just be

I want to be okay with imperfection, I want to be okay with just being. I want to try everything, and be painfully bad at it and be okay with it. I want to make art and i want to write and i want to make pretty things but i don’t know how to, not without feeling awfully, painfully inadequate and imperfect. I’m not good at the things I want to be good at, and I probably will never be, not by my books.

Art is in my soul, I want to journal and write and paint and take pictures and scrapbook. I want to make things, try different forms of art because I really do love it all. I want to express myself, to make my own art, to enjoy it. I want to make art without hurting myself with the thoughts. But it hurts, it hurts that i have always been driven by pain and inadequacy. It hurts that my self-loathing took the things I loved and turned them into weapons of destruction. It hurts that my depression ripped me of everything. Back then, even if I felt inadequate, at least I still had those things. How do I make art when mental illness has left me as nothing but a shell? How do I make art when I think of nothing but how painfully lacking and untalented I am? 

I know who I want to be, I know what I love and I know who I am. The girl whom I want to be isn’t even anyone else, just the best version of myself- she is happy, and recovered, she is doing the things she loves, she is making art and writing and loving others the best she can, she is fighting for all the things she’s passionate about, she is learning and laughing and travelling, she is nourishing her body with wholesome food and planting her soul with spirituality and healing. She is flourishing and living, not surviving. And yet, the girl whom I want to be is so different from who I am- I don’t know if I can ever reconcile the two of them. 

IMG_8029

You see, I feel so much and I need so much, I desperately long to feel alive. I need to feel alive so badly it scares me- and yet I’m depressed, empty inside most of the time. It’s almost easier to grow comfortable with emptiness than to feel the pain of inadequacy. Everything that makes me feel alive scares me. Art scares me. Spirituality and yoga and peace scares me. Connecting with and opening up to people. Being happy scares the crap out of me. Living scares me. I have this picture of what recovery is supposed to be (perfect) and what my life is supposed to be (perfect) and I’m starting to think it will never be that way.

‘I’m starting to think, maybe life doesn’t work that way.

I’m not going to wake up one day and decide to recover and stop hating myself, and even if I do, my life won’t change the way I’ve always wanted it too. I want to be okay with trying, and taking small steps, I want to be okay with just being me. I want to be okay with being me as I am, to strive to grow and be the best I can be right now but not strive for perfection. But to be honest, I don’t know how to silence the voices, I don’t know how to not want perfection, I don’t know how to be okay with myself. I don’t know how to try to live or try to make art or try to be who I want to be. But I want to, maybe someday. Maybe for now, surviving is the best I can do and that will have to be okay.

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you are also fire

I’ve always been a child of the water

the Pisces, the fish

quiet, intuitive, mutable.

But I’m also starting to realize

maybe I have fire inside me

not a cracking, burning flame

but it slowly simmers inside.

I will never be the sunlight

never be loud or bright or bold

but I am at home in the night

soft, sensitive

a gentle moonlit glow.

All my life I’ve felt less than,

invisible.

All my life I’ve lived in the shadows.

But I’m slowly starting to realize,

I have light inside.

And I think

Someday, this light will take me places

Someday, the flames will fuel me

I have fire inside.

Fire that comes from feeling too much

Loving too much

Caring too much

Fire that comes from knowing exactly who I want to be, what I stand for

Maybe he was wrong

Sensitivity isn’t a weakness,

It is my light.

Now I know,

I don’t have to shine bright like them

I just have to shine like me, softly.

And someday I will shine

unafraid of laughing

unafraid of feeling

unafraid of living

I am water, but I am also fire.

When will people understand? It’s not about food.

I didn’t write this, but I saw it around on tumblr and it hits home, every time. 

“An eating disorder.

This is not about food.

This is not about looking good in a dress or wanting to be a supermodel. This is not about wanting the cute guys to turn their heads and stare at your beauty. This is not about going to a store, sliding a size zero skirt over your hipbones, and laughing all the way to the check out counter.

This is not about wanting attention. This is not about enjoying feeling death and refusing food until you need to be force fed with a tube in an ICU. It is not about deliberately pissing off the nurses on the ED unit by hiding your clif bar and boost under your sweatshirt and stashing butter in the bed pans. It is not about selfless starving for all the children in Africa. It is not about the latest fad diet or losing the holiday weight. It is not about reading fashion magazines and pining for the Body Mass Index of Paris Hilton’s pet Chihuahua. It is not about getting a good man/woman. It is not about religion, G-d, the media or culture.

This is about having the self-esteem of an insect. This is a polite way of committing suicide. This is about having no life because it’s impossible to go out with friends to a restaurant and order a bowl of dry lettuce. This is about weighing, measuring and counting pasta, cereal, raisins and anything that passes your lips, including toothpaste. This is about secrets and lies and shame. This is about not wanting to admit that you need to eat. That you deserve to live.

This is about being scared. This is about being terrified. Of everything.

This is about control. This is about numbing away the feelings of abuse. This is about starving away the pain. This is about wanting to disappear as to not be taken advantage of again. This is about hiding under layers of clothing that are mostly black so that no one sees your womanly body. This is about non verbal communication. This is about avoiding. This is about denying the past. This is about intense self hatred.

