Cutting It Fine

CUTTING IT FINE

It’s Friday. Usually I post on Fridays, and today is no different except that today my post is on somebody else’s blog.

I’ve loved Lauren’s blog ever since I first read it. She’s written about her past, she’s written about mental health, struggles, inspiration, good days and bad days. She writes about her future (she’s pregnant!), and she does it all so beautifully and so honestly. Everything is personal and from the heart.

When she first asked me if I’d like to guest post I immediately said yes, but it took me a while to actually write the post I wanted to write. I knew I wanted to write about mental health, and I also knew I wanted to write something deeply personal. Something from the heart. A sort of It-Gets-Better for people who have similar struggles.

But it’s scary, right?

It’s scary writing about things you know some people won’t understand. Every time I sat down to write the post, I found myself writing about the reasons why I was going through such a rough time. I got mired in a Swamp of Sadness made up of largely irrelevant (to everyone but me) details about my past, and the post was so dark and depressing and not at all what I wanted to write.

It’s difficult, though.

It’s hard to write about both the past and mental health without feeling like you need to explain, and defend, and justify, when you can no more control or change what has already happened than you can control your dreams.

Finally, I scrapped what I’d written, started over, and got it all down. It’s not perfect, it’s probably not for the squeamish, but it’s extremely personal, and it’s from the heart.

You can find it here:

Cutting It Fine

 

A Struggle in Poetry

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In honour of World Poetry Day (which was yesterday), and the suffocating fog of misery that I spent the past week trying to ignore (which has now finally, thankfully lifted), I wrote a poem. I promise this won’t be a regular thing – poetry is not my strong suit – but it is easy and quick and I’m still feeling a bit fragile, so this will get us over the hump to Friday.

Standing chest-deep in the oceanKnocked back by every wave,She waited.Her face wet with salt waterHer feet anchored in sand, (1)

The Black Dog and The Importance of Words

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Sometimes – not often, but sometimes – I have Bad Days.

These are days when the usual voice of reason is there somewhere in the background, like, “Heeeeey, heeey girl….,” but it’s getting totally drowned out by this onslaught of constant self-criticism. Things I would never dream of saying to another human being just expand and fill my head like a thick fog. It’s horrendous.

I think most people probably have days like this to some extent. I think that’s just the human condition, and there’s not a whole lot that you can do about it really. Sometimes those doubts and insecurities and straight-up fears start crawling up your leg and before you know it, their needle-sharp claws are digging into the sensitive skin of your inner thigh and you just. can’t. shake. them. off.

Some days are worse than others though, and my Bad Days are… pretty bad.

I grew up in an environment of what I suppose could be called ‘constructive criticism,’ although often it was just your regular, run-of-the-mill, own-brand criticism. Don’t be alarmed, I’m not about to delve into the pros and cons of critical parenting here, constructive or otherwise. I would just like to point out that as a grown adult of admittedly questionable adulting abilities, to this day I still hear those criticisms. They are the safety net that my self-criticisms fall into when I knock them off their perch with a deftly placed ‘don’t be ridiculous.’  So for example, the conversation of the inner mind goes a bit like this:

Self-criticism: You are useless.

Me: Don’t be ridiculous.

Self-criticism falls a few steps back, grabs a memory from the past, drags it into the light and shoves it under my nose.

Self-criticism: You are useless. You see? I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO THINKS THIS. I HAVE BACK UP. THIS IS PROOF!

…And just like that, I’m outnumbered.

Words matter. When you say them matters. How you use them matters. Whether you use words to manipulate (I see you, Spicer), or use words to make your voice heard at a time when you feel helpless, or use them to criticise, or even use them to support someone who needs a boost… they matter. That’s the wonderful thing about words – they’re spoken, or typed, or written, or signed, and then they’re out there taking on a life of their own, to be used and interpreted and felt by the person who’s hearing them. You have no control over them once they’re out. You cannot take them back. They can’t be erased or expunged. They can only be forgotten, and that’s not something you have control over.

Sometimes though, sometimes they can be drowned out. Sometimes hateful words or false words or bitter words can be drowned out by other words. Better words. Loving words. We saw that on Saturday when millions of people took to the streets with all their words and made some serious noise, shouting down the words of division and bigotry that have been all too prevalent over the past few months.

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I’ve decided to take a leaf from their book. I’ve see their success and it gives me hope for the years that are coming. I see them drown out the Bad Day of the inauguration, and it helps me come up with the perfect plan for how to deal with my own Bad Days:

I’m going to hand my voice of reason a megaphone so she can properly drown out my bitchy self-criticisms.