Pretty

Pretty

Pretty
Is the judgement they make about me,
Before a single word has floated through my lips.
Pretty
Was the most wonderful complement
To the girl I was when I was seventeen
When I thought that looking like a doll
Was the most interesting thing about me.
Pretty
Is a double-edged sword.
It is a game of roulette
Where the word is loaded like a gun
Either with admiration or hunger.
Pretty
Feels like the debt I owe the world to exist as a woman.
A price plastered to my cheeks with my blusher
So that I can be sold into acceptance
So I can be noticed, not invisible.
Pretty
Is the affliction I have fought with for years,
The same affliction that wore me down to the bone,
The damn affliction that left me running through endless tunnels
Towards the light at the end that I swore I could see
Even when I was blind,
Even when it did not exist.
You see,
Pretty
Is often confused with perfection,
As if beauty can somehow equate
To a concept so toxic
That it is bound to kill when left untamed.
Pretty
Is the excuse that pardons
Assault
When grubby fingers pull at my dress at the bar
And palms graze my breasts
When I never gave permission for them to be there.
Pretty
Is a disease that I never wanted
A mutated quality I resented
When all my friends grew up wanting to be beautiful
And I just wanted to be
Something.
Pretty
Is a gunshot through my chest
When you really do assume
That it is the most spectacular thing about me.
Pretty
Is as ugly as a lie.
Pretty
Is a widow
Trying on her wedding gown.
Pretty
Is a disease I never asked for
So, forgive me when I cry in sorrow
When instead of asking my name
You remind me
That all I am to you is
Pretty.

 

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

A corpse with a body of beauty

A corpse with a body of beauty

I have been nectar
And fallen petals
I have been a broken plate
And a shining black eye
A gun to my own head
And a bloody tissue to dry my own tears
I have taken it all
And rinsed myself clean again
I have asked for it time and time again
And cried when I realised how much I was an empty seashell
Carrying the sound of a thousand waves
Can I ever be whole
When I have been scooped out?
I am a corpse with a body of beauty
Buried
Alive
But barely breathing
I won’t stop asking for the pain until shatters my porcelain
It’s destiny
I know each time it kills me
And maybe
That’s what I’m hoping for
And that’s why I can’t get enough

By 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

 

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

The Empty Spaces

The Empty Spaces

There are empty spaces inside of me
ones I’ve fruitlessly tried to fill for the past two years
these holes show themselves
in my wardrobe or my car boot
both of which have become hiding places
for empty bottles and receipts
a game of hide and seek for me
against the rest of the world.
I’ve tried to shrink these empty spaces
so many times
that I have created thousands more
drinking wine even though it repulses me
what else can I drink?
I’ve drunk the rest.
I have become accustomed to tastes and glasses
that grow in the corners of my room
where friends would once sit and laugh
beside me.
My only memory of parties
being videos of me
the life of the party, the hysteria, the spiralling.
They hear the joy in me exploding
like gasoline fires
I hear the alcohol thick like an accent
the drink that got my tongue and spoke for me.
Telling myself ‘it’s just my medicine when I get sad’
‘its okay if I’m still standing’
‘its normal to like a glass of wine in the evenings’
for once not something someone famous said
just the lies we tell ourselves
like prayers
to ease the appetite
and fill all those empty spaces
or kill everything rotten inside me.
when will I shut up that fantastic liar
realise that I can’t ignore this broken heart
the painful childhood
my voices
and everything else I drink to forget
and the messiest part of this whole poem,
as I’m writing this with rum on my tongue
and while I’m asking myself if this is a cry for help,
is that
I don’t know whether I’m writing about myself
or
my mother.

by Emma Catherine

wordpress- thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Instagram- @rain.on.rosy.cheeks

What mania feels like: a Beehive

What mania feels like: a Beehive

Imagine having a hive of bees stuck inside your head. A frantic buzzing and stinging of your insides. Another hive in each of your limbs. And gigantic swarm inside of your stomach. There are so many of them I can barely think, my thoughts are all stung and shaking, and the rocketing little wings vibrate me. It sends the shakes through me like ripples; I can barely sit still. Words and words and words spiral out of my mouth from my chest; words with no shape; no sense.

I am soaring at 3,000 lightyears, 3,000,000 feet above everyone else. While I ascend each second the rest of the world moves like snails on the land beneath these clouds that I stand on. A fluttering frustration with the people below, unable to keep up with me, nowhere near as high as me. But another fluttering too, one from the bird inside my chest, the one I used to call my heart. It beats its wings, like that of a hummingbird, with each swish there is life life life. That feeling of falling in love 500 times a minute. With whom? I could not say. I do not know who I’m electrified for.
The sticky honey from those bees clouding my vision, so sweet but so debilitating. The sweet glucose firing the worlds I have thought up in my mind within the past breath. Fuel my ambition and watch me laugh at you when you tell me inventing a new planet is impossible.
Waves of euphoria crash against my chest like tsunamis, flooding my lungs and my blood with this energy. The kinetic energy within them so strong I can barely cope, the beating within my ribs jolting my neck and twisting my spine. Do not mistake mania for sweet bliss, no, it is crushing euphoria. And with each wave is the message, ‘there is no such thing as sadness anymore’.

-Emma Catherine

wordpress- thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Instagram- rain.on.rosy.cheeks

Painting A Portrait: Me and BPD

Painting A Portrait: Me and BPD

I’ve known there was something chaotic about me for a long time. Something deep inside me that I knew just didn’t make sense. There’s no such thing as normal, I know that, but there is such a things as mental illness, and that, I knew deep down, was where the answers lay. It wasn’t until I heard about Borderline Personality Disorder when I was a teenager, that I finally knew what my metaphorical psychological reflection was. With BPD, it was like looking in a mirror, or shining a torch into my head. So now I’m writing about it, spilling the entire jungle that has grown inside my head, but I know that I’m only at the beginning of my journey with this, and there is a long way to go.

