Tag Archives: Health

A letter to my 19 year old self

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Hello my darling,

I know you’re tired. Look at you, you’ve had the marrow sucked out of you by a parasitic force, you’ve spent 5 months trying to piece yourself together and you’re exhausted. My God you’re exhausted, but honey, you’re also so beautiful.

You are so much more than those nights you spent clinging on to a relationship that only gave you grief from the beginning. Remember how you’d run after his chaotic emotions, trying to make sense of the dark corner he stuffed you in? Remember the nights you spent in his bed, your knees tucked to your chest, your skinny frame shivering in his t-shirt, waiting for him to start making sense? Remember sneaking out of your house at 2am to race across the road and climb through his window, because you felt guilty for how much you thought you needed his embrace?

Sweetheart. He’s not the one. I know you think he is. I know he’s got you trapped in the toxic little universe he’s structured around your insecurities. I know you think you’re going to stay with him forever, that you’re going to get your degree and he is going to get a job and maybe he’ll stop freaking out if you forget to text him and he’ll let you go out with your friends every once in a while and maybe he’ll stop yelling. Maybe, maybe, maybe, he’ll stop yelling and shooting wine glasses with metal BB bullets and standing over you as the shards slip through your scarred hands. Maybe he’ll stop blaming you for everything that’s out of your control. Maybe you’ll stay with him forever and you’ll be happy because he’s got you convinced that no one else could possibly love someone as strange and as wild as you. Maybe he’ll stop yelling.

He’s not it my love. You know he isn’t. You know that with every icy word, every bite of his temper, every snarl in your direction that you’ll just get smaller and smaller. You know if you carry on you’re going to disappear. Rip out his claws honey, rip them out of your skin and start running, because your flame can only grow brighter from here.

You are going to burn all of the empty letters he ever left on your bed. You are going to start a mini bonfire in a tin can in your garden and you are going to belly laugh wildly and dance around the carcass that was the past 5 months of your life. You are going to kiss your scars and run your feet raw as you tear down boulevards. You are never going to be afraid to raise your voice ever again.

You are going to beat your pillow with a hockey stick until all the rage and regret  that he spoon fed you, explodes in a flurry of feathers and relief. You are going to change all the locks to your heart and then spend the next 2 years simply loving yourself. You are going to snip away at every single toxic relationship that eats into your spirit until the only people who are left are the ones that carry you to bed and bundle you up when you cry. Prepare to have your face stroked and your soul held and your forehead kissed my darling; prepare to feel confused and tentative about all these gentle gestures – I know it feels foreign, but this is what you need and deserve.

Then prepare to have the breath knocked out of you by someone who exudes sunlight and warmth.

I know you think you deserve locked doors and acidic words, it’s going to take a while for you to break that cycle. But when you finally do, when you finally look up and realise your own electric disposition, you are going to free fall into the arms of someone who makes your entire body burn.

He is going to take you to parties and introduce you to fellow wild things. He’s going to take you onto rooftops and sit and listen while you animatedly chat about everything important to you. He’s going to let you bury your face in his chest while he strokes your hair and tells you that he is never going to contain your spirit or lock up your happiness. He is going to look at you like maybe you are magic, and he’s going to pour golden words down your throat.

And you, my love, you are going to realise that the people who try to extinguish your flame are the ones who don’t deserve any of your warmth.

You will detonate into a plethora of water-colours and wild flowers.

I love you with all my heart.

 

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Break-up Season and The Art of Being Perpetually Single.

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It’s September and with it comes along one of my favourite seasons; no you over – enamoured festival girls with your flower crowns and misappropriated Native American headdresses, it is not Spring. It’s break up season.

Aaah, break up season. The undefined amount of time when couples decide they need to start making alternative arrangements for New Years. It’s either that or the pollen has some kind of effect on assholes revealing their true colours. Either way, in breakup season my status as the perpetually single, professional third wheel is promoted to veteran. I become the newly single girl’s independence guru and it’s my favourite thing.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again- I have been cursed with experience. As my mother once aptly introduced me “this is Harriet, she has the WORST taste in men”. Right you are Lori, and don’t I know it. A miriad of philanderers, future strippers, batshit rockstars and one rather questionable character armed with a pair of roller blades and a spiked collar have come my way; and, because I like a good story, because I appreciate it when my life takes a turn for the bizarre- I give them the time of day.

