Giving The Thoughts Their Voice

It has been a while since I’ve posted here. I am not sure there is any more cliche line on the blogosphere than that opening sentence, but it is the truth, and I can identify most of the factors that have led to that: the need to distance myself from such close contact with all the stories that were worsening my own mental health; losing my ability to express myself; being unwilling to expose myself to those who happened upon this space in search of poetry, and not the unwieldy emotions of an emotionally stunted girl; a lack of willingness to deal with said emotions; and sometimes, guilt, and frustration at being chained to emotional experiences that seem circular in nature, that are circular in nature.

Those factors have all significantly influenced my inability to word vomit in meaningful ways, but none moreso than the latter two. I suppose this can be considered me caving to the need to express how I feel, word vomits, and all. Twitter meltdowns can only do so much–something I have known since I first began to use it as a crutch, and people have never really been very present options–difficult to turn to them when they are the centre of your distress; are willing but inept at being there; or have become such representations of danger to you, that your entire being revolts at the idea of trusting them. Still, I am not sure that I would have cracked, if it did not feel so important to organise my thoughts, and see them all laid out, structured, and articulate, so that my feelings could stop pulling me in the distressing tug of war of, “You’re right to feel this way, but you’re also wrong. Every thought, and feeling, and every bit of anger, and hurt, is wrong. All wrong. Petty. Immature. Unfair.”

At some point, one has to weigh one’s sanity over one’s pride, and tendency to feel guilty over one’s right to acknowledge harm.

I guess we can say, that I am at that point.

It isn’t that I don’t know that I am entitled to these feelings; that I don’t understand that they are free to exist because I matter, too, but my God, is it hard to give them their right to exist when you once spent a significant part of your life convincing yourself that they didn’t matter; that they do matter, but that they should be ignored because they’re too strong a reaction, or the circumstances that led to the source of your hurt occurring, mean that you should be considerate of them, of that, of everything, and everyone, but yourself, because they need this–you, a forgiving, and open wound to be poured into, and ‘indifferent’ in all the ways that free them of accountability, and guilt.

God is it hard to hold people accountable when you’re terrified of hurting them, of destroying all the progress they’ve made, or the great place they’ve finally, finally gotten to…sometimes on the back of your own destruction. And I thought I could do that forever: always be some kind of bottomless container for people to pour their worst things into, because I was unbreakable, I was strong, I could handle it; it was only fair that I gave them what I did not need. But I was wrong. Very, very wrong. And the burnout was so severe, that I am still reeling from it. How does one spend only twenty two years on Earth, and burnout before one has even gotten to the ‘real’ stuff? But I did, and it was bad. It is bad.

It feels like a motor struggling to keep going; cutting out, and starting back up again, convinced that this time, it’s okay, it can keep going, it can keep pulling all this weight, and carrying things it was perhaps never meant to. And it sucks. It is horrible. It is like a never-ending well of exhaustion. Different from the depression exhaustion–that one is a dryness made of listlessness, and lack of motivation, and just…an exhaustion from existing, from trying to exist, from trying to convince yourself that you should do, and do, and do, so that you can have an existence when you wake up from…whatever this is supposed to be. But that burnout? That ‘I’m so tired I could cry from the sheer exhaustion.’? That ‘I want to give, but it feels like I’m pulling from nothing, like there isn’t even a vacuum, or a void there, just the absence of a bottom beyond this bottom’? That is an entirely different feeling. The knowledge that there is no further to go. That there is nothing else that can be pulled from that place within you, to give, because this is it. You are empty. There are no reserves. There isn’t a reservoir. There is just you, and this dryness.

I can’t believe that it has been at least one year later since it first happened, since I first realised that I had nothing left to give, and I still feel like…I…have nothing left to give? And I feel so unbelievably guilty for it. I feel like a shitty friend for not being able to laugh things off, and return to ‘equilibrium’; for not being more patient, and willing to push back when I know they aren’t okay; for not trying harder; for not doing more to show that I am still there; for becoming the very thing I hated most in my life–being the undependable person, the one always too late, or being too little, or too distant, or there, but not really there at all. And I hate it. Absolutely despise it. But I’m not okay either? I’m not okay. I’m angry, and hurt, and I want it to be known, and acknowledged, and to not feel petty, and unforgiving for the fact that there is damage, and I resent it. I resent that the only people I cared about, the only people I was willing to be destroyed for, to allow to hurt me, and see me in ways that I considered rightfully theirs, are the ones who are at the centre of the damage done to me. That I resent that they broke me in ways my uncle’s actions never could, or never will.