The way I perceive, feel and act are much more than something described in the DSM V. Knowing about it had allowed me to understand the things I experience and also helped those close to me understand me too. It’s also given me hope. There are treatments for this. And as someone said to me recently, I have all the things I need to be myself again inside me, its just sorting through some of the chaos and finding the gems I need. But, again, a label is helpful but it is not the limit, my mental health is like a pond. You can name all the species of plant in there and all the fish that swim close to the air and pond skaters, but there is so much more beneath the surface that makes up my life. Things that aren’t due to illness but are just me. The little molecules and genes that can’t really be explained. We’ll never know what causes what and what is more of an instinct than an ailment, but it is what I know, and I will never stop giving myself a voice.

I’ve always been reckless with money. Spending like a I’m millionaire, which sounds problematic but gets even worse when you were a 14 year old with no job and not a proper penny to my name. I lived for buying new things, they were stability and a beam of enjoyment in a world of arguments at home and deep rooted fear. I had the temper of a honey badger too, angry and defensive and fierce. I went from feisty to clingy, loving to hating, and cheerful to hopeless in a heartbeat . A mind that worked like a constant firework display, with sparks flying against my ears and out my mouth.

The positive message that gets pinned the inside of our heads when you’re a mentally ill child is always, ‘you are not your illness’. And, although a wonderful prospect, one that may be true to many people, for me this didn’t feel true. Every thought, interest, identity (or lack of), action, feeling was an expression of this knot inside me. I could see it there, but I couldn’t untie it. With every attempt to untangle myself the knot would tighten. And it kind of is all-consuming, it was my personality, this was like a mist spreading over me so I could barely see myself anymore. I used to think that recovery from BPD would be a re-wiring of my brain, or a complete brain transplant altogether. Now, in a clearer mind, I can see the countless ways that I can learn to manage my feelings and thoughts without needing to open up my skull. There is no guarantee with any treatment (medication or therapy) that it will take away with fire inside. But all the little bits of help and steps in the right direction are buckets of water to dim the flames when they get too fierce.

I’ve also had a deeply unstable identity since I started making friends, switching from persona in my head like different outfits because I had no idea who I was. I would copy peoples mannerisms (and sometimes still do), their colloquial phrases and even their handwriting. Not because I was a copycat, or that I wanted to be them, but because I liked them and admired them deeply. But I also think I adopted these things from people because I didn’t know how to be myself. All these little pieces from the people I loved built me into a collage that I could understand. There are about 13 versions of me (being serious, I have noted and counted them) they morph out when I’m with certain people, and shrink back when I’m with others. I’ve heard them described to me like modes I step into when I feel certain emotions or distress. I guess they are a response to my feeling of not knowing who I am, and this uncertain feeling of not knowing what you’d find if you peeled back my skin. And the exhausting feeling each morning as I wake, of having to construct a person out of my existence. Maybe it’s because my emotions are so huge when they come around and my thoughts so relentless that there isn’t much space for me to start building myself. Maybe I am a shape-shifter or an Animagus (unlikely, unfortunately). Or maybe, I was never taught how to mould myself into the person I wanted to be. Who knows?

I also have people who speak to me inside my head. I say speak, sometimes they shout or mumble. The punitive, the destructive, the impulsive and the weird ones. But they are a whole other blog post. But I think something that we can all relate to is insecurity. I am insecure mixed with paranoia and fear. I am afraid of rejection. The people I have found throughout life I have loved deeply. I appreciate them like oxygen because they give me a love I struggle to give myself. And the prospect of abandoning me shakes me. I am loyal to those who take time to love me, especially since I am not the easiest to love sometimes.

More superficially, when I meet someone I usually know within the first five seconds of talking to them whether they are someone I like (or even love if my heart is feeling particularly dramatic) or loathe. And sometimes I will love them, but being sensitive means that when I get hurt by them I can turn to hate to protect myself. I know this makes me sound volatile, but one thing you must accept is that mental illness is volatile. BPD especially, but it doesn’t (and never will) make me a bad person.

I am saddened to hear from people in my own life with BPD that people have been told (most of the time by medical professionals or parents) they are ‘too difficult’ or ‘impossible’ to treat, attention seeking, a waste of NHS funding and that they have ‘brought it on themselves’. Even, most fantastically, those who believe the illness, quite simply, doesn’t exist. And if that doesn’t further exacerbate the crippling self-hatred and self-destruction of us people with BPD, I don’t know what does. But let me clear things up for the record. It is possible to recover from and learn to manage these symptoms and to lead a healthy, settled life. With the right type of therapy and good support, we can get our lives more stable. Don’t let the few who refuse to help when it is most needed, convince you otherwise.

All of that being said, all of these snippets of my life I’ve shared there is one message more important than them all. I am still a human being. My illness affects me but it still makes up a version of myself I can learn to love. I am bold. Emotional, so much that I can write poetry furiously for hours sometimes. I love so deeply. I feel for other people and I understand others more than most. I am a passionate soul. Sometimes I’d say I’m funny too. My brain doesn’t work the way it should at the moment, but it has made me into a spectrum of colours. I burst with them sometimes. Passionate reds, sad blues, joyful yellows, understanding greens, soothing pinks, orange anxiety, and beautiful purple softness. Some people see my colours as graffiti more than a work of art. Some choose to see the rainbows that I can be. But I’m only just mixing my own watercolours together myself. It will take a lot of canvases. A lot of brushes and practice and patience. But one day, I’ll make the most beautiful painting of all.

 

By Emma Catherine.

thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Instagram: rain.on.rosy.cheeks