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.

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.