a river that doesn’t flow and a lie that never dies
this is who
a river that doesn’t flow and a lie that never dies
this is who
I think I have spent a great part of my life dealing with this: forgiveness.
I am an exceedingly rancorous person, towards others and very particularly towards myself. This has been expressed in many different, complicated, problematic and toxic ways.
I have never been able to let myself off the hook.
It’s not that I hold myself to a high standard. I know exactly what kind of person I am. I don’t expect to excel at something, to be the kindest or smartest or even the most caring because I understand my selfish and self-centred nature in a way I will never allow anyone else to understand. This is why I never allow myself to make mistakes, to appear mean or not-that-smart, or distant because I simply cannot afford to. I have spent so long crafting an oversized, sagging mask to hang over my real self that any slip-up could be fatal.
I want more than anything to be known, but only through the mask. I only want people to see me the way I want to be seen. I cannot afford to be known, even though I desperately long for it.
Through the years I have found ways of tweaking this mask, of bending reality and myself into a knot that not even the most careful of fingers can hope to unwind without fraying the rope into a disarticulated mess. To maintain this knot I also created fail-safes, punishments, ways to hold myself accountable because I knew others could not.
How can you be punished for sins others are unaware of?
This was when I began self-harming. I didn’t do it because I wanted to die, or because I’d seen other people do it, as the common adage goes. In fact, I never knew I was self-harming or that what I did was wrong until late into my freshman year of college.
I had read about self-harm, I had known people who’d done it and I knew what it did to a person, but I never conflated myself with them. I never thought of my ‘failsafe’ as self-harm, because I wasn’t using scissors or knives. But I was self-harming in a variety of ways.
Ever since I was a kid, I had realised that there were things I’d done that deserved to be punished but I was too ashamed to come clean about them (breaking something or taking something that belonged to someone else) so I would just punish myself in the most basic of ways. I would not allow myself to play or watch TV or any things I’d enjoy. I wasn’t the kind to nap because to me sleeping earlier than usual was a punishment I’d often use on myself. I sometimes said I wasn’t hungry, even though I was because I didn’t deserve to eat.
These behaviours evolved, got dropped, or remained as the years went by.
The first time I scratched myself as a punishment, was in 7th grade when a classmate made me angry by calling me names and telling me stupid things. I was so mad at him that by the end of the class when everyone had left, I confronted him and scratched his arm. It wasn’t that bad, my nails were shorter than they are now and I was a pretty wimpy kid, but I knew it was wrong, I knew I’d be punished for it and I didn’t want that. I panicked for a second while my best friend at the time stared at us. I knew by looking at him that he wasn’t going to tell, who’d tell a teacher that the midget of the class, the weakest person no one ever picked in PE for anything had attacked him? But still I panicked, my whole face and body burned with a hateful shame, everything tingled in unrest, from the tip of my toes to the space behind my eyes, and as they both stared, I pulled my sleeve up my arm and desperately carved uneven patches of thin blood up my arm.
Afterwards, I asked my friend not to tell on me. I gave her a story “I’d fallen over in my bike and there was glass on the ground”. Of course, that glass wouldn’t have caused the kind of injuries I had, but I was a kid and I knew that if I cried my mother would believe me. why wouldn’t she? She didn’t know about self-harm either, she would not be able to conceive a different scenario for why her youngest daughter came home from school with a scratched arm.
She believed me, and slowly scratching just became part of what I did when I was too ashamed to confess my sins to someone, when I made someone cry and ‘I’m sorry’ wasn’t enough, when my grades weren’t great, when I lied, when I failed to be the exact version of what my mother wanted me to be, and when I got angry at things.
I could not be angry. Anger was not a part of the mould I needed to fit, so I could not under any circumstance show that I was angry.
By the time I started college I had a variety of punishments ready to be exploited now that there were fewer eyes looking and the pressure was high:
And so the list went on and on, gaining and losing items as people stared too long, or asked awkward questions.
At some point, I stopped just punishing myself for mistakes, and I just did it whenever I became overcome by negative emotions. Anger, sadness, and frustration kept me up at night, kept my arms and legs sore and too-hot in the summer.
