Me, Poetry, Prose, Rambles

Strangers

We’re just two strangers in a city street,

Making small talk in search of something big

But you’re just the latest in a long list,

Of things I’ve done to spite myself

But there’s something pure about the way you talk;

You’re cracking wise while we walk

And all at once I understand:

I’ll never have the upper hand.

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Me, Poetry, Prose, Rambles

My Heart Has Gone Away For a While

My Heart has gone away for a while

(but she’s left the light on so the neighbours think she’s home)

She just walked out the front door, suitcase in hand, sunglasses on.

She’s taking a trip; the kind of trip you don’t come back from.

She fell for something – not a person, but rather, an idea.

The idea that she could save herself

The idea that she could forge a life for herself,

Somewhere far away from the sleepy suburbs of her youth.

But my heart is stupid, and full of cracks

that separate her from those around her.

My heart has a weight on it, that pushes her down and down

Down so far she can barely breathe.

She wonders if death could solve it all,

But knows she could never do it.

So my heart will return home

and walk through the front door she’d sworn she’d left behind,

And she will turn the light off.

(But the neighbours won’t notice)

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Me, Prose, Rambles

My Mind Is a Rose Garden

The inside of my mind is four cornered, like a box. The wooden floorboards and white walls seem pristine at first glance, but on further inspection you may notice the following:

1. Scuff marks, all over the hardwood floor (left there by the last boy who kissed me)
2. Tiny cracks, in the walls and ceiling, like the form of the room could give at any moment (I put those cracks there myself)

Sometimes – when things are good – roses grow from the gaps between the floorboards. They stretch up, blooming in all different shapes, sizes and colours, and fill the room with such joy. But, everything good must come to an end and almost as soon as they blossom, they die of thirst. Their heads fall off, leaving only their thorny stalks behind. (I would cut them back, if I could, but I’m afraid that if I touch them they might draw blood.)

There are no windows and no doors, only a single light bulb that hangs from the ceiling, buzzing with some forgotten insect caught inside.

In each corner of the room, there is a chest, filled up with my most cherished possessions; my memories. If you were to pull one out from their chest, you would find that they’re all connected, tied together with string. Some days, if I have the time, I like to string them up and hang them from the ceiling, watching them replay over and over again.

There are no people in this room, only myself. That is the way it has always been, and always will be. It sounds lonely, but truthfully? The inside of my mind is the only place I can be alone, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

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Music, Rambles

Fuck a Dream, I Want It For Real

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m obsessed with pop music. I’m always looking for good pop music to listen to, because while I do love my fair share of “credible” music, at the end of the day sometimes you just need something you can get down to.

Well, I will search no longer because I have seen (heard?) the light, and it is Charli XCX’s album Sucker.

Sucker took a while to grow on me, but I am so glad I took the time to get into it because it is such a fun album. You’re not going to find anything here that is particularly deep, but the 90’s bubblegum punk – pop vibe it has going on is such a blast, you won’t even care.

My favourites on the album are Hanging Around (this one was co – written with Rivers Cuomo, and it sounds exactly like a Weezer song), I Need Your Love, Body Of My Own and Famous. But honestly, every song is a solid pop song.

If you like your pop music with a new wave twist then this is the album for you. If not… well, you’re missing out.

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Me

Late Night Thoughts

It’s 1 AM, and I can’t sleep. I’m sitting at my desk, wrapped up in my duvet, trying to figure out how I feel about everything.

I feel like I’ve been at a crossroads for a long time. I’ve been aware of my anxiety for a while now, and I’ve wanted to change it for just as long. I feel like I’m constantly wishing for a change to occur in my life, but I’m not really doing anything to bring it about.

I’m stuck in a limbo, a ghost of sorts. I call myself a ghost because I don’t have any kind of life right now – at least not one I can enjoy. Every waking moment is spent worrying and agonizing over my anxiety, and how I’m ever going to possibly get through the next few months of school. There is literally never a moment when I feel safe, or relaxed, or comfortable.

Do you know what it’s like to be constantly wound up? It’s not fun. It’s just totally exhausting. Every single second of my day is spent on edge, just waiting for a person or a situation to come and tip me over it. It’s impossible to live with.

It’s hard not to resent my peers and my friends. It sounds stupid, but when I hear them talk about their lives, and their experiences all I can think about is how I’ll never have what they have. I honestly don’t know if I could ever see myself being happy, or living a normal life. It’s so pessimistic to say it, but I’ve lived with my anxiety for so long now that I’ve almost accepted it as the truth – this is what life is going to be like for me.

It’s only recently that I’ve begun to accept the seriousness of my anxiety. It’s a real illness – it may not be a physical one, but it is just as debilitating as any other physical affliction. It makes me feel alone, isolated, and makes me question my desire to live all the time.

Right now, the way I see it, something has got to give. Like I said, I’m at a crossroads; one road leads to recovery, and freedom, and a life. The other road? I’m not so sure. It could go anywhere – but rest assured, the destination is not a pleasant one.

“Why me?” is a question that I ask myself a lot. Why, out of all the people in this world, was I given this particular hardship? I don’t know if I can stress just how much my illness has taken from me. I’m an eighteen year old first year student in college. I should be having the time of my life, but in reality I almost never go out, and I have made no friends with anyone in my college since I started back in September. It hurts so much to see my classmates becoming good friends while I sit on the sidelines – I’m always on the outside, and it’s always my own fault.

