“stuck in a maze” by Divya Chhotani

Author’s note: every single day i wake up feeling like i’m repeating the previous day. doing the same routine every single day can be tedious and tiresome but then i remember how privileged i am to be alive and to be living the best life though things have been so bleak and boring. therapy has played an important part in my life whether it’s being able to express my feelings to another person without judgment or finding the strength to ask for help, therapy has been incredibly helpful for me and countless Americans and people around the world. Therapy is really for everyone and something doesn’t have to be “wrong” with you to say that you need help. every day i battle these feelings of confusion and of loss of trying to understand why the world is such a cruel place and how living is so hard but living is one of the most beautiful things in the entire world. getting up on a Saturday morning to pancakes and waffles and drizzling syrup and berries over them, making Sunday brunch with family, presents under the Christmas tree and the holiday spirit and so much joy, the small talks with people who you love and falling in love for the first time and seeing the person you love wrapped up in your arms, seeing you grow up and graduate and accomplish huge milestones, that’s the beauty of living and staying alive. you aren’t weak if you need help. you aren’t selfish for asking and putting yourself first or even saying no. it’s very hard to do all these things every day but making the most of it daily. it’s hard for me as well to say no and to put myself first, i apologize a lot, and can be a mess of emotions sometimes it’s a roller coaster. navigating a relationship during COVID time has also taken a toll on me, not being there for my significant other, not being able to be there to comfort her, and to hold her in times of grief and sadness. it’s been hard putting my emotions together even when it comes to my parents. coming from an Asian household, it’s very hard to be vulnerable yet my parents have tried to make our home homier no matter what yet we still have our ups and down’s and covid has put more of a strain on that. you aren’t alone if you feel distant from your family, distant from friends, or even your significant other. living is a very hard thing but the joys of staying alive are something that gives me an adrenaline rush of happiness. i deserve to be happy. you deserve to be happy. you deserve to be reminded how much you are loved and you can do anything don’t listen to the voices that put you down because you are so much more powerful and so much stronger than those that say that you can’t and i can’t wait to watch when you say you will.


“stuck in a maze”

I remember the smell in the air the day you said your last goodbye 
tears falling from my face and splattering my homework 
i remember your sad puppy eyes pulling me in, ready to strike my heart again 
waiting for you to take control of me again 
like i’m a widget on a Pac man game ready to run from the ghosts of my past 
the ghosts hiding the realities of who you were 
i’m chasing and running to collect the pellets of your words of affirmation since you knew that was my love language 
the way you maneuvered the handles to make the ghosts kill me every time 
something that haunts my dreams and makes my life a maze, with other humans being like ghosts that i seem to not be able to
adequately communicate with in comparison to you 
i feel like it’s my fault that we said our last goodbye 
i see you waving at me from the distance 
ready for you to turn your back on the possibility of you and i 
i thought we could rewrite the stars and change the course of our sea of dreams 
i thought you were my anchor 
holding me together at the end of the night 
docking at the nearest port of my city of love 
my heart racing only for you as you lay your head on my chest 
feeling my every heartbeat
not knowing that my heart cries for you 
with you 
the lines moving up and down till my last breath 
you wonder in my city of love time and time again
it’s a place that once you visit you can’t return from 
you’ve made your mark in my city of love 
the smell of roses and fresh shampoo 
saffron in rice and fresh tomatoes picked from the garden 
garnish me with your words 
like a blanket wrap me in your humor and smile 
shower me with laughter and your aura 
i want to know how you taste as our tongues play a little game of hiding and seek 
catch me if you can and I’ll surely embrace you with all i possess 
all my love is for you 
my smiles are with you 
my heart beats with you 
i hope we don’t play a game of Pac man 
i hope we play a game of love no matter what our definition is 
grow together not apart 
drifting together and smoking backwoods in the  parking lot by that childhood store you used to go to 
or that one field where you broke your leg 
maybe even that ice cream joint your mom raves about 
i hope we play a game of love no matter where it takes us 
to hell and back 
swimming through the depths 
floating in heaven 
bouncing on cloud 9
no matter what i hope we can play fairly 
just the two of us 
but for now, i’m chasing after ghosts 
with you having the widget in hand 
maneuvering my course 
while i float through my sea of dreams
yet i realize that life and relationships can be blind
jumping into uncharted waters with no escape but my mind
going down a rabbit hole of hypotheticals struggling to find the words to say no and move on
I’m still hung up on some things from my past 
regretting the moments i just sat and watched the time pass by
I’m lost in translation trying to find meaning in love that I’ve given
if i can be the best daughter or even the best friend i need for myself
i remember some nights just feeling so broken 
my pillowcase knowing my story better than anybody 
struggling to keep my voice down so that my parents don’t wake up 
“weak,” they said whenever i would cry
i felt like my mind was the only place that tried to understand me 
my friends never did nor did they check in to hear me out 
to understand what my inner soul had to say to hear the words I’ve been dying to say to them 
“selfish,” they said whenever i took time for myself
“broken and needy” I’ve heard in my past relationships where it was like two ships crossing 
lost in translation 
trying to decipher my inner demons 
i feel like i’m a lock and someone else has the key 
but right as someone turns the key it just jams and i’m locked in my head with just my thoughts and maybe even a pen
“lonely” are what i feel a majority of the time just brooding in my room 
i grew up hearing how i couldn’t handle the truth 
how i take everything for granted and don’t deserve to be loved properly
yet i wish i could go back in time and tell my younger self that i’m okay 
i will be okay and i will grow to be the best person for me
like a plant, i need to water myself 
“peace” something that i crave for a moment to myself where there is no chaos 
there is no feeling of being broken or feelings of grief and loss
it’s like resewing my life but i have the thread this time
i’m going to pick my colors and I’ll understand that life has its hiccups
but I’ll be ready to sew my own destiny

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

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