But I was fine! Of course, I was! I was finally functioning the way other people seemed to. I was giving the world my very best, polished version, who cared if it was fake? I certainly didn’t.
But the downside of it all was how tired I was, how easy it was to slip up and admit things you should never tell others. The punishments grew harsher the more I revealed to others. I was ashamed, terrified, disgusted at myself, but I could not stop.
I would promise I’d do it. I would never self-harm again, but then anything would happen and I’d become breathless, volatile, overly emotional, and I would just have to do it.
How can you deal with feelings when the only way you know how is through pain?
I have pages upon pages or journal entries that start with either the number of days I’ve refrained from scratching or any other habits in the list or a number of times I’ve done it just that day.
Counting became a habit. Until I didn’t just count the number of days, of scratches. No. I had graduated to a new level: How many times I’d almost taken it too far. How many times my hands ached for something sharper to sink into skin and muscles.
Then I counted how many times I repeated the mantra “I want to die, I want to die, I want to die”, “Everything’ll be better once I’m gone”, and “I should’ve died when I had the chance”.
Of course, all of that was happening when I was okay. I was fine, and happy, and enjoying my time doing something I loved and was relatively good at.
I guess, people forget to tell you when they talk about the suicidal ideation and the bottomless pit of self-harm, that you never truly need a reason. Once you’re in, it just becomes second nature: I breathe, thus I want to die. I am alive, therefore I deserve a punishment.
It just goes on, and on, and on, and on, spinning faster and faster until you can’t breathe or taste anything other than this, right here, right now. Everything that might cause your death feels inviting. As you laugh along with your friends, as you work on that project that you love, your mind is working overtime, finding all the tiny gaps inside your head where suicide looks like the best option to this life you’re trying your hardest to live.
I couldn’t understand how other people didn’t have that treacherous part of them reminding them that all numbered days were better than days where death was not at the forefront of your mind.
And it’s not like I wanted to die all the time. I honestly didn’t. It just that thinking of suicide was part of a routine: On your way home you need to buy bread, and something for supper, don’t look at the tracks for too long, don’t think about jumping, you need to take the right bus, don’t step onto the street, don’t walk home, it’s late.
And you know how hard it is to break out of a routine.
The day I told my family that, “This is what I do, it’s called self-harm and it keeps me sane when there’s nothing wrong at all but my body is screaming that something horrible is happening.” and “I constantly think about dying, but I also think about how I could never do that to you, because you’d feel bad if I did.” I got the following responses:
And it was. I was despicable in more ways than one. I was a liar, a fake, the faded design in a shirt that had once held charm but now just sagged too big on sunburnt shoulders.
But I was also someone who could fit into the smallest of boxes just to make myself unknowable, appealing, funny, charming. So I did. And I didn’t talk about it again.
At least I didn’t until I found a better language for it: Jokes.
I became that person. The one that jokes about suicide and self-harm with others. The one who will jokingly reveal all of her secrets because she knows her facade is so thick, so well crafted that no one will think twice about her saying, “Oh, yeah. I can’t look at the train tracks because it makes my legs shake with how bad they want to jump.”
And I was fine again.
I had a language I could use, I wasn’t really lying anymore, just using people’s views of me to my advantage.
I didn’t have depression! What do you mean? I’m laughing! See? I’m happy. I am always happy.
(Of course that I knew that to not be true, but I didn’t really care. I’d been feeling this way for years and I still hadn’t died. It couldn’t really be that bad).
I made the mistake at one point of going to a psychologist who proudly and loudly announced I could not have depression because I had never attempted suicide. He looked at my scarred arms and said, “I’ve never seen this before.” while I tried to say it was self-harm. He said, “You just need to control your emotions.” and I wanted to say, “I know. This is how I do it.” He told my father that I was “too dramatic” for my sake.
And I thought, maybe I am lying. Maybe I was trying to make people pity me, maybe I’m not sick! Maybe it’s just all in my head (well, duh!) and I allowed myself one other mistake.
I finished my major that I loved, and worked in the things I was kind of good at. And I started something I didn’t hate but didn’t like either, and I was pretty bad at.
