Poem published in SUBROSA Curated by Estefania Schubert & Ingrid M. Calderón-Collins ✍️ TW suicide & self-harm.
This poem pretty much sums up my feelings of being an outsider. I have never felt secure with people, in friendships and it’s all been a fight to fit in, to be accepted and keep a straight face and not appear too ‘weird’. To be honest, looking back I think all of us kids were trying hard to fit in, because it was all about the hierarchy and being cool in school. Better to be in than out. I used to get bullied because I was naive, was shy and wouldn’t stand up for myself, I would believe what people were telling me … about myself. I gave up trying to make friends by the time I was 13 & social isolation accelerated my depression. Social isolation and depression made me both suicidal and self-harm. As did the dysphoria puberty gave me.
I was full of self-pity & hatred because no-one seemed to be able to help or understand me. I didn’t understand why I was struggling to function. I was walking around feeling I was repeatedly being smacked around the head with a frying pan. Teachers only saw me as a pain in the backside, who wouldn’t do their work & would disrupt lessons. I spent so many years denying any feelings I had, feeling it was my fault & thinking no-one liked me because what is there to like? It’s amazing& sad, looking back, at how much of how I behaved & thought was depression and stigma and shame and loneliness and what people had told me I was and should do.
I don’t need to carry that shit anymore!!!!!! I don’t need to keep destroying myself.
I didn’t follow any particular process writing Here Comes the Sun. I wrote the poems in this book on loose pieces of paper, while I was in different countries in Europe. Some of the poems were my reflecting on things and others – scenes that were unfolding at the time. I think this was one of the first chapbooks I put together that had a strong theme. I had written a lot of love poems previously, when I was a baby poet and posting on Tumblr. There are still poems on love in this book, but not as many. There are poems that have humour, are silly and a section of micro-poems too.
When I was putting together the poems in Here Comes the Sun I took care in editing the poems and, in saying them out loud, making sure they sounded right too. I find the movement in traveling, from train to subway to airport etc, exhilarating, so I tried to capture that.
People say ‘oh, you wrote a book,’ and treat it as if it is an achievement. I used to shit on that and say ‘it’s nothing,’ That’s BS. Writing a book takes a lot of courage, a lot of I don’t know what I am doing but I want to be able to communicate with you, the reader, and cause you to see something in a different way or feel emotions. It takes a lot of emotional labour. There is trauma in my poems on travel and I don’t talk about it. Being vulnerable can lead people to use that as a method to hurt you.
Here Comes the Sun, as a phrase, means all the good stuff to me, like hope and being alive and sunshine and summer and beaches and stepping out of an airport into a different country and feeling fresh air.
today i wasn’t thirsty. i didn’t have to clutch a cold carton of orange juice, alternating between pressing it to my forehead to sooth a beating headache and drinking from it because i was so damn thirsty.Continue reading “Sober”→
Loneliness comes in various guises. Sometimes you want to connect, to talk with somebody. Desperately wanting to know someone is willing to talk with you. Sometimes it’s that ache of needing to be hugged, because it’s been so long. Other times it’s just wanting a laugh and forgetting you live half of your life inside your own head. It’s knowing you don’t have a friend to tag in giveaways on Twitter, won’t need an extra seat, and second guessing every damn decision you make.
I remember feeling the loss when I was rejected by friends as a seven-year-old. Friends that thought I was a little bit strange, intense, overzealous. For me it is ingrained now, loneliness. I find my own solutions, sometimes through poetry, and other times good old Google helps me out.
Does technology make us more or less likely to be lonely? I don’t know.
It is different for everybody. I didn’t grow up with technology the likes we have now. I remember tapes and VHS and floppy discs and the house phone. When I begin to use the internet in my late teens I found community and people that I could engage with. It’s incredibly easy to talk to people online when you aren’t so used to it offline. Which is where I have to say it’s about balance. If life offline is OK then it’s much easier to regulate what you are doing online. You won’t be vulnerable to coming into contact with that disease called scroll and compare.
Social anxiety can leave you housebound, bored, frustrated and late paying bills.
A few of the things that fuck up my anxiety.
First of all, ill fitting clothes. Anxiety makes me feel like everyone is watching me. If I’m panicky and panting like a thirsty pony then I feel everyone is avoiding coming anywhere near me. Like crossing the street level avoidance. Anxiety also messes with my body temperature, so I could go out in a t-shirt in November and I would feel warm. Comfort is key. I personally would go out in my slobbing around the flat clothes if I didn’t want to, you know, keep up appearances.
Roads. Traffic lights. Buses. I live in a town that is dominated by roads, unfortunately. The traffic lights make me nervous. So nervous. Cars make me equally as nervous. Especially as drivers don’t seem to have any consideration for the people crossing the road and pay no attention to the stop signal. It would make anybody nervous! Funnily enough I love trains, and airports. Probably because there is a bit more pause time.
Noise. I’m an extremely sensitive person. Noise unnerves me to the point where I want to melt away and disappear. Why is the world so noisy!? Shut up, people. Civil tongues, stop yelling. Honestly, I avoid going out at three when the kids come out of school because there’s nothing worse than a bunch of kids mucking around on their bicycles and screaming at each other.
People. Oh, people. I love people. Certain people. The world is made up of billions of people. But people on paths, having to get past them, passing them, small talk with the ones that have adorable children that have run into me, or cute dogs that sniff my shoes, leaping out of the way of people on skateboards, people with their shopping. People. I cannot control people. The unknown of what these people might do scares me. Like, the possibilities are unknown. And … also outlandish and unlikely to happen.
THAT MIDDLE BIT
Basically then, if there were no roads, traffic lights, buses, noise, or people I would be living in paradise. Do you know of such a place?
As you can imagine the very thought of leaving the flat can make me have second thoughts. So I tend to go out before I start thinking. Shower, eat, bag packed the night before, outfit picked out the night before, get my shoes on and go. Acclimatise as I go. Mindfulness can help too. Think of something as it is and how good it would feel to get it over and done with. Nobody wants that Monday to do list to stretch to Friday because your TO DO LIST WILL BE LONG AND UNMANAGABLE.
Last year I spent an enormous amount of time indoors but have taken those experiences and developed an iron will. I am determined to spend more time out of the flat (not entirely convinced why. After all in here I have ice cream, books, and my sofa)
I have recently developed a habit of washing EVERY DAY. Some days I could barely get out of bed and if I did I would get back into it fairly quickly, let alone wash. But after many months I have a habit that makes it impossible for me to not wash. I have to wash. This blows my mind, but it’s true. I have observed the making of a positive habit. It’s very different to breaking a negative habit, but ho hey. If I can make a habit of going out every day I would say my quality of life would have improved.
I say this not to brag, but to give assurance and hope. Things can change. Things can change without you noticing. Sneaky. To be honest, if you have a lot going on you aren’t going to notice you’ll just think everything is shit everything is going to shit everything is always going to be shit I’m shit why is everything so shit shit shit shit. therefore, you don’t immediately notice the small shifts that things are improving. What are your thoughts? Do you have any methods to manage anxiety?
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