This is about needing so much that you can’t stand it. This is about wanting to not need anything at all. This is about not wanting to be touched but afraid to be let go. This is about having emotions that bubble up and spill out and scare people away. This is about being so overwhelmed and traumatized that it’s easier to avoid everything by obsessing over the amount of calories in a grapefruit. It is about getting lost in the mirror and scale instead taking responsibility and just f*cking dealing.

This is about wanting to be safe. This is about wanting to curl up in a nutshell and ignore the big bad world that’s too noisy and dangerous and can’t be trusted. This is about not trusting anyone and relying on food (or lack of) to give you an all enveloping comfort blanket when the feelings bloat you up and make you feel fat, ugly and intolerable in your skin.

This is about really crappy coping methods. This is about a way of life you’ve known for 13 years. This is about habit and second nature. This is about making a choice that will quite possibly kill you. This is about chaotic relationships, hospitalizations, devastated families, worried friends, treatment programs, trying and failing, and more hospitalizations. This is about losing your period, failed kidneys, and hollow bones. This is about cardiac arrest at age 21. This is about being sick. This is about not being sick enough to think you need, or agree to go into, treatment. This is about being so sick that you have to be court ordered into a hospital.

This is about trying to be understood. This is about fighting with all you’ve got and more hard work than you ever imagined. This is about exhaustion and tears and needing support. This is about fighting a battle with yourself and the world. This is about trying to survive.

This is not about food.”

just let me be angry and tired, for once

You know what? Life hasn’t been very kind to me. I’m bloody exhausted. I’ve been fighting my ass off for god knows how long (practically my entire childhood). I’ve struggled and struggled and struggled. I’ve always kept going, try again and again. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’ve done it so much that at this point, I know I could be in hell and probably still keep going. But I’m tired, and it’s not fair. Why do I have to keep going? I never asked for any of this, I just want to throw in the towel and I want to say no to life. No to school and people and feelings and responsibilities and life. I’m so sick of it. It’s not fair that I’ve never had a choice. It’s not fair that I have to go through so much pain and rubbish day after day, year and year. It’s been years? Literally all my life, I’ve had a bunch of crap thrown at me to deal with??? What the hell?

Of course, I’m okay. Of course, I can keep going and of course, I can get through this. I know I can. I used to wonder ‘How am I going to get through this?‘ but now I know for a fact I will get through it because like I always say, I have an impeccable track record at not-dying. I’ve carried myself through just about everything alone and I will carry myself through this too. Just.. where is the option to stop? I’m so exhausted. Life is really, really, hard. I feel like I’m being punished- having to live is my punishment. The fact that I had to live through all the pain and bad things I have lived through, and that I will continue to. The fact that I somehow wasn’t killed (by my dad), or haven’t died (by suicide). I just want to know, what am I being punished for? I’m not religious, I don’t believe in a god, but whatever gods there are out there, what the hell am I being punished for? What did I do to deserve all of this?? Not just this weekend, or this year, or these few years butall my life. As a person, I believe firmly in science and psychology and empirical evidence but at this point I’m starting to genuinely believe that I must have done terrible things in my past life, that I’m paying for in this life. Or maybe I’m just inherently worthless.

I’m just so, so sick of living. I want to say ‘I can’t do this anymore‘ but the worst part is, I can. I can, and I will. I’ll finish my work tonight and wake up tomorrow and go to school and talk to people and smile and pretend everything is okay and I will keep going. It’s like a trap I can’t get out of. Maybe what I want to say is ‘I don’t want to do this anymore‘. But I don’t know how to say that without hurting myself or swallowing a dozen pills. I don’t want to die or kill myself, not even close- I’m just tired, so tired nobody even knows. I no longer know how much pain is too much pain, not when everything is painted in pain. But alas, school awaits, and life awaits, and I will keep living while wanting to die.

Author’s note: “But I don’t know how to say that without hurting myself or swallowing a dozen pills”- actually I take what I said back. Change it to “I didn’t know how to say that without hurting myself or swallowing a dozen pills”. Yes, didn’t. Past tense, because that was a couple of years ago. I think I might actually know better now, though I’m not sure because I’ve never tried. Oh well. Also, to put things in perspective my entire life hasn’t been completely rubbish, I have an amazing family and supportive friends and there are many good things I am thankful for. There are always good things- but the good things don’t make the bad any better.

avalanche

avalanche, I called it

everything seems to be split into two

‘before’ and ‘after’

I don’t remember how things were before

I don’t remember how it feels to live in this body

all that’s left now is a shell

I’m slowly float

float

floating away

it feels like everyone can see them

the hands around my waist

hands on my thigh

hands around my neck

maybe if they saw, they would understand

the hands all belonging to different people

please don’t touch me

i no longer know which hands to trust

maybe if they saw, they would understand

it’s not just the hands

it’s the words hitting where it hurt the most

it’s crying and fear

it’s the complete loss of control

it’s every time I wanted to jump off

it’s having to deal with it all

alone

so much pain I never knew where it started, or stopped

so much pain it was always easier to rip myself apart

if only I could step out of this skin

just like the cuts that once covered my body

the hands now seem to brand me

except nobody can see them

or why I can no longer put myself together

i was broken to begin with anyway

defected goods

does an avalanche matter?

