It is the leaves that make the tree.

It is the leaves that make the tree.

Look what I have done for you
My body is bare before you
My leaves fly into the air
My arms are knackered branches
Stranding exposed before you.
These are my leaves collecting around our feet;
I have unravelled in front of you,
Like you asked me to.
Can you see these tiny solar cells cascading,
Swirling before our eyes
Can you see them?
I have unpicked every one of them
(My secrets)
And you can see them
You can read them and feel them in your palms
Those stories that have kept me sheltered,
They held the parts of me I wanted to keep for myself
And
Who am I
now that you have seen every part of me?
Who can I be
Now that there is nothing left of me
That you have not touched?
You asked me to tell you who I am.
And now that I’ve told you the answer,
I cannot exist anymore.

-Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

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Alien

Alien

For me,

There is a surrealism to balance.

What is it like to breathe

And not gasp?

Or walk

And not sprint?

 

Aliens are in emotion.

How does one cry without crumbling?

Or stand their ground with defiance

Without bubbling over with a poison rage

Like acid from a cauldron?

A burning, corrosive witches brew.

To see someone cheerful,

Instead of ecstatic is confusing.

I can tell you I have seen UFOs.

They are

In the people I love,

In bus drivers and friends,

In shopkeepers

And therapists.

 

They are alien to me,

Because they are so human

Without complete excess.

I wish I could have just loved you

Instead of being alive

only because of you.

 

Aliens, teach me your ways.

Breakdown the surrealism.

 

Let me be a human.

 

~Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

Chase

Chase

I can’t seem to sit still anymore

I don’t want to sleep anymore

It’s all a huge chase

That’s the game

Keep moving and it won’t catch you

When I am seated I have to watch it take over my body

I have to sit with people dancing around my head

(When it’s quiet

I can even hear them)

My legs that move with the waves of feelings

A neck that cracks to zap some of that friction

Between my stomach and my brain

I can’t seem to sit still anymore

I’m that irritating foot-tapper

Don’t let it be silent

Don’t make me listen to those muffled slurs and groans through that goddamned bedsheet

Don’t make me hear those shouts and those words

That have cut like knives into my exterior

Don’t let me relive it

I don’t want to sleep anymore

It’s like I can’t bear the waiting for another day

Let me keep going

Let me keep running

Make the days go faster

Make them go so fast they blur into nothing and then they’ll stop for good

Let me keep running

Don’t let me be human anymore

(A cheetah will do just fine)

Let me keep running

No sleep, no stopping

If I stop

I won’t be able to cope with the feeling

I can hear it catching up with me goddamit

What have I told you about slowing down!

I can’t stop running or else it’ll catch me up

And crash into me

I just want the world to turn faster

And the sun to rise and set like the tides

Anything that will make the running quicker

I’ve just gotta keep running

Keep your eyes on the ground ahead

I know when I stop I’ll have to face it

I’ll have to ask myself:

 

Who am I running from?

 

Am I running from them?

 

Or am I running from myself?

 

And where the hell am I running to?

 

 

~Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

 

Hollow Wood

Hollow Wood

Hollow wood is a home
It is my body
The bark stands wide and tall and beautiful
Cylindrical and mighty to see
But inside?
There is an atmosphere
The body is an illusion of greatness and strength
But once beaten with rough winds
A frightful echo rings through me
A stick to a drum
A scream of that emptiness
The hollow wood
Is a fragility that only I can see
The hollow wood is perfect
For other peoples fires
No more than driftwood
Perfect for fuelling the warmth of others
Strengthless I am flint for a burning
Or fuel for a great bonfire
There isn’t much to ignite at all
But you will burn me up anyway.
Lighting me up is my greatest fear.
But also my burning desire.

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

The Names of my Parents

The Names of my Parents

My parents are called distant and desperate

 

Distant doesn’t understand and never will

he does things to make a point rather than to look after his daughter

he speaks with no words, just aggression

and eats with so much appetite

that

it spoils mine.

 

Distant plays life like a game rather than a journey

every question an interrogative

and each answer a tactical statement.

I am often left on rhetorical questions.

 

Desperate has desperate hands that shake

hands that hold bottles of wine to keep them steady

she is a wonderful mother

she tells me she loves me every day and makes me cups of tea

she calls me sweetheart and kisses me goodbye.

 

Distant has worn desperate down like sugar to enamel

Growing plaque along the ridges

and breeding bacteria to chew at the teeth

 

Desperate can’t cope she

is more seashell than sea creature

a house rather than a homeowner

a cloak rather than a body.

Desperate is tired, weak and poisoning herself

and she is a wonderful mother

isn’t she?