I am furious. I am furious that I am still finding damage. That I am still finding destruction when I think that I am healed. That I can stumble across posts on emotional abuse, and say, ‘This is familiar. This was done to me.’ That those posts, and people unintentionally screw me up for hours. That I am here right now because I stumbled across a ‘funny’ meme, and had a split second gut reaction where I wondered, ‘Had someone gotten a hold of one of our conversations, and posted it?’ even though I knew it was impossible; that I would never reveal something so humiliating as the time when I felt like I deserved to be hurt, or knew that you treated me like I wasn’t worthy of more, but I took it because I loved you. That I forced myself to laugh at the stupid, frigging meme, even though my body immediately began to spiral into hurt, and anxiety, after weeks of feeling nothing. 

I am furious. So furious. And I resent the fact that my inept attempts at explaining why I can’t stop throwing pithy, sarcastic comments that we all laugh at, are only the surface of what I feel. That I rarely use profanity, but every time I am accidentally forced to confront the sheer scope of the damage done to me, I want to say, ‘Fuck you.’; that I would genuinely not care if you walked off a cliff, and yet…I can’t, which is what I resent the most. That despite being so aware of all that has been done to me; that I will continue to find more damage that I will ineptly attempt to explain, while my frigging tongue stumbles, and I stutter, because my mind refuses to give me the words to say what was done to me, and to hold you accountable for it, I will still never be able to walk completely away, or turn off the care that still guides my actions, because it is automatic that I make sure everyone is okay; that I make sure they know no matter how angry, or disappointed, or disgusted I am; that I am still there, and available.

I do still resent the fact that a year later, even the thought of being emotionally close to other people, leaves my body strumming with tension. I resent that the very idea of other people, caring about newer humans, terrifies me, because I’ve seen myself destroyed, seen myself give until there was nothing left to give, and then been told by the people I’d done that for, that I was a fool to have ever done so. I resent that no matter what I say, or how I say it, I will always come away seeming like the one who has made mountains out of molehills, because I worked so hard to protect others from themselves, I forgot to protect me from me, and them. I resent that I grew to hate the parts of me that were my best selves; that were the soft, and gentle, and kind, but truly, most of all, I will perhaps never cease to resent that I will always be there. That the reason I will always find myself re-experiencing the same feelings, rehashing the same conversations, demanding an iota of the respect, and concern I deserve as a person, is not because I ‘can’t let things go’, or because “[I] forget nothing.”, but rather, because I will always be trapped in the same unhealthy patterns–where I cease to exist–because despite what you’ve always said, beneath the surface, the implied requests that I be there, sustaining, pretend that I need nothing, while given nothing of sustenance in return, is our implicit agreement that I cease to exist so that you can.

I resent not the giving, but the demand that I shrink away, shrivel up, and die, so that you might be free of guilt, and responsibility. That is why I put my foot down. That is why I became cruel, and unforgiving. Not because I couldn’t forgive it all, but because I was only worth the effort if there was no effort at all.


This made me feel better, surprisingly enough. It felt good to touch the tip of the iceberg, and give it a voice.

