Quieting the voices

I’m only 25 but most of the time I’m battling with the nagging feeling that life has passed me by — it translates into panic attacks and depressive episodes and so I constantly have to remind myself that for someone my age I’m doing more than ok. But as soon as I do that my brain tells me I’m deceiving myself and overcompensating so the vicious cycle in my head is like a circus full of crazy ass clowns juggling flaming bowling pins through fiery hoops.

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I’ve been obsessing over my book and that obsession has been crippling me from writing a lot. Last month or so, I had dinner with my mentor Muhtar Bakare and he helped me see what I was doing to myself with the book thing. So, he said to write like an architect builds. Have a picture in your mind,  write/draw your plan and flesh it out and make corrections as you go along. Don’t try to have it all perfect at once.

So I did that for days. I sat (more like lay down) and properly mapped it out and now I’m going to just keep writing, instead of constantly going back and obsessing over the imperfection of what I’ve done so far. I’ve been on this thing for 3/4 years, and it may or may not take me another 10 years to finish it but for the first time I feel like it’s going somewhere.

So, what’s the point of this post? I’m not sure but it’s something about quieting the voices in your head and just doing it!

Have a great week.

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Of hearts, crazy glue and happy pills

On the second night you cry yourself to sleep to the sound of rain, you realise that it will always be like this — love will always hurt your kind. Because you have a heart too quick to fall, too quick to hit ground, too quick to break in shards with jagged edges that pierce your soul. Because you’re the give-it-your-all, cards on the table, heart wide open, laughter all  the time type, and people, people don’t always know that you don’t have it all together.

You’re all emotions and fears and a heart that’s scarred in places and cracked in places and held together by crazy glue and happy pills. People don’t always know that, so they hurt you, even when they don’t mean to. Even when they don’t hurt you, they hurt you, because your head hurts you with the anxiety and paranoia and worst case scenarios. And you cry, and you keep crying and writing, in hope that sleep comes soon. And you try to forget who you are, why you are, why you’re hurting when he hasn’t hurt you.

The rain is coming in through the window but you don’t care. Actually, you care but you’re paralysed by the pain inside you so that you cannot get up, can’t make the effort to move the few inches and reach your hand up to slide it shut. So it beats you, on your bed, and you don’t know which has your pillow wetter, your tears or the rain.

You wish you knew how to love in bits and pieces, in off and on, and now or later. Love should be stick shift — clutch and break and change gears slowly. Not this free falling in auto mode.

Don’t forget to use your pills when you’re falling in love. You need all the help you can get then. Don’t forget to lean on your friends to break your fall. You need all the help you can get. Seriously.

I Lost My Way

“They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.”
– Philip Larkin

 

The world is weird and children get the worst of it. Then we grow up and, somehow, the same world that fucked us up expects us to be normal, to be secure and mature and all kinds of other words that we don’t know how to live.

It’s hard to know who you are in a world full of people who are constantly asking you to be something else; to be who they want you to be, to be who they need you to be.

I used to know who I was. When I was a child, I didn’t have a lot of cares. I knew who I was. I knew that I was precocious and restless and had this thing inside of me that made me want to wander and poke into holes in dark places and find new things that would make me wonder and maybe come back, maybe not come back; but I knew who I was, until I turned nine.

Nine is the first memory of concrete sorrow because nine is when I started to lose myself; nine is when I no longer knew who I was. When it was about what the parents wanted for me; there was no question about what I wanted it was just what they wanted and it didn’t even matter if what each one of them wanted for me did not suit what the other wanted; it didn’t matter.

I was just a rope in a tug-of-war. It just did not matter. I didn’t matter. I was just a rope. And it was years of that; years of being lost, years of roaming in my head and having no concrete reason for sorrow. I keep saying that I had no reason for sorrow because I don’t know what it was. All I knew was that I could not be me. I had to be this person who was good at school, who got perfect grades and I didn’t know how to be that person.

I wanted to sit in the Queens College library full of thousands and thousands of books and I just wanted to read them; I wanted to read books and write Italian words and forget them in a week, and read the unabridged version of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. I wanted to roam. I wanted to find new things in the pages of books; I wanted to find new things in my head but I couldn’t be that person no matter how hard I tried to be because I had to be this person who passed Mathematics and who, if she didn’t, got beaten by her mother.