I thought, “This won’t win against me. I’m not sick. I’m just lying to get attention.”
But it did win, and I was sick.
It was then that I was able to relive something I had forgotten: The bad thoughts and the self-harm when you are already at your lowest.
I had forgotten I hadn’t gotten sick when I was in college and happy, I was sick back in high school when I was tired and miserable.
I had forgotten how it felt to only breathe in with half of your lungs because panic didn’t allow you to go any further. I had forgotten how a panic attack tastes when it’s stuck in your throat for days before it is detonated by the silliest of things. I had forgotten what it was like to cry yourself to sleep while you prayed to a God you hardly ever believed in to give you the courage and the strength to end it all. I had forgotten the feeling of ants crawling under your skin, beating a rhythm that seemed to say: “Here, here, sink the knife in here. Here, here, pain will feel sweeter here.”, all the while your brain reminded you that: “it will never get better than this. It will be this, and this, and this, and the ants, and the pain, and the fear, for as long as we live.”
I had forced myself to forget about a time where everything hurt, and no one was listening. I had allowed myself to forget that suicidal and depressive were a journey, not a destination, until it all caught up with me, and the person I was before, the one I tried burying under elaborated webs of pretty words, reached out and held my hand to remind me we were still the same, maybe less lonely, maybe more scared.
She reminded me the risk was real, my pain was real, my fear was real. We were going to die unless someone did something about it.
But the thing about becoming her again (about holding onto her as the one thing that could possibly keep me afloat) is that she was still invisible, quiet, lonely. And so no one saw, and if they did, they couldn’t afford to care.
So I had to pull myself out of the storm I had allowed to brew.
I cried every day, whenever I had a moment for myself until I just couldn’t hold it in. Until I cried in front of anyone and everyone. Until my cousin looked me in the eye and told me, “this needs to stop.” And she held my hand while I allowed myself to let go of the ties I had wrapped around myself.
My friend says I learnt my limits that time, and she is right. I learnt that those limits that seemed blurry and weak were not there to keep me from growing, they were there so I wouldn’t be able to rush over the edge of a cliff.
I understood it, I didn’t have to like it. And my body didn’t have to immediately heal afterward. In fact, it didn’t.
I will carry all the scars of everything I’ve done to myself, both mentally and physically.
But I have better control now that I’ve allowed myself to burn. I still scratch from time to time, but I no longer have the need to draw blood whenever I do it.
Panic doesn’t sing through my bones, but the ants will never leave.
This is who I am, at least for the time being, it is this, and this, and this, and this, the anxiety, the ants, the bees, and me.
So, I’m back. I
already said that, didn’t I?
This post is to let you know what will be happening in the next couple of weeks, months, maybe years. You all know me, fickle, untrustworthy, lazy, and just an overall shitty human being.
So, I have a couple of pots that have been on the back burner, a.k.a. Drafts, for a couple of months (you know, since March) and I’m going to post all of those in the following days/weeks, just to get all of that out of the way. Some of the posts were written at a weird time in my life (because emotions suck) and so they are not *the best* I have ever done, but I’m attached to them and I feel that publishing them is the right thing to do.
After that, I will probably drop some of the “Sections” of this blog, at least for a while. And I will carry on posting new stuff, like actual blogging maybe, and poems, or stories. Time will tell.
I started another blog recently, and that’s where I’m going to be posting Book Reviews because I actually enjoy writing them, and I want to challenge myself to do it seriously.
For that, I have joined Net Galley and have acquired a couple of books that I’ll be reviewing soon. I know if there’s anyone reading this you will be like “Really? Another promise you can’t keep?” But I actually think I’ll manage to do this.
So, yeah. I’ll keep this site up because it’s actually a nice place for me to come and vomit words at the unknown without the pressure of other people finding it and knowing it is me (even though I have actual pictures of myself in here). And it actually works as a way to rant about things I’m working on (I’m finally writing again! Creatively! Yay!), and it’ll be fun to look back on how I’ve changed through the months.
So yeah, thanks for the patience, for reading, or just for stumbling upon this.
All the love, -L.
