I paired this poem with a YouTube video because I feel like they juxtapose wishing to not exist with wanting to be everything at once. Lenka’s song is just creepy enough.
I am taking off my clothes
and stepping on the scale
and thinking how I’ve lost weight
because I don’t eat anymore.
I am turning on the water
and shampooing my hair
and crying and gasping
because I don’t feel anymore.
I am listening carefully
and doubting anyone will check
and realizing it’s fine
because I don’t care anymore.
I am stopping the water
and drying my hair and sobbing
and hitting my head with my palms
because I don’t want
I was going to do a gratitude piece, but I can’t. Not today. I have no words.
I don’t know if this counts as a post. I’ve had a lot of topics on my mind lately and I’m trying to pull my brain together enough to write on them, because when topics really matter, they deserve to read like art. Anyway, hopefully I’ll get around to them, though it’s been crazy lately, what with the whole wanting to die thing.
So I want to share with you a song by Damien Jurado called “Working Titles.” My sweet sister introduced me to it. Just so beautiful, especially these lyrics:
“You could mess up my life in a poem
Have me divorced by the time of the chorus”
“You’re no him, but he’s you, only better”
“I wasn’t lying when I said this was over
I have questions that lead to more questions”
“I want you and the skyline, these are my demands”
Here are two covers of the same song, the first by The Tallest Man on Earth and Idiot Wind, and the second by Ian Lindsay.
Anyway, team, I hope you do good things. And I hope you know Jesus loves you. And I hope you know I say that with total sincerity.
Also–finally–Thanksgiving break! Whoot.
I Don’t Understand Life
I catch myself not understanding life
when I walk to the bus stop
or the counseling office,
sometimes eating an apple
or avoiding cracks in the sidewalk.
I can’t understand
how some go their whole lives
and never want to kill themselves.
And I can’t understand
how most people don’t have anxiety.
And why do I love to write
but it doesn’t fill me up?
I am writing I am writing and I love it but
it doesn’t fill the hole in my heart.
And nothing does, nothing I’ve tried.
Emotions are on everyone’s face but
I can’t find them inside.
I’m doing it wrong, aren’t I?
I can’t decide if my plight is mostly unique
or mostly common.
I thought pain was only for the dreamless.
Here I am right in the middle of my dream and
there’s an elastic band around my right wrist
in case I feel a need to cut—
SNAP, a rush of pain that brings relief.
And sometimes when people look at me
I don’t know what to say or do,
so I lower my eyes
and cower inside.
I am not above pretending to be invisible.
I leaned into his body with my shoulder against his chest, his arm wrapped around me as we rested against the car. Five birds, black against the pale blue and yellow sunset, flew across the scene. The world darkened and melted into gray clouds–all the world except the framed sunset with a strip of land and distant mountain separating marsh from sky. I thought how easy the landscape would be to paint, and yet how impossible to capture its beauty and complexity. I tried to focus on the moment, the serenity of the countryside and the silence of the oncoming night, but concentration proved difficult with his warm body next to mine, the almost tangible feeling of love and acceptance he exuded. I struggled with the guilt of depression, even with this human in my life, even with a perfect place like this so near home.
He said, in his soft voice, that the place was actually dead, and he gave evidence that convinced me. But he didn’t know it was the most alive I’d felt in weeks. I felt so much real emotion–not just anxiety, but anticipation; not just curiosity, but wonder. But most of all, caring; caring for him, for myself, for the future, for the moment. And I almost remembered what it’s like to matter.
When I started this blog, most of what I wrote about depression was just memory. I didn’t expect to blog while depressed, while suicidal. But it happened so I guess we carry on. Maybe this is more authentic anyway–you get to see my mood changing from day to day.
Last week at group therapy I told them I had seriously considered killing myself over the weekend. I wanted them to leave me alone after that, but they pestered me for probably half an hour about how that wasn’t okay, and why I mattered to them, and that I needed to get help. I cried. I fought back. And when I left school, I almost got hit by a car while running to the bus. The bus driver said something like,
“My bus isn’t as important as your life.”
I said quietly, “That’s debatable.”
And he pestered me, too!
But I’m glad they called me out in my self-harm thoughts. Because that night, after crying for most of the bus ride to my house, I decided I needed to skip college for the rest of the week, go home and figure out how to get better. My parents have been so supportive and totally nonjudgmental. I went and saw my previous counselor and she suggested an increase in medication and other things to help me feel less isolated and depressed.
So this post is dedicated to Thursday night when I lay in my bed deciding whether or not to tell my parents I felt suicidal at that moment, but ended up just falling asleep because I was so tired. Here’s to the moment when Dear Prudence came on my iPod and told me that I am beautiful and sometimes we just have to take life slow. And in case anyone else out there wants to die right now, please hold on, if only because I’m holding on, too.
Dear Prudence, open up your eyes.
Dear Prudence, see the sunny skies.
The wind is low, the birds will sing
that you are part of everything.
Dear Prudence, won’t you open up your eyes?