I had to be this person who got compared to her sisters and even to her baby brother because I wasn’t putting in enough effort, I was too restless, my eyes were too wide, I wanted too much yet too little from the world.

Maybe they want what’s best for you but who knows what’s best for you? In the process of doing what’s best for you they erode what makes you you. And coming from that I started to date my first boyfriend at 18 and I had to be someone else; I had to be who he wanted me to be; I had to be quiet, respectful and couth and I didn’t know how to be that, I didn’t know how to be a woman. I didn’t know how to be the woman that they wanted me to be. I didn’t know how to be the woman that the world wanted, that the men wanted. All I used to know was how to be was me. But even that, I no longer knew how to be.

I was this person lost and floundering and trying to please the parents and trying to be good enough for the parents and trying, at the same time, not to lose myself, so that in the end I was a cacophony of confused personalities stuck in one person, stumbling all the time and I turned 20 and another boyfriend and the need to be good enough, to be enough, to be better than who I was, a different version of who I had been expected to be in my last relationship, a different version from whom my parents wanted me to be, a different version from whom my friends wanted me to be, a different version from whom the entire world wanted me to be.

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I didn’t even want to be myself because I didn’t know who I was. I just wanted to be enough, to be perfect, to win. And the thing about perfection is it’s a lost cause so no matter what, you’re never quite enough.

And now I’m 25 and I don’t know who I am. I’m 25 and sitting in front of a therapist and weeping my eyes out because I don’t know who I am any more. I don’t know where that girl is. The one who had no sorrow because she had no reason for sorrow. I don’t know what I am besides lost and I’m trying to recapture this thing that I used to love, trying to find the person that I was, knowing that it’s okay to not be perfect, to not have the perfect body or the cutest face. It’s okay and I’m comfortable in my body that is like a boy’s. And I had missed my sneakers and now I can wear my sneakers and my jeans and t-shirts and not need to be sexy, to be better than the other women vying for your attention, not need to be dumber than you because you need to be the most intelligent person in the world.

And I’m mad. I’m angry at myself, I’m angry at the world for expecting so much; not just so much but for expecting different things, for not accepting. And I’m mad at myself for trying for acceptance because in the end the more you change, the more you need to change.

In the end, no one is ever going to be who I want them to be. It’s also up to me to realise that I’m never going to be who everybody wants me to be or who anybody wants me to be and it’s okay to accept who I am and to not try to change it; it’s important to not change who I am.

 

“…you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that.
…you are terrifying and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.”
– Warsan Shire

To a 21-year-old me

You gorgeous somebody,

Quick one.

Forgiveness is not your thing. Don’t push it. Learn to walk away from love, lust, money. Learn to do it with your head held high and your non-existent hips swinging (not your fists).

Embrace your lack of conformity. Embrace your skinny. Embrace your weird.

You know the needless sad and mad you’ve always felt? Yeah, you don’t have to live with it. Go to the psychiatric hospital. Now. You’re bipolar and have a borderline personality; the drugs and therapy will help a great deal.

Life gets better. The day will come when you won’t want to die young. The day will come when you’ll welcome sunlight. Even let it in a little.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Or be. You’ll do well. Do great. Don’t be such an over-achiever. Or be. It’s ok to not beat yourself up over little things sometimes.

Break up with him. Now. You will thank me for saving you four years.

You should not have to pretend to know less than a man does simply because he needs to be the smartest one in a room and thinks you’re too competitive, too controlling.

One day, he’ll tell you he wants you to “just be a woman” and you’ll find that you don’t know how to be that, or what that is. You’ll find that the most brilliant man can still have weird traditional ideas of romantic relationships.

Don’t give too much of your heart and soul to a man. To a person. No one is worth it.

It’s ok to ask for help when you need it. It’s ok to lean on people.

You’ll grow a semblance of hips.

Things To Remember

Some months ago, I made a list of things to remember, because I often forget the things that are important and I hold on to the negative instead. So, from time to time I read my list. I turned 25 yesterday, and I needed the reminder once more.

