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I stood at the door to my new life
full of fear and tears
so desperate to find the key
under the piles of newspapers from 2004
that littered my desk
the smell of brass was a taunt
from morning til night,
knowing it was so close to my hand
but still lost.
then he came and shook me
awake at two in the morning
opened my eyes
“I am just
like you.
the papers are yours
they don’t belong to god
so get a
fucking move on”.
I found my key
and I walked into the
world that had been waiting
for me
I in my rarity and he in his
reminding each other that
our gifts of perception
are not gypsy’s curses.
my friend,
thank fuck for you
and here’s to our health.
my brother,
you’re more than a diamond
in a sea of glass shards

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sick

sick
sick
sick
for years, I couldn’t even type that word
let alone say vomit out loud
I trawled endless forums
full of people like me
so terrified of the power of it
that they replaced the latter half of the word
with an asterisk.
v*
like Voldemort
the bodily function that must not be named
vomit is not my fucking problem
fear is my fucking problem
and still now,
fifteen years after I hid in the living room
behind the itchy green sofa
listening to you moan as
mother and sister heaved you up
out of a stinking pool of chemo-puke
the smell permeating through the wall,
I am still sitting and fucking shivering
at the mention of a stomach ache
fear is my fucking problem
I don’t want to let it steal
any more hours from my life
I don’t want to spend hours cycling
through every single thing I’ve touched in
the last forty-eight hours
I don’t want to lie awake with
poisonous adrenaline pumping through my blood
I don’t want to.
I don’t want to.
vomit is not my fucking problem
fear is my fucking problem
I don’t want to lie awake
convincing myself that my
obsessive handwashing will save me
I don’t want to
explain to him why I stay up for hours
paralysed with fear
I don’t want to
explain to him that there have been times
I thought I’d rather die
than spend a minute with my head in a toilet
I don’t want to anymore
I don’t
fucking want to.
vomit is not my fucking problem
fear is my fucking problem
and I don’t want it
anymore.

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.

porcelain

the sink is my
porcelain paradise
running water and
safe smells of soap
my porcelain paradise
my porcelain prison.

contamination lurks
all around it,
once-friendly taps and
plastic bottles
seek to ruin my
little ritual with their
looming possibilities of infection

an elbow to the door,
the faucet,
a towel to turn the water on,
little fingers to turn handles and
the indexes to scratch itches.
still
everything feels dirty
and wrong
no matter how rigidly
I stick to my
fucking stupid little ritual

I sit in my bed,
another prison of comfort
surrounded by my things
my things that were
so clean this morning
now besmirched and dirtied
by what I
fear so greatly

I am a lapdog prisoner
content to lock the door
of my own cell,
to bolt the windows
and suffer
even though
freedom would be so much
easier.

easier
but so full of danger.
perhaps
I should be done with it,
and cut my own hands off.
perhaps.

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.

devotion

what do I remember?

not the nights I stayed in alone, for fear of encountering something worse outside.
not the nights I spent talking to empty, strange men online at four in the morning.
not the nights spent asking google the same panicked questions over and over again til my eyes blurred and the sun came up.

pain has a way of getting away from you. this is the brain protecting you, you see. childbirth hurts, a fucking LOT, but women do it all the time, repeatedly. no pain, no gain. was there e’er a truer cliché? no, probably not.

for all the nights of my life I’ve spent saddened, alone, anxious, defeated (and there’s been enough); recalling the pain now is dull and old, even only days later. but the nights I’ve spent screaming with laughter, forging friendships, exploring things I love, making even the tiniest of bonds with people sat next to me on creaky old couches? those nights are clear as pealing bells in my head, whether years or days or decades have passed. joy remains. always.

life is a pointless piece of shit, but that’s no reason to waste it. that’s no reason to cage myself in a four-walled prison of my own making. I stay awake late anyway; if I’m going to be tired, I might as well be fucking entertained.

I’m not a disease, I’m not a disorder, I’m not a diagnosis. sometimes things will be bad, because the brain gets tired, the brain goes wrong. but it always gets better. it ALWAYS gets better.

the inner monologue, the one that tells me I am too fat, too ugly, too stupid, too unstable, too broken. that voice is the disease. me; beautiful, strong, smart, singular. I am not those thoughts. I dare now to answer them with petulance rather than acceptance. I dare to tell myself that I’m wonderful; to offer myself the same love and devotion that I wish so often would come to me.

we must love ourselves. we must not neglect ourselves. we must take care of ourselves. one of the most wonderful aspects of humanity is sharing, communicating, bonding. but I alone inhabit this particular sack of mobile meat and bones, as you do yours. we are truly alone. if we cannot even fall back on our love of ourselves when everything around us turns to shit and the world lets us down, then where can we fall?

don’t fall into nothingness. embrace yourself and treat yourself with the kindness you readily offer to your lovers, your friends, your pets. you deserve it.

monsters

a poem to calm your anxious thoughts, some words to soothe your troubled mind. you have survived everything. you are still here. 

everything is lovely
don’t you worry,
don’t you worry.

I know you can
see the monsters,
my darling.

but I promise,
that they will not hurt us,
I promise you.

it’s not bloody wounds
that you see on
your sacred thighs,

it’s not acid
that you feel bubbling
in your throat.

I promise,
my darling,
that it will all turn to gold

if you can
just hang in long enough
to see it transform.

kindness is queen,
so treat your own heart
with sweet compassion.

the rest will follow,
the rest will follow.