A Caged Bird

A Caged Bird

There are things I will never miss about anorexia.
I will not miss
Staring in the mirror
While the shower steamed up the corners of the glass
Watching my naked body
Like a caged bird
While my eyes began to sting
As I fought to keep them open
Out of fear that
Should I shut my eyes,
I would open them
And be twice the size as before.
I do not miss the freezing showers
Chapped fingers tentatively turning the dial to cold
As I carried out my latest new trick to poison my body.
I remember the droplets shooting off my cheeks
Quicker than I could count calories
As my teeth chattered
From the icy water cascading down my malnourished body.
Blue hands and lips were a reasonable price to pay for skinny.
I don’t miss standing on the golden sacred scales
And hitting rock bottom
Only to realise it was just a balcony
In a 100 story block of flats
That I had yet to fall down.
I don’t miss the feeling of frightening bliss
When every mouthful
Was the most wonderful relief for my tummy
And the most vivid nightmare for my mind.
Sometimes I miss starving myself
But I don’t miss starving my family
Of love
Kindness
Warmth
Affection
And
Hope.
As much as I believed I was soaring when I was starving
I was simply flying a descending plane with my eyes shut
Steering myself towards the ground
With the people I love as the passengers
Sacrificing myself ceremoniously
And bringing the rest of the world down as collateral damage.
Most of all
I do not miss hindsight
I do not miss the perfect irony
Of shrinking myself small enough to hide
From all of the things I was painfully afraid of
When really I was igniting the dead wood of my life
Into a rageful roar of flames
That almost killed me while I was trying to quench the heat.
Although I am warm now, rosy, happier,
The little fires still sizzle in the ashes
Of anorexia.

By Emma Catherine

thelilaclysander.com

gentle sadness

gentle sadness

gentle sadness is not something I am used to
to weep instead of to wail
seems like a gift, doesn’t it
a flood to a tsunami
with no waves crashing against my chest
that make my ribs break open
as I curl up in agony on the blue carpet
instead a bleed from a slow heart
and a weak head
a weep
a wail with no life left
gentle
like a flood to a tsunami

Why you need to stay alive

Why you need to stay alive

You need to stay alive. (tw this is going to be a deep, but positive one about being suicidal). You are loved even if you don’t feel like it. There are people you haven’t even met yet that will love you and be loved by you. It is not a lie when we say ending your life is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And by that I mean, no matter how bad you feel now, or how hard your life feels- it will change. Life is dynamic. It is not fixed and there is so much joy ahead of you. A nurse told me the other day about a person she’d known in her personal life who had done something to take their own life. It was not instant, it was a slow process. In that time they watched their family breakdown and they realised how much of a mistake they had made. They saw everything they had to live for in such clarity all of a sudden. Filled with regret over a situation that was unchangeable now. When I’m feeling like I want to be astral projected into the sun in my worst moments, I have to remind myself of all the times I have talked to my friends who were suicidal, to people I don’t even know on the internet who have been in so much pain. I picture the words I’ve said to them, and I hear them all being spoken to me. Suicide is not a backup plan for when things get hard, and for me it has been just that, like a glowing exit sign in my head. The situation you find yourself in can, no, WILL change. Life is so precious in the best moments, and so vivid in its worst. But as I said, it’s dynamic. With every night there is day. Don’t forget that ☀️.

 

Addiction saved me, and then I had to save myself.

Addiction saved me, and then I had to save myself.

I feel like, since I was young, self destruction has flowed in my blood. Then it’s divided and multiplied like a pathogen or parasite inside me and it’s lived there, among my organs, ever since. I don’t know why I’m so attracted to the prospect of destruction and excited by recklessness. Why do I prefer to live my life in chaos rather than serenity? To thrive in chaos is an omen. This is something I learned only recently, after 5 or so years of starving myself into non-existence. I’ve known a big part of me is an addictive side to my personality, the part that can’t ignore impulses and doesn’t want to acknowledge consequences for my behaviour. It was first the anorexia, then the self harming, then sex and then alcohol- almost like my mind can’t help but find new things to get stuck on. A big part of me is fearful, but somewhat darkly excited by the question: what will it be next?

I think in some ways, addiction is addictive because we know it’s toxic. It’s that kind of mentality that it’s so wrong but it feels so right that the part of my brain that just can’t get enough, bows down to. But no matter how much our brains romanticise the things that are going to kill us there is one thing we have to remember, as much as it feels like a lie, it is an illusion. As much as we repeat the same old thing in our heads, like a mantra ‘to convert a dystopia to a utopia, it must be destroyed’, it is and will always be a lie. There’s that parasite that lives inside us that we mistake for ourselves. It blooms like algae when we feel the most hopeless and the more dependent we become on it, the more is grows and grows into the body of us. And what started out as a problem, finally goes by our name. A shape-shifter of sorts. But the secret that keeps growing inside us can’t stay hidden. It shows itself on the outside, empty bottles of vodka, clothes that keep getting looser and looser around out waist, scars or long sleeves and a sadness on our expression. You see, what started out as something to help tame our unruly feelings, or keep us safe or give us an escape, didn’t just destroy the things we wanted to rid ourselves of, it destroyed us and everything else around us as well.