I will start by saying that I don’t love you anymore, not even a little. I want to get over you, and stop writing you songs and poems.
In my heart, I know it is over. I know it never was. But it is my broken head, that is just now realizing this entire journey we missed out on through the years.
This is not an open letter, this is not a monologue, this is not a poem, this is not a song. This is just me trying to get something off my chest and off my head, so I can finally move on from this.
But you see, the problem is that I was never allowed to acknowledge these feelings before. I didn’t have an “Oh!” moment where everything made sense and all the bullshit I put us through made sense. I only had that moment years after I broke my own heart through stupidity and naivety. And now I’m supposed to deal with a crush that’s been dragging behind me for years, without me being able to see it. This is the phantom limb of a surgery I was never aware I went through.
So I am writing this now, so I can stop bringing you every step of my new narrative. I am trying to take myself back from the loop it’s been stuck on. But how can I, when 23 is still one of my lucky numbers?
This is the point when I realize that nothing was ever something, that the salt and the sea, and the tears and the blood, they didn’t mean anything at all. Not to you, not to me. But they were there long enough to become the insinuation of something.
This is where I finally allow myself to let go.
You know I allow wounds to fester and I hold onto the anger and pain. And I know it’s because that’s all I was ever allowed to have. But not anymore.
I am no longer the scared bee, attacking anyone who dared to come closer, betraying and fearing betrayals. I am no longer honey, sickly sweet, and sticking to whatever I was allowed to touch. I am not even pollen, tacky and harmful to some, musky and sweet.
Today I am me. And honestly? There is no one else I’d rather be.
Whoever’s reading this, hi! I’m back.
So I’ve been gone for a while, and A LOT of things have happened since the last time I updated this blog, and I’m not sure I’ll tell you all about it. I know I’m prone to oversharing, but this one time… I don’t know.
I guess I’m in a really weird mood as of late.
So I guess, I’m not going to tell you everything, and I’m also not going to make any promises about what’s coming because I wasn’t even good at keeping them when I was feeling fine.
Okay, so, here’s a list of things that have happened:
And I guess that’s all for now.
I might come back later and talk to you again. I might not.
I cut/trimmed my nails because I broke two the other day and writing with short nails on a phone keyboard when you’re used to long nails is the fucking worst ever. I keep tapping the wrong button every time I type. I’m used to writing with the side of my finger because my nails stopped the rest of my finger from touching anything… And now when I type like that my entire finger just jams whatever the fuck it wants and sometimes not even autocorrect can figure out what the hell I just attempted to write.
That is to say, I just typed that last post on my phone while in my bed, crying like the pathetic excuse of a human being I am. So if I missed any typos, sorry but my eyes and hands are not being very cooperative.
Oh, ps: if anyone I know in real life is reading this, “hi! Don’t ever mention any of this to me or I’ll probably die of shame.”
So it’s been a while (update wise) and I wanted to drop by and just… Vomit words in here.
Some of you might have read one of my posts about fighting with one of my dearest of friends, Jenna. So I already explained all of this and how it was my fault and I totally accepted that she needed time to heal. You also probably read my super long and super whiny post about what friendship means to me.
So this is me being whiny again because I’m kind of collapsing in on myself and there’s not really someone I’d feel comfortable sharing this with. Also let’s be Honest, chances are no one is actually reading this right now. So this is just for me to look back on, and possibly delete.
So Jenna is still mad at me. She has been mad for over a month. Which again, it was my fault and all that, but still. More than a month. Holy shit, right?
Whatever, I still talk yo her from once in a while in the hopes that she will, you know, forgive me. Well, that’s not worked out too well for me. First time I did after our fight she ignored me until the next day. I talked to her at like 2 PM, she read the message and then replied to me the following day at like twelve. I thought she was busy and didn’t pay much attention to it. Then I kept talking to her through WhatsApp and she always replied a while after, very short answers and didn’t like carry the conversation on any further. Nothing like our past conversations.
She had not once talked to me.
Then I asked her if she could meet with me (I live super far away and have to travel 3 hours to meet with my friends so I always have to plan who/when/where I meet in advance) and she said no (she had prior engagements) and I said ‘oh, it’s okay. Let me know when we can meet.’ She said sure and then didn’t talk to me.
