Too Much Sadness

The numbers are piling up,

of people telling me their secrets.

Maybe one day

I’ll see them in my dreams,

the ghosts of my friends.

Maybe they’ll tell me things,

things that should not be said

by the dead.

And as they tell me,

“This is your fault,

you could not love me,”

their cold, skeleton hands

will wrap around my throat

and silence my sobs

and thicken my grief.

My mind will play

like a broken record

the life fading out of their eyes

and realisation

that I can’t save

those who have decided

they’re already gone.

I have not seen the last girl

who told me she wants to die

since we were sat on that couch

three weeks ago

and I held her as she cried.

My tears now carry

the weight of not knowing,

of wishing there was something I could do.

It’s been two days

since my fears were confirmed

and I saw those dreaded red lines

on my best friend’s arm.

I did not realise the pain

and I did nothing to prevent it.

Because a smile does so much

and I spend so long

feeling sorry for myself

that I consciously ignore the signs.

I can’t handle more phone calls,

telling me goodbye at 3am.

I can’t withstand

another boy there in front of me

with a plastic bag over his head,

begging me to save him,

only to punch my face

when I tear the bag in half.

My head feels clouded these days

and my clothes smell of alcohol

because I’d rather bathe in vodka

than other people’s second-hand sadness.

I’m not saying I don’t care,

maybe I care too much,

I think I just need a break

from things that make us all numb.

Because I can not save them

when I am only just managing to save myself.

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still healing, always will be

there is a thing in my past

that has been hurting me

that no one knows about

that i don’t think i’ll ever get over

that i can’t manage to speak of.

it makes me want to cry

every second of every day

and it upsets me more

to know i was not strong enough

to willingly live knowing it happened.

there is someone i want to punish

for the way i have lived

in the past three years.

for all the pain they put me through

for all the problems that stem from it

for the normality of life they took from me.

i wish i didn’t think of it as much as i do

i wish it never became such a huge part of my life

i wish i didn’t blame myself for so long afterwards

i wish i had cut that person out of my life sooner

i wish i told someone.

i wish it never happened.

I Can’t Go Back

Lately,

eating has been getting hard again.

Everything I put in my mouth feels wrong,

my tongue treats food

like a foreign object,

I don’t want food.

My teeth tell me I’m in pain

when I try to put them to work.

I’m not in pain.

My throat is overwhelmed

with act of swallowing.

It’s not that hard.

Lately,

As I unwillingly consume

the things I once loved,

my mind becomes a calculator,

counting calories and thinking

of reasons I should not be eating.

I know how many extra kilometres

I will have to run

because of a single chocolate bar.

And how those three pancakes cost me,

in the form of 200 sit-ups

and a guilty conscience.

Maybe you would have flat stomach

If you cut down on the cake.

Lately,

I’ve started painting my nails again,

because they might start turning yellow.

And then people ask questions,

I don’t want to answer those questions.

And I can’t seem to get warm,

I’m shivering all the time,

my toes turned blue the other day.

but I can blame that on winter.

And I’ve noticed things in hind sight

that should have been clear warnings.

Like when I started replacing meals

with stolen alcohol,

because at least that gives

the illusion of a filled stomach.

Or when I started to enjoy

the hunger I feel when I first wake up.

Lately,

I’ve been terrified.

Of the things happening in the world.

And I think my stress

makes me happier chewing my cheek

rather than an apple.

Also,

I’m terrified of what i’m doing

to myself.

The way I seem to have no regard

for my health and wellbeing.

Even as I write this I shake from hunger.

And I know I should do something,

get help,

talk,

or just fucking eat.

But being back in this place is hard,

and I swear I’m fine.

I have to be fine,

there’s no other option.

Because I can’t go back.

I can’t go back to therapy.

I just can’t.

Last Night

Last night at 10,

I sat

on the edge of my bed

with my chin on my knees

and stared at the wall.

I thought about last years winter.

There weren’t enough sweaters

in the world

to warm the heart I had frozen.

Because thats the best way

to preserve meat, to stop it going bad.

But the icy shards stabbed

at my lungs and made breathing painful.

Made laughing painful.

Made living painful.

I thought about the way

I wouldn’t let the love I was shown

thaw my sadness.

At 11,

I reached

to the back of my wardrobe

where lives the onesie I used to curl up in.

I hoped it would warm me

but it smelt of year old tears

and only served as a reminder

that I don’t know how to cry anymore.

I’m not as small as I once was.

And it can no longer cover

the entirety of my blues.

At 12,

I glued pages of positivity

over journal entries from

a year ago, two years ago.

In some desperate attempt

to rewrite the past

and give the illusion I was happy.

I sat on the floor with a lighter

and tried to engulf my written history

in flames.

Thinking it could turn back time

and warm my heart.

I watched the smoke curl up

and settle a foot below my ceiling

without bothering to open the window.

At 2,

I stood in front of my mirror

with my fingers hooked around

the corners of my mouth.

Because the scientists say

smiling in turn makes you happy.

Something about endorphins

and tricking your brain?

But I don’t think scientists

have much experience with

feeling so numb you can’t cry

and so exhausted you don’t bother trying.