I don’t know about you, but this makes me pretty good at getting rid of weirdos. In my experience, there’s two ways break up season can happen to you;

1. You cry, you ugly cry. You end up looking like Kim K eating a salad, or just Kim K crying. You binge on something – be it food, cheap box wine or love quotes on pinterest, you fill your void with something other than that person. I voice note my friend Chris at ridiculous hours of the morning after watching Pride and Prejudice for the third time and sobbing because Mr Darcy is the perfect ratio of socially awkward to adorable. Chris is a real trooper. Hi Chris!

2. You get over it quickly. You never liked them that much anyway. I always get a drastic haircut after a breakup, one time all I got was my nails done. It’s all relative, it depends on whether you’ve acknowledged yet that you deserve more than locked doors and explosive words. It’s about whether or not you’ve given away so much of yourself already that no fucks can be given. That’s cool, your favourite kind of no should be no fucks!

Once you’ve reached this Land of NSource: weheartit.comope, it gets easier, it gets interesting. The Land of Nope is my favourite place in the entire world – it’s the land of tequila and nachos, incredulity and cynicism. All hail the Land of Nope!

One of my best friends is going through break up season. She’s acknowledged that a relationship isn’t worth it if the other person doesn’t make an effort to make her feel safe, or special. She’s figured out that although it’s nice to have someone to cover her eyes during a horror film, it feels even better to have the strength and sense of self – preservation to walk away from her own. I love her for it, I think she’s so brave. I acknowledge how terrifying being alone can be- you don’t want to go back to pub crawls and batting off club goblins. Being single sounds like the worst thing right now, but let me tell you kids something from your friendly neighbourhood future cat lady: being single lets you be selfish, and sometimes you need to be selfish to figure out who you are and what you want.

October marks a year since the last break up I was an active participant in. After being single for almost a year you figure out some things:

1. Sweatpants are my best friends. My other best friend regularly jokes about how when I go out I make an effort, yet when I come to campus then everyone is forced to deal with the wild beast that is my naked face and unbrushed hair. I don’t care, because sweatpants are my best friends and you can’t deny the kind of love they wrap you in at 3 o clock on a Saturday afternoon, surrounded by empty pizza boxes and watching Adventure Time. Sweatpants are love, sweatpants are life.

2. You don’t need a significant other to make you feel important. You don’t need someone tracing the outline of your lips every night to feel heard. There are people in your life who will still be able to tell how your feeling from a single flinch. Chris has my hangover routine memorised, he has no need for it, but it’s nice to know that when I order chicken chow mein and spring rolls from Kung fu kitchen and then lie in bed watching Archer for the rest of the day, that there’s someone on the other end of the phone just as concerned about my liver as I am.

3. Freedom is the gift that keeps on giving. Once your tear ducts dry up, once your chest feels a little lighter and you’ve reached the Land Nope and No Fucks, you will start to smell the sweet scent of liberation, my friend. Turn off your phone, go exploring for a few hours, spontaneously kiss a stranger – or don’t, because germs are a thing; whatever you do it can remain unjustified. You never have to explain a single thing to anyone ever- you are a sentient human being who deserves to be wild.

4. You learn to love yourself; and kid, you gotta learn. Every stretch – mark, every split end, every out of place freckle. You can’t lay the burden of self – appreciation on anyone else but you, and once you learn to stand by yourself, once you establish that you are strong enough to be able to walk away from any relationship at any time, you will understand why none of your previous love affairs worked.

Breakup season sucks, for everyone, even experienced wise sages like myself. But the journey to occasional loneliness is worth it, my god it’s worth it.

Bring on the tequila and the nachos. I feel a one – man movie marathon coming on.

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I am cursed and blessed with feeling everything so intensely.

large“Can you see me? All of me? Probably not. No one ever really has.” -Jeffery Eugenides

I’m currently on a strange journey of self-reflection. I think it’s healthy to indulge in such things every once in a while.

I like turning off all the lights in my bedroom, lying on the floor and thinking about my place in the universe; how I’m supposed to impact the world and the people around me, how I expect myself to behave in certain situations and wishing I could behave differently in others. Lying on the floor probably has some deep poetic meaning behind it that I’ll come up with at a later stage when I want to make my life seem more like a novel, but really I just like the feeling of a different perspective and how worn the carpet feels under my fingers.It’s as if people other than me have lain down on that exact spot and felt as misunderstood as I do.

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That’s the teenage angst talking. I think I’m more ordinary than I think I am. There are probably millions of 19 year old feelings out there who lie on their backs and cry over songs and carpets. It’s an unspoken rite of passage.

Tonight I’m lying on the floor and thinking about a conversation.

“You thought quite deeply about that” he remarked

I pause, “I think about everything deeply.”

