I write what I feel, and sometimes what I
feel is dark and sad but it’s the truth.
Not many people admit that the bad things in life
are the most prominent aspects of their lives.
I am unapologetic. I refuse
to dismiss an absence of light.
I write because I have this belief that even
one person will read it and nod silently
in agreement that not all days are good days,
and that’s okay.
I’ve been running for as long as I can remember because I forgot when I started. I forgot where, too. My feet are pounding against pavement like secret code. I inhale fire. There are ashes in my lungs, and exhaling only brightens the coals. The sun rests in my throat and I long for a finish line. My ears pick up breath some distance behind me. I don’t dare turn my head, but I know it’s you- I can tell from the heaviness in your gaze. Exhaustion begins to consume me, but you’re sprinting like hell. We’re side by side now and our shoulders polarise like moon to tide. You’ve always said slow was never an option, but it wasn’t until this moment that I realised, for you, I wouldn’t mind coming in second.
The sad thing about the human race
is that we think we need to choose
between having a backbone
and having a heart.
In a world where kindness is bought reluctantly
in a Starbucks line
and rules are screams in students’ quivering faces,
I don’t understand the necessity for such a decision.
My queries are simple.
Why not both?
Why should I have to choose respect over sympathy?
Compassion over dominance?
God, do I wish more than anything, that I had all the answers.
The recent passing of Robin Williams took a huge toll on the world and has sparked many different conversations. While death isn’t easy to talk about, the topic of suicide is even harder to discuss. I’m no expert in mental illness, nor do I really feel qualified to be writing this right now, but I’m going to do it anyway.
Mental illness almost seems taboo in today’s society. Like it’s one of those things that everyone knows goes on and, obviously, has the potential to take peoples’ lives. But we all refuse to believe it’s actually happening right now at this very second, and every second of every minute of every hour after that. It’s probably happening to the person next to us, and we don’t have a clue. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about mental illness growing up. I thought those “scary” kids hanging out at the mall dressed in all black was pretty much the worst of it. Then I really grew up and realised that I was so unbelievably wrong. About a lot of things.
There was an organisation I had heard a little bit about called To Write Love on Her Arms. This was probably in sixth grade? I was 11 or 12 years old when I started educating myself on the horrible things people could go through in life. I was still pretty young and naive at the time, so I didn’t totally grasp it for what it was exactly. It wasn’t until I was around the age of 17 that I really understood mental illness- because it was happening to me.
I began waking up thinking awful things about myself and things around me and just life in general. It was confusing to me because I used to think that things like depression and anxiety/panic attacks happened to those kids who wore black all the time. Like I said, I was so wrong. I became this completely different person, and I was scared. I was scared of myself. And I was honestly scared of everything for a long time.
And here’s the thing: I had not asked to be this way. Who would? Seriously, who wants to walk around with a gloomy, grey rain cloud above their heads all the time. I didn’t wake up that morning and choose to be plagued by mental illness. It just happened. Do I know why, nearly three years later? No. Do I wish I knew why I had to be this way? Uh, you betcha!
It truly saddens me to know that there are people in this world who think mental illness is a choice, and all the repercussions of mental illness are choices that person can make. Mental illnesses, such as depression, interfere with your ability to think rationally about the simplest things in life, including life itself. So, no, it wasn’t really a choice Robin Williams made to end his life, it was a mental illness that took over every bit of logic in his mind. And to be frank- that sucks. It plain old suckity sucks that that happened.
Experiencing depression firsthand, I can say that it does get better. It takes a lot of work and a lot of time and an infinite amount of patience with yourself to get there, but you will. It’s a tiring journey and you’re going to need people to hold you at times and people to keep you moving. Everyday is a new battle, and it gets exhausting after a while, but the feeling of conquering even the smallest things is a victory no one can take away from you. Like for me, pressing send on a text message to an old friend the other day was huge, and so is writing this. But you and me? We’re going to be okay.
If you ever need help or feel like things are getting to be too much, call a friend, reach out to an old teacher on Facebook (I know you’re friends with them), or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. Anything to keep you here.
I saw your face in a crowd
yesterday. We caught gazes
and our glance gave way to a feeling I still
wasn’t used to. I hadn’t seen you in weeks prior and
the awkwardness that washed
over our pale complexions
remained fixed in your
green eyes. My hand began to rise up with excitement
when I realised it wasn’t actually
you. I fell for the devil’s mean
trick for the hundredth
time this year. He then
reminded me today is your
birthday, and I forgot to buy
a present for when we met again
I thought a coffee shop
was a good place to get to know
him. He wears a god-awful striped
sweater; it matches his
bowl cut well but clashes
against black Adidas and
the smile that got him this
second date. We’ve been here before.
I’ve been here before.
This place has become all too
familiar to cold fingers and stale coffees.
Nights linger on and my fingers linger on
naked bodies that don’t deserve my
attention. But this one stays,
and so does his ugly sweater.
