I Will Not Conform

I Will Not Conform

You know those moments, when reality reveals itself to you so bluntly you nearly collapse under the truth of it, under the weight of the realization that you can no longer remain ignorant to its presence? I can count on one hand the times reality has done that, has broken me, or simply given me new perspective as to the impact of the choices I’ve made, and am making. This morning, and the truth I found in a moment of stillness, was one of those occasions. One of those occasions in which I was not me, but rather seeing myself; watching myself.

It was early. I was standing before my mirror, mindlessly following the flow of routine; the only thing anyone can possibly rely on in the hours before 8AM, when anything is possible, and the world seems impossibly large. Midst the sound of water running down the drain, a door slamming, and the hum of the refrigerator, I paused. One hand wrapped around a bottle of mascara, the other curling my eyelashes before reaching for an eyebrow pencil—all within the span of a minute—but I paused for a moment. I looked up, and met the eyes of my reflection; eyes rimmed with black and edged with a shadow meant to age me 10 years because if a girl doesn’t wear makeup, than how can she possibly call herself a woman? If a girl doesn’t wear makeup, she doesn’t put enough effort into her appearance. If a girl doesn’t wear makeup, she looks a child. If a girl doesn’t wear makeup, ‘something looks different about her today.’ If a girl doesn’t wear makeup ‘she’s not ok,’ ‘she’s not feeling well,’ ‘doesn’t look like herself,’ or maybe, maybe, if a girl isn’t wearing makeup, she just isn’t wearing makeup.

Because girls who don’t believe themselves to be beautiful should not have to MAKE UP for what they believe themselves to lack in shades of lipstick and contour palettes. But who we are is not defined by our abilities hide the shadows beneath our eyes and the spots on our chins. Bodies are just bodies, and maybe you think that your skin is too pale and your eyes too close together, but you’re living, you are alive. Why isn’t that enough?

‘The average woman spends two years of her life applying make up.’

Upon reading that I felt empty, and ashamed, because losing 2 years of my life is losing 730 tomorrows; 730 chances to start again. Being confronted with this truth, and having seen, really seen, myself for the first time this morning, with my cheeks painted and all of the me drained out of myself, I chose to make a change. I chose to fear not the world’s thoughts on the appearance of my face beneath the mask I thought I had to wear to be considered beautiful, but the danger of conformity. The danger of being so consumed by the opinions of others that you forget to love yourself. They do not have to love you, but you do. You have to love you, because in that embracing of yourself you will find beauty for what it truly is.

‘Yeah, I’m Fine.’

‘Yeah, I’m Fine.’

You ok?’
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
I just sat on the closed lid of a toilet for an hour trying to remember how to breathe, wondering if this is what it is like to be dying, hoping that the girl one stall over won’t recognize the fraying laces of my sneakers as mine.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
I just spent 17 hours sleeping because sometimes suicide is not an option but oblivion is so I closed my eyes. And when I woke up it was dark out, but I had no missed calls because nobody misses the girl who doesn’t make plans she’ll have to cancel, who books time off of work to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, dreaming of an alternate universe in which she is not sad.
‘Yeah, I’m fine.’
I just left class, got in my car, and drove in circles until dark, my hands shaking, gas tank draining, parents wondering why I’m not home for dinner. But maybe I don’t want to go home because their are skeletons in my closet mom, and their bones rattle at night calling me from sleep and into another nightmare that I can’t remember but know that my throat burns with the silence of screams and the suffocating warmth of my tears.
‘Yeah, I’m fine. But I’m not at the same time.’
‘What happened?’
‘Nothing.’
Phantom hands just wrap around my throat when I realize the depth of the loneliness I feel no, not for someone or something, but for silence. On my knees praying ‘please, grant me a measure of sanity, raise me from this grave that existence has become, open these eyes, they are blind, and I’m begging you, please silence my mind.’ Don’t you see that nothing happened, it’s not you, it’s me.

 

Nothing happened, and doesn’t need to, because depression never leaves.

Made of Stardust

Made of Stardust

Loving yourself is the difference between living and dying, and life, quite frankly, is too short to believe you are anything but made of stardust.

Because beauty is not one size fits all, and skinny is not the reason you are breathing, so stop hating yourself, please.

Look beyond the shape of your shadow, the soft skin of your stomach, and the curves of your thighs, because perhaps beyond stretch marks, and freckles, you will one day see that everything you are is not your body.

This form you have, all of your edges, these are the handiwork of the universe’s touch, and planted deep within you is the same light that makes the sun shine, and the gravity that pulls waves to the moon.

You are not the skin you live in, you are the life that lives in you.