Someone Died Today

Someone died today, and there were no surprises— 
not to those of us who’d seen it before, who live 
with our faces to glass panes, unable to look away 
because there is no ‘away’; we have never known a 
holiday from these things, there are no moments in 
which we are truly unaware, unconscious, blinded to 
it; it sits in our stomachs from the moment our parents, 
and forbearers warned us not to trust ‘them’—those things 
that come easy, and soft to others: like a love in which 
there is no ticking bomb; a friendship in which there is no 
shoe raised, and poised, no dropping, or crushing to avoid; 
like the pages in which your history is one of kingdoms, and 
conquering, not of subjugation, and loss (a loss you are 
still deeply intimate with, that marks your skin, and your face, 
leaves a stench down to the roots of the trees that bore you, 
a stench that you have not yet learned to wash away); because 
even the fantasies they sell us, leave only a bitter trail of tears, 
they rest on our shoulders beneath the skulls of heavy matter 
that rip even the most arcane dreams to shreds, for we have 
never known fairies, lost even the little magic some of us crossed 
the waters with, while others had the very graves of their ancestors’ 
bones, washed away in black rivers, had their tongues cut from them 
so the magic could not pass on; it is not that we have lost ourselves, 
or the bits of us that could flinch in surprise at another body dropping, 
but rather it is that we have grown suckling on the margins of death, 
have held its teat while we learned to walk skirting its robe, were taught 
which of us might go next so we knew not to accidentally cross its path 
on wounded knee, and so, we find it—this tragedy that unfolded before 
us—not a moment of surprise (for we have been stomaching the disregard 
for human life from the instant we were displaced from the womb, skulls 
cracked open on auction blocks sometimes, other times ripped from 
the land in flickering torchlight, or by white savages, holding scriptures in 
one hand, and the threat of end in the other), but of grim forbearance, 
as we looked to our cousins in genocide, and nodded in resignation at the 
intersections where some of us held hands in relations closer than ancestry, 
because we were tired, and angry, and hurt, that it took one of your own to 
force your faces to the glass pane, too—someone died today, and yesterday, 
and the day before that, and the century before that, and the tragedy in this, 
is that there were no surprises, only another terrible death we warned you of, 
another terrible thing that could have been avoided if you had listened to us. 
K.N.O.W. Saturday, August 12, 2017. 

Smoke and Ashes

You sit on a rooftop, watching the smoke curl 
above your head—a cloud of pretty ashes, grey 
against the moonlight, perhaps the one they are 
convinced lingers above your head—and you taste 
destruction in your mouth, savour the way blood drips 
from between your shredded gums, grin—fiendish, 
feral, empty(?)—decorated by the glass half-glinting in 
the moon, bright where it stuck when your jaw began to 
clamp down on a mouthful of things too sharp for you to 
chew on, and it tastes normal, this thing, as normal as the 
flames licking the inside of your ravaged mouth, too un- 
noticeable beneath the fire in your stomach from the thing 
in your hand you always dream of sipping from when every- 
thing feels too vast, when it feels like the only way to narrow 
it all down to a thing you can handle, is to do ‘it’—stand up, 
and walk off the roof of the building, instead of only ever 
standing close enough to court vertigo; and you wonder why 
it always comes down to this for you, why the thing that stills 
the clawing, is this dream of smoke curling above your head, 
drifting from your mouth, and the butt of the glowing cancer 
in your hand, whetted by the echo of liqueur you don’t even 
feel, have never liked the taste of (it all tastes the same you 
say), while you lay on your back, soothed by the sensation 
of feeling tiny, and gaping, a lone figure wanting the stars 
within reach, content to raise your palm against them, and 
watch it fade into the dark, while they glitter reassuringly, 
telling of how vast the world is, and how much more there is 
to see of it, even if you ache in knowing you will probably touch 
so little of it—but you did always like the feel of flames too close 
to your skin, and the sensation of drifting, stars too far away to 
cling to; you’ve always been more grounded unanchored. 
K.N.O.W. Friday, August 11 – Monday, August 14, 2017. 

We Could Have Had It All.

the lilt of quiet voices in the 
morning hush, 
breaths misting over hot tea, 
flushed skin cooling in the pre- 
morning dawn,  
the creak of hammocks: soft,  
and uncertain ‘til wakefulness hit,  
stories in the moonlight, 
warm palms slipping beneath 
your back on the edge of sleep, 
all the spaces in between, 
all the promise on my lips, 
all the calm of fluttering pages 
with my fingers in your hair— 
but you were afraid. 
K.N.O.W. 5.02.2017-5.31.2017 6.46 A.M.