And I don’t think I can trick my brain

because my brain is me

and must know I’m trying to trick it.

At 3,

I swallowed two sleeping pills.

I lay spread eagle on my bed

quietly singing Hannah Montana

in one last futile attempt to cheer myself up.

Because you know what else the scientists say?

You shouldn’t go to bed upset.

But for three years of my life

if I didn’t go to bed upset

when was I supposed to sleep?

It’s not socially acceptable

to sleep at parties,

which was the only time I could smile.

As the chemicals forced me to doze off

I wondered what it would be like

to be neurotypical.

To not have most of my life experiences

moulded by chemical imbalances

and all my milestones associated

with how close I was to killing myself.

At 4,

My subconscious

showed me what I needed.

My dreams were filled with tears,

body shaking sobs that hurt my chest.

But my eyes were dry when I opened them.

And the only thing that hurt

was my lungs from the smoke still floating around.

So at 5,

I got up.

I opened the window,

and stripped my bed,

and took a shower,

and made an energy drink

that was ninety percent syrup

and ten percent water

to hide the fact I had barely slept.

Because lately I’ve been doing really well

and I don’t want my parents to worry.

I don’t want my friends to worry.

I don’t want you to worry.

But I’m allowed to have bad days.

Even bad weeks,

as long as they don’t turn into bad months.

They won’t turn into bad months.

I promise.

A Poem On Past Pain

Find the cracks in the wall

And the hairs stuck in the paint.

Stare at where the mirror used to be, 

Now you can see the ceiling 

When you look at the floor

And the bamboo boards

Have little scarlet dots on them.

Remember which was the shoebox

With more than just shoes,

Pull at the all too thick hair

Dead hair

Useless hair

Stupid hair.

Grab oversized thighs,

(Scarred thighs)

And undersized wrists.

(Guilty wrists)

Tear at fingernails

(Jagged fingernails,

Sharp fingernails)

And chew a hole in the bottom lip

(Bitch-face lips,

never-been-kissed lips).

I’m sorry that you don’t look

like the porcelain dolls, given to a child.

That the child cries.

That the child can’t be touched

(Cheeks, neck, legs, hands.)

Without thinking that’s all they are alive for.

Don’t ever touch me.

Disproportioned.

Jackets three sizes wrong; 

No jawline but see the collarbones,

Orange lashes and brows, but hair too.

Comment on tiny wrists 

Never see the shoulders.

Check out the ass and tits

But turn away at the sight of the stomach.

Embarrassment.

See hands covering regret.

See unstoppable laughter, hidden

Behind skeleton hands.

The same skeleton hands 

That raked the leaves from the yards

Of people’s hearts.

That hugged air, when thats all there was

After holding in the terror

Of innocence taken at fourteen years.

You took some things from me that I’d quite like back. But I know that can’t happen. Those events shaped me in ways I wish they hadn’t. And now my sister is the same age I was and it’s like living it all again because of the worry I feel that someone will do to her what you did to me.

Bigger Things

She is sunshine and rain in one.

Her smile could light up any darkness,

Except the one her sadness creates.

She is plants on the veranda,

And smoke turning the afternoon sun a blood red.

She is your favourite book with the corners folded,

And the stuffed bear from your childhood that you still keep on your bed.

She is the grazed knees of childhood,

And river water on sunburnt shoulders.

She is sunshine.

She is tears shed in the corner of a coffee shop,

And fingers rubbing eyes under glasses.

She is panic attacks in parks,

And 10 cents short for the bus ticket home.

She is the death of an admired celebrity discovered over Facebook,

And the crash of your first car.

She is rain.

She lights candles all around her,

In attempts to relight the burning flame inside her,

That he put out when he left.

She loses herself in books where the girl always gets her guy,

Even in times when love shouldn’t matter.

She fights and screams but only to reclaim

A small amount of control of her life.

She is a girl left behind,

And a friend who deserves more time than she is given.

She is a bike ride I keep meaning to go on.

She is a book I should have continued months ago.

She is a half empty journal that I’ve had for years,

But keep replacing when there is no need.

She is a plant in a pot too small,

She is ready to move on to bigger things.

My Oldest Friend

I haven’t thought of you in weeks, haven’t spoken to you in months, haven’t seen you in years, yet somehow you’re standing in my bedroom right now and I’m opening up to you. Painfully and reluctantly yes, but filled with so much relief that I haven’t felt in many moons.

A small red flower blooming by my ankle. One you placed there even though I told you I don’t want them anymore. Not from you. But you smiled and insisted and handed me another one. You mesmerised me and I smiled, you’re so good to me. I didn’t realise how much I missed you until you were stood here in front of me.

These flowers you’ve given me are attracting butterflies and suddenly my room is filled with such beauty that only I am able to see. I know eventually it will all turn to dust but I can appreciate it while it’s here. It’s going to be harder than last time to clean it all out. But maybe I don’t need to. Maybe just because no one else can see the beauty in it doesn’t mean I can’t embrace it. Maybe a drought is not the best thing for me anymore.

Maybe we should celebrate your return with a fresh bottle of vodka.

It still feels just as good as it did two years ago.