Needed Intimacy & Affection
Kayla Misa, 17, she/her/hers
Humans are many things. Egotistical and empathetic. Narcissistic yet nurturing. Abhorrent but affectionate. We’re so quick to push aside so many people in our lives, to cut and burn ends of twine and rope. We’re so hasty to hate and dislike the smallest qualities, and sometimes feel omnipotent.
Yet we crave for touch, like the mundane beasts as we are.
We want to be warmed, on those nights when the room feels far too desolate, the bed feeling stinging cold and empty. We want to be held, another body or figure to be pressed against us, despite the strength and vulnerability it takes to reach that level of needed intimacy. But when do we start to realize that it’s not just touch that we crave, but to just feel comforted as we are, trapped in the dimensions of our flesh prisons, just someone to remind us that we indeed are just mortal.
Oh! Praise me more. I love that feeling. Call me gifted, call me smart, fill me with those words that otherwise mean nothing else other than what you see, what you want to use as a bragging tool.
Oh! Hate me more. I love that feeling. Call me a disappointment, call me worthless, fill me with those words that carry the burden of 100,000 complaints bundled into one.
You’re so easy to knife me up, painting my heart with cuts. You pour those alcoholic apologies into my wounds and wriggle in joy when you see my pain. Then I cry, hot bloody tears, my voice in agony, my throat tight and feeling jagged, and that’s when you act as if we’re alright, but we’re not.
None of us are. That’s what we’re trained to love, to seek, and explore. That’s our society, fueled on materialistic wealth, valuing only meritocracy, plaques, trophies, licenses. I get it. Everything can be traced back to two things, capitalism, and hate, and we’re forced to fall in love with it. And if we just give up, and give in to a forbidden marriage with it, then nothing can get better.
But you’re trying. We’re trying. And I fear the day we stop trying.
Grace Meyer, 16, she/they
In February I was diagnosed with moderate to severe anxiety, which shook me to the core. Dissociating while I felt like I was dying inside was such a common feeling to me that I never considered that it was a mental illness. Feeling trapped inside your own head, like your body is a shell from Pompeii, is suffocating and through my art, photography, I try to keep myself out of my head. It’s like you are static against everyone else’s thoughts and opinions, so easily changeable and influenced while helpless at the same time. It took time to figure out how to capture that feeling through photography, but eventually, I landed on an onion. On the outside layer, my eyes may be unfocused, drowsy and I’ll brush off concerns with “I’m just tired”. On the inside, my brain is racing and screaming, but it is muffled by the layers.