You Could Do Better.

I am made up of failures,
Mistakes,
Faults,
and flaws.

I am built on disapproval,
judgement,
fear,
and inadequacies.

I have lived my life on cracked foundation,
made from melting ice sheets,
I have built my life on rotting wood,
on fragile china.

I have bled on pages and pages of
self-deprecating moments,
over exaggerated comments,
and silent disapprovals.

I remain bleeding,
as I slowly break my bones
Hoping that I am bent into the shapes
Everyone else approves of.

I have erased myself from mirrors,
Painted pictures of nonsensical images,
of things people approve of.

I can’t remember what I used to look like.
I trace the outlines of my being
and it feels foreign to me.

I sold myself to the lowest bidder.
I used people’s approval as currency
In hopes to buy myself back.
But nothing I do seems to amount to the cost
Of a real human soul.

So I exist,
In my own emptiness,
I hear the hollowness,
Echoing sounds of “you could do better.”

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Living with Mental Illness: Anxiety

It’s Friday night and my friend and I have planned to go out. It was supposed to be a fun time. Time to forget about the work week and just let loose. I prepared myself because I’m only of those people who need to some fair warning before going out. I spent the entire week, pumping myself up and getting mentally ready.

The night comes and I am suddenly washed with an ominous feeling of disdain and anxiety. The week has not been kind to me but I push everything aside and tell myself that I’ve been preparing an entire week for this and my friend has been so excited for this too. So I decide to push through my emotions and go.
It doesn’t hit until I’m in the club. It’s extra crowded tonight and there are so many people. Im suddenly overcome with a field of emotions. My chest tightens and I can’t breathe.
“Not again,” I find myself whispering. My friend becomes so concerned about me. He isn’t sure if I’m going to vomit or faint. I’m crouching on the floor at this point because my claustrophobia and my anxiety is getting the best of me as if to say, “I told you so.” I promptly get up and push through the crowd and try to get some air.
I try and get back into the groove of the crowd but I can feel my body tense up every step I take. I can’t take it anymore and I ask to leave. Forcing my friend to leave with me since we came together.
Another night ruined because my anxiety got in the way. Because I wasn’t strong enough to be okay.
I wish that this was an one time thing.
I wish that I didn’t have to spend days preparing to face big crowds and be social.
I wish I could control my emotions.
But I can’t.
I have ruined so many nights because I couldn’t handle the pressure or the crowd. I’ve prevented myself from having a good time because I gave into my anxiety and depression and refused to leave.
It’s like I just can’t win.
I’m stuck.
If I do go out, my anxiety and depression overwhelms me and I can’t even stand.
If I don’t go out, I prevent myself from spending time with my friends and being social, I shut myself up from the world.
I want to go out and have a good time. I want to be able to stand in big crowds without having panic attacks.
I want to be able to be a normal human and withstand stuff like this.
People tell me that I’m just being lazy or anti social. I try and play it off, joking that I just hate people.
People tell me that depression and anxiety are just stupid excuses.
They don’t see the validity in my disease.
They don’t see the agony and pain I’m in because I just want to be normal.
I don’t want to be this way.
I don’t want little things to affect me so much that I physically can’t get out of bed.
I don’t want my anxiety to cripple me into loneliness.
I don’t want my anxiety to ruin another one of my friend’s nights.
I don’t want to cry alone in my car because I feel like a complete failure for not being able to go inside a club.
I don’t want to feel this way.
But I do.
I can’t help it.
I’m not doing this on purpose.
I just need you to know that.
Mental illness is not just in the mind.
It’s physically draining.
It’s paralyzing and it’s terrifying.
It kills you from the inside out.
It tears you apart little by little.
Tearing away at your walls and taking bits of your soul.
So when someone says that they can’t do something because of their anxiety, please try to be understanding.
I got lucky and have friends who are very understanding of my illness. I still feel terrible and broken up inside about ruining a perfectly good time.
Mental illness is just that, an illness.
Just because you can’t physically see it or can’t put a cast on it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
If you’ve never broken a bone, you can’t know what it feels like but you know that it hurts and it’s not something you “just get over.”
If you’ve never experienced mental illness, you can’t know what it feels like either so don’t tell me to just “get over it” because we are trying and it’s slowly killing us because it’s a battle that we must fight and a lot of us face it alone because we are told we are just being stupid or that it’s made up.
We aren’t.
I promise you.
We aren’t.

