‘I miss myself,’ she whispered. ‘I miss the sliding of my fingers on a skin that feels like home. My hands almost forgot how to speak… I miss the way laughter used to be my only medicine and how my heart was able to wake up every morning without weighing a hundred years, and do sky business with the world, like any other uncaged bird… I miss new stories on my body, new metaphors for an old soul that knows no other tune but hope…’ — My mind is a theatre in which the missing meets the dreaming and I, the dust, sit still and watch me happen. One breath is all you really need to start a life.
A few weeks ago, someone left a comment on one of my Instagram posts (in response to the caption quoted above) saying I was clinically depressed, that she wanted to help me but she couldn’t because I was referring to my depression as “creativity.”
I appreciated the sentiment but not the tone, the quickness to judge and diagnose the dark side of my self-expression with a very general and questionable psychosomatic illness. I figured, if she really was a psychiatrist or a professional trained to diagnose and treat clinical depression, she would have contacted me in private and had a few sessions with me, before carelessly sharing my diagnosis through a social media comment. Maybe she was a Zoloft rep? Delete…
But I must thank her because she got me thinking… I don’t know where the line is: the line between depression and extreme sensitivity to the madness of the world, or the passing of time, or the impossible desire to transcend our limitations in the cage of this body, especially after our brief connections with the infinite, or the suffering of others — men, plants and animals — the decay, deterioration, death and change, or the longing for all the life and love lost or unlived…
Where is the line between the natural maladies of a heart awake, aware and full of pores, and eager to express itself no matter what… and a diagnosis with Madness or Depression — in any of their variations — which usually comes with a prescription? Where is the red button and when should we press it? A non-rhetorical dilemma. Tell me…
I’m not sure where I stand when it comes to prescriptions for Life. I tend to just suffer through it, like any other animal. I want to feel it all in the depth of my bones. I don’t just want to suck the marrow of life, I want to chew on it, taste the bitterness as I taste the sweetness, bear my pain as proudly as I bear the joy, let it all happen to me, don’t numb my soul, don’t cancel out my heart, don’t trap my blood behind a glass, let me keep flowing!
Is there a limit to our pain — and do we get to set it? Is there a cure — and do we get to make it?
When my pain becomes unbearable and not even the thrill of creating something new from my own ashes can ease it, I guess I will naturally stop bearing it, one way or another. (Don’t worry about me, I am a journey, not a person.)
But see, I’ve always thought pain is a pointer, not a killer. We each have our own threshold, but none of us is immune. Pain is the Great Communicator. It warns you that something isn’t right. It makes you move, makes you do things: to heal yourself, to heal others, to find more ways, more cracks to let the light pour in.
Pain is a friend, not an enemy. The enemy is the belief (or the unbelief), the truth (or the lie), the dis-order that causes the pain.
And see, I’m not the kind of Queen that kills her messengers. I love them for reminding me of what I’m not, so I can have more strength to become what I truly am, to claim myself back from my own decay, time and again, to re-create my life over and over, until there’s no more me, or time, or pain or why.
I don’t think I should apologize for feeling things deeply. I am not sorry for being “too much” for you, because less than “too much” is not enough for me.
But I am doing it because I owe myself to the world, so if you feel things deeply too, know that you’re not alone. There’s courage and there’s light in standing up for your darkness, even with shaking knees…in sharing it with others, every day, just like you share your brightest moments. It’s why we make the art, it’s why we try to fill these empty screens with pixelated meaning.
My life and my death, inevitable and infinite, they are both me. I am a daughter of this earth and to this earth I shall return. And in between, I travel through this life and document my findings.
If I’m the independent movie you are scared of watching, if I’m the sad ending or painful beginning you don’t want to have, don’t watch, don’t read, don’t breathe me in.
But I would hope that I’m the kind of film that makes you question your own takes, and helps me and helps you be the directors of our lives, and all the actors needed (the good, the bad and ugly, the joyful, sad and true) to complete the epic, timeless story written on our souls.
So tell your Yin-Yang bloody heart to clear its throat from all the tears and laughter, and join me in this small, (un)broken song:
A DECLARATION OF SANITY
I am not alone by preference.
I am lonely because I’ve chosen
the road less traveled.
I am not undecided, afraid or insecure
I am selective because
I contain multitudes.
I am not depressed,
I’m sad even in my joy,
because I wouldn’t
speak the language of waves,
If I didn’t lose myself in the fire.
And every mirror shows me both:
my darkness and her soul, the light.
I am not crazy,
I am too highly sensitive to the
resounding madness of the world,
so I make up more worlds
to help me deