With special thanks to Caminar Case Manager Jason Kaefer who brought this special story to us and to the brave and talented Caminar Client Natalie San Juan who is sharing her gift of poetry with us.
Natalie became a member of the Caminar family through YAIL, our Young Adult Independent Living program. For the last eight years, she has been part of our New Ventures Case Management program.
As a child, Natalie always felt different. Natalie recalls that “everyone said I was too sensitive, and I cried a lot.” As she matured, her feelings progressed until a diagnosis of major depressive disorder fell upon her. Over the years, she has dealt with emotions that would be unimaginable to most people. “I was suicidal at times, in and out of hospitals. It was a dark, dark world,” she remembers. In an attempt to reduce the feelings of sadness, she turned to an old childhood hobby — writing. Through a collection of journal entries, including poetry and stream of consciousness, Natalie managed to mitigate her internal unrest and express feelings of all kinds. This coping skill has allowed her a shelter from the feelings she once thought inescapable. Now, she wishes to share her writing with the hope that it will ring true with others who experience similar situations.
Please enjoy her poem “Prejudice” that was written to encourage people to talk openly about their mental health and to not feel shame in doing so.
By Natalie San Juan
Take a look at me,
and what do you see?
I am not a disease,
I am a human being.
Take off that blindfold,
and reality you will see.
Your words that crush my spirits,
cause ms me non necessary insanity.
You see me walk away with an attitude,
in which you have slowly brought on.
But because you are always a “superior,”
I am always at full fault.
In your eyes I’m a small ant,
that at any moment you will stomp.
I will not judge if you choose not to change,
I just ask for a brief stop.
Take a look around you,
check your brain before you speak.
You just will never know,
who’s soul you’ll tear apart.
I hope you get my message,
hope it sticks to you like gum.
I will not give up fighting,
til this battle is won.