Now whenever I talk to her she answers with one word and then stops talking. I commented this with someone and they said it could be because we both feel like we are a nuisance to other people and me not telling her that thing before made her feel more like that. And I thought, yes! That could be it! I will keep talking to get to show her I love her and I love talking to her, and I miss her.
By this point I was still hopeful and honestly? I was still the dog I mentioned in an earlier post. If she replied I’d be over the fucking moon because I really do love her and I really do miss her like hell. I didn’t want to think that she would honestly throw me away so easily because of one mistake. I thought I was somehow worth more to her? She said I didn’t know her, and I think I don’t. But maybe she doesn’t know me either if she can think that I’d do something like that maliciously.
I didn’t want to be mad at her. Fuck knows I’ve spent too long mad at people. And I didn’t want to be mad at her because I knew I was in the wrong, that I hurt her. And it would be unfair to get mad at her for something I deserved. If I got mad at her, then I’d be playing the victim, I’d be downplaying what I did to her and making it about me, like she was the bad one. But she wasn’t! It was me!
Then I read something about the tragedy of relationships in modern society, how you could see them being played out in social media. And I thought ‘wait, Jenna and I haven’t interacted in Twitter for a while’ (February 12th, I checked). And it turns out that at some point, she unfollowed me. I thought well, it’s not a big deal. Twitter has been unfollowing people for me in a while. So I replied to something she had said, and she favorited it but didn’t follow me again…
Yeah I know how I sound. Insane and stupid. And yes, I do feel that way. But… I don’t know. I can’t help but being hurt by it. And with the not talking and the unfollowing (she recently unfollowed me in Instagram as well, which is whatever since I don’t really use it that much) I guess this goes beyond her thinking that she’s a bother and more like she is being spiteful. And I don’t know how I feel about that?
To be honest I did cry myself to sleep a couple of times in the last month because of all of this. And I just don’t want this to get to a point where I get mad at her for being mad at me. I would honestly prefer if she just came forth and told me she’s still mad. Or that she will always be mad and she doesn’t want to be friends anymore. I would 100% take that heartbreak over this stupid festering wound that attacks me at the worst of times. I’m back at being volatile and a mess. Sometimes I get super angry at her. Sometimes she makes me so sad I can’t breathe. Because she is one of the people that, without even knowing it, brought me afloat in a moment when I really, really needed it. She helped me believe in friendship and I don’t want to lose her.
I fucking love her and I hate myself for writing that first Secondary Sunday where I said I would forever lover her and my other friends, even if they stopped talking to me, because it’s true! And I can’t make it untrue! I want to go back to being who I was, jaded and broken and always in pain. I’d take that cynic version of myself back in a heartbeat if it meant I’d never have to feel like this again. Because I hate it.
And every second of it reminds me of what happened in the past. Of being used and manipulated and I hate it! I hate emotional manipulation more than anything in the world and when she shuts me out but still replies from time to time, when she ignores me and I still hope she will forgive me, i feel like the dog again. Like I never stopped being the dog. Like it’s all I will ever be, and I hate that version of myself. I hate her.
But then remember my other friends and how much I love them and how much they love me, and I don’t want to change back. Even if I’m tearing myself apart with guilt, self-hatred and hope, I still think it’s worth it. Even if everyone stops talking to me. Even if all my friends turn their back on me, I will carry on loving them, with parts and pieces of my body that don’t know how to do anything else but that. And Maybe, sometime in the future it will stop hurting and I will not get mad anymore. Someday those parts will smooth over and I will be able to breathe without crying again.
Maybe Jenna will forgive me. Maybe she won’t. I just wish she’d tell me, so I can stop wondering about it
To be fair I am being incredibly petty and whiny about all this (mostly in my head, cause I’m stupid and can’t control myself). I have liked every single one of her tweets (not like I didn’t do that before, but now I get a sense of sick satisfaction. Like if you really, really want me out of your life you will either have to block me or tell me to get out of it. Either way I’ll know) and talking to her, but… Well, things have yet to change.
Expect a new petty and whiny post in the future.