AUTHOR’S NOTE: XO Kaia is a fictional series about a freshman girl named Kaia who attends J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate. It shows her journal entries documenting what she learned each day. A new installment of the series is added regularly. This is the first and second entries in the series.

Day 1:

Dear Future Self,
This is the very first entry of my “High School Diary!” Today was an interesting day. It was Mental Health day and here is what happened.

My day started pretty normally except for the fact that when I entered the school, I was greeted by people trying to give me a green bracelet. I ignored them and ran up to class, seeing that I was about to be late. Then, at lunch, I was supposed to go to the Eye of the Storm (a club I recently joined) but I had a test after lunch so I figured I would go to the library and study to study instead. As I was making my way to the library I passed the cafeteria and heard loud music. When I peeked in, I saw a crowd of people surrounding a table. What was going on? I couldn’t help but wonder about all the crowd. As I got closer I saw a banner that read “World Mental Health Day.” Just as I started to turn around I got called by one of the people behind the table. I think they were from Student Government? As I approached her she told me that I can get a free lollipop because I was wearing green. YES! Free food! I guess my camo pants and dark green shirt was a good outfit choice! I took a lollipop and carried on with my day.

Later on, during what seemed like the longest class EVER, I couldn’t help but get lost in my thoughts. What is mental health? It’s probably not even real! I kept zoning out till I noticed that one of my friends, Ahana isn’t in class! I wondered where she was, maybe she went home? I decided to head to the bathroom before I accidentally fell asleep in class. As I headed out of class, I heard what sounded like a girl crying. The sound got louder and louder the more I got closer to the staircase, just then I thought I recognized the girl’s voice when I realized… IT WAS AHANA! I began to run to her and hugged her as tight as I possibly could. A bunch of thoughts ran through my head. What was going on? Why is she crying? Before I could gather my thoughts, I heard her whisper, “I’m sorry.” Why is she apologizing? I kept quiet and waited for her to continue.

“I have been keeping something from you for a while now.” I didn’t know how to respond and I certainly didn’t want to interrupt. I wanted to hear what she was going to say.

She continued by saying “I have been diagnosed with depression for a long time now, and I had the worst day today.”

You have? I wanted to say, but instead, I kept my mouth shut and let her continue.

“I am sorry I kept this from you. I just never really found the right time to tell you. But, when you came and hugged me, I noticed you were wearing a green shirt! Just because of that I knew you would believe me and not make fun of me.”

Oh no, I couldn’t help but feel bad, all this time I thought having mental health issues was something someone made up but now I can see that it’s real. I gave her my lollipop that I had forgotten to eat and told her that if she needed anything, she could always count on me.

We both went back to class and the rest of the day went pretty normal. As soon as I went home, I did a bunch of research and found out that there was a club at our school called “Not Today” which is dedicated to doing things related to mental health. They organized the lollipop activity today. I felt terrible for not knowing the significance and just taking the lollipop. Maybe next time I should try to be more up to date about school events and be more aware of them. Till next time.


Day 2:

Dear Future Self,
It has been over a month since school started and I still haven’t been able to make many new friends! I think the only new friend I’ve made so far is Lemon (a girl from my art class). All my friends from elementary school

have been able to make TONS of new friends, I mean just the other day, I saw Ahana with this whole new group of people whom I’ve never seen before in my life! I try not to get too lost in my thoughts as I head to my first class: French. “Bonjour, tout le monde“ my french teacher, Mrs.Wang, welcomes us. While she continues talking I look down and I notice my lunch bag peeking out of my backpack. My stomach grumbles and I reach in for a snack when “-projet de groupe” I hear Mrs.Wang say. Oh no, a group project? Ugh, this can’t be happening, I don’t know anyone!

I think my day can’t possibly get any worse than this, but I was proven wrong when I heard my teacher say we need to pick our own groups. I sit silently while everyone gets up and makes a group. I want to avoid the stress of asking someone to be in my group, I mean what if they don’t want to? I find myself slowly sinking into my chair and as I get back up I notice 2 people walking towards me. One of them was a guy with black hair that was gelled back though a couple of strands had fallen out onto his face. He wore a grey sweatshirt with black sweats. The other was a girl with a white coloured sweater and her short, bob length red hair tied back into a half ponytail.

“Hey, you’re Kaia, right?” says the guy.

“Ummm, yeah. Hi.” I mumbled. I really need to start speaking more real words if I ever want to get this project done.

“We’re the only people who still need to find a group. I’m Grey and that’s Alex,” he says pointing to the girl beside him who has yet to talk to me.

Instead, she just stands there smiling cheerfully. It’s honestly kinda surprising seeing how confident Alex was. During class I would always see her raising her hand, it’s like she knew the answer to everything! I wish I was as smart as her.  We spent the rest of the period working on our project and occasionally getting carried away. It was a really fun class and I think I just made 2 new friends. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, I just needed to actually talk to them. Who knew, huh? They also invited me to join breakfast club after I mentioned I need to get more volunteer hours done. They also told me joining clubs helps you make friends with similar interests. So, I am looking forward to joining more clubs and making new friends. This time, I’ll actually try to talk to people. Till next time.