top of page

Campaign Contest: "Content" by Joanna Kate

Content - Creative-Nonfiction

A big part of who I am is my sense of self. I had always been aware of this constant need of reassuring myself who I am, even from my earliest memories. A part that I had always despised about myself, I could never pin point who I was. No matter how self-aware I was, no matter how many personality quizzes I take, how many rabbit holes I dive into, nothing could ever truly fill the void of being so unsure of myself that it aches. An emptiness that could be described as a loud static in my brain, as if going through life as an empty shell of a person. Nothing I did helped satisfy this gnawing hunger of emptiness, because it wasn’t a hunger, just a lack of something. Something I couldn’t quite place.

Despite this, I pushed through. I did what I was told, I excelled in my academics, only living to fulfill a role that was assigned to me. A role that was assigned by me. But why did I feel the need to oblige to someone I barely knew. Perhaps I felt a sense of responsibility for being alive? Maybe I feel burdened of the fact that I had come such a long way that if I forfeit now, all my efforts would lie in vain. Efforts that hold no true value to me except for the sole purpose of being stepping stones to an uncertain future.

As I went through the years of my life acknowledging this revelation, I often would have one reoccurring thought. What am I working for? Why do I put in hours upon hours of my time sulking and degrading myself for not being content as to where I stand without even knowing why? Why did I mindlessly work myself to exhaustion without a goal? Maybe aimlessly working to reach the top will get me my answer, right? And I had done just that. I took extra-curricular activities, I entertained possible future paths I could lead, I stepped out of my comfort zone I had done everything I could muster up just to see if maybe, just maybe this would fulfill my longing for something. One day I am bound to find an answer for that something, right?

Along came a pandemic that halted many of my future plans, but in light of the situation, I had a three-year period of self-reflecting and experimenting. I had just blended in with the majority, I installed popular apps, I partook in the latest trends, I did everything as I did before, mindlessly blank out and go on auto-pilot.

One day I had stumbled on a foreign subject, mental health. Coming from a non-confrontational household, it was never discussed often so the topic was very new to me.

Mental health was a topic that stood out to me. Naturally, I expanded on this idea more. The more I had delved into this subject, the more unanswered queries in my mind suddenly clicked. Things had finally made sense for once. I realized that for the majority of my life, I wasn’t even there. The weird static in my brain that constantly filled my senses weren’t white noise. The constant feeling of not being present in my own body, as if being a spectator in my own life.

Depersonalization-derealization disorder: occurs when you persistently or repeatedly have the feeling that you're observing yourself from outside your body or you have a sense that things around you aren't real, or both. Feelings of depersonalization and derealization can be very disturbing and may feel like you're living in a dream.

For what felt like the first time in my life, I found clarity in myself. Though acknowledging this revelation doesn’t completely stop it altogether, it does prove that there can be progress.

At times, when I feel at peace, I will catch myself feeling as if I am living in the moment. I can sometimes notice these brief periods of time when I feel what it is like to truly live without worry. Even when these moments only last a few seconds that I experience these windows of solace, I will never stop being proud of myself for taking the first steps to becoming happier for myself.

Joanna Kate is a 13-year-old who resides in the southern part of Asia. She takes interest in english literature and enjoys the art, drawing, and animated films.

15 views0 comments


bottom of page