It’s always a white man, the white man who can make ungrounded arguments and thinks that he is so sentimental and deep. Meanwhile I sit on the other side, panicking at his lack of understanding and empathy. He is the one saying that his uncle with the walking disorder deserves no pity: As though people can be expected to act in non-burdensome ways even when they are ill. He says mediocre things like “I’m not good at math but I passed my statistics course”. I stared at him with a stoic smile, but wondered how someone can be proud of mediocrity. But then I remember how upper middle-class white people have the privilege of being mediocre. This privilege comes from not having to tackle systematic inequality and never being denied an argument based on their identity. And then I disclose too much, I disclose too much to prove that his oh so deep argument is actually a misunderstanding of normality. He says nonchalantly: ” the only life that can seem normal to oneself is one’s own life”. But hello my own life has never seemed or appeared normal. With the shifting moods it has only felt like a life that moves too quickly and I can barely catch up to: as though my life is a train and I am running to make sure that the door doesn’t close on my face. I told him about the bipolar that plagues me. He interjected by praising mania, exclaiming how jealous he is of people that are bipolar, and that yes he is aware of the coming doom, but the mania sounds amazing. Mania is not what the movies show it to be, mania is decisions which leave you empty, in problems, which push people away because everything moves too quickly and you have no inhibitions to control your interactions. I told him that it is not what he thinks it is. We moved on to the cliche topic of how terrible 2016 made everyone feel. He chimes in to say: “Now is the time to figure out how you would behave during the Hitler Era, blah blah.”He proclaims his knowledge that as a white cis-gendered hetero man with blue eyes, he faces no coming persecution. Everything at this point becomes noise, I am being pushed to an extreme discomfort and I don’t know what to do. I feel dirty, as though every part of me is soiled and unworthy. This man so confidently walks around being a disgusting excuse for a human being. All the microaggressions remind me that to indirect racists I am a stereotype, not a person but a reified phenomenon. Not real but an object; an illusion, an invisible figment, a sort of problem. I looked at him who has excused himself to go to the bathroom, and attempt to form a connection through a smile, he looks back, panic stricken, a half smile forming through force, and I know that apart from wasting 4 dollars on cold-brew and basically sabotaging my sleep, I have wasted so much vulnerability on someone who wanted nothing but a surface connection. I went back, I hid, I felt sad. This is the experience of having a complex identity, one who does not fit into definitions of normality, who as a woman am too direct, who has been able to succeed through the obstacles within education and don’t directly fit into the narrative of mediocrity, and yet as I sit with this particular white man, I start to hate everything about myself, particularly the part of me that isn’t mediocre enough to validate this man and in turn is validated. I have a great amount to learn and love still. I don’t know what normality can feel like, nor do I want to though.
cw:rape, mental health and medication
I woke up today and actually felt like a different person, as though a weight lifted and I’m plateauing back to rational. 2016 for me was a stretch of a year, one which made me face myself head on. The lithium medication left me stranded in a small internal hell that I couldn’t represent externally. But I stopped taking it, and even while on it forced myself to be productive. I do remember how inadequate and guilty it made me feel any moment that I was not being productive. I ended my relationship with Dan. I still don’t know how this makes me feel. A great amount of my choices are based on my mood cycle so I never quite feel connected to them, only in some distant way do I feel like they affect my current actions. I’ve gotten very good at compartmentalizing but this has also allowed me to survive the downfalls and bad choices that I have made recently. The resilience to continue despite wanting nothing but to stop has proved to be my best character trait, better than anything I could portray externally. I experienced a third case of rape this year; it left me angry, energetic, self-destructive. I think these feelings are staring to fade, becoming a quiet hum while instead I just want to make real connections. I became for a while this person who kept displaying inappropriate emotions and critique. I think 2016 served to humble me: it showed me that I am no one and that I am not superior to anyone, just living through this capitalist reality. I have a lot to externalize in the sense of repressed sadness but I think that eventually I will be able to and the days are staring to get longer rather than shorter. I think that I am ready to go back and to be at peace again. I beat the beast that was trying to suffocate me and I am in a non-cliche way new.
I ripped the candy wrapper,
Did you hear the news?
