Feather – A Beautiful Journey

If there is any positive to take out of this year, it’s that there is a growing awareness on mental health. I’ve seen people who never took mental health seriously before in their lives finally acknowledge it for the first time. Often times this is because their own health has been on a serious decline through this, the undeniably worst year in a long, long time.

So in these rough times, people are looking for anything no matter how small to give them a little joy, hope, or just a reprieve from the sadness around us. Speaking personally, the summer months saw my worst state of mind in my life, and while I have been okay lately, depression rarely stays away. Enter: Feather the video game.

I pre-ordered Feather just days before its October Release. I bought it because it looked like a peaceful game that I can relax to. For one reason or another, I hadn’t played it until 2 nights ago and it has impacted my life in a way I never thought a video game could.

I immediately found myself soaring through the skies of this tranquil island. No enemies to be found, no objectives, nothing you were supposed to be doing. I was just flying around as a pretty bird, chirping when I saw another bird. But I didn’t realize that the other birds flying around were also other people.

So here I was at 3am on a Monday night, listening to the game’s incredibly calming soundtrack flying around. And I was perfectly content to just do that. At times I would perch up on the edge of a tower, sitting for moments and looking for another bird. Soon, a bird landed next to me and spoke in bird language. I didn’t know this person, I didn’t know their story and they didn’t know mine. And although we had no real means of communicating, I imagined them saying “Hello, I hope you’re doing okay in these hard times.” And with my bird sounds back, I wanted to say the same. We sat there for maybe 30 seconds or a minute, before one of us flew off, and explored more.

Today I found a bird that seemed extremely excited to see me. They kept circling back, talking to me and then flying off. I decided they were telling me to follow them. Moments later we were soaring deep underground in this elaborate cave system. Soon enough, I saw what they were doing. They did want me to follow them. They had led me to a portal underground that would take us to a new island, one that I didn’t know existed. (Video of the journey with this friendly stranger)

We lost each other quickly after going to the new island, but I was overwhelmed with the peace and beauty that this game had to offer. Suddenly, other people didn’t give me anxiety. We didn’t argue about politics or masks, or about petty things that people are jaded about. We were birds flying around, enjoying the beauty around us.

Teenage Suicide – Nobody Talks

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(photo from njhopeline.com)

Have you ever been bullied? Most probably have at one point in their life.
We’re gonna change subjects here from writing to a serious topic that needs brought to light.
Teenage suicide.
It’s on the rise and nobody will talk about it.
On April 27, 2006 my friend Jennifer took her life in her home. She was fourteen years old; actually she was fourteen that day. She killed herself on her fourteenth birthday.
I’m going through my days almost ten years later racking my mind about it.

I myself faced a tremendous amount of bullying during my high school years. It was so much that after just two months into my freshmen year, I withdrew and continued through cyber school.
I’m not here to pass blame to the kids and families who may cause the damage or the students and teachers who can ignore it, but to raise awareness to this real thing that affects everyone.
I had no idea Jenn had it so bad. I can’t understand what it was like, a young girl Googling how to successfully hang yourself. Did she fail the first few times? How many times did she almost do it but stopped at the last second? Or what was that last week like that pushed her over the edge? Did she truly have no one she could turn to?

What potentially angered me the most was how nobody cared about her until she was dead. “She was such a nice person.”
None of them knew her.
It’s the falsehood, the pretense, the fakes that come in pretending to care about a person or the issue suicide itself because it seems like it’s the good thing to do.

Here are the facts.
In 2014 there were 41,149 reported suicides in the US.
According to the NY Daily News, teenage suicide has risen in 2009 to 2012 from 6.3% to 7.8%.
A semi annual survey performed by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System last conducted in 2013 found that 1 in 12 teenagers have attempted suicide.

Whether it’s bullying in a school or in a home, Help wherever you can because a rope isn’t hard to acquire. Google can tell you whatever you need to know and there are plenty of freaks who encourage people to do it.

Jenn fought it until the end, and the end was way too soon.

We must stop being reactive about this and become proactive. After it’s done, there’s no going back.

Jennifer Lauren Fongheiser, 1992-2006
I will never forget you.

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Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

The Truth Behind Our Eyes

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We live in a land and time where easy answers are the most desired responses
There’s a teenager battling with depression because of his parents divorce
Theres a young man fighting an addiction borderlining on suicide because of his assumed self worth
There’s fifteen more people in every twenty fighting losing battles
But when someone asks them how they’re doing
The response they hear is an easy response
It’s the desired answer
The person asking doesn’t really want to know
They want “good, great, ok, alright.”
Pick your poison
The teenager says good because her separated parents don’t really want to know what’s inside her diary
The man fighting addiction tells them that he’s doing great, he’s still alive after all
But he can’t wait until he gets back home to stick a needle in his arm
She’s good and he’s great
The truth behind our eyes will remain unseen so long as poison continues to be picked over honesty and reason

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn