Chinelo Osakwe '23

I feel so down in the dumps.

Deep in the blues.


These swiggly lines invade the area in my brain intended for good mental health, acting as explanation for why I am the way I am. These swiggly lines, or circles, or a masquerade ball hosted by laughing emojis and hysterical tears (oh, my! the tears…) continue to praise us, praise us, for our inner corruption.

The society we live in today—the one we created and befriended as frenemies—leaves us mourning a happy and peaceful state of mind. Mourning smiley faces and redundant hoorahs… no more hoorahs. No more hoorahs.

The prickly point of a piceous pen scrapes the last of the perky shavings from a pristine piece of plain, white paper. Pure disruption: disrupting the peace! I do not wish to be drawn, nor fabricate an unspoken truth—an unspoken feeling as though I am more content with my life and being than evidently proven. Those words are verbal diarrhea; they are nothing but examples of my clouded distortion, which is never portrayed in my demeanor, just to be clogged, clogged, clogged… I do not wish to be drawn.

But they begin, slowly. Slowly, as quick and rushed as ants escaping a vengeful human foot, a curved line is placed just to the right of perfect on the tree bark that is called paper. The line shivers but proceeds to lay itself out, carefully resembling a bullied circle.

I stare at this “circle.” This “Smiley Face.” It does not look happy. The smile operates as a façade for desolation, not a sincere crease of jubilation. I am drawn. My life was drawn by a depressed kindergartener and published by their school newspaper as Exemplary Work—but my face: it contains vibrant merriment painted only by Picasso, and by Picasso only.

Simply a pretext for my dysphoria.