in retrospect, i was incredibly naive to think that was how to deal with what was going on inside but hey, at least i tried. i burned the journals in 2019 because that was the year i was sure i had actually lost my mind. that was the year i thought i had reached rock bottom but it turns out it was not. it was just another level of descent. not the end. so today i decided to burn some of my photographs. as you can tell, one way i get rid of things is to burn them to ashes because ashes are the end of everything. it is the last state of physicality, i think. but what about those things i cannot burn? what do i do to them?
the pain i don’t say out loud builds a home inside me. – Olivia Gatwood
i hated those photographs that i burned. they were a reminder of a time of some misplaced innocence. a time before i knew what cutting your own skin feels like. a time before i had written a couple of suicide letters. a time before one of my best friends had to hide razors and blades from me. a time before i knew what bathing lying down felt like. so i burned them because i feel like that person does not exist anymore. not really. i have kept some photographs though because the people in them remind me of love and hope. the me in high school had some nightmares, some came true but the worst part is that they came true in a more horrified version. i never imagined starving myself because of anxiety. i never thought of taking psychiatric medicines. i never imagined what it would feel like wanting to do internship but being stuck in a timeloop that will not let me dare. so sure some nightmares came true. but some good things have happened too. i have gained a depth of humanity that i never thought even existed. i have loved with a ferocious passion maybe because i know how fleeting everything is. i have told my story and those of others and acknowledged their existence, which is such a beautiful thing to do.
even so, i have known the anatomy of isolation. i have known the worst kind of loneliness. i avoid telling my whole story because i do not want to sound like a train wreck. i do not want to be a statistic either. oh look here is another very bright child who crashed and burned into oblivion. because that is not the sum of my existence. i know that. i have so many other nightmares i have not told anyone. not even paper. not even poetry. definitely not any human. because there is a darkness that language cannot capture. so i write anonymously and when i realize some people are beginning to figure out the life version of me and this one here, i pack up and disappear. i delete the account and everything i ever wrote and disappear. i do not leave any trace. i even change my name and number because i am so damn afraid of being remembered as a trainwreck. i do not want that to be my identifier. no one does. but i cannot control what you decide to remember me as. i can influence your memory of me but i cannot determine that. and i do not want to risk being right that you know me as a trainwreck. the thing about being an overthinker is that most of the times, you are right. so i hide. i hide behind words. behind pseudonyms. behind metaphors. and i hate it. but i am used to it. i suppose because from a young age i learned that being real with my feelings was going to cause discord. what i did not fathom was the kind of pain it would put me in.
maybe it’s a terrible thing, to keep a war to yourself. – Ari (Benjamin Sàenz)
I had been born knowing how to hide what I felt. – Ari (Benjamin Sàenz)
doc, tell me why my daughter is like this. why she hates herself like this. why she wants to die. why she hides from us. why she believes we do not love her. why she thinks we will be better without her. why she thinks she is useless. why she thinks her existence does not matter. is there anything we can do doc? is there treatment?
why are you like this? everyone asks. i don’t know.
what happened? i don’t know.
i just snapped. why? i don’t know.
will you be okay? i don’t know.
you’ll be okay. really? how do you know?
there is no part three. i suppose one would want a happy ending of sorts. something to tie up this whole story in a finality that gives hope.
nothing ever ends poetically. it ends and we turn it into poetry. all that blood was never once beautiful. it was just red. – Kait Rokowski.
but i cannot give an ending because this story is still being written so the future is an adventure.
to be human is to wait for a tender ending. – William Bortz
prior to publishing this post, while i was editing some parts, i went through my current notebook where i write to-do lists and found a part of a poem i had written years ago. the line “courage is a shapeshifter”. to mean that courage takes various forms in different situations. sometimes it is talking to someone else about your pain. or letting someone help you bear a burden. going to hospital. allowing forgiveness some little room in your heart. walking out from a toxic place. speaking up about your trauma. the thing is, do not let anyone dictate what courage is to you. your courage is not about how it is measured by other people but you decide its form, its shape and even its time. just remember that there are some people somewhere rooting for you, including this stranger right here writing this.
i once told a good friend of mine, “being brave is not easy.” there are times i still struggle with finding my voice and speaking out for myself. there are times i still choose to be silent instead of saying how i feel. it’s a journey. one thing is certain though, i find my voice here. and it is crystal clear in this space. i am not going to let anyone take the safety and authenticity of this space from me. it does not matter whether they have good intentions or not. this will remain a space of raw conversations and i intend to fight for it to remain that way.

2 thoughts on “TTWBATS Part Two

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