  1. Never forget that you are a strong woman. That you will get through anything. Everything. And emerge stronger. Never forget.
  2. It is not people who should remind me, I am the one who needs to remind myself.
  3. I am loved by wonderful people.
  4. I am a normal person overcoming BPD.
  5. I have been blessed in years past, even in my refusal to see it.
  6. The journey is not always going to be easy but so long as I keep moving forward I’ll be fine.
  7. Worry is the chemical imbalance’s way of eating into my mind.
  8. There’s always often a plausible positive explanation for the weirdness folks bring my way.
  9. The world is not trying to hurt me.
  10. The universe does not revolve around me.
  11. The people I lean on have their own personal issues outside of me and they also need my love.
  12. Olodumare is watching out for me at all times.
  13. One day, I’ll wake up and realise my brain remembered by itself.

So, that’s my list. What are the things you have to remind yourself of?

Old Age and Yesterday’s Sorrow

For a long time, I felt as though I had no right to sorrow, no excuse for it. So I tried to hide it. But sorrow is one of those things that refuse to stay hidden. And so, after some time, it demanded to be heard, to be worn.

I’m turning 25 on the 10th of November (yay mid-twenties/ 😦 old age) and all I can think about is how far I’ve come in the past year. From October to December last year, I was mostly depressed and suicidal. I planned to kill myself the day I turned 24, then jettisoned the idea… but I actively tried to do it in December. So, in memory of that, I’m going to start with some of the dark notes I wrote then, and over the next few days, move into the light.

I’ve come a long way and I’m proud of myself and the progress I’ve made in the past year.

October 2012

Stop fighting it. Allow the darkness in. Why did you think you could have happy? Let’s face it, it wasn’t made for your kind. Your kind wasn’t made to be. Whole.
It’s just a matter of time. No matter how much you try to fool yourself. How much you try to convince yourself that you can cheat the order of things. Happy wasn’t made for you. See how your feet walk towards destruct. Because it is what they were made for. To roam. And then to be no more. What makes you think you can cheat the order? It is all written, you know.

November 2012

Something happens when you need people who don’t need you. Who don’t want to need you. When your broken mind needs people who can’t be there. Won’t be there. All you’re left with is a broken heart. And soul. 
Then, you get tired. So tired you can’t cry for help any longer. And you know what you have to do. Your broken parts know that they need rest. Earth rest. You should go without saying goodbye.
Should never have lived so long. No one can say you didn’t try. 23 years is a long time in darkness. No. Wait till the day it’s rounded up. 24. No one will say you didn’t try. See, they won’t care that you’re gone. The world has its own problems.

December 2012 (Before the meds)

You’re sitting on the cold tiled floor of a hotel room in a strange town, crying. You’ve finally figured out why you came here; it wasn’t for solitude as you thought. It was because you were running from the loneliness. Except it is here too and digging its claws into you so deep at the moment that there’s nothing you can do but cry. You had a good day. A great one in fact. But it was waiting for you in your hotel room, the loneliness. And all of the distractions won’t work this time.
You look up. you’re disappointed that there is no ceiling fan. You wonder if you’d really do it if there was one. If you’d hang yourself. You’re not sure. You wipe your eyes with the white hotel duvet. You see the mascara stain and do it again. I’m confused. No, I’m not confused. I’m tired. Why won’t I die? In my sleep or something. Please. Please just let it all be over. Please.

December 2012 (Few days before the attempt)

Sometimes, dying is the ultimate act of unselfishness. Am I the only one who gets this? You outlive your usefulness when you start to hurt the ones you love. You start to die inside already. You might as well finish the act, lest you take them with you.

December 2012 (The night before the attempt)

But if someone were to say, “this is how you broke me,” we wouldn’t accept it, wouldn’t take the responsibility. But we never know the ways in which we break people… Not till we break the ones who are like Humpty; the ones who refuse to be put together again. Even then, we may not know. Especially when we break ourselves.

Now

All through this year, I’ve been on a journey to finding peace, stability and even joy. I still have my ups and downs — I probably always will, but I’m happy about the place I am right now.