Dear Everyone: A Letter to Everyone

Here is a letter to everyone I could think of.

Dear people I care about,

I care about you because you are genuinely yourselves and there’s nothing more beautiful than that.

Dear people who care about me,

Interesting choice you made.

Dear people who I left behind,

Sorry. Bye.

Dear people who left me behind,

Double Bye

Dear people I reconnected with,

HEEEEEEYYY BOO

Dear people who apologized to me,

We good.

Dear people I apologized to,

We good?

Dear people who hated me,

Honestly same

Dear people I hated,

You did something mad cray and I ain’t about it or you support Trump.

Dear people who support Trump,

For the love of God, WHY?

Dear feminists,

Hell yeah

Dear people who aren’t feminists,

Hell no

Dear people who made me laugh,

You’re the greatest and I treasure you

Dear people who laughed at me,

Honestly same

Dear people who asked me to hang out but never followed through,

You either too busy or you straight lyin’

Dear people I asked to hang out but never followed through,

My bad. I’m probably too scared to ask again because I’m a coward and I will always feel like I’m bothering you.

Dear people who still legit want to hang out,

Yo hit a gurl up. I is available.

Dear people I dated,

Why?

Dear people I had crushes on,

I still think you hella cute but I’m too scared to admit it because of my crippling fear of rejection.

Dear people who had crushes on me,

You exist though?

Dear people I fell in love with,

I’m sorry I was not strong or brave enough to tell you

Dear people who fell in love with me,

I’m sorry. God rest your souls

Dear friends,

Thank you

Dear acquaintances,

We chill but still. Let’s hang or something.

Dear strangers,

Who are you?

Dear mom and dad,

Thanks for everything you’ve ever done for me. You da real MVPs

Dear people I call best friends,

Like it’s for real. I don’t joke about shit like that.

Dear people whom I said “I love you” to,

Like seriously, I ain’t joking about shit. If I say I love you, I mean it. I ain’t no triflin’ bitch. Don’t test me though.

Dear people I don’t talk to anymore,

There’s a reason. Search for it.

Dear people who don’t talk to me anymore,

Must be a reason but oh well. Busy.

Dear lovers,

WHERE YOU AT THOUGH?

Dear soul,

Man I’m sorry. It’s been rough but we gon’ make it through.

Dear heart,

You good? Because you hella broken and I’m worried.

Dear bank account,

Wow I’m like real sorry…but I ain’t done abusing you yet so hold tight, I just saw something online and Imma get it.

Dear younger me,

It doesn’t really get better but you learn to deal with it in a much healthier and nicer way than you currently are. Seriously stop hating yourself so bad. It ain’t cute. Also work out more. Legit. WORK OUT MORE.

Dear older me,

Please tell me it gets better. Like send me a sign or something.

Dear God,

I’m sorry for everything and I hope we still chill.

Dear world,

Let’s be nicer to each other because I’m getting real tired of all this bullshit. Like seriously. What the hell, you guys?

Fragile Hands

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.37.20 PM
Of course the world seems a little darker.
The rain falls a little harder
And time moves a little slower.

You have days when all you want to do is lay in your bed, drowning in your own thoughts. Sometimes your thoughts are so loud that you can’t hear the world around you. The world becomes a daunting task and you feel utterly alone.

These days crawl by, one after another, reminding you that you have so much to do but you can’t bring yourself to do any of them. You feel stuck and it scares you. You become weak and fragile like that good china that your mother only uses for “special occasions.” You shake at the touch of the wind and you can’t bear the sunlight in your eyes. Everything stops making sense and your heart withers away at your sleeve.

People don’t think that you are capable of love but that’s not true, is it? Your problem is that you fall in love way too easily. You fall in love with everything and everyone. You lock eyes in the streets and you imagine your lives together, intertwined within each other’s arms, you imagine futures together and you can’t shake it.
You fall in love with the sky, the way that it burns a bright blue and dulls into that orange that makes you think of famous artists that you can’t name from the top of your head.
You fall in love with the night, the darkness covering you like a cozy blanket, tucking you in and whispering words like dissolving stars.
You fall in love with the world, as it slowly tears away at your skin and erodes your bones. You give it second chances because you tell yourself that you’re in love.
You love so much but you never have enough for yourself. You hope that one day you’ll have some left over at the end of the day for yourself but day after day you come up empty.
With dark bags under your eyes, strained from the weight that you carry from all that love that you keep giving, you fall asleep, telling yourself that you’ll try again tomorrow.