 

love/pain

I took a long walk today, a walk to my grandparents’ home, as well as a walk down memory lane. I walk along these streets I’ve known all my life, past my primary school, past my kindergarden, past my old childhood home, past the familiar playgrounds and park… and I can’t help but reminisce. I try my best to find the good memories, but everything seems to be tainted with pain- or maybe it’s the bad memories we remember best.

I remember kindergarden, we were playing with hula hoops in class and there was a girl I didn’t like, and we were both the best at it. That was my first taste of dogged determination to be better than her, the first inkling of my need to be ‘good enough’ and validated.

I remember primary school, so many memories of being alone walking the school grounds, being alone in the library, feeling painfully inadequate and out of place. I remember skipping meals. I remember my friend having self-harmed and wanting to kill herself, we were only 12 then, I remember the fear I felt when she went missing and was found in the rooftop because I had been in her shoes before.

I’ve lost track of all the times I’ve walked down these same streets upset or crying, alone. I remember the nights I almost killed myself, walking up and down the same streets reminiscing.

It’s not that there aren’t good memories- there are, they’re just tainted by this pain I seem to have felt almost my life, everything colored so bittersweet.

I dropped by my grandparents’ home and surprised them, gave them their favorite bakery bread I got for them, and lots of hugs. My grandpa’s smile when he first opened the door lifted all the weariness in me, my grandma’s long hugs made me feel like everything was okay again.

And as I walked back, I couldn’t help but tear up- and I didn’t even know why. They mean the world to me, they really do. Everything may be tainted in pain but they have been a constant lighthouse in my life, they have been my home, solace when everything is falling apart. I wish there was a way to capture their smiles forever, those precious smiles that spark the most joy and love in me- I would do anything to make them smile. I couldn’t help but think of them seeing me at my goal weight.. that isn’t something I want them to see, it know it would break their hearts.

I need to recover eventually for them, I need to recover because that’s what they would want‘, it was a fleeting moment of certainty. Being my happiest and healthiest self is one of the best things I can do for them. And yet, that certainty dissipated quickly- I want to recover for them but I can’t, and it makes it 100 times harder that they don’t even know.

I remember all the lost years, the years of 11, 14, 15 and 16. Years where I remember nothing but pain and depression. I can’t find a single memory of their smile, a memory of a good time with them. What I remember most, is seeing my grandfather cry for the first time in my life after he saw my self-harm. he knew. I remember seeing the pain on my grandma’s face because she knew, too. I remember all the times I caused a scene, all the pain and suffering I brought upon them. I was so distant, so far gone. And writing this now brings tears to my eyes instantly because I caused that pain. I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself for that pain.

So I mentally file ‘grandparents‘ it in ‘reasons to recover‘, for another time. I think of their smiles, and how much they mean to me. My very first memories are of my grandparents and not my parents, I remember being held by my grandma as a baby, the warmth of my grandpa’s laughter that still hasn’t changed, I remember being a toddler and running towards my grandpa whenever I saw him and the smile on his face as he waited for me, I remember the morning walks with my grandma to the market and her buying me my favorite jelly dessert, her proud smile when I graduated from kindergarden.

I want to keep those memories forever.

You see, almost everything in my life is tainted with pain- but not them. There has never been anything but love. The only people who has ever made me feel truly loved, the only people that made me feel like I didn’t have to achieve anything to be good enough, the only ones whose smiles light up my world.

And as I continue to walk, it dawns on me, I am so incredibly loved. I’ve always known that they loved me, of course, but the emotions hit me. I hold the feeling tentatively in my brain, not knowing what to do with it. I am so loved. I am so, so loved. I am their pride and joy, their first granddaughter, so precious to them. And yet, the fact doesn’t make me feel better or change anything. And it hurts, knowing that even having their unconditional love isn’t enough for me to recover. I’ve often felt so undeserving of their love, because over the years I have always hurt myself in one way or another, I have repeatedly hurt, destroyed and tried to kill the very thing that means the world to them- me.

I want more than anything to make them happy. The same anxious thought plagues me ‘time is running out‘ I have lost so many years and I can’t lose more. And yet, what can I do? I can’t get better, all I can do is protect them from my pain- but I don’t want to have to. I’ve tried to protect them from my pain all these years and it’s only carried me further from them. I want to make happy memories with them before I no longer can, I want to make memories untainted my my illness. I want to see their smiles when they see me recover, but I can’t even tell them (they don’t even know what EDs or mental illnesses are) and neither can I recover for them, I wish I could but I can’t. Maybe I’m being selfish.

I have no conclusion, no neat little answer, just a mix of feelings I can’t unravel.

I just miss them, I miss how I feel when I’m with them. I want to feel loved, and safe in their arms and I wish everything wasn’t so hard.