I haven’t decided yet if I like this about myself. Often it feels like I live in a world where showing emotions is a weakness and yet the very core of my being demands to feel. This makes me too emotional, too insane, too passionate. Nothing I do or say is meaningless, in this fast-paced, cold Earth I don’t believe in brevity or being numb. I agonise and overthink every misplaced semi-colon, every pause in a sentence, someone’s tone of voice and the underlying intention of their actions. I am cursed and blessed with feeling everything so intensely.

That, in a nutshell, is what I am lying on my bedroom floor thinking about.

Can you see me yet?

No?

You probably glanced over me, heard how I talk about things like they’re incredibly important, noticed how I like to burst into people’s lives with poetry and how I force them to have feelings or how I pry something beautiful from their mouths. I like soul searching, I like learning how dark the deepest parts of people’s souls are and then adding some light to it. You probably skimmed over all this and decided I’m crazy. I’m not crazy, I just think too deeply.

I look for people who see at least some parts of me, who look past the superficial, who want to sweep away my inner cobwebs and let in a little sunshine. I look for people who don’t ask me my favourite colour or my favourite food; they ask me if I had an imaginary friend, ask me what my biggest regret is, figure out what makes me sad and the things I’d change in the world if only I could.

These are questions I ask myself when I’m listening to Youngblood Hawke and trying to figure out who the fuck I want to be when I grow up.

When I grow up I want to be understood.

k

 

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Running away…or at least fantasising about it.

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“I’m running away” I announce to my mother who’s kneeling down on the bathroom floor washing my little brother’s hair. I had been given a time out and was marinating in the injustice of it all when I marched up to her, drew myself to my full 6 year-old height and told her of my intention to leave and never come back.

“Perfect,” she says, “which suitcase would like me to pack for you?”

Sheer terror and I haven’t felt the urge to leave since then.

Yet recently, I’ve been feeling this incredibly strong pull to be anywhere but here and, perhaps, anyone but me.

This year hasn’t exactly gone the way I planned. In fact, if I could go back in time and talk to the me who existed in the beginning of this year, the one standing on the doorstep of independence,  I’d say “don’t get your hopes up kid, in fact, it’s better if you don’t even ring the doorbell.”

But how do you tell the hopeful, fresh out of high school little girl that she’s about the walk into a house of abuse and intense loneliness? That she’s going to lose so many friends and that just when she thinks she’s found where she’s meant to be and the people she’s meant to spend time with she’s going to have to leave them too? This girl has just had her heart broken, she’s just gone through hell to get to a point where she truly believes that everything will be better only to be told that nothing gets better, nothing gets fixed, nothing feels okay.

Nothing feels okay.

18 years old, standing in a crowd of people who feel and think less than me, with my heart and pride smashed like a beer bottle on the floor, only to have it taped back up and thrown against a wall, just so it can be stood on almost a year later. Lying under a tree, surrounded by people who think and feel less, cradling my shredded soul with what I have left. I wish someone had told beer bottle girl to watch out for the liars and the name-callers, the crazies and the manipulators, the friends who make her feel worthless and the boys who refuse to make eye contact even when she’s a kiss away. She could have been told that if she carries on believing too much in people she would eventually find herself alone with only a tree to cling to in the world, trees don’t hurt like people do.

Tree girl got on a bus yesterday. Unfortunately the furthest it would take her was Monte Casino and back but the thought of catching the next flight out of her circumstances and away from her problems was the most hopeful she felt in a while. But how do you tell the girl who’s about to step onto a plane away from all her problems that she’s about to go somewhere that’s exactly the same as the house she got away from? How do you tell the girl with the crooked soul, the crippled heart and the constantly blind optimism that wherever she goes she’s going to get hurt?

You can’t. She has to figure it out for herself.

“Which suitcase would you like me to pack for you?”

I don’t care. Just stop this feeling.

I wrote this a few hours ago. I was mad at my cousin for cancelling our plans for the umpteenth time and feeling deeply melodramatic about the entire 1AM tree debacle. My mom came in to ask about dinner, read my post over my shoulder, saw my puffy eyes and just held me. She stroked my hair, called me sweetheart and held me like I was, in fact, 6 years old and had just been called “ugly” on the playground.

Apparently when I actually got into the adult world I was under the impression that it was something I’d have to face by myself. I’m too independent and hard-headed for my own good. Sometimes I don’t realise how hard I’ve been fighting to keep my head above water until someone finally comes along and tosses a life jacket and I’m able to crumple and cry tears of relief.

She took me to Bubble tea, spoke to me about everything else but the fantasy of me disappearing into great oblivion and I suddenly felt okay.