 

Distant doesn’t believe in mental health

and tells me he can’t cope with my illness

because it makes him angry

he denies my existence

telling me my love is a phase

and my gender a weakness

 

Desperate is understanding and then confused

and tells me she can’t cope with my illness

because she hates seeing me so upset.

She is always too drunk to listen to who I really am

and then gets upset  because she doesn’t know who I really am

 

I am angry about it

and so

I am writing about it.

 

Toxicity- trauma, abuse, me

Toxicity- trauma, abuse, me

There’s this feeling I get a lot of the time. The feeling of enlightenment that not everyone’s life is riddled with turmoil. That some people feel safe in their own home, or even with just themselves. That people can trust themselves to keep out of harm’s way, and not throw them into dangerous, reckless, stupid situations because of impulse issues and self-destructive tendencies. And the one that hits me so deeply; that people feel safe with their family. I feel this countless times, especially when I’m at friends houses.

I see the way they sit around their parents, their dad, comfortable, entitled to the seat they lounge in, unafraid. I see the way they talk to their parents, eye contact is something they can bear to hold with each other, and they can speak without screaming or saying nothing at all. To see their mums talking (not slurring), and draws are used for pots and pans, and wardrobes for clothes, instead of wine bottles.

This is the kind of freedom I realise I do not have. To live in a home instead of a house is not something I have had the privilege of doing.

I realise how much of an empty space this has made in me. One that means my friends are more family than my own blood. Feeling no care from my parents sometimes had left wanting more from them, all the way up to my 18th birthday. This wanting ‘more’ has been utilised in soft toys, changing my hair colour, impulsive spending, binge drinking and alcohol abuse myself, dangerous sexual relations, self-harm, and starvation. And a whole lot of thick, grey, emptiness. An emptiness that has almost killed me, many times. People showing me care is like me, a small moth, to a huge chandelier of light. I love you instantly if you show kindness. I can barely hold myself back from hugging you because I’ve never learnt that such kindness should be normal between people.

But it has put me in much more sinister, harmful places. I have been taken advantage of numerous times because of that emptiness it’s brought me. I can become so defensive and aggressive when hurt, trying to protect myself from that familiar pain. I can be out of control with alcohol and in mania, that I drink until I am seriously vulnerable. And a combination of this brought me to the worst night of my life when I was sexually assaulted. Violently, and degradingly. All because I never learnt how to protect myself from the real dangers because of my emotions, and because I did not know how to trust people who showed me some kindness.

Abuse is the toxic film over the eyes. You can’t see or even feel other people properly while it’s there. And like genetics, abuse like mine in childhood moulds you, usually permanently (although you can heal don’t worry), into the adult version of myself. My deep-rooted personality. My person.

The thing is with abuse, it often starts with one toxic person taking things out on you horribly, but the more you endure it, the less you truly feel the reality of abuse. Then them hurting you, can turn into you also hurting you, just to cope. For me, it was as if hurting myself, in whatever form, became soothing. I was used to being hurt, so I made it okay when I was doing it myself. It is sad, but it is also okay. I have never experienced abuse as we show it in the media, the hitting, serious physical neglect of small children, isolation from school due to injuries. No. But I have experienced extreme emotional and psychological abuse, along with a parent with her own demons. Each ‘blow-up’ was a trauma, and this repetitious traumatising grates on the mind and I feel like it just kept breaking me down. As much as I felt myself crumbling, it was hidden. And that’s almost what makes it so bad. It’s invisible.

Emotional abuse is just as serious as the other kinds of abuse. It fucks you up just as much. It catches you off guard. And it feels like being burned alive. (And oh god that horrible feeling of knowing you just can’t escape it, and even if you can physically leave that house, parts of you are always left there). It makes us extremely emotional, but colourful. Deeply loving and loyal. Kind, compassionate and empathetic. A wonderful human. And when the abuse has passed, bury it. But the bits that you are left with, I want us to turn into the most beautiful rainbow in the sky. Run with the parts of yourself that are troubled, build them up into flowers and watch them bloom. Beautiful, and stronger than ever before.

by Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

instagram- @rain.on.rosy.cheeks

 

the impossible ‘I love you’

the impossible ‘I love you’

When someone tells you they love you
It appears quite unremarkable
But imagine the impossible
When the ‘someone’ is one of your own
A woman
The I love you
Becomes a UFO or a dragon
In a world of man and wife
Or Mr and Mrs.
Suddenly the phrase that is thrown around
by boys over text
Like tatty footballs
Is the northern lights or a shooting star
because it comes from a girl
in a world where we are taught it is impossible
and a world where it sometimes is.
but I heard it
‘I love you’

~Emma Cunningham

thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Instagram- @rain.on.rosy.cheeks