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. 

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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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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.

live

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand, to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned”

That’s one of my favorite quotes ever, and it’s one that’s found it’s way into my heart ever since I heard it. It’s like, someone has put the exact feelings I’ve been feeling since I was young, into words. And yet sometimes I feel like these words aren’t enough, that no words will ever be enough. I think as I’ve grown up, I’ve come to terms with this side of me, and I’m still working on embracing it. It’s a side of me that I can’t imagine me without, and yet it’s one that’s hidden in the recesses of my heart. It’s one that isolates, and can be so incredibly lonely. 

A restless ocean heart. 

This selfish heart that never stops wanting, and needing more. A heart that feels everything too deeply, a heart that’s somehow locked itself away and hidden its tenderness from the sharp edges of the Outside. And when you feel everything so deeply, when you feel with every inch of your soul, you need to feel alive. 

You need to feel a magic that isn’t there everyday, you need it because you know it’s there. You need to connect, every piece of you, you need to live- and I mean live, really really live. You always need more, more than what you’re given, because life simply isn’t enough sometimes. And I don’t know if anyone will ever understand this yearning, if anyone will understand the dreams that are too big, the dreams that aren’t even dreams but a constant, longing ache. Dreams I don’t always understand. 

Maybe that’s why I love the ocean, the mountains, the woods and the rivers. They give me what I need, make me feel whole again. There is so much all around, more wonder and beauty than most people see- and for a while, this heart is at peace. I am truly alone, but for once, not lonely. It’s my way of connecting to the world around me, to really connect, it’s my way of feeling alive. Exploring new cultures, new foods and cities and stories. And people. Meeting, observing different people, wondering. 

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I see the beauty in everything, and everyone.

But that’s as much of a blessing, as it is a curse. At some point, you stop looking out for, and surrounding yourself with those little things you once held so close. How do you explain all the things you see, that nobody else does? How do you explain, how the smallest things like the feeling on sunlight on your skin or looking up at the stars or holding a book and a cup of coffee makes your heart soar and how you get so immersed in anything at all. How do you explain how you’ve savored every detail because you’ll never get those moments back. How you need to stop- to feel, and capture, and connect with everything around you- but everyone seems to be moving along fine. How many times can you break before you stop seeing the beauty all together? 

One of my favorite teachers once told me, when I was 16, “You have a very kind and sensitive heart, and you’re going to get hurt. People are going to hurt you, but don’t let your heart close up.” It stuck with me ever since, because no one had ever seen through me like that or said something that hit so close to home. And yet, how can I not close up?

How do you learn to open up, to learn to see the beauty and love everything around you once again, to learn to live, so that this heart isn’t in such a constant state of struggle and yearning? How do you open up a heart that’s been tossed around and broken and tired of it all? I wrote the first half of this post far in the countryside of Japan, surrounded my snow-capped mountains and endless beauty. And for a while, all was well. It’s easy to live, and capture yourself in a state of love and childlike wonder, when you’re awestruck by everything around you. Those are truly precious moments, moments I treasure and moments I will always chase to create more of. But what about the rest of the days? When life simply goes on. Photography. Scrapbooks. Yoga. Art. Walks in the city alone. Friends. Family. Those were the tools that once helped me to live (not survive, but really live), that helped me keep the little things so important, that allowed me to be mindful and connect, to make something beautiful.

But depression takes it all away. Not just your tools, but it empties your heart and leaves you lifeless. Funny, isn’t it? How a mental illness can rob someone of so much. I need to feel alive. But depression strips you of the will to even survive, and when you finally escape the wreckage, you’ve survived, alright. And somehow, surviving seems to be all that’s left because you’re too broken to live anymore. Sometimes it gets better, those moments of life come by and you grasp at them, underwater, trying to capture those air bubbles that you hope might somehow help you live.

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One day, I will build a life I love, and I will live. I will be kind, and love, and travel. I will find adventures in the everyday, and I will find adventures in scaling new heights. I will give, and I will connect with the people and the world around me. I will no longer be ashamed of savoring the little things nobody else sees, and I will no longer be afraid of laughing too loud and loving too much and feeling too much. I will open this heart and find solace in my empathy, instead of my fear of getting hurt. I will make peace with this body, this broken mind and heart, and live. 

And maybe, that’s all I can do for now. To look forward, knowing that I will build a life I love someday, and keep going, and surviving the best I can for now.