Being okay- being happy-  isn’t being kissed when you want to be kissed or having a perfect year with no disappointing people in it. Being happy is tea while it’s raining, having one’s hair stroked and, despite everything that’s happened in the past year, being able to make jokes and find things to laugh about.

Happiness is what you make of it, the girl under the tree has no clue how she’s going to feel about that moment next year, but hopefully she won’t still be damaged.

Plus she’s still got people to keep her at home.

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All My Life I’ve Wanted To Be Someone’s Someone.

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All my life I’ve wanted to be someone’s someone.

Perhaps it was my deep animalistic urge for companionship, the extrovert in me who wanted to be everybody’s everyone or just too much Disney as a kid, all I know is that for as long as I can remember I’ve thought the ultimate goal in life is to meet “the one”, that her wedding is the most important day in a girl’s life and that every chance encounter with a particular stud of a male must be fate.

I thought this throughout highschool, sobbing myself to sleep whenever one of my friends got asked out and I didn’t, listening to Taylor Swift and wishing I was one of those girls who boys liked, hating myself for not being perfectly pretty, for being too tall, too loud, too strange.

Any guy who paid me attention immediately got mine, it didn’t matter how old, how dangerous or how much they only liked my butt, they were praised for showing interest in someone as uninteresting as me.

I was stuck in this vicious cycle of needing external validation to feel like I had purpose and then completely losing myself once I realised my feelings weren’t mutual or I wasn’t interesting anymore or the relationships, like always, crumpled.

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When I was 15 I used to rush to my locker immediately after school so I could catch the attention of the guy next to mine. Every joke he made, every high-5, comment and wink made in my direction was precious, I found out ways to amuse him, to keep him interested in what I had to say. I learnt that sometimes you can make yourself the best person on the planet to be around and it still won’t make a difference to how people see you, the dorky younger sister with no maturity, no tact, never been kissed.

When I was 18 I learnt that boys pretend. They pretend to like you for you, that you’re funny and sweet and wonderful. Make them soup, tell them secrets, listen to their heartbeats after everyone’s gone to sleep until the day they stop calling, stop responding to your tears, stop telling you how special you are. You’ll give them everything, and they’ll treat you like nothing.

Now I’m 19 and I’ve learnt that Prince Charming has an ugly side. A dark internet history of smashed windscreens and locked doors, of pulling off handles and holding wrists tight enough for them to hurt.

Suddenly I found myself doing it all over again, crying myself to sleep over something some guy had said, what my guy had said, and hating myself for not being what he wanted. Why can’t I be what he loves? Why can’t I do what he wants me to? Why is this so hard?

Suddenly I found paradise and it was the space in my head where he couldn’t get to, the little flame that whispers “I deserve better, I need to start loving myself, I need to get rid of this devil on my back.”

That flame broke the spell. The curse that’s been haunting me my entire life, keeping me in this cage that told me I was only a person if someone else loved me and I was only of value if I was told.

I got tired of being the girl all the boys like, that girl has no identity without someone else, she is a shadow of whoever she’s following at the time; there’s no substance or life- just desperation.

I won’t let anyone pick me up, I won’t allow myself to feel insignificant because the boy by my locker looks at other girls or because his heartbeat won’t ever sync up with mine. I won’t let anyone hold my wrist or try to contain me or mould me or crush me.

I don’t want to be someone’s someone anymore. I don’t want to be anyone’s someone. I want to be mine.

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You do not need anyone, do you understand? You can want someone, but you do not need anyone. You are funny and you are smart and you are pretty, and you are still all of those things even if nobody tells you that you are. Do not wait for someone to take your hand and pull you up. Steady yourself and learn how to walk alone. You do not need anyone.

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Stop Seeing Through Tunnels.

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I can’t help but feel like there should be something more to my life. I don’t want to spend the next four years working my butt off for a piece of paper that informs the world that I am of value, only to get stuck behind the desk of a company that adds no sustainable value to the world anyway.

To be honest, if I could make a living out of volunteer work I would put down my degree and help humanity immediately. Unfortunately economics aren’t very forgiving if you do such a thing.

Since high school I’ve been involved in community outreach. I spent every Wednesday in shacks that were meant to be pre-schools teaching children cognitive skills they were meant to have developed already, I went on a mission trip to Mozambique to do the exact same thing but with children who lived in reed huts and whose parents decided drinking while pregnant would be a good idea.