Between You And Yourself

Between You And Yourself

And, when you stand before yourself with nothing left to come between the reality of life as the sound of your heart beating in your chest, and the reflection in the mirror staring back at your soul wrapped in skin, who are you? It’s alright, if you’ve searched for the answer to that question in all the right places, still coming up short of the reason for your existence, it’s alright. It’s alright because the state of mind that is simply being cannot be labelled, breathing is only breathing, and the pursuit of anything is a pursuit of nothing if you cannot come back to yourself without fear of living beyond definition of the things you search for and the person you are. You can make a list, sure, of words that make me seem worthy of love, of life itself, I make lists obsessively; lists that organize, lists that explain, lists that lessen the noise of the mess in my mind, lists of the things I wish I was and think I am. Lists like this:

I am…

I am strong, and kind, and compassionate, and always laughing, I am intelligent, and creative, brave, and adventurous, I am…

What am I? Human, perhaps, but if I am something, than I must be that thing also, and even the dictionary knows that to be, is to simply exist, though I’ve spent my life running from the blank wide open space that comes like a wave when I’m left alone with the weight of that single word; exist. For when I do, find myself alone with it, when I search for consciousness in corners of myself I can hardly bring myself to peer into, I’m left with a nothingness that I don’t know how to live with; so I don’t, live with it, with that silence. And to escape it, the hollowness its presence leaves me with, I’ve trained my brain to even subconsciously, set itself on fire and endure the pain of the flames because thought is like that, like fire that never turns to ash, feeding on itself, making smoke out of dreams, until it all becomes too much and thinking becomes a disease, a disorder, undiagnosed because how can we diagnose the human condition as being a danger to humanity itself? How can we diagnose what we cannot see, what we cannot understand? Because if we understand being, than we are not embracing what it implies: an absence of understanding, an absence of the need to know, to imagine, to find, to learn. We can’t, even begin to interpret it, but the first step to embracing the beauty of being, is being conscious of the thoughts we do have, which is difficult, yes, and living with depression I understand the fear of nothingness as what once drove me to attempting suicide. I understand the fear of nothingness as being parallel in your mind to the emptiness you’ve grown tired of seeking relief from in dopamine, and prozac, and the list of prescriptions you continue to fill, knowing that without their promise of emotion, of peace, as a cure for the darkness clinging to your mind and your soul like a cancer you will not survive. But stillness, stillness, is the answer, my cure. Stronger than what you’ve come to accept as your reality, as the bane of your existence, because yes, the pain will return, over and over again, but silence will no longer be a condition, no, it will become your solace, your saviour.

So, be.

Just.

Be.

Don’t be afraid of emptiness, don’t be afraid of the present, of this moment, because right now, there is nothing to come and nothing having come before, there is only life. There is only you, and all that you are not defined by, all that being is, wrapped up in who you are.

A Crime Against Normalcy

A Crime Against Normalcy

Once upon a time I believed that depression was a crime. A crime against my family, a crime against normalcy, a crime against society, a crime against myself. I refused to accept the fact that I was born with neurotransmitters that don’t transmit properly, like my DNA was something over which I had authority, and too little dopamine in my brain to be what I though I was supposed to be: happy. I refused to accept the fact that depression and anxiety are not me.

Running away from my emotions did not make them disappear. Running away only made the emptiness that once swallowed me a million times more difficult to bear.

So I stopped running.

I stopped running.

I take sertraline like diabetics take insulin because the beast that used to live inside of me no longer lives my life for me.

I am not depressed, I have depression. There is a difference.

You are not your mental illness.

I Choose Life

I Choose Life

My brain has spent the past month curled in the corner of my head between the thesis of an essay I have yet to complete, and the knowledge that I’m am completely insignificant, the knowledge that my life, your life, will inevitably end. And, maybe its depression slowly worming its way back into my head, dragging curtains of anxiety across the panes of whatever it is September was supposed to be, or maybe its just me.

Maybe its just me.

But I’m right, aren’t I? In the great scheme of the universe, from the milky way to galaxies we haven’t dreamt of discovering, we are nothing. I am nothing, you are nothing.

If you had told me that a week ago I would have shut down, emptied myself of emotion, and refused to accept reality for what it is, but today, I smile. I smile because there is beauty in insignificance. I smile because life is beautiful, because we are life, because I’ve been blessed with the light of living, with the ability to feel, and connect, and grow.

And maybe there’s no reason, but this is life. This moment, right now. I may not have the future, but I have the present, and what I do with it is completely up to me.

Centre yourself, allow yourself to fall into the flow of Earth’s rhythm, into the rhythm of 8 billion hearts beating as one, rising and falling, and breathing. Always breathing. The past has already been claimed, the future is uncertain, and life is being lived, right now.

Let go, and live.

 

‘Streaming’

‘Streaming’

Saturated starlight, stories, pages without ink. You don’t live here, you live there, in a world created out of contrasted gigabytes, and the death of conversation.  Worlds that depend on your ignorance, a currency developed out of the consumerist being that lives inside of us, teaching generations to become a race of copy written features, lost without the static of life not lived, of dreams that end in the syllables of words we create because we’ve lost the motivation to be a species that looks up rather than down, that laughs rather than inserts a fragile lol.  how to live outside this universe our obsessions have become. To create, to laugh loudly, without the echoes of streamed happiness running through our minds, to fall in love, to find ourselves, we must look to the universe inside.

Put down your phone.

(Who are you really?)