People, places, innocence,
Frozen in my heart and mind like glass horses.
Safe from the sword of time,
Sealed with the kiss of eternity.
Escaping as tears. Continue reading “Frozen in time: reflections”
I lie on fake grass
Eating chips cooked in genetically engineered canola,
Under clouds that were planted by planes
Thinking of the words you said-
That I’m your baby
A sister to you.
That you want to protect me.
That you think of me
That you miss me
That we will keep in touch.
Words that make me feel like somebody.
Words that wrap my entire being
Like a snake, whispering, tempting my heart.
Your words dance on in me
Even when the music has long ceased.
Under sunset skies dripping with aerosol,
With invisible confetti,
With rain induced like pregnant women
Or forced tears
I think of your words
And how they fit with my broken heart.
With the empty inbox which greets me each day.
With the nobody I feel.
Your actions wrap my entire being
Like poison ivy choking my heart,
And I can’t help but wonder,
Is anything real?
The big day is here. I stagger out of bed. I’m already one down as I didn’t fall asleep until sunrise. I open my wardrobe crammed with clothes. Some drop to the ground as the doors open. It makes no sense that I have so many clothes as I never go out. Most days I never get dressed. I guess I just see the potential in every single item. Whether that makes me a hoarder or an artist depends on who you ask. It’s important for me to keep my options open, to know each item is there if I ever need it. But my options are anything but open now. I cannot find what I want and the task of getting dressed is completely overwhelming. It is overwhelming just being in my room, a physical replica of the turmoil within, as though my mind has been turned inside out. Continue reading “A day in the city”
I got you know you from the periphery, like a blog follower, or a fan learning about a singer through their songs. We were young- myself barely a teenager- and it was Karen’s party, my mother’s best friend. You stood alone in the crowd. You were as silent as a flame and you wore only the colour of night, yet you stood out to me. An air of mystery surrounded you. Beauty. Look but don’t touch, you screamed, without words.
The next time I saw you was at the house of some people Karen knew. I don’t know who these people were to you, but you were staying there. Longer than they had expected. You didn’t have a home. I learnt that you were deaf, but unlike some deaf people, you did not speak.
Your name often came up at the table when Karen came round. You were the crazy friend. You did not like it when people left, and you had threatened to blow up your psychiatrist’s house. But when I turned nineteen and began therapy myself, I suddenly understood why. I understood what love can do to people. I understood what it is like to lose your only connection to the world. I understood how the mental health system can kill rather than save us. We were the people who the system could not help. We were looking for love and security in all the wrong places. We had been sucked in by a system built on glass and then spat out on the doorstep with our hearts clenched in our hands.
I was twenty two when we found ourselves in the same room once again, and you were in your late twenties. I trembled as I arrived at the Centre for Adult Education and pressed number four on the lift. My therapist also worked on the fourth floor of a building. Four was my number. I found the room the support group was in but paused at the door before entering. Finally I took the plunge and quickly grabbed one of the chairs which were lined in a U-shape around the facilitator at the front. I wished I could just crawl into a hole and not come out. I didn’t know whether I wanted to wear the badge of BPD, and still wondered whether it was mine to wear. We were all strangers, united only by our insanity. Then you arrived in a wheelchair with your interpreter.
We sat together in the support group each month but we never acknowledged each other. I wasn’t sure if you recognised me. Then one day, just as unexpectedly as you popped into my life, Karen died. I went to the funeral and, once again, watched you from a distance as you, too, arrived.
I finally approached you at our support group and revealed that I knew you. You remembered my dad and his distinctive beard which makes him a natural candidate for Santa Claus at Christmas gigs. I wrote to you online. I told you I had found out where my therapist lived and wanted to go to her house. You were the only person who truly understood. You told me the local police knew you and warned me not to go down the same path.
You told me that you were unwell. I told you I hope you get better soon, as is our automatic instinct. You told me that you were not going to get better. You had tumours the size of golf balls all over your body, though to me you never lost your beauty. It was a degenerative illness that took your hearing and was soon going to take your life.
I still think of you and feel the urge to contact you sometimes. “Milly will understand”, I think. Then I realise you are probably dead.
The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, Lao Tzu said. I don’t know how long my own life will last. I have long felt I’m going to be someone who dies young too. People don’t understand what it’s like to live with chronic illness. We think people get unwell sometimes but then return to a normal baseline of wellness. Some people, though, sometimes get well but then return to their normal baseline of unwellness. There are many things I want to do, but my days are never as productive as I hope. It is exhausting just to get something out of the cupboard. I try to go to bed early and have a good night so I wake up ready to tackle the new day but I do not wake up refreshed. I start my day behind the minute I wake up. Some people just don’t get better. You, Milly, understood that. You, Milly, understood how meaningless the words “get well soon” are.
fill me up
with your seduce
ride with me into the night
wing my dreams and give them flight
No one knew how it started, but Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t the same. Her family described her as the most ungracious child. She did not help out around the house, she scattered her belongings everywhere, she fought with her mother and she no longer saw her friends. She stopped going to school and slept all day instead. One day she traded in her red riding hood for one in black, the only trace of her old self the red ballet flats she wore. She then left home and moved into her grandma’s old house in the forest which had been vacant for years since the woman’s death. Continue reading “Little Black Riding Hood”
I will probably need to give this post a trigger warning, though to reassure anyone who is concerned, I opted instead to bleed with words.
I examine the blue veins highwaying my wrist
where your fingers rested a paper-slice away from my life force.
Veins visible and dramatic beneath my anorexic physique and translucent skin.
Veins like roots protruding the surface,
my insides and my dreams laid bare
for you to tender, if you wish, or slay.
I imagine slitting these veins.
These veins, once bursting with your love.
These veins now waterless river channels meandering to my heart.
Emptied as fast as they were filled.
Helplessly waiting for the next rain fall.
Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
Dying more and more as each day drags on.
The angel and the devil,
the villain and the hero,
Are one and the same.
So I push away both
and return to a solitary world
behind closed doors,
behind the stillness of night, my only friend,
and behind my bags yet to be unpacked.
Bags stained with the sour taste of my final day
when the silence, perhaps, said all there was to speak.
I have long believed that I am helping other people by telling them what they want or expect to hear. I will show them emotion that I do not truly feel, and constantly give them validation while I meanwhile invalidate myself and my own feelings. It has left me sadder, lonelier and angrier than ever, but what I have not realised until now is that, in the end, it often just hurts them as well. This is the truth that never occurs to many people pleasures. While well-intended, people pleasing really does no one any good.
Six years ago I was in a very unrequited relationship with a man I met when I started university. I made the mistake of telling him I loved him, when really I didn’t know the meaning or impact of those words. He ran with those words and they propped up all his fantasies about us. He got more and more attached to a closeness that wasn’t really there and to a person who didn’t really exist, and in the end it broke his heart terribly. I now find myself in a similar situation where I am hanging onto words and promises I don’t know whether this person meant. It is cruel to get your hopes up over something that is not going to happen. I’d rather people not be nice to me than say flowery things which have no substance. Realising what people pleasing does to both parties, I’m hoping I will be better able to speak my true feelings and resist the temptation to say things I don’t mean. I am starting to really admire people who are blunt, make it clear right from the start where you stand with them, and are bold enough to speak their truth, even if it risks offending others. They may not get credit for it but their bluntness is, in many ways, one of the kindest things they can do for us.
I want to know if you can bear the throb of abandonment,
And not abandon your own soul.
I want to know if you can be your biggest cheerleader,
Your own knight in shining armour,
When no one is by your side.