILL find a way I will get past this and accomplish my every wish I will get past this and accomplish my every wish WE can do this I can do this I will create my own stream of nerves that will pass positive healthy thoughts to my brain I will take care of myself with my own medicine whether its a common or unique prescription WE will succeed and proceed with the fluency of knowledge you and me Love and indeed need to succeed I am comfortable WE are comfortable I am comfortable We are comfortable.

“Today” (Feb 19, 2021)

By Tasnim Khanom

Today I didn't want to wake up Today I forced myself to Today I didn't eat breakfast for the 4th time this week Today I wish I wasn't me Today I talked to my friend Today I stared at the tiles of my bathroom wall, I don't know how long for Today I didn't remember what I was supposed to Today I thought about how I'm wasting time Today I did my makeup Today I still looked like her Today I prayed, I didn't get a reply I never do

Today was over before I knew it.

Embrace Anxiety By Sunniha Hussain “Tumi aneka durbala” Those words echo across the room as she clasps her ears Her parents tell her she is too weak in Bengali But they don’t see that she’s holding back her tears, Those negative thoughts follow her like a huge rain cloud But they don’t see that she’s holding in her chest pain and stomach ache as her thoughts race through her mind But they don’t see that every day she talks to her therapist to feel a little stronger “Tumi aneka durbala” It’s those three words that South Asian parents tell their children when they hear they are suffering from anxiety It’s those three words that South Asian parents find shameful to say As if their reputation is more important than their feelings As if it’s a burden to carry for the rest of their life Because they equate the word anxiety to the words merely vulnerable When she explains how she feels, she is stigmatized for being vocal about her mental health Because having anxiety, depression, or paranoia is not viewed as the norm in the South Asian community Sadly, she is battling anxiety Every day she’s in the wrestling arena fighting her opponent Sweat dripping from her forehead as she throws her punches towards anxiety She doesn’t always see her parents in the crowd cheering for her Sometimes she loses the match and sometimes she wins But she doesn’t have to be alone when battling anxiety She needs people around her to realize she will become a champion because she is not weak, but rather strong Because anxiety is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of building one’s self “Tumi saktisali” “You are strong” Those are the words that describe her and everyone in our community

Supposed to be my last

By Brian M Journal entry #75: I always knew something was wrong with me mentally but I never knew what it was. As I reflected on the people in the toxic household that I live in I started to realize that it wasn't my fault. I reflected on everything that I have seen and personally been through throughout my whole life in a blink of an eye. A single teardrop fell onto my journal as I knew what I was about to do is irreversible. I couldn't take it anymore but I felt like I had no choice because no matter how many people say they're here for me and say they can help they don't even ask if I'm ok. It's okay though because I realized and accepted the fact that I don't belong here. My family is awake now after 30 minutes. Each tied down to a single chair. I used chloroform on them. You may be wondering why...well I wanted them to watch so they can feel the pain that I've been feeling for 16 years because of all of them. They screamed and shouted and tugged but it was no use they weren't able to break free. I got what I needed to complete my chapter and I never felt so lonely and hopeless until this very moment. You know that feeling when you're at your lowest point and you get that sinking feeling in the center of your chest? Yea I just got that feeling. I tied the rope to the ceiling fan and stood on top of the chair as I stared at them one by one with my eyes full of water and one blink and tears would start falling down my face and I jumped and I hung myself thinking this was the end. I heard my family screaming and crying all in one but I couldn't do anything now. As I slowly closed my eyes I heard my family sobbing in sadness but my father found the strength to break free and he took me down from the ceiling. And held me in his arms then started to revive me. Once I was brought back to life as I slowly opened my eyes and my father locked eye contact. I started crying and all I could do was yell why...

My Anger Consumes Me

By Elliot Babilonia PEOPLE DON'T MAKE ME HAPPY, They really don't. All they ever do is make me wish I was never born.

I realized I don't value humanity, associating with People always end up with regrets and restlessness. I wonder why if I am selfish he is selfless. So, aren't all our souls openly committing suicide until the end of us? When you ask me if I am all right, tears blur my eyesight. I wonder why you ask so from me, only when I stop being funny. But when I finally turn around to tell you I am ok, you are talking with someone else. Just like that my well-being became a side chat. I do not value my existence, in fact, I am ashamed of it. I am ashamed to be human, I wish I could just scrub my humanity off of me. Yes, there are a few good people but the majority always defines us. I saw what life did to him and still is doing. We torture ourselves every day thinking tomorrow will be better than today. Do you know what I miss? I miss not feeling, not breathing, not existing. It defines me, The urge to feel something, someone break my fingertips. I release it by screaming. It is a nuisance to many.

