Monday, November 29, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

drowning in the pools of other lives

Sometimes it's like other people's lives and pain negate my own existence. Suddenly my own story disappears in theirs, becomes less important. I absorb other people's emotions and stories. Where do mine go? They become hollow, disconnected, insignificant. It's a fading away while I'm sitting right here.

If no one can see my pain or sickness, then it doesn't exist. And that's just it. I don't exist.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

at least Wes Anderson gets it

sometimes i watch The Royal Tenenbaums just to pretend I live in their house.

I would be Richie.

But if it were The Darjeeling Limited I would be Francis, face smashed from purposely crashing his motorcycle, struggling to keep everyone together.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

to that which is endless as it was beginningless

I hold onto fragments of this poem, read it like a prayer.

"...we must not stop here,
However sweet these laid-up stores, however convenient this dwelling
we cannot remain here,
However shelter'd this port and however calm these waters we must
not anchor here,
However welcome the hospitality that surrounds us we are permitted
to receive it but a little while.

Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you:
You shall not heap up what is call'd riches,
You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve,
You but arrive at the city to which you were destin'd, you hardly
settle yourself to satisfaction before you are call'd by an
irresistible call to depart,
You shall be treated to the ironical smiles and mockings of those
who remain behind you,
What beckonings of love you receive you shall only answer with
passionate kisses of parting,
You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach'd hands
toward you. "

~Walt Whitman

I want to let go of things, of what is safe and stifling. I want to know what it is to be a living, breathing person and not fragments shut up within themselves, in hiding. I want to not depend on, but just Be. I want to know that I'm okay, that this pain is okay and will end.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

borders and lines

"Is there a bottom with BPD? Does something happen that changes everything? This will sound bizarre, but yes, I've figured out what did it: rage. Ultimately rage, not hope, hurls me into recovery when I finally understand that it's not simply my illness, but incompetence and avoidance from the mental health system that has created my 'incurable and hopeless' condition."

-Kiera Van Gelder

I too feel this rage, of the person caged and studied, men huddled around with their notebooks and closed doors; told your failure to keep yourself alive and functioning is you just not trying hard enough, or just that you're incapable. I know the rage of having your clothes taken away, shivering in a johnnie while some student, bored and monotone, lists off personal questions, deciding who you are with barely a glance in your direction. You have no voice, just tears in your eyes and a scabbed-up arm. I know the rage of a girl in a circle of men who, in the course of a few minutes of her fear and shame, explain how toxic she is. I know the rage of being released with a see-you-soon, a list of diagnoses under your bandaged arm, no explanation, from strangers who only saw symptoms.

I know the ambulance rides where you are stripped of humanity and power, things you never get back all the way. I know what it's like
to carry those stares and labels with you always, telling you you'll never be anything more than the lines on your arm, the borderline you straddle constantly. Convinced everyone can see right through you.

You made me hopeless and incurable.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

the gospel according to punk rock, anorexia, and razorblades

Monday night I went to see Social Distortion play. The last time I saw them was 6 years ago, which is hard to believe. I spent my teen years going to punk shows all the time, but it's been 3 or 4 years since I've even been to one.

This past monday, as I felt my heart lift when Mike Ness stepped out on stage, I couldn't help but feel a loss. A loss of the girl who banged her drums and strummed power chords on her cheap electric guitar. Those things that gave me strength, that I clung to as some way to define my constantly fleeting sense of self, fell away years ago. I can't help but try to find the moment when things changed; when I went from idolizing leather-jacketed men who wore their pain in tattooed sleeves and screamed it out in microphones, exorcising it, to wispy girls exercising it, starving it, puking it out. When I stopped admiring the turning of pain into righteous anger and soul-saving songs, and placed it instead on silent suffering, jabbing fingers and gagging, on mouths stitched tight and days connected like dots by the number on scales and labels; when stomping strong in steel-toed Doc Martens became shaking stick arms and trembling twig legs in children's jeans. Punk is refusing to be silent. Anorexia is silencing every aspect of myself.

