The Unglamorous Art of Surviving

Dear Reader,

You asked how I function; how I get through the day. You asked how long it took for me to accept that my loved one was gone. You asked for advice.

Well, here are words:

You have recently lost a loved one, and I am so deeply sorry for you. It has been four years since Andrew died, and I still occasionally find myself sobbing about it, having nightmares, or feeling intense rage at the injustice of it all. Reader, you need to let yourself grieve. Remember that everyone grieves differently. Feel what you feel, seek comfort, be patient, and take care of yourself. Sometimes I just need to gorge on ice cream, spend a whole day watching TV in bed, punch things, or whatever. Is this particularly flattering? No. But I let myself do it because I have to be my own friend. I have to tell myself that I cannot change the past. I can only work with this moment.

Sometimes I have to play make-believe with myself. Because of my anxiety and depression, I often feel that I am not worthy of happiness; that I am a burden to everyone around me. I have to pretend that I am not my wretched, pathetic self, but a friend who needs comfort. When I pretend I’m someone else, I am much kinder to myself.

Sometimes when I’m out driving at night and I have a strong urge to kill myself, I assign myself to “robot mode” (this is when I detach myself from emotion and mindlessly follow instructions) and tell myself I have one job: get home. I know that once I’m with loved ones, I will be safe.

Surviving isn’t glamorous. It isn’t pretty. It involves random cry sessions, plenty of self-hate, regret, fear, and other crap. My Facebook page may present a smiling, successful young woman, but that’s because I don’t post about my mental breakdowns, my uncontrollable sobbing, and my intense but manageable urges to bleed out in a bathtub.

Maybe this is more than you wanted to know. I don’t even know if I answered your questions. How I function: take it one moment at a time. Remember that you are loved. If you forget, find a friend who will remind you. Keep holding on. Sometimes life sucks but you just have to keep holding on anyway, and I promise you it will get better someday. No matter how bad things look, I’ve come to realize that happy moments eventually come. Peace will come. It may seem impossible, and sometimes I am too weak to have faith, but I find little reasons to live and breathe and move forward, and those carry me until the next time I feel true joy.

I am so sorry you lost your loved one. I understand a piece of your pain. You may feel weak, but you are strong. I know you can make it through this, even though it sucks beyond words. Darling Reader, it may not yet be time for you to “move on.” Love yourself like a friend, and please remember that you are not alone.

Poetry Friday: Taking Notes in English

Taking Notes in English

They said they liked high school fine, and
at least no one died while they were there.
My insides clenched and I thought of you,
Andrew.

Dead dead dead,
kick the stone all you want but he can’t feel a thing.

Cut me open, display my insides to the ceiling,
snip and saw and slice and
just figure out where the pain is coming from.
Eyes wide to the sky, fingers clenching,
I’ll watch your expression as you operate, perform the autopsy.

Throw books against the wall
scream
topple tables and chairs but no one will put you down,
wrap you up all snug in white silk
or even a snuggly jacket.

Crack open my skull, crush it crush it crush it kill me end it stupid stupid
never gets better, never heals, never fades from memory.

Hold them to the wall, scalpel to their throat
shake them but they have no answer.
It just wastes their time, it’s just embarrassing.
Words can’t fix it, time just numbs you for a while.
Blood running red
running down
running out
running out of time.

I cry, scream, alienate and destroy.
In my mind, I am a naked little girl in a corner
pointing a shattered mirror at the indifferent crowds,
hoping I can pass under their radar,
or at least cut them if they come too close,
or care.

* * *

Hey, sorry this is so dark. It surprises me when moments like this strike. It’s been about four years since he died. Mostly I’m good now. And I don’t want you to worry. No one is going to get hurt; nothing bad is going to happen. My mind is calm and safe. But this happened the other day out of nowhere, and I just wanted it out there again.

Poetry Friday: Mortality

Mortality

A cemetery:
If this is all we come to,
it will be okay.

Poetry Friday: Reason$ to Live

*trigger warning*

Reason$ to Live

The old feelings return and
my concentrated suffering
could kill every light in the city.

I can’t even trust
the emptiness to stay;
abandons me faster than hope
and leaves me numb.

I can’t even complain
because I’ve been worse.

Perspective.

It’s cheaper to hide than to act; blood flows in green bills,
sucking life from the ones who care.
So I die inside until it grows too strong,
and even then my blood comes out as ink.

Poetry Friday: Three Years Later

(For Mrs. Hogan)

Three Years Later

They warned me since the beginning
that Honors Pre-Calc was tough.
I watched Andrew, Zach, and Doug do work
using theta, vectors, and stuff.

The teacher, a gal affectionately known
as a homework corrector from Heck,
was petite with a smile that was fast as a flash
and a chocolate bar always on deck.

My fears were relieved as the months went by
and my math career didn’t just end,
for along with the knowledge I gained of sine,
my teacher became my friend.

So now that the world’s been torn in two,
I really just want to say:
Thank you so, so much for understanding;
you were an angel to me today.

Poetry Friday: Staining Cement

Staining Cement

Last night when we held hands
I felt your heart beat so fast
and I wondered why mine
didn’t.
You know I love you but my
heart stayed steady, so the blood
in me stayed cool.
I liked your hand,
all warm and strong and wrapped snug
in mine,
you saying you didn’t care about
sweat, but
I felt guilty that my heart
didn’t betray me like yours did,
like crime scene evidence
that my heart is broken, all the love
leaked out and staining
the cement and chalk.

Poetry Friday: For Drooble

For Drooble

Gray speckles on a gray-green landscape,
me a pink splotch,
I march through the cemetery
unafraid of the mothers and fathers
and children
sleeping in earth.

Stone benches say,
“Come sit awhile and think of us.
This stone preserves our
hospitality, like the jars
we sealed our jam in,
laughing with loved ones.”

I see symbols of life,
like flowers and angels
and “always in our hearts”—
the beating hearts of the living,
moving on but holding close.

What the school counselor
doesn’t tell you
as you sit in her office in tears,
is that not only does everyone
grieve differently,
but that you will still grieve
one, two, three years later,
walking by the sixteen-year-old’s stone
and wondering why.

Surrounded by all the words
of comfort from families left behind,
the traditions and religions,
the pictures and tokens,
you’ll touch the hollow of your throat,
near a pulsing vein
and think of him,
and of Him,
and of death,
and of what lies beyond.

* * *

If you want to hear me read this to you… check out this video I made! On my YouTube channel.

P.S. I’ve figured out I like blogging, but I don’t like blogging on a schedule. So yeah. Enough of that nonsense. Also, I’ve spread myself so thin on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WordPress that at this point I’m pretty much just gonna post and tweet and whatever only when I feel a need. Live life! Do great things! I hope you guys are so happy with life. Peace.