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I know. I know
it feels so unavoidable after
all the things that have cruelly
unjustly happened to you
I know. I know
that it is so unfair how
you have suffered and trialled
and how it seems impossible
not to stand in front of the mirror
and cry at the girl there,
imperfect and scarred and
lost
I know. I know
how it feels to want nothing
how it feels for dreams to exist as
nothing but a dull black hum
how sleep is the only thing
that takes the edge off of your
jagged existence
but I know. I know
that misanthropy is not forever
it does not have to be your way
the purity of living is here
for you and you
do not have to drown yourself out
of being
you are bigger than the
sum of your tragedies
come to the healing pool
expect pain in every
new place you go
float on its salt waters
and throw your heart into life
again
because you know. you know
that whatever you have to fear
is not worse than
isolation and hatred.
survive, darling
I promise
you will love
your life again.

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be

If I look back, I am lost.

the above is a quote from the ever-popular character of daenerys targaryen in the song of ice and fire books written by george r. r. martin. throughout the books, we go on a journey with daenerys, as she is thrust unceremoniously into a very adult (albiet highly fantastical) life. we follow her as she attempts to navigate not only her hostile environment but the people who surround her, their intentions and what, if any, end goals she should be focusing on.

the phrase touched me when I read the books, resonating with me as I wander through my own journey of self-discovery and healing. I have a large tendency to over-analyse and dissect in an unhealthy way; I attempt to break these negative thought patterns using things I learn in therapy, though a lot of the time it feels like replacing one over-analytical stream of thought with another. at present it feels like my thoughts are just an endless barrage of questions; whys, what ifs and hows chatter relentlessly away as I try to navigate grown-up life.

a recent obsession that has been festering away is the fear that I will never “cope” with life, that I will never “get better”, that I will continue to be hurled and burled through life on an emotional rollercoaster, with no semblance of achievement or satisfaction to be found, no more true loves to be had, no enjoyment of anything for too long lest it become too stressful, too difficult, too triggering. the mere thought absolutely terrifies me to say the least, and my anxious brain works its hardest to find unequivocal proof that this is certainly the path I will be forced to tread. attempts to control and relieve the anxiety brought by this particular stream of thought generally manifest in hours spent googling and researching, desperately throwing unanswerable questions into the echo chamber of the internet, hoping to find some magic words, some proven theory that will provide me with the reassurance I so urgently crave. psychological theory, psychiatry research papers, comments sections and self-help articles of varying quality; they all get consumed, processed, churned out and considered as evidence. I think back to the very darkest times of my life and constantly self-assess to see whether I’m feeling now as I felt then, whether I’m hurtling head-first back into that terrifying black chasm of helplessness and despair.

it is prudent to remind myself that self-assessment was not my strong point when I was stuck in the aforementioned chasm; I had no questions, because I had almost completely accepted my “fate”, my fate being that the only real answer to my emotional suffering was death. It is quite the opposite now. the questions nowadays never seem to stop coming, but none of those questions are “how to tie a noose” or “painless ways to die”. recalling memories of that time are utterly painful, and I feel sad for myself, and those who lived through it with me. I have come a long way, but it appears there are still hurdles to jump over and knots to unpick.

so I shall keep going forward. I shall keep trying. if I look back, I am lost, and playing psycho-detective will amount to nothing if not further pathologizing of perfectly normal human experience, which I don’t think is a good thing (although at this point I could probably sit a Bachelors psychology paper and pass it, so that’s something). I’m just a human; a big soggy bag of flesh and bones and organs and electricity; and I truly believe that nothing except personal peace and happiness are important. we are one tiny dot, in a vast ocean-sky of planets and solar systems and galaxies and possibly universes. our lifetimes are breath on the skin of the world, let alone the universe; our supposed failure and suffering are eternally meaningless in the scheme of things. we feel important, but that doesn’t make us happy or peaceful. we should do for the pleasure of doing; be kind for the pleasure of kindness. to be clear, this is not some hedonistic analogy; you won’t be happy or peaceful if you spend your days chasing chemical highs and being a cunt to people you sleep with in the name of “absolute pleasure”. cruel people are cruel, and lost people are lost, because they suffer inwardly and place excessive responsibility on external experiences and objects (and their effects) for their inner own peace and happiness.

