I feel uncomfortable,
I feel like a radioactive ball of nuclear materials that is buzzing with an eccentric energy and is proving to be a hazard to people around,
I feel like I am a physic’s crystal ball, yet I am indefinitely shifting colors so no predictions can be made,
I feel like a thunderstorm in the summer-loud, destructive, and yet terrifyingly beautiful,
And I feel like a puppy with lice that desperately wants to be snuggled with but no one can go near because it is infectious.
This has been my problem all day. I am feeling too many things. I cannot focus on one task for more than 30 seconds. In fact, I am writing this post while also listening to music, drinking hot chocolate, texting, making a to do list, checking my email, and reading an article for school. The reason for these incessant, racing thoughts and attempts at multi-tasking is that I have really high urges to go into self-destruct mode. Why? Because I am caught up in the past. I am caught up in past hurts and past failures and past mistakes that I have made-all things that make me feel deserving of punishment.
But if there is one thing I have learned over the past few years, it is that you can think-and maybe even believe one thing-and act opposite to those thoughts. So right now, I will finish my hot chocolate although every voice in my head says I don’t need the extra calories. And then later I will go to sleep even though my head tells me I need to keep working until I complete everything on my unrealistic to-do list. And then tomorrow I will wake up and face whatever emotions are present then.
But for now, despite my crazy busload of emotions and self-deprecating thoughts, I will just finish writing.
When you cry from deep in your belly,
And your sobs turn into heaving,
And your body is clenched with no hope of tasting a breath.
When you can bathe in the tears pouring from your eyes,
And the saltwater burns as it leaks onto your chapped lips,
And it tastes like a heavy, sad ocean on your dry, dry tongue.
When you lie on your bathroom floor with the lights off,
And you sob until you physically can’t anymore,
And you’re nothing more than flesh flickering in your candle’s light.
When your thoughts swim to the dialogue of too much,
And that your body is too much,
And you are too much,
And life is too much,
And hoping is too much,
And thinking is too much.
When you have that night that you don’t think you can survive,
And you fall asleep,
And when you wake up you find a way to begin again.
It is evil. It pulls this young girl towards the bathroom. It has strong arms that reach deep into the girl’s pretty face, down her scratched and bleeding throat forcing her to heave over the porcelain cold seat.
It is evil. It punishes the young girl again and again to purge out her insides until she is hollow, sweaty, and flushed. The young girl collapses to the floor. This is the 10th night that she has slept-sore and beat-curled up around the toilet.
It is evil. It sees the young girl’s deteriorating body as a victory. Seeing her presence unravel from the inside out is its only goal. It laughs and dances around the young girl with vomit dried on her chin as it plans how to punish her again tomorrow.
It is evil. Day and night, awake and asleep it consumes, owns, and controls the young girl. It maliciously has away all the light from her soul-her smile, her laughter, her passions, her personality. It has left her void. Not a person, just a walking shell. The young girl knows this, yet she cannot seem to escape it…
…Because the evil thing is an eating disorder and it lives inside her mind.
Warning: This video’s content is borderline explicit and may be uncomfortable for some people.
Despite me desperately trying to find a different video–maybe one that is more inspirational and less revealing–I couldn’t stray away from this one. Perhaps it is the raw and vulnerable content of it or the irony that Sarah Blasko is singing of giving all of herself and yet the video blurs out parts of her body. Perhaps it is the organic, awkwardness of her movements that touch a deep part of myself–that childlike part of self-discovery and uninhibited exploration. Whatever it may be, the video leaves me feeling empowered. For Sarah Blasko to stand in front of a camera and move in that way naked and raw, speaks volumes to the path my own recovery journey has brought me down. A path that I feel exposed and afraid and awkward on. A path that forces me to stand there naked of past coping mechanisms and yell “will you love all of me”?
“What is mentionable is manageable, what is not mentionable is not manageable.”
The process of filtering through past incidences which involve all components of myself-mind, body, and spirit-and attempting to find an outlet that represents the significance these experiences embody is exhausting. But after much time and experimenting, I have found that nothing seems to accurately display the magnitude of what is ensuing inside my head quite like words. The words don’t necessarily have to be spoken aloud, for such an action is many times far too exposing. In fact my favorite display of words is and always has been the written form. The editing that takes place, the careful selection of what is to be articulated, the choice of the story wished to be told, and the structure of piece being created, are the fundamentals of writing. All take time and consideration, meaning nothing about the process of writing is not without significance. Every word holds a purpose on the page.
Writing, for me, is one of the most vulnerable actions I can take. Not only do I have to select a thought or memory or idea that I wish to project, I also have to be willing to make mistakes. I have to take the risk that someone might not enjoy my writing or someone who reads my writing may be a thousand times better at writing than I am and therefore that person is making silent judgments about my poor vocabulary and failed attempt at sounding smarter than I truly am. When I share a work, I have to sit with the uncomfortable and exposing knowledge that someone is experiencing a part of me. They are looking into my thoughts and emotions, my vulnerabilities and pasts. In this sense, the discovery of the power writing holds within me is simultaneously the most terrifying and liberating revelation I have come to.
For someone like myself who has an intense fear of speaking in public or groups or in front of people in general, whose crippling social anxiety forces her to be subject to an enormous amount of self-criticism and hatred, whose shyness is her most wrestled with quality, the outlet of words written and therefore unmatched by the judgment of delivery offers to me fair playing field. It is a way for me to bring the unmentionables of my past to light. A way that is manageable for me, a way that is possible, a way that feels unique to my experience and yet validating of my insecurities. Because writing encompasses my most wrestled with struggle-words. But instead of pairing the mountainous feat of words with freely speaking, which would leave an already challenging fight as a nearly impossible one. I pair the words with a creative lens. This allows for thoughts and editing to go into what wants to be said and takes away the self-deprecating insecurities that simply speaking my story would bring.