I’m just in so much pain, and I don’t know how to start healing.

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Poetry

Sylvia Plath, and Romanticizing Depression (and why we shouldn’t do that)

Sylvia Plath has been my favourite poet for about two years now. I studied her poems in school, and fell in love with the urgency and honesty behind her words.

Until Sylvia Plath, I’d never known any female poets, and I certainly hadn’t read any poetry quite like hers before. Up until then, all I’d ever been exposed to was variations of nature poetry (Wild Swans at Coole, anyone…?) and the odd war poem. Plath’s poetry was a revelation – proof that poetry wasn’t actually boring, like I had been led to believe. Poetry was full of feeling, and life, and passion, and so many other great things.

My favourite poem by Sylvia is The Rival. I don’t really know if I can accurately express my love for this poem, so I’m just going to post it below so you can read it yourself. The poem is from her book Ariel, and it was speculated to be about a woman called Assia Wevill, who had an affair with Plath’s husband. Ultimately though, this has never been proved and the poem is now thought to have been written years before, and is mostly fictitious. (When I first read it, I actually thought it was about Plath’s mother, but this also hasn’t been proved.)

The Rival

If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression
Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Both of you are great light borrowers.
Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected,

And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here,
Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes,
Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous,
And dying to say something unanswerable.

The moon, too, abuses her subjects,
But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand,
Arrive through the mail slot with loving regularity,
White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.

No day is safe from news of you,
Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.

The first verse is absolutely beautiful, don’t you think?

Plath had a troubled life, right from the start. She tried to commit suicide three times in her life, being successful on her third attempt. Plath’s struggle with depression and her subsequent suicide often make people lend a certain romanticism to her poetry (not dissimilar to the way people have romanticized Kurt Cobain, for example) but I don’t like looking at Plath’s life with rose tinted glasses.

As someone who has suffered with depression in my life, when I read Plath’s work I see so much of myself in it – so much so that it is painful to read sometimes. But Plath was so much more than her depression. In her own daughter’s words:

“…the point of anguish at which my mother killed herself was taken over by strangers, possessed and reshaped by them.”

&

“I saw poems such as Lady Lazarus and Daddy dissected over and over, the moment that my mother wrote them being applied to her whole life, to her whole person, as if they were the sum of her experience.”

I think Sylvia Plath is a classic case of how we, as a society, often romanticize suicide victims. All too often, those suffering with or those who have suffered with depression in the past are reduced to nothing but their depression – it becomes their defining feature. It makes me a little angry that although Plath was an amazing literary talent, every mention of her and her work will always be followed by a mention of her mental illness.

After all, she’s the perfect candidate for it – at the time of her death, she was young, beautiful and she left behind her some of the most brilliant poems ever written.

Since her death, Plath has been portrayed as many different things – in the biographies I’ve read, they do their best to make Plath come across as volatile, or strange, or morose. But in my opinion, Plath was just an extremely talented woman who had a flaw that wasn’t her fault. I always try not to let her depression get in the way when I read her poetry, because I know myself that it would break my heart if my depression became the one thing that people saw when they thought of me.

Ultimately, Plath was a human being. An exceptional one, but still a human. She had dark sides to her personality, sure, but doesn’t everyone?

Depression isn’t romantic. Depression is scary, isolating, and damn near impossible to live with, which is why there are so many people in the world who make the choice not to.

Plath wasn’t a great poet because of her illness, she was a great poet in spite of it.

plathhughes2013

Plath and her husband Ted Hughes

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Me

On Being Positive

I have to do a performance in a class tomorrow that I’m terrified about. Ever since my anxiety has taken over, performing music in front of people has been truly awful.

Music was always the one thing I could depend on, even when I was really young. Writing music is so important to me, but it’s embarrassing when you can’t even play songs you wrote yourself to a good standard in front of others. I go to a music college for Christ’s sake – shouldn’t I at least be able to play in front of other people without wanting to throw up?

But, being negative about tomorrow certainly isn’t going to help me pull off the performance, so I’m going to try being positive for once. (This is new to me though, so bear with me please!)

My counselor tells me that I need to give myself positive affirmations every day in order to feel confident, and to get my self esteem up. I suppose the reasoning is that if you tell yourself something enough times, eventually you’ll start to believe it. Which makes a lot of sense when I put it into context with my anxiety, because at some point I started thinking negatively about myself and my abilities, and then eventually I began to accept them as the truth.

But what is the truth? Honestly, I know I am a good songwriter. I couldn’t have gotten into college if I wasn’t. I know that I am a good vocalist. I know that I am a perfectly capable guitarist – nothing special, but nothing to sniff at either. There is absolutely nothing stopping me from playing well tomorrow – except my own negativity.

I have decided that today is the last day I’m going to spend doubting myself unnecessarily. Self doubt is good and healthy in some situations, but there’s nothing healthy about what I’m doing to myself. At some point, I have to put my foot down and call bullshit on what I’m telling myself. So, this is it. I’m putting my foot down.

So this is what I’m telling myself:

I am a winner.

I am going to play really well tomorrow.

I am a good person.

I matter.

-Jenny

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