You love so easily and that’s why you’re so weak. Love takes so much vulnerability. You strip down to your bare bones and you expose your heart to anyone who asks. You forgot that half assed wall you built yourself when you were 16 and you promised that no one would hurt you again. You hide behind pillow forts and under cardboard shelters while in the midst of violent warfare.
You care too much and you love with such fragile hands. Callous and numb, you keep reaching out for a love that was never returned to you. You keep searching and you become exhausted.

So of course the world seems a little darker.
The rain falls a little harder
And time moves a little slower.

-jl

The Settling

“I can’t do this anymore,” she spoke softly but firmly, “I just can’t.”

She drowned her face into her hands and her body moved with her breathing. Her voice was filled with disappointment and a tinge of shame. She felt everything and it hurt her. She didn’t just give her heart, she gave her soul, her body, her everything. She started to numb herself, she spent her days into neutral. She always ended up feeling empty and hollow. She entered love like a sin and flogged herself with the pain of self-questioning, leaving her bruised but hallowed.

She breathed into the air, hoping for an answer from a silent god. She felt the world seeping into her skin and onto her bones. She twisted and turned her soul like an old Rubik’s cube in hopes of fitting into the colors of the spaces around her. She couldn’t do it. She never really could get it right. She thrusted her chest out and threw her head back in a desperate attempted to feel something. She let it all in. The anger, the pain, the sadness, the memories, and finally the calm.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she spoke weakly with determination, “I don’t want to.”

-jl

 

Love and I

Love came to me like a new friend and greeted me with brilliance.
Filled with excitement and childlike anticipation, I found myself infatuated with love.
Love held my hand and gently brushed the hair out of my face.
Promising me a forever that I never wanted, love took me in and never let go.
Love gripped at my wrists and cut off the circulation.
My hands became numb and I became selfish.
I reached, trying to feel everything around me
But love never let me get completely numb.
I felt every time the door would open and close.
I felt every time I said I love you.
Every breath in between.
Every single moment, every single goodbye
Obliterating my soul.
Love tightened its grip around my neck
Whispering the promise of forever repeatedly
It breathed into my lungs,
Filling the empty spaces with hopeless possibilities.

Love stayed.
Even if I didn’t want it to, it remained.
Smearing my walls with colors I never knew existed, love painted my world.
Love became second nature and I found myself falling.
Love blinded me and I gave away my heart like pamphlets.
Every day became more and more difficult.
Quiet nights became a deafening reminder of my failures.
I disappointed love and it became habit.
Love carved notches onto my bones of all the times I let it down
Until my bones could no longer remain stable
And I felt myself breaking under the pressure.

I never tried to stop it, I never resisted.
Love was beautiful.
I became addicted to the destruction it brought.
Love was annihilating.
I never knew the many ways my heart could break.
I kept loving with everything I ever was.
That was the problem, wasn’t it?
It was my fault, wasn’t it?

Love stayed,
But you didn’t.

And I let it happen.

-jl

Tomorrow, Dear Heart, Tomorrow.

Without a sound, you empty your mind onto the coffee table that sits in the middle of your living room. You fall back onto your couch and stare at the mess of thoughts dispersed in front of you. Your tired eyes glaze over the memories and you take a deep, painful breath. The sun glides through the room and reminds you that the day has come to an end. You run your fingers gently over the new set of scars branded onto your skin from the last 24 hours. You bury your face in your hands and you keep yourself from losing it. You place all the broken pieces back in their places and you wearily start to get ready for bed. Your legs are heavy and your eyes are red. Your hands are rough and your soul is exhausted. It takes everything in you to push forward but you do it because you don’t know anything else. You don’t have a choice but to keep moving regardless of how slow and tired you are. You shuffle your way through the motions and the routine continues at an utterly infinitesimal pace. The mirror reflects the face of someone you used to know, such a long and forgotten time ago. You steady yourself against the rocking earth and tear yourself away from yesterday. You crack your bones and settle yourself into bed. The darkness takes over your room and your eyes grow heavy under the pressure of the wounded world around you. You take a final moment to mutter last words of hope into the buried atmosphere. What a waste of gross expectations. No matter how loud your heart is, pounding against your ribcage, you fall asleep.

“I’ll just deal with you tomorrow, dear heart, tomorrow.”

-jl