Spoken Word

The Love Story Behind

A True Pain to Passion Experience 7 minute read

The Love Story behind ______

I write for my tribe—the love addicts, the crazies, the losers, the wayward, the wanderers, the abnormals, the people with “mental issues”, the druggies, the alcoholics, the sensitive artists, the bipolars, the manic depressives, the schizophrenics, the suicide attempt survivors, the grievers, the PTSDs, the broken ones, the sad ones, the ones who have been judged, labeled, and boxed into a category, and for the most part, scoffed, derided, and ignored.

Who am I?

Hi, I’m Mingjie, the Id
Hi, I’m MJ, the ego
Hi, I’m Maya, the superego, the Third “I,” who writes in the third person omniscient.
We, too, have loved and lost.
I’m pretty.
I’m pretty crazy.
I’m pretty compassionate.
I write.
I’m a writer.
I photograph
I’m a photographer.
I shoot.
I’m a videographer.
I started a non-profit.
I’m a social entrepreneur
I drink compulsively.
I’m an alcoholic.
I love hard.
I’m a love addict.
I see my psychiatrist.
I’m bipolar.
I am a suicide attempt survivor.
I’m a mental health patient.
I’m in love.
I’m a lover.
I interview people.
I’m a journalist.
I’m socially awkward.
I’m weird.
I don’t care.
I’m a maverick.
Everyday, the voice in my head says to me, “Are you fucking crazy?”
“Yes,” I say to the voice. Every time.
“Yes, I am fucking crazy. And I can love my crazy.”

So here’s my crazy:

The Love Story is starting a new movement of journalism.
Writing that is designed to take away the stigma,
to incite catharsis,
and to inspire creative expression.
It’s also there so I can say to my drugs, “fuck you Xanex, Zyprexa, Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel, Depakote, Prozac, Haldol.” Yeah, that’s right. Fuck you.
You label me so you can fix me.
I don’t want to be fixed.

I want to be freed.

I founded The Love Story to save my life. And it’s working for me.
 My mission is that it will be working for you.
When I got out of the hospital from my first suicide attempt in 2013, I started attending 12 step meetings. These meetings did something.
It helped me get out of my head.
But why the stigma? The same people in the 12 step meetings are also people who are artists.

In every share, I believe that there are three critical components to the process of letting go and in effect, to inspiring someone else to let go:

  • Keep it Raw
  • Keep it Authentic
  • Keep it Vulnerable

Today, I’m letting go of the fear of sharing.

Why? Because…

I write for you.

You, who’ve attempted suicide.

You, who’ve thought about suicide.

You, who’ve received a mental illness diagnosis.

I write for me.

It’s where the voices in my head find release.

Creative non-fiction, introspective journaling is my form of artistic expression.

It’s where I turn when I’m depressed.


I write to encourage you to write.

Your writing voice is uniquely yours—it could be poetry, music lyrics, fiction, vignettes, Tolkien—anything.

Just write.

Free verse it if you have to.

Just write. 

Let go in your creative expression.

Just write.

I’m scared

But because it’s really not about me at the end of the day–that my story is about you, I share. Even when I don’t feel like it, especially when I don’t feel like it (because that’s when tie storm comes and the words are heavy).  Too many people I’ve met have been affected by people who have committed suicide and just from the circle of people in my network who have taken their lives is a few too many.

It is why I do what I do. This Love Story thing.

I know authentic, open, and vulnerable shares are what helps.


Because moments when I was the suicidal, depressed, and crazy girl,

the best elements of my recovery came from people generous and brave enough to take their “mask off” and show me their crazy,

that’s when I knew there is nothing wrong with crazy

because Crazy has Creative Powers.

No recovery is better than exercising your creative gifts.

Hands down.

Painting, poetry, writing, dancing, surfing, snowboarding, traveling, building, learning a new language, crying, swimming, storytelling, talking–it all starts from within–with God already gave you.

Nobody will discover it or do it for you.

The Love Story behind ______ is the gift God gave you.  Discovering it is your walk, and most of the dialogue will be in your head, by yourself, with yourself.

Instead of hiding depression, embrace it.

When you embrace depression instead of making it wrong, you have the power to transmute it.

Take away the stigma of depression and you reduce the suicidal intent.

I’ve learned to embrace my craziness by looking into areas where I can transform it into a contribution. When I’m depressed, I create.

I can only be me. You can only be you.

When I’m not me, you’ll sniff it out, and most importantly, I’ll sniff it out. And then I’ll feel even more shitty for pretending. So why try to pretend to be someone I’m not? I’m just crazy. So enjoy my crazy journal entries. And if you don’t, well…don’t read it. There’s plenty of digital content out there, and you’re probably too normal for this. And if you do enjoy it, I bet your life is crazier than mine. So why not write, contribute and join our tribe?

Love and Blessings,

Mingjie “MJ” Zhai

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