oh / my love / where did you go / did i drop you somewhere / leave you / with a box of matches all alone / and i don’t remember who i am anymore / so where is my home / and what do i want / and where do i go / because if you left me / who am i to say that they won’t / so what do i do mom / what do i do dad / what are you supposed to say to make yourself feel better / when you are completely fucking alone? / drown yourself in clothes? / paint the walls a new colour? / keep checking your phone? / and what am i to do / when even though my denial / the loneliness bleeds through / and i cry out in pain / just hoping to be beautiful / so someday / just promise / that michelangelo will paint me / on the roof of some church / feet planted firmly to the ground / tears spilling down my cheeks as i push up against gravity / ever-so-slowly / shifting the clouds
I wanted this poem to have an epic, slightly dramatic, medieval-ish vibe to it–like, the literary version of one of those ancient church frescoes you see in, like, European cathedrals. (Not that I have any experience with those in person, I just grew up on a steady diet of BBC history documentaries with obscene amounts of church montages and I will not pretend it hasn’t influenced me.) Anyhow, I think it actually really came out pretty good.
There’s a certain performative nature that comes with discussing mental health online for me–and honestly with talking to other people period.
Like, there’s the me I am when I’m alone… and there’s the me I am when I’m terrified that other people won’t believe and validate my suffering, the me that therefore exaggerates my emotions as a kind of… defense mechanism, I guess. That lies out of habit just because I am so desperate for people to believe me, and trust me, and love me, that there’s a small part of me that will do almost anything to get validation. I’m always just a little fake, even around the people I trust the most in the world… simply because I’m just so used to having to put up my guard that I don’t even think about it anymore. That really bothers me.
Another element of this poem is the line where I say “and i cry out in pain / just hoping to be beautiful.” Which is sort of referring to the fact that when you share your experiences with a wider audience… it’s not just about you anymore. It’s about framing your experiences in such a way that other people want to know about them, extract some kind of value from them, whether that be by using things you’ve been through for comedy or entertainment, or by making them into art for people to enjoy and see beauty in. And, I don’t know, I guess I just have a bit of a love-hate relationship with that, and figuring out how to discuss this stuff online without feeling as though I’m exploiting my own experiences is definitely something I’m working on.
I don’t know if anyone cares about this stuff, but I like writing these analyses, and making more in-depth posts discussing my writing, so yeah. 🙂 How do you feel about sharing your experiences with mental health issues online? What are your experiences? I’d love to know, so if you’re feeling chatty, feel free to share in the comments.
Lots of love,