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.

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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.

 

Losing My Beautiful

Losing My Beautiful

On July seventeenth of 2012, I turned 13 years old. I had finally reached that dreaded but so exhilarating stage of life as a teenager. I was a teenager, I had grown up in a matter of weeks, but on the morning of my birthday I sat down in front of my mother’s vanity and applied a layer of mascara for the first time. It was monumental really, the beginning and the end of something I wouldn’t understand until 4 years later on a Monday morning as I sat in my Grandma’s car and stared into the rearview mirror at my face without the mask I had become so accustomed to living in: my makeup. I found confidence in painted lips, and eyeliner that made me into the person I thought the world wanted me to be, the girl whose cheekbones were ‘too wide set’ to be considered beautiful, whose reality could be blended out with a feathered brush and setting powder.

I lost my beautiful.

I lost my beautiful the day I realized I couldn’t leave the house without having concealed the evidence of another sleepless night, without having curled my lashes, or combed out my brows. I became unknowingly obsessed with myself. Makeup was supposed to be proof of my coming of age, another adventure, another accomplishment. Its only ever proved to be more deadly to me than depression or anxiety ever was.

The moment you can no longer stand the sight of your unmade up self, is the moment in which you will finally understand the power society’s routines, and rituals, have over you. From your first trip to the pharmacy, a drive along a billboarded highway, or a google search of anything, your mind is bombarded with the reality of women everywhere: makeup has become the epitome of a feminine feature.

I will no longer be considered less of a woman because I choose to embrace a makeup-less face on the daily. I will no longer be considered less of a woman because I choose to dress up for myself rather than for the pleasure of society and its standards of beauty.

My womanliness will be found in the kindness I bestow upon the world, measured by the sound of my heart beating in my chest as I live and thrive as a being not a woman. I am not just a woman. I am a human. I am alive, and because I am alive I am beautiful.

We are beautiful.

We are alive.

 

‘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?)

I Wish I Could Remember

I Wish I Could Remember

{In loving memory of my Grandfather, Dennis Neufeld, a reminder to never forget.}

I don’t know what he looks like, I’ve forgotten how to remember. Shadows make strangers of everyone; in every photo, every scrapbook, he looks different. Did I ever tell him that I love the idea of his hand in mine, that I love the idea of him being here, with me? Did I ever tell him that I love him? I wish I had, but then again, I’m always wishing. He taught me to wish. He taught me to wish for the things that can never be, and hope for the things that can, and I do, I always do. I wish that you were here Grandpa.

I wish that you were here.

If I stare at the stars long enough, and dare to close my eyes, I can almost hear his voice in my ear. His voice soft and distant, naming every constellation, as he traces the night with his fingers.

His fingers.

The armchair is sprawled, yellow and obnoxious, in the corner of the room, the tail of the cat is wrapped around his arm. His face blurs in my memory, but his hands, his fingers; they’re alive. They’re alive as he runs them down a worn fretboard, as his mouth moves with the words of a song I’ll never hear. They’re alive. 

He’s alive. And even though his guitar sits in the closet now, its strings catching the dust of memories and wishes, he’s alive. In every sliver of dandelion dust, in every vinyl on the shelf, atop the peak of a hundred mountains, in the smoke of every campfire; he is alive.

He always was.

The Happy Pill

The Happy Pill

What if I told you that happiness is self-made? What if I told you that you do have control over your emotions, would you believe me? The following is a 3 step guide to attaining the benefits of dopamine, or prozac, without ever swallowing a pill:
  1. Find your passion, and do what you love. Whether you’re caught up in schoolwork or a busy schedule, making time to do something you enjoy will completely change your outlook on life.
  2. Surround yourself with positivity. This is especially important for anyone struggling with depression, loneliness, or even anxiety, a large portion of your mood is dictated completely by the people you spend your time with. So don’t be afraid to let people go if they’re encouraging negativity, and aren’t a source of inspiration or motivation.
  3. Make time for yourself. This is something I struggle with on the daily, because I let my job, and my schedule consume me. But in order to feel content I’ve learned that I need to connect with myself daily, whether that be through yoga, sitting down with a cup of coffee and a book, or simply taking a bath. Dedicate a portion of your day to doing absolutely nothing. Productivity is just as important as down time, but your relationship with yourself and your emotions needs to be a priority.
A ‘happy pill’ doesn’t exist, there’s no cure for sadness, or melancholy. Contentment (opposed to happiness, a word overused, and too high a state of mind to permanently attain) is temporary, but my hope for you is that maybe one day, with time, you do have moments, whether they last seconds, hours, or days, when you are genuinely thankful to be alive.
You are entirely up to you. 
The Skin We Live In

The Skin We Live In

We  live to be defined, to be labeled: white, black, fat, skinny, our lives are without worth if we aren’t looking to achieve whatever definition of normal society adopts. We as humans are no longer recognized for our successes and ideas, but by our bodies. We are our bodies.

We’ve forgotten that who we are lies beneath this skin we live in. Our bodies are the vessels we inhabit, a place of temporary existence, the carriers of our minds and our souls, not our worth. Your stretch marks, scars, imperfections, they are merely evidence of your being alive.

There are unknown depths swimming inside of you, pools of ideas and creative ambition that have yet to be explored. So spend less time hating yourself, and more time discovering who you really are.

You are not the skin you live in.