A poem I wrote in the hospital:
Happy faces everywhere
All these people unaware
Why can’t they stay
And see that I’m not okay
Don’t they see
I’m not what I’m put out to be
Happy on the outside
Sad on the inside
Can they see my forced smile
To realize does it take them a while
I first started writing poetry when I was hospitalized. I was only fifteen years old when I was held on my first 5150. From that time on it’s been a healing process. One in which will take a while, perhaps the rest of my life. I continue to grow as time goes by.
Ever since I was a child I’ve always been the odd one out. Up to this day I am hyper at times and tend to speak my mind more often than not. In high school I was never paid much attention to. Although it seemed like I was an explosion of a person, I blended in with the lockers. Up to this day I am arguably another face in the crowd. However back then, high school never treated me well.
I had trouble attending class for it gave me anxiety to leave the house and be with people that intimidated me. Missing school for mental illness reasons was something my professors could never grasp. This made me aware of the stigma against mental illness of others not considering it to be the same as missing a school day for the flu or breaking an arm. Despite all the hardships, I was able to graduate.
I remember one time I went to my school counselor to talk about withdrawing from a class my first semester of college. She reprimanded me in saying I caused my mental illness by not trying in school. The stigma like that is what harms lives. Thankfully some of us are strong, but the stigma can kill.
Throughout my life I’ve used my abilities to turn it into art. I’ve decided to continue writing poetry for years after I had exited the hospital doors. I started a blog upon my release that would feature posts of inspiration for living, free verse written by myself and other art for people like myself.
Years later I was able to travel across the world, meet new people and discover the places I’ve always dreamed of. When I was in a dark place, I would have never realized the beautiful world I could explore. Travelling is something that keeps me motivated. There is so much this planet has to offer its people.
During my trip to Quezon City, Philippines, I was able to see how lucky some of us are in other parts of the world. I’ve appreciated life more since I’ve been there. I started a charity for students that want to attend school but do not have the funds for it. This will begin soon in Butong, Taal Batangas and in Quezon City in the Philippines.
Recently I have published by first book called Searching for the City of Love. This achievement is something I never had thought would come out of beginning to write poetry in a hospital. I also have a job held down at The Love Story Journal. This website, digital and print journal helps in fighting the stigma against mental illness and aiming to lower suicidal ideation. I journal about artists to inspire the members to transform their pain. Again, I would have never thought life would give me these opportunities.
Once, I woke up in a hospital bed years ago not knowing if I would survive the next day. Now, I wish for the days to be longer because of my love for this second chance at life.
I believe everyone’s story is art. We are all painting our own lives, and we must try to finish it even if there are rough patches along the way. Art is sacred, and so is life.
Anna Quimpo Maguire is a Filipino American writer.
She runs an aesthetic themed blog that features her poetry under the name “Three States of Mind.
To this day, she is an avid traveler and college student. As a Liberal Studies major she plans on teaching upon obtaining her degree.
Maguire is the founder of the Quimpo-Maguire foundation, a charity that grants scholarships to students at a Philippine public high school located in Quezon City and an elementary school in Butong, Taal, Batangas.
Anna Quimpo Maguire currently resides up in the mountains of California living a life full of adventure.