Weeds

The sunlight on the weeds is surprising. They are weeds, bane of my new domestic life. I spend weekends bent over the lawn, spraying them with gusto, one by one. I savor their imminent demise, the browning of their leaves and the shriveling of their blooms. The fact that they are not inherently distasteful plants, in fact are quite nutritious, gives me some pause. They are not noxious, are not poisonous, do not damage the skin. They simply have a reputation. It is this reputation that dooms them. So seeing them in this light, both literally and figuratively, is disconcerting. They are beautiful. I want to run through them, freeing their potential. Watching the seeds fly, domestication be damned.

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Risk Pitch, long version

I spent a good portion of my early twenties in a haze of undiagnosed depression and severe anxiety. It wasn’t new to me. I’d felt the same way throughout middle school and high school. (And I guess elementary school, too, because I recall my 5th grade teacher calling me a “worry wart.”) Nevertheless, the fact remained that I was not at all well, but I had lived with anxiety and a bone-deep sense of melancholy for so long that it felt normal. It seemed normal to me to regularly spend 5 hours on my couch, in my crummy apartment where I lived alone, compulsively reading while the light failed. It felt normal to me to be so acutely uncomfortable around other people that I never had close friends. And while I knew it wasn’t normal, it didn’t surprise me to wake up every morning disappointed that I wasn’t dead.

Still, there were some perks to being a severely depressed young woman. For one, sensitive male-types found it endearingly romantic. So, I got a lot of ass. Which didn’t really fix things, of course. But fuck it. Orgasms are nice! Secondly, I wrote a lot back then. Not stories or poems, I’d tried the poem thing in high school and the results were, well, painfully bad. They were just, I dunno, little vignettes? Little metaphors for how sad I was. (So fucking profound, am I right? Heh.) Anyway, some of them weren’t bad. Even now I’m not embarrassed by them. But I can’t tap into that ability any more. Writing used to be a pressure valve, a way to siphon off some of the pain. . . and I’m not in pain anymore.

The final perk of my incessant depression was the fact that good moments felt sooo fucking good. It is as if my subconscious knew that I wasn’t going to feel anything nice again for a long, long time and so blew all my happy juice on the simplest of things. Like, “Oooooh, a pretty flower! Life is so amazing!” Or, “Oh, you talked to someone about the weather? Connecting with people is great!” Or, “Hey! Your bedroom ceiling is leaking.  It’s soooo beautiful!!” Yeah, that’s right folks. I thought it was beautiful that my bedroom ceiling was leaking. The reason? The rainwater was pouring down the wall so heavily that it looked like a river meandering across the surface of the old, peeling paint. I pressed my fingers against the wall, and the water was cool to the touch, and the light was glinting off of the trickles making it sparkle, and the appearance of a river in my apartment was such a surprise, such a distraction from the day to day effort of not killing myself that it felt like a present. And I was, if briefly, full of joy. And there are times when I miss that sense of profundity.

Now that I am medicated, and I am doing great by the way (never been better, actually), I don’t wake up disappointed that I woke up. I don’t suffer debilitating existential crises about the inevitable heat death of the universe every other evening. Basically, my unhappiness, when I am unhappy, is directly proportional to the unhappy things in my life. But, even though I don’t wish for death anymore, I can’t help but feel that the part of me that wanted to die. . . did. Because the part of me that reveled in my leaking roof, instead of just being pissed that I lived in such a shitty fucking apartment (which I did), is gone now.

And sometimes I miss her.

Snippets from a Close-up of a Sculpture

Original heirs

began to die

in a web of branches

at the center of the world

like something static,

or a blade dulled.

 

Too adrift to see the expanse,

Around a sense of balance.

 

Down in the water that only gets deeper,

I’m more arid still.

 

Through the look he gave me,

The first point the eyes fall on

Were his wet boots.

 

The geologist’s lament

I am not as deep as once I cast.
My depths have been filled,
Silted with many moments,
to cover the salts of the past.

I plumbed my depths for gems,
Emptied my innards of jewels,
I mined for pain and ecstasy
then covered it back up again.