I never really thought anything I did would change someone’s life. I gave myself up for service because it felt good to help. This all changed in Mozambique when I met two of the most precious little boys on this planet.

smileThe first one smelled almost as dirty as he looked. He obviously hadn’t been clean in weeks and I was told the children often only have 2 sets of clothes. I can’t remember how we became friends or why I took such a shining to him but every day I went to the village he would run up to me and hold onto me until I left and every day his grandmother would sit against the side of the reed school house, drink cheap booze and glare at our fun. She probably hated me, I didn’t care. I decided to teach the little one about music, at least the good stuff like Aerosmith, so I sat him down in the dust and belted out “Don’t Want to Miss A Thing” to this squirming sponge for learning. I wanted him to atleast learn to keep music in his life and not to let his grandmother get him down. I don’t know if I succeeded, I just know that we both cried when I left.

The second one had the Measles and no one would play with him or touch him for fear of infection. He was isolated, snotty, tired and in the sun the whole day. The other volunteers couldn’t hold him, they hadn’t had the vaccine, I’d been vaccinated so I held him, that little untouchable kid, until he fell asleep.

I stopped community service in my last year of highschool. I figured studying, being a prefect and playing volleyball was more important than helping little kids. Since then I’ve had no passion in my life, no source of joy, I have my studies and my writing. The writing part comes with difficulty, there’s nothing to write about, I’m tired of 1st world people with 1st world problems like being “victimised” or not knowing whether to do the ALS Ice Bucket challenge in a bath tub or outside; I’m tired of Tweets and stressing about getting 11 likes on an Instagram post, I hate relationship issues and reading dumb Thought Catalog articles on “11 signs he’s a cheater.”  I don’t like dealing with stupid ceremonies like SRC elections that will only benefit people who are already studying towards a future, who already have more opportunities than my two little boys could ever dream of.

“Vote for me and I’ll make sure the clubhouses stay open longer and the booze will be cheaper.”

“Vote for me and we’ll create more jobs in the Humanities department.”

“Vote for me so I can have something that looks good on my resume.”

Is it so hard to have goals outside of our own little bubbles? Why can’t we stop talking about the theme for the next party and start talking about the refugee crisis in Syria? I don’t want to hear about Solange hitting Jay-Z in an elevator or how funny that “21” Vine is.duley iman

It feels like the state of humanity is getting worse because our brains are getting smaller, we’ve started seeing everything in tunnel vision and only think about wifi passwords and becoming “YouTube Famous.” We’ve become empty people living shallow lives only helping ourselves.

I feel like we as a generation of capable, open-minded, thinking people can find more ways to help people beyond taking no-make up selfies and pouring a bucket of ice water over our heads.

The only thing I want to do with my life is help people and then write about it along the way.

So I think I’m going to do just that.

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Worry Less, Love More.

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Everyone’s addicted to tragedy.

If you’ve just read that sentence and thought “I’m not, I’m not part of ‘everyone'”, you are, trust me…in the moment you are just as addicted to tragedy as the 30 other people standing on the train platform with you. Don’t worry, it doesn’t make you heartless or evil, it makes you human.

I’m the girl who dances on train platforms. I don’t bust a move or start twerking in public, I tend to just quietly bounce and smile into my iPod. I was doing that today, minding my business, listening to Bipolar Sunshine when tragedy struck.

This old guy lay down on the floor.

That’s it, he literally just lay down while his daughter stroked his head. I didn’t think anything of it, I was too busy bopping to “Love more, Worry Less” and thought “lucky him, I could probably use a nap right now too.” I literally spent 15 minutes completely jealous of this old guy who got to sleep on a grimy train platform because he didn’t give a shit about what other people thought of him… until the paramedics came.

That’s when I actually clicked to the fact that old guy didn’t really want to be on the floor, and at that same moment I also realised that I was standing on the outskirts of this massive circle of tragedy watchers. Everyone was literally staring at Sleepy Old Guy, one man was literally hovering on top of the precedings trying to get a better look, I kid you not.

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I think that’s when I realised this little fact about human nature, that we love drama, we love feeling sorry for sleepy old guys and we treat medical emergencies like they’re an episode of Greys Anatomy. Even I was curious, my iPod-bouncing was interrupted by this terrible morbid fascination as to what was happening to sleepy old guy. Was he on oxygen? How are they putting him on the stretcher? Can he walk? Is now an appropriate time to flirt with that cute paramedic? (It really wasn’t, I didn’t even try).

I had enough decency to resume to bopping and staring into the distance, I like to go against the crowd anyway. Yet I’m still feeling relatively disgusted about the fact that I’m still tragically, boringly human, and it’s in the very core of my being to stare at drama.

Damn.

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