When I discovered punk rock I thought I'd been saved from my pathetic existence of emptiness and nothingness, from being a Nobody. I was so tired from screaming on the inside, my face a blank mask of stillness, the best hiding place. Playing Dead was my survival skill, but it was starting to kill me. That summer I was fourteen I built a cocoon in my bedroom, wrapped myself in safety-pinned t-shirts and pictures from Spin's 25th Anniversary of Punk issue. It started with a glimpse of Johnny Rotten's crazed eyes; I felt my insides tremble with something like hope and recognition. He went on the wall beside my bed, soon joined by Joey Ramone, Joe Strummer, and The Damned. That summer, "Pretty Vacant" played over and over on my discman, and Johnny Rotten's memoir became my Bible. It all made so much sense, something clicked into place. This is who I am, this is why I don't fit in. This is how to breath, to be in my skin. This is how to be seen, to find a way out. I can be this fucked up loser and still be okay. There is hope.

By September I emerged a pink-haired butterfly with torn, safety-pinned wings, plaid and studded and on fire. Patches proclaimed my tribe, allegiences to bands and anarchy. This time when I walked into classrooms, for the first time teachers looked at me; not through me, or at my brother's "little sister." I fluttered through hallways on the intensity of people's stares, no longer transparent and insignificant. I was the only one like me there, but there was a name for me now, and I was part of something bigger. There were others, and the ones who came before me, guiding me through my headphones, gabba gabba we accept you, wore their armor of spikes and studs against words and stares, and survived.

I was idealistic, the conviction of a new convert. Joey had stood on my wall on insect legs and told me an ugly freak could be loved. I was sure that others who emerged like me did it for the same reasons, had the same understanding, the same gods of Dee Dee and Captain Sensible. I didn't expect Hot Topic uniforms and the new testament of Green Day and Good Charlotte. Johnny Rotten never spoke of getting sneered at by popular girls making punk pretty and fun.

Soon I fell deeper into destruction. Sid Vicious, dead by 21, hovered over my pillow with "give me a fix" carved into his bare chest. Darby Crash, with broken teeth and cigarette burns called to me in songs about tunnels and being caged, the hopelessness that makes you eventually die by age 20 with a needle in your arm on the floor of someone's garage. Iggy Pop rolled around in glass and stabbed himself, Johnny Thunders sang about being Born to Lose before dying of an overdose before Dee Dee Ramone. All of the people who seemed to understand me most couldn't survive in this world. Even punk rock wasn't enough of a way out. Their pain made them cause more pain just to cancel it out.

Eventually my pain could no longer be contained in mosh pits and jars of manic panic and screams like beautiful stab wounds. my wounds emerged real and bloody on the surface of my skin the summer of my suffocation; when in the heat and rage and nothingness of my inner self caused something in me to finally break, or maybe come alive, inflamed. It was the moment I realized that nothing was enough. Tears weren't enough, and there were no words that could explain or heal. I did what felt like survival, the opposite of my days of playing dead, or maybe no different. But the impulse to attack myself was pure-to grab the safety-pin next to me and drag it across my flesh. To create silence, a space to breathe. To be in existence and to fall out of it.

In many ways I've fallen out of life and into some sort of existence, a limbo-state of psych wards and force feedings amidst school and pretend functioning and trying to allow someone to love me. I live in my head, and I've forgotten the letting-go in the crowd, the bass line heartbeat and soaring vocals, the pure anger and celebration of surviving.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

emotional burn victim

"A cripple walks amongst you
All you tired human beings

He's got all the things a cripple has

Not working arms and legs

And vital parts fall from his system
And dissolve in Scottish rain

Vitally he doesn't miss them
He's too fucked up to care"

Is there a blacklist of patients out there that therapists pass around? Do I sound too desperate when I call, too damaged, too unstable? Why is it that yesterday he was about to set something up with me, than suddenly less than 24 hours after my message he just dumps me with a brief, "There isn't an opening in my practice. Sorry." No explanation. Can you just tell by my voice that you don't want me? At least with the therapist I called before this one it was a bit more clear; I made the mistake of saying 2 words about my history. Suddenly that opening he had stopped existing, the waiting list emerged out of nowhere, and that call he promised never came.

I still think about Sue every single day. I want to call her number, sobbing, get off the bus on the way to school and collapse in her office, beg her and Dale to take me back and rescue me from myself. I keep asking myself, still, did I do the right thing or make a mistake ruled by irrational thoughts and crazy emotions? Did I run away or pick myself up? Is it my fault or her's? And even if it's her fault, am I the one who drove her away?

"For the first time, I wonder: How much of what I feel as neglect has been fueled by the force of my constant need? How much can any person hold onto another who is perpetually falling?"

-The Buddha and the Borderline, Kiera Van Gelder