The long process of recovery and rebuilding begins when we, our family or our body can’t keep it up anymore. Someone or something says ‘that’s enough’ and we come back down to earth much faster than we ever went up. It is excruciating. Learning to restrain the parasite that’s made a home within us. You fight yourself whilst also trying to save yourself, because as much as the addiction saved us from what we wanted to forget about our lives, it will never make it go away. It will never be enough. With help, that impossible process can be made possible. A life that seems too painful to bear becomes kinder, and somewhere we want to be. And with every step towards peace and serenity we take, the air we breathe says ‘welcome home’.

-Emma Catherine

Instagram- @rain.on.rosy.cheeks

WordPress- thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

 

Love Yourself beyond your body

Love Yourself beyond your body

love the parts of you that you never even think of
your elbows and your brain
your laugh, your stride, your expressions
love the bits of you that you hate
snores, sneezes, dodgy hip, achy neck
make sure you love the things you can’t see but know are there
the attitude that sparks blazes
and the shyness that makes your cheeks glow amber
most importantly
love yourself beyond your body
love yourself when you give more love than you take
or when you ache in your stomach from feeling
everything all at once or nothing at all
that part of you that feels every emotion of your friends
even when it seems like no one understands your brain
the mind of so many ideas its like a firework display
or the gentle calm you bring when you smile
remember to love your voice as well
not what it sounds like, but the words it speaks
love the chaos in what you scream
and the power in what you sing
(even if it’s only in the shower)
love yourself because of who you love
and
love yourself because you’re learning to love yourself.

-Emma Catherine
Instagram @rain.on.rosy.cheeks
thelilaclysander.wordpress.com

Poem- Will You Love Me When You Realise It’s Not An Act?

Poem- Will You Love Me When You Realise It’s Not An Act?

I swear to god I wish it were a movie
I wish at the end of the day I could push the scene around me down to the floor
Take of the makeup from my eyes
And the skin off my face, neck and limbs like it was latex

Step out of these clothes that feel tight against my knees and my chest
But I know that
Once I am home I can’t stop being her
Me
I can’t close the script and turn off the accents and the mannerisms I never chose in the first place
Oh the luxury of being an actor

They know what sadness, anger and elation feel like
But living in the shoes of someone who never stops feeling
Who can never stop aching when the curtain comes down at the end of the show
Who can’t quite just
Be

The music doesn’t stop playing
And the dramatics don’t stop exploding
And the spot light will keep on shining
Even if it’s a bank holiday or a birthday

It’s not
And it never will be
A play that I put on life like it’s a stage
Don’t think for a second I got lessons on surviving this
Because you don’t audition to be ill and weak and lonely
And I’m never sexy and sad, or exciting when I can’t stop drinking or fashionably mysterious like you wish I was

So you better quote me like I’m your idol
You better clap and throw flowers and cry with me when I bow
I hope you start to love me
I hope you start to understand me
When it’s over
When it’s the final scene
I hope you love me

Will you love me when you realise it’s not an act?

-by Emma Cunningham

Validation and severity ~in trauma and mental health~

Validation and severity ~in trauma and mental health~

I think of ‘trauma’ as a massive umbrella term used to describe an event or events that have occurred in your life, and what you experienced was unpleasant and/or distressing and has been hard to cope with and had an impact on your life in some way. But this term is very flexible and means different things to different people. There are no set limits on what can be classed as a trauma. Personally, I’ve been treated mostly with respect when talking about my trauma, but for many people opening up about it can leave them feel not only vulnerable and upset, but sometimes very invalid. It is not okay to invalidate someone’s trauma, don’t let anyone tell you that it wasn’t severe or ‘bad enough’ to be serious (every trauma is serious). The same can also be said for forms of addiction, no matter how long your addition lasted for, or how serious the physical impacts were- you are still valid, in the same way weight, inpatient stays and how you look do not impact how valid or serious an eating disorder is. Often playing in to these natural and common insecurities about how severe and valid a mental illness, addiction or trauma is, can encourage an unhealthy, toxic and often deadly sense of competitiveness in mental health communities. The trauma is valid no matter if you did or didn’t develop a mental health problem like PTSD or anxiety because of it. How long it lasted, the age you were when it happened and who it involved do not have any impact on the perceived ‘severity’ of the trauma. And of course it is absolutely never your fault. I think the way to think about it is that trauma is not about *what* happened, but about the way it affects/affected you and the impacts of what you experienced. Everyone is allowed to work through, move on and heal from what happened- you are worthy of that. Always.