I ripped the candy wrapper.
I do not remember ripping it,
it must have happened beyond my consciousness
but I ripped it.
I broke it, I tore it, I killed it.
In some way parallel to how I handle relationships.
I ruin, and wreck, and never even intend to or notice.
So then I become apathetic to it, I don’t even feel sadness.
I blame it on:
and I find a new tv show,
or another person to distract me.
Because in reality I am sad,
I feel remorse and yet did I truly ruin it,
or did they just leave?
I convince myself that it is the latter, that way I did nothing,
I can’t fix it, and it is insignificant.
I stare instead at some image
There is always a body
the texture of a body, next to me
prying the warmth away
until the stillness comes
and they leave.
Stillness is the drops
that fall from my metaphorical eyes
because the real ones have stopped responding.
My hand aches for his skin
my soul aches for something tangible.
The fragments pull,
what fragments and how exactly can objects, or ideas, or parts pull and in what direction?
I suppose the fragment of forgetting,
the fragment left behind by compartmentalized pain,
What exactly do we mean when we say trauma?
It all goes back to the concepts of consciousness and memory,
but we discussed that memory is often reinvented, remade
the balloon suddenly appears and it is red
never-mind that you never consciously perceived it,
but it is there,
an explanation to the fuzzy image that distracted you and made you vulnerable.
Perhaps the falsification of memory allows us to exist beyond violation.
We not only invent after the fact but interpret memory in whatever way
allows us to exist, allows us to not jump when the subway zooms by,
so when I woke up with no memory,
I remembered the question, that I would have theoretically posed:
I never expressed my consent, except in remorse,
in the crawl on the floor, in the rising anxiety, in de-realization,
in letting you touch me again,
until I couldn’t anymore.
For what cannot be bought, there is feeling
at times the feeling of leaving the body
to touch the vulnerable fragment of iridescence
At times the feeling of incompetent
a longing for the person
who will leave the body and meet the soul
in a dance of joy in suffering.
The soul rips apart and the body screams
the face reacts by red patches of uglyness
as the vesicles release fluid in the form
of floating perspiration.
I touched the urine on her skin
but only the coins felt her longing.
I cannot recall the face but I remember
the need , a need for the coin,
the gesture of the cross.
The priest, he said
that we are pilgrims, bodies made of dust,
the journey is centered towards…
the beans, the sustenance of flatulence.
the error grave, as I gazed at the artform and forgot to see
the hidden people that color the environment
with the reality of the result of self gain and free market,
I gave a coin, the priest a nice word, but the grass gave nothing,
it could not give beans,
the beans belonged to a market of some form,
which turned every touch into a debt,
the grave , a cost,
the birth, a cost,
the diploma, a cost,
the lips releasing a heavy smell
the rotting of the wood,
the explosion of the candle
which refuses to light without whim.
the lord will only listen by the donation,
a donation to light the candle,
a small remnant, a reminder of the debt
that christ left.
debt is but submission towards a power,
she released rain, sitting on the side of the street
drinking Coca Cola
a woman of no means, with the coin,
the power of the cross
which portrays the debt of one person towards another,
a debt which immediately fades, once the coin is released,
the kiss of life forgotten, the dance a facade,
no home for he who only has a coin.
Reason. Why are you here. I have thoughts of hurting myself. silence as notes are taken. Am I a person. or am I a behavior.
The behavior kept worsening. I went from irritable to depressive. The lithium dose kept increasing. My brain couldn’t take it anymore and I would constantly break down. Lithium for me was a brief picture of hell. I could not think, I could only feel my agony. I was only on lithium. I took it every day despite my migraines and lack of clarity. I now regret following orders that were only killing me. I looked at an old poem of mine and noticed that within its borders were the descriptions of my mind. “Death of swing, euthanasia of indulgence, the abortion of the self…” I was slowly sedating my mind into inaction and inability. I wonder whether my diagnosis may have been incorrect. Why did I react so negatively to a drug that saves others? Perhaps I have to remember that the first pages on google search are chosen as the first and that perhaps there are more cases like my own. I was going insane. Irritable by the smallest noise, unable to sleep, registering the farthest voice. I was not this way before the lithium. Why did lithium destabilize me further? I felt no pleasure and was sure everyone hated me. I dragged myself to the hospital unable to understand how to keep myself standing. They only gave me the lithium that was guarding my sanity from returning. I was safe. I wasn’t going after anyone but I was suffering. The medical profession does not care about suffering or inability to think. They care only about whether you are a danger to yourself or others. In some respect they throw you into the situation of wanting nothing but to hurt yourself. Until then you are a success, only after you want to rip your skin apart do they mark you as urgent. I am right now off of all meds. I am thinking clearly, eating, sleeping, and daydreaming again. I am starting to think that perhaps meds are not my answer. Instead I have to find new ways to cope with my irregular emotions. I’m not sure about anything right now. But at least I managed to stay alive.
