My emotions do not work for you
My emotions do not work for you,
My ‘type’ is not seen in films,
Or lauded by proud relatives.
I’m the dog-eared piece of a jigsaw puzzle;
Incapable of slotting-in beside another.
Your risqué quips make me sick,
A brush in the corridor makes me flinch,
The fibre of their collective being collides,
Scratches and irritates mine.
I am not a fairytale –
There will be no family portrait for me –
I smirk and frown to hide my doubt
And hope the spotlight never falls on me.
People look at me
And see a distorted child’s face –
My 19 years reduced to a pittance –
As judgement gleams from their eyes.
So they cast their words over my head
Towards a more responsible set of shoulders;
One made of more than me,
Seen as a more reliable focus for information.
Will I ever grow to be seen
Above the ledge of suspicion and mirth?
My mangled sentences are viewed as tired ramblings,
Pouring from the mouth of one juvenile
Who cannot yet sit at the table,
Nor meet the eyes of the rest of them.
After enough eyes pierce your heart,
Minimise you down to a pitiless size,
You can see yourself in the mirror of their face,
Become the infantilised ghost they haunt you with.
Shame begins to creep over your hunched frame
As you look-up through hooded lids,
Blowing another candle from a wounded birthday cake.
A dismal knowledge has settled on my chest
A dismal knowledge has settled on my chest;
My heart will have to break,
In order for me to be able to breathe,
I will have to force myself through pain –
A period of ripping myself from the cocoon –
And shrugging off the shell I have been living in.
To grow into my dream of authenticity,
People will have to fall by the wayside,
Things I hold dear will be prised from my fingers,
Safety and security will be thrown to the wolves
Whilst I make my break for the goal on the horizon;
The promise I have waited for all my life.
To be honest or to be vague?
For the record;
I have always felt this way.
Life’s blows did mould me into a statue –
A grey imitation of the veins within,
Yet standing and posing clotted my blood,
And cracks started to begin.
Time does not hand-out sticky plasters,
It only offers an opportunity;
To remould the plinth you stand in
And write yourself a new beginning.
TRIGGER WARNING: I DO BRIEFLY TOUCH ON EXPERIENCING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS
The word ‘prom’ conjures images of a glamorous night of celebration shared between a peer group who have shared the stress of schoolwork, teen drama and exams together. Long dresses which glide along the floor, folds of expensive material and dates’ arms slung around each other come to mind. Perhaps this is simply the rose-tinted image I have gathered from endless cliched American high school movies where the bullied girl turns-up to prom looking every inch the movie star whilst the ‘mean girls’ suffer the worst night of their lives. I wouldn’t know what a real-life prom looks like because I have never been to one. Not even my own one. Anxiety made sure that I stayed away. I could not bare the thought of going and having to endure an evening with my bullies.
Secondary school and especially the last year of GCSEs was really difficult for me. By year 11, I was depressed and plagued by suicidal thoughts. School felt like a prison where every negative thought I had was heightened to unbearable levels and my fear of failure was magnified, even encouraged, by teachers who wanted good grades on their record. I was swamped with self-doubt and tortured myself with imagined scenarios with my disappointed parents which I was convinced would occur if I did not get the results which were expected of me.
Alongside the pain of academic expectation was my growing sense of anxiety. My mum had to drop me off directly outside the door to my school and pick me up from the same location at the same time everyday because I was so anxious about being outside rather than within the safe confines of my own home. The voices of my bullies ricocheted around my head all day everyday whilst I was at school and snide looks in the locker-room was all it took for my self-confidence to take another battering.
Regular meetings with the school therapist were my only saving grace. Whilst talking out loud to her was a struggle (as I explained in my previous post ‘What Is Wrong With My Voice?’) she encouraged me to express my feelings in the form of poetry. The words began to pour out of me and became a significant source of communication between me, my counsellor and my head of house. Whilst my peers teased me for how quiet I was and how little I spoke, this very fact became my strength in regards to my creativity. Though I have never been loud or outspoken, this has never meant that I have had nothing to say. In fact, it almost felt like I saved-up all of my thoughts and insight for my poetry which allowed me to explore the depths of my mind like nothing else could.
Poetry slowly allowed me to gain some confidence. Writing poetry gave me a sense of achievement and the encouragement of my counsellor and head of house made me believe in the words I was writing. Poetry restored within me a sense of identity which had been dwindling away from me for years. I found my own unique voice which I was not frightened to use, unlike my verbal, spoken voice.
In many ways, I see poetry as both my therapy and my passion. This may seem unusual because therapy is frequently portrayed as something which is impossible to enjoy, a chore or a source of heartache. However, whilst poetry can bring many hurtful feelings to the fore of my mind, the creativity which is intertwined with the act of writing makes it not only bearable but beautiful.
Though my heart may long for the ocean
And my soul may pull towards cleansing,
The lush green grass outside my car window
Will always dance around my mind, echoing.
An imagined reality, surpassing that of romance;
I am heartily enthralled by the impossibility,
The fantastical chance for a happy ending.
My mind’s eye sees in a variation of coloured pens,
Fat, vast, greedy lines pass my sight,
Eventually fulfilling the outline of a child’s fantasy.
I do not dream,
Sleep is a heavy, suffocating, blanket
Which smothers my anxious head as I wake.
Whilst fraying edges unravel my days,
I eventually settle for tantalising sleep,
However, the comfort of darkness never arrives;
The night air adopts a new weight over me,
So I am betrayed by the smug winking stars
Which fade in and out in apparitions,
Depending on flight, fancy and teasing glances.
I dislike putting one foot in front of the other,
Or progressing at the rhythm of a steady pace,
I cannot maintain a slow trudge
Especially along a well-trodden path;
I would much rather race you to the finish line.
I cannot, will not, bare to stand still,
I have a crystallised, framed vision,
So chiselled into my muddled mind
That it could almost be a beautiful reality.
Slow progress is not a friend to my brain,
It feels like slowly descending a fairytale hill,
Warped, twisting my subconscious into guilt.
No, I prefer to immerse myself completely,
Even if I plunge across the hill’s other side
In my haste to reach the summit.
With the sun baring down,
Clouds pressing in,
Creating a humid prison
Where thoughts are suffocated;
What are we able to make happen?
Tempers fray and run to the wire,
Breathes are pushed backwards –
The relentlessly airless outdoors –
Our lungs wheeze as we attempt to live,
So we are left with one question;
Did we do this to ourselves?
Our arrogance and foolishness
Injected our ignorance back into the world.
We greedily took the air we wanted,
No thought to whether pain would return
And hit us harder than thought possible.
We abused the glittering, green globe;
Threw rocks and dented it,
Rode furious paths through it
And changed our fresh peace forever.
So, are we makers of our demise,
Perpetrators of our own pain,
Makers of the ending to our own story?
A Changing Climate Gives Us a Chance to Change the World – VICE
Am I the only one, for whom,
The summer has turned sour?
Memories have spoilt like curdled milk,
As dead heat stifles the grass
And fatigue sweats from every pore.
Summer is hovering lazily over us,
So oppressive heat gives tense opportunity
For frayed tempers and shrill voices.
No breeze nor breath looks likely
To threaten the simmering atmosphere
Which looks set in stone for months to come.