Sometimes he leaves to tend to
insecurities like his coked-out
mother and the car that is now soaked
with rain water because she forgot
to roll up the windows again. For now
we sip on warm drinks and soften
our lips in preparation for
the night ahead. He speaks as though
there is nothing behind his skull.
I know this because he doesn’t break
eye contact with the birthmark on my cheek
he doesn’t know is really an aged
scar from my coked-out mother.
I thought a coffee shop was a good place
to forget about our demanding pain. I
thought it was a good place to
get to know him.
Small, glass spheres rolling around and weighing down my ambitions.
It’s in my nature to float away, yet a habit to stay on the ground.
Tie me to a lamp post then cut me free.
Feel time stand still as the marbles pull me lower while the helium fights to sail me away.
One prick of a needle. I can pop this prison.
Watch how the marbles shatter and helium dissipates.
The pressure to be perfect floats on the wings of a butterfly
And struggle is made beautiful.
I am more than a pink balloon full of marbles.
// Even if they weren’t so great!// C’mon I know you know the lyrics. Anyways, I know this has kinda turned into a poetry blog, but I’m a writer and I need to write this before I go mad. Oops too late.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving. The day where everyone eats way too much for their own good and complains about how fat they look for the next three days. Oh wait, sorry, that’s me, I do that. Most people dig this holiday because it’s supposedly the one day a year when they can shout to the world (social media) about everything they’re thankful for without sounding like a total prick. Because, let’s be real, there are plenty of things to say thanks for on a daily basis, but does anyone really ever do that unless they’re prick-ish? Sadly, no. So we all decided that on Thanksgiving, the third Thursday of November, once a year, we could post a paragraph-long Facebook status about everything we appreciate in our lives, or collage those candid shots of family and friends to throw on Instagram because…just because.
Well I didn’t get a chance to do that yesterday, so I’m going to put it here and leave it for anyone who wants to read it. I’m about to get a little rant-y, so I won’t be offended if you close this window right now. But I’m also doing this as a bit of healing for my own sake, so maybe something I say will strike you and I will have influenced the life of another human being, which would be a first.
For starters, I am unbelievably thankful for my wonderful boyfriend, who I’ve had the pleasure of loving for nearly eight months now. He’s never left my side, and I basically owe him my soul for everything he has done for me. He is an incredible man, and I love everything about him- even the things he does that annoy me.
I’m thankful for my family, even though they literally drive me mad. I guess I’m just thankful to have a family, period. We’re not like any family I’ve ever met. That’s mostly a good thing.
I’m thankful for all the assholes who are no longer a part of my life. This is the rant-y part (shocker). To lie awake at night and dwell on the fact that I honestly do not have a single best friend (boyfriends are a different kind of “best friend”) is really saddening. I guess I just happened to pick some real big flakes for friends all those years ago, and now I have no one. But don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for them. Because of all my ex-friends and ex-best friends- shoot, can’t forget the ex-boyfriends- I now know what it really means to be a friend to someone: the complete opposite of you guys! Sorry, that was kinda mean, but it’s pretty true. In all my loneliness, I’ve learned that no one should have to feel the way I do. I have learned that you could be as close as sisters with someone, and in the blink of an eye, they can change their mind on how much they value your presence in their life. And that’s okay. If I don’t belong in your life, don’t keep me there. I’ve learned to be okay in the silence of alone. I know to be more picky (if that’s even possible) about who I trust with something as valuable as friendship, my friendship. Now, I’m not saying I’m an impeccable friend at the start. I’m shy and quiet and probably question 20 times a day whether someone really likes me or not. But the one thing you can count on is that I’ll be there for anyone at anytime of the day for anything. That’s a promise, and it’s also something I learned to do because of all my not-friends-anymore friends. They showed me what it was like to feel low, so now it’s my job to make sure everyone I build a relationship with feels high. Take that pun how ever you choose.
I am thankful for the few apologies I have gotten. I’m thankful for being able to find it in my heart to forgive the people attached to those apologies.
And last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful for pizza muffins because I had those for dinner and they were freaking delicious. Kidding! …kind of.
But I truly am thankful for the people and things I do have in my life right now. I’m nowhere near in the place I want to be, and the sadness of even the smallest things really gets me down most days. But I’m going to keep on keepin’ on. Do it for the h8rz! Kidding again. I’m going to focus on doing things and accomplishing goals for myself because at the end of the day, all I have is me (cliche, gross, I know). This is my life, this is my story, and I’m not going to risk putting anyone in these chapters who doesn’t serve so much as a positive phrase in the pages. I’m going to be around people and do things that I can say I am really, honestly thankful for.
My mermaid hair swirls around
While my mind remains idle.
I’m turning the key, but
My imagination is in drive.
I’m going full throttle on the gas pedal.
Scenery swims past my windows, but
Why can’t I feel it?
I reach into the cavity of my chest, but
My ears pick up the reverberating of friendship
While I’m racking my brain trying to remember
What my voice sounds like.
But I catch a glimpse of those caramel apple eyes,
And everything hits me at once.