I can’t cry. I had too many breakdowns and now I feel defeated. I just got out of the hospital a few hours ago. I checked myself in, not able to cope with the concept of living anymore. I keep complaining about this feeling but my psychiatrist won’t give me anything but lithium. I find it hard to think and concentrate. I used to have racing thoughts and each paper that I wrote would take half or a third of the time. I can’t handle being like this. Everyone is seeing my destruction. I sat in the emergency room for a long time. Since behaviorally I am quite normal every person that made sure I didn’t harm myself was made to like me. The enchainment of being non-external. I was released after a day. I walked out to the sun, people, and a discomfort in my head. I don’t fit anywhere. I got into a full elevator. I wanted nothing but to run. I haven’t slept for 48 hours. I’m tired but I keep myself up to feel like the failure that I see. I write words that sound empty. I don’t want to be depressed and have energy. I wish someone could help but I don’t know whether any part of my diagnosis is true. I sat with so many wonderful yet helpless people. I wanted nothing but to hug them. I could barely go to the bathroom by myself. I can’t take my half depleted half apparently normal state. I haven’t done any work. I had to reach out to the dean to help me get extensions. I’m a failure. I became useless and I am nothing but a waste of education. Even writing this post is painful. I can’t be a person anymore.
My life is becoming unbearable: to some extent a heavy lightness that suffocates me. By becoming I mean that everything is not as it should be. I am at this point 40 lbs overweight with no hope or energy to lose any of it. My lithium medication was increased today: a reminder that my brain is sick. While at the pharmacy I took a blood pressure test to find out that I am at risk, meaning that I am above the normal blood pressure. I feel like my body is deteriorating and I’m scared. Nothing works anymore. I wrote this essay and the professor kept denying my style, asking instead for curt statements. I just used the one word that I remember from all the GRE questions I have done. This post is pretty mundane but the life of someone attempting to reach stability despite a mental illness is not glamorous. I miss being irrational. I miss being in a higher energy state. Hypomania was always a blessing and yet at the end awaited the fall. I want to fall forever. I often wish that I didn’t exist. I sit sometimes and forget that I am a being and instead lose my awareness, focusing on my racing thoughts instead. I have no one to talk to and it hurts to pretend to be okay. I’m a piece of shit and I don’t deserve to be alive. If I didn’t have college loans I feel like I would end my life. I suppose part of debt is the loss of one’s right to one’s life. The I is a pretty selfish pronoun. I sometimes use we but then I realize that there is no one here except me. I’m sick. I’m sick. I’m sick. But no one can see it. The lard that is the majority of my body just walks around, out of breath sucking on chemicals, wanting nothing but respite. Instead I often find conflict. I can’t even keep one thought for more than a few minutes. This is why my essay was terrible. I can’t focus on one idea. I want to scream to deny my existence to punish my body for being defective. Instead I live half-ly: both alive and dead. I just want to die physically so that my external is equal to my interior. I feel like I am a rotten version of who I could have been. I am already at the fall. I live every day standing over the last cliff. I keep hoping that something will pull me back but instead I am looking above and I see darkness engulf me. I am sick. I wish someone would hear me.
Fingers tracing the body
Followed by vacant thoughts
It was just fingers touching my body
those fingers didn’t seek to trace my soul.
I opened up a heart that was too tired
of emptiness and swords.
There was nothing to keep
except memories that hollow out.