To me: When I am done, my heart feels less heavy, the hands that were clammy don't hold the weight of having ruined another's life, so that is a relief. When the outburst is over and done with, my head is hammering, I fall back and retreat towards the same old path I have been traveling. I am a creature of habit The brutal force, anger, slammed into me. Knocked me to my feet. Turned me into the worst version of myself. Left me feeling barbaric, standing behind a curtain only seeing what is happening. The issue at hand is my anger is a rarity. Oftentimes, I am a calm person and that leaves me feeling open-mouthed and wondering. This image of myself, I have in my head is only an aphrodisiac. The truth is, no matter how much I deny it, I always carry a part of you within. Just let me be, Exhausted from my anger consuming me, Just help me make my own memories, Just let me be my own destiny, Got me wishing I could somehow be a legacy, Tryna live a life worth remembering, I can’t keep loving someone worth my entire being. My anger makes me irritable, I can’t help but clench my fists and shut my eyes to block it all out. What's to restlessly build when you know it is bound to crumble over and over again?

Mentality Break

By Suvidya Bishnudat It's difficult to be a teenager. You're under a lot of pressure to fit in, do better in school, get along with your families, and make important decisions. Any of these stresses are unavoidable, and thinking about them is normal. One out of every five teenagers suffers from a mental illness. Half of all mental disorders begin by the age of 14, and 75% by the mid-twenties. That suggests that more teenagers in the United States are dealing with mental health issues than they thought and many don't know what to do about it. Mental illnesses are often inherited in some form. People also fail to maintain their daily lives when situational conditions cause symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or addiction to addictive drugs While mental disorders can not be visible from the outside, their detrimental effects on people's lives are not diminished. Many teens would seek help from their classmates and peers before approaching an adult. Most would not even turn to their acquaintances because of the continued shame surrounding mental health conditions. Seventy percent of teenagers with mental health issues do not get the treatment they need and that’s a topic that needs to be talked about. That is why it is important to address teen mental health. Teens who have strong mental health are more likely to grow up well, form positive relationships, adjust to change, and cope with life's challenges. Teens with better mental health are also more likely to love life and be happy and more hopeful towards themselves. Teens with the opposite situation are more likely to do the opposite. One thing I realized was that everybody with mental illness is different. Some kids are honor students while some are irresponsible but one thing they have in common is that their mind is messed up. Everybody goes through something they don't talk about.

Detrimental Cycle

By Marie Toure

At home, the only place where you’re supposed to let it all out, is where they tell you to hold it in “Everything going on at school is to make you stronger” Your teachers push you to your limits, everybody does, but you just can’t take it anymore The bully grows a little more On social media, the things they say are so hurtful and toxic So they tell you to get off it But you can’t because that’s how you stay in touch with the world these days So the bully grows a little more But now, it’s not so little anymore, it’s like something else, Something that’s not supposed to be there taking over Anger, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts take over the positivity All along, that bully, depression, and anxiety grew in there, because nobody was paying attention Nobody heard your cries for help, because supposedly you’re grown You know what you’re doing and what’s going on But teenagers don’t and that’s okay It’s not okay that schools and society places where you go and use that against you Schools are supposed to side with you Society is supposed to help you grow and become someone successful But they hold you down and hold your mental health against you And then afterward, they act like mental health isn’t a thing Depression is real Anxiety is real And suicidal thoughts stem from all that Helping one person at a time is what we should be doing to break this cycle.


OF ISSUE 06 The following pieces of art and photography beautifully encompass the rawness of the human emotional spectrum. These remarkable young creatives used elements of color, contrast, value, and materiality in order to depict the intensity of the feelings and messages within their pieces.

Photography by Kevin Roman

Photography by Kevin Roman

Photography by Kevin Roman

Photography by Kevin Roman

Photography by Suvidya Bishnudat

Photography by Suvidya Bishnudat

Artwork by Stephanie Cuevas

Artwork by Skye Knight

Artwork by Ruby Moran

TW: The following artwork contains depictions of self harm, abuse, and implied dereality. Artwork by Mamon Alivio.


journals of color

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Journals of Color | Issue 6  

Read the sixth issue of Journals of Color, Mental Health. With a collection of creative writing, art, and photography, you'll be left with a...

Journals of Color | Issue 6  

Read the sixth issue of Journals of Color, Mental Health. With a collection of creative writing, art, and photography, you'll be left with a...


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