HERE’S WHAT I’VE HIDDEN UNDER MY TONGUE #4, free, 4¼” x 5½”, copied, 30pgs.

Aug 11, 2020

The fourth issue of Here’s What I’ve Hidden under My Tongue addresses belief, primarily belief in one’s self, but also believing in others. It’s also a bit about having faith. In it, the author, who works in the medical field, relates having to attend a work conference at the children’s hospital they were institutionalized at as an adolescent. “I never wanted to set foot in Children’s again. I never thought I’d have to,” they write. What happens next is the author building mental tools with the help of their therapist to take on the challenge of not only having to mentally revisit a troubling time in their life but having to physically return to the place where those painful memories originated. The author draws strength not only from the belief and support of their therapist, but also from their own internal strength. Describing their life’s accomplishments thus far, the author writes: “each serves as an act of resistance, an unspoken fuck you to everyone who told me I couldn’t.” There’s something quintessentially punk rock about that attitude, and I think many readers will relate to the sentiment. As we follow the author facing down their demons, a stark realization occurs—that on its face seems obvious—but really hits home. “People are still in there,” they write. “And when I reassure myself of my own present safety, I feel an acute sense of guilt for betraying all of those people who are still unsafe. Those are my people.” It is here that this issue transitions into a call to arms and a rallying cry that kids trapped in the system need help, need advocacy. “…mental healthcare itself is not necessarily abusive… the problem is that it can also be deeply destructive,” the author writes. “How can we see the difference before it’s too late? How do we stop more kids from being hurt?” They ask. While this writer doesn’t have that answer—and the author admits they, too, don’t have solutions—this zine is certainly a good starting point to spark discussion. –Paul J. Comeau (D.J.T., 103 N Bliss St, Apt B, Anchorage, AK 99508)