Claustrophobia comes at me in moments between
dusk and nightfall. The world closes in, and when the last light goes,
so too, does mine; almost as if the earth turning away from the sun takes
all my energy, all my light, and I become too exhausted
to cry obscenities at the moon. Instead, the world - my world -
gets darker, gets smaller, until the echoes and shadows scream at me.
I cannot hide in the dark. I cannot hide in too small of places.
The moon - in her many shapely forms - smirks each night at my
inability to dance to her push and pull; a rhythm only the waves can hear.
As I lay paralyzed from fear, from pain of my own deconstructed mind,
the first sign of light offers her hope to me.
Only when the world has once again turned - when it once again rights itself -
and I can feel the heat of the sun on my face, do I feel like breathing.
- This is how I’m surviving
Leila Tualla (she/her) is a Filipino-American memoirist, poet, and Christian author. Leila’s books include a YA Christian contemporary romance called, Love, Defined and a memoir/poetry collection called Storm of Hope: God, Preeclampsia, Depression and me. Her poetry is featured in a few mental health anthologies, including "Please hear what I'm not saying," “You are not your r*pe,” and “Persona non grata.” She is currently working on a poetry collection based on Asian American stereotypes and identifies. Leila lives in Houston, Texas with her first generation Mexican American husband and two miracle “Mexipino” babies.