She Wasn't Crazy

Photo by  David Clode  on  Unsplash    [Image Description: A   close up   photograph of a bioluminescent coral colony glowing in the dark underwater]

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

[Image Description: A close up photograph of a bioluminescent coral colony glowing in the dark underwater]

She wasn’t crazy,

but the world had a way of making her feel so.

(You try being a black goth girl in Stone Mountain, Georgia.)


She liked vampires and Morrissey,

how the darkness wrapped around her

like a warm familiar blanket.


Always too sensitive and too reactive,

she felt every feeling at high voltage.

She wasn’t unhinged, but

she said whatever she wanted.


Spilled words from her lips

like red wine on white carpets.

She left many stains.


They called her Crazy K

and it stuck.

She never slept.



She crawled up fire escapes to hang off the edge.

Looking down, longingly

she flirted with death.


She wanted to know

if she let go, would she be free?

She imagined a place where people loved her.


She wasn’t volatile, but

when grandma

[the ultimate matriarch who kissed

her thick eye lined face,

marveling at her choice

of combat boots with fishnets]



The darkness welled up and started choking her.

She wanted to stop the world,

Because when your world ends,

but you’re still alive,

there is something crazy about that.


She was thirteen when she wrote

the first suicide note on a post it.

She wasn’t mad, but

succinct as fuck.


She wasn’t wayward, just honest.

She didn’t want to live.

She got messy.


A friend found the note and called her mom.

All her mom could say is,

why, why, why, why baby?

The words left her.

Was she insane? She didn’t think so.


They stripped her down like an animal.

Took her shoelaces, put her on suicide watch.

She squirmed on an uncomfortable cot.

She felt insane then.


The psych ward for kids

smelled like every hospital,

bleach with the stench

of death and disappointment.


Even in this place, there was hierarchy.

separated the kids with eating disorders

from the “troubled” kids.

frail looking teens never making eye contact.


But the other kids got it,

dreaming of McDonalds french-fries

and getting out f sterile purgatory,

a life size pause button.


They kept the “disturbed” people,

locked behind a fortress of doors.

Or did they?


Because when she left the psych ward,

she created a paper mâché 

mask of glitter and light.

She smiled until

her eyes bugged out.


She stopped wearing

liquid eyeliner and

made everyone feel



She said all the right things,

and lied about the darkness.


See, all better now!


The moment she stopped telling the truth,

that was when she was truly



Kelechi Ubozoh is a Nigerian-American writer and mental health advocate. She was the first undergraduate published in The New York Times and is featured in The S Word documentary, in an attempt to end the silence around suicide. Her work is published in the anthology,  Endangered Species, Enduring Values.