Now my soul rests shallow,
Open to the clement skies.
My heart, now free, beats easy,
And my living casts no shadow.

Still, there is a yearning I can’t shake
For darkness and the depths,
For the caverns and the caves,
For the joyous secrets and the secret pains.

As lovely as the surface may be,
I can’t help but miss the facets
Found in the faults I once delved,
Down in the darkness of my deeps.

Dabbler

I’ve never been much of a writer. More of a dabbler, really. I know how to use words, how to put them together in a pleasing enough way, but the point always seems to be lacking. My best works are a handful of vignettes, anything more complicated being beyond my abilities. Even then, I haven’t written anything in months. The pathos is gone, the easy atmosphere of poetry has dissipated. Melancholy was the medium with which I worked best, but it has been drowned in a soup of reuptake inhibitors and oxytocin.

It is the sense of romanticism I miss, I suppose. The connection made, however illusionary. I relished the word choices, rolling syllables across my tongue experimentally. I was full of anticipation, busy weighing connotations and alliterations, trying to match the rhythm of my mental monologue. Now though, I am placid. I move in a cloud of peace and pleasure. There seems little enough reason to chase a cursor.

I fear, though, there is a part of me that misses the act of contrivance, no matter how paltry. I worry that my tranquility makes me boring, that it makes me shallow. And no matter how fervently I assure myself that I don’t care if I am boring, that being boring is a small price to pay for calm, I can still feel a little part of myself cringe. I can’t quiet the part of me that wants to show the world that I am shiny inside. I don’t want to live on the work of others like a parasite, no matter how brilliant their stories are. But, coming full circle, I’m not much of a writer. I don’t write stories. I only dabble in vignettes. But dabbles will have to do.

These Still Waters

These once still waters quiver.

What wakes this idle river?

Like goosepimples,

the silver surface ripples,

with scintillating shudders,

flutters,

and shining rainbow colors.

Once so calm,

These still waters rested warm.

Like seeping silence,

The sterling surface lay timeless.

The waves were placid,

flaccid,

Its lazy movements vapid.

Once so idle,

This river felt primal.

Like a mirror,

Yet these pale waters laid clearer.

But now the surface is troubled,

Bubbled,

Its once peaceful breadth muddled.

These still waters once ran so deep,

Why is it now that they’re trembling awake?

Like potion in a cauldron,

The argent surface roils wanton.

As the shallows rise,

The breakers hide,

that which strives to attain the skies.

Sustained by the Sertraline

It’s an uncomfortable fact, but I need the medication. It serves as a reminder that things are okay. The pills fill my synapses the same way they bridge the gaps between the bright spots of my day. They make me buoyant enough to float above the muck and mire that is my natural disposition. Without them, I’d struggle to remain positive, if I weren’t usually so apathetic. Without the chemicals to tide me over, the tide would take me out. But nonetheless, sometimes I forget that the peaceful bliss isn’t natural. I forget to take a pill one night, then another, until the missed pills bleed together under the growing pall of my days. Vaguely agitated, subtly blue, it takes some time for things to register. It takes some time for me to realize that, no, there is no reason for the misty eyes or the weight on my chest. I don’t know why it comes so slowly- the realization that there is no reason to feel so damn miserable that the sky is grey or that there are idiots in the world. Maybe it is because it feels so natural to me to be depressed. Settling into the blues feels like wrapping up in a threadbare, but familiar, blanket. And there are short lived benefits- self-pity feels pretty good, sad music is goddamned brilliant again, hugs are lovely, and cigarettes are fucking delicious. All of this is so familiar, so natural, that I almost can’t help but forget that I don’t have to feel that way. So who can blame me if it takes until the bittersweet melancholy wears off before I remember to take my pills again? Can there be blame when I can’t seem to help myself until the lead has firmly settled around my heart and my brain has filled with bile? If so, at least I have the cure. No longer do I have to stay in the depths I descend to; I don’t have to suffer long amidst the detritus of my morbid fascination with gloom. It’s an uncomfortable fact, but I have the medication. It serves as a reminder that things are going to be okay.