Now this is not to say that I am opposed to reading my writing, which feels far different than freely speaking about an open topic-unprepared and not previously contemplated. Reading my writing, I believe is a necessary component to my healing. Because the mentionable is what becomes manageable and if I were able to not only put on paper what was previously deemed unmentionable, but also read it aloud then the experience that once lived in the haunted isolation of my mind would then ring out across an entire room. Only then would my stories be able to create a web visible to the naked eye, and, if the story is visible then it is sharable and it is in sharing that healing and, most importantly, connection may unfold.
When you are physically spent and can’t seem to rest, when you are mentally strained and don’t know what to feel, and when you are spiritually deprived and searching for some solace this is the writing that comes about…
Relevance, doesn’t exist.
When transcending reality,
When stepping into uncharted territories
We become explorers of types.
With new minds
A minefield of caution
To the where or how we came to be.
Yesterday I woke up sick with a sore throat, achy head and neck, and a stuffed up nose. So today I took the liberty of staying home and resting all day. At first, I saw this as a sign that I was willing to take care of myself-a thing I so commonly disregard-, but as the day trickled on I became heavier and heavier. In the time I had for myself the high I had been riding nearly all week was slowly pulled off me until I was left naked, cold, and painfully aware of how difficult recovery can be. The laughter that was so present yesterday has turned to silence and the excitement and dreams for my coming year have turned towards painful memories and hurtful words said to me. My mind that thrives in busyness was met today with too much time to ruminate on my past hurts and mistakes.
But what am I supposed to do? I am sick and I took a sick day. That is 100% justifiable and yet somehow I am left with a pile of guilty and regretful feelings about it. The day at home-writing, painting, and reading-has left me down in that dark place I had worked so hard this week to stay out of. Thoughts of worthlessness and incompetency are plaguing my mind as I dwell on my past mistakes or, rather, my past in general. My mind tells me that I need to self-destruct, that I need to punish myself for my mere existence…
But I stop my mind. I stop it from continuing down this self-deprecating path because I know where it leads. To a relapse with self-harm or purging or any other behavior. To a ton of tears as I lie in my bed and think of how much I hate my body and what has been done to it. To a night full of restless sleep as I can’t seem to turn off the tape of rumination and insults playing on repeat. To a start of a week in that hole of darkness that is so difficult to climb out of. I stop my mind so that I may instead I think of the little things that are good.
How I am excited to wake up tomorrow and have my hazelnut coffee…or how I am going to wear my favorite dress tomorrow-the one that looks like I stole it from Laura Ingalls Wilder…or that how I love brushing my teeth and lighting my candles and having hot chocolate before bed…or how my hair smells and my sheets feel and my gum tastes.
And suddenly I am grounded, back in the moment, able to write this post, and confident that soon these days by myself won’t be so hard. Though the memories are still there, I can choose not to dwell on them and though my body is still uncomfortable I have the choice to say “screw it” and make myself my some hot chocolate and write. Because I have given in to the critic and bully of my mind too many times and fallen flat on my face. And because I know though I may have fallen down seven times I have the choice to get up eight.
Snakes crawl up the goddess’s legs and onto her torso. They wrap themselves tightly around her shoulders, entangling her within their long bodies. The snakes are black, jet black, not a spot lighter than the midnight skies. As they move, they secrete a trajectory of red pigment, which stains the goddess’s white robes as if soaked in her own blood. The snakes move with grace equivalent to the motion of a Giselle without legs. Like water, their bodies coil around the goddess with fluidity and ease, while leaving an unsettled, aggravated sensation throughout the goddess’s body. Tighter they wind themselves until all the air is squeezed from the goddess’s lungs and nothing stronger than a faint whimper can leave her lips. A steam leaks from her ears, nose, mouth, and any other passage from within herself, as she grows hot in the desert air, yet no sweat drips from her brow, as she has no moisture to spare.
These midnight snakes are the arms of her destroyer, the shadow which has been pursuing time and space in search of her intoxicating soul. He found her despite running away to the desert, the stark and barren ground with no water and no life. She ran to escape his relentless chase thinking that the land desolate of life would prove shelter enough, but no time or space can shield the goddess from him. Because, the destroyer is from a realm that exceeds understanding, a liminal realm where constraints of life do not own him. In fact, he owns life. Takes life, and the goddess’s youthful spirit proved a delicious ownership for the destroyer’s shadow.
There, thrashing beneath the blistering and ruthless desert sun, the snakes coiled ever tighter. Round and round, spiraling in black skin and red stains. There was no chance of escape. With no ability to taste a breath of air, the goddess collapsed. Beat and defeated, the goddess fell covered in death’s sand that decorated the desert floor. Moments passed and her destroyer’s arms never rescinded. The snakes were slowly stealing both her time and space, robbing the goddess of her revitalizing soul. Moments and more moments, the sun high and brutal on the skin. There the goddess lay. It was only when the goddess realized the snakes were, in fact, her own arms that she was able to feel the sublimity of release.
This story leaked out of my mind over the past few days. It can be a metaphor for a lot of different things depending on the lens of the reader. While writing it I identified with the goddess. And, just like the goddess my greatest realization was that I was responsible for entrapping myself in my illnesses. Once, I was able to release the grip my arms had on me and stop squeezing all the air/life/happiness out of myself I started to find true and authentic progress in my recovery.