the key, I believe, is to live outwardly, and reap inwardly. to absorb the joy of the world, of living, of being here, now, at this very moment. to be child-like, to accept the utterly bizarre systems humans have brought upon themselves (like council tax) and fret not over what you achieve, but what you learn, and just be.

just be.

when your brain starts ticking with questions, with self-doubt, with suffering and memory;

remember, just to be.

mirror

I saw her there, in the drunken mirror, reflected in the glass dirtied with smears of black and orange, fingerprints and hairspray trails. I saw her there in her purity, and I marvelled at every inch of her being; a drunken mirror, maybe, a dirty reflection, but one so pure and bright I could not ignore it.

a little woman, she stood there in black, peeling off her layers of wet clothing and laughing unfettered, until they were all laid out to dry. she stood twisted and I marvelled still, at each perfect fold of skin; where her thighs met her buttocks, and led down legs of gold and grey and black, to the gentle lines across her stomach, the creases beneath her ribs worn in from how she sat.

and she did sit, I knew, in the past; but now, she stood, and turned, touched her arms at their angles, one by one. more she touched and more I marvelled, at her skin so golden-bright and smooth, so proud with its pockmarks and scars and stains, bearing such a dreamlike contrast to the streaks of dark hair that danced so lightly on her back as she turned to laugh more, more, more.

I looked and sought her, perhaps only for a second, and saw so much that I had to look away as quickly as I went. what a thing of beauty, what wholeness she emitted in only a moment, I thought, I thought, I thought. I longed to touch her, to reach her, to smell her, perhaps forever, forever and ever more. in the mirror there was only a moment, but I learnt so much I felt tears prickling in the corners of my eyes. I wondered if I dared to look again, what I may see, if those paradises so absolute could possibly remain, of whether perhaps they existed only then, in that light, in that reflection, at those angles?

who is this, I asked myself, that can stand and turn and laugh so readily, so beautifully, so purely and freely, who can posses such vibrancy and gleam in nothing but a moment in a grimy mirror?

I dared, and I saw her again. staring back into my eyes, seeing me. she is. I am. and I soar past my years of hatred and coldness, my denial, my pain and pointless suffering, my self-loathing and denigrating. I am her, with the golden legs and soft stomach and black hair and curved ribs. I am her. I am, I am, I am, and I sink heavy into bed that night elated with the knowledge of the truth;

I am, I am, I am.

castles

as she is lowered
into
the swaying
undulating heat
of the underground cavern
she breathes deeply
the smell of hot metal
and foot soldiers,
and asks
is this
my home?

she asks
is this my home?
where is my home?
does it matter
at all?
is home some
abstract feeling
of childhood safety nets
that dissipate into
nothing, with age?
we lose our homes
and gain
weathered lines,
crow’s feet at the eyes?

she stands by
the quiet beggar
with his whispered
pleas for help
and change
perhaps
he knows where home
could be.
perhaps one so
much more lost than her,
could share the secret.

she cries
out in the night
for that great thing.
home is nowhere
for anyone
she realises,
a thought of comfort.
home is inside
their hearts,
not their things or their castles.
she knows this,
she knows this.

and so her mother says
best
get to work
on your little heart,
my girl.

room

the hot
white room
still tingling
with newness
paint and lino the same
is not the
friendliest place
to cast a glance
but somehow here
us strangers
freely see
our souls and sufferances
reflected in the walls
somehow here
strangers are my kin
all-knowing
of the aces and queens I
hold so tightly
locked to my chest
and though I avoid
the shocking blues
and greens of my friends
and lovers,
our brown
unknown eyes
meet in comfort
not breaking as we
would outside
in the world
we call real

what a strange
and hot room
this is.

dew

I’m not there yet, but I will be soon. 

my heart overflows with grace and gratefulness.
I suffer, surely.
but this humbles me
with a reward of
pure, composed contentment.

how could I
enjoy the dawn
so auroral,
argent and glittering with dew,

if never to live
in the mirthless night,
the sepulchral darkness?

if never to lift up my arms
in the unoiled sister-shackles
of pain, and furious fear?

the dawn comes,
and with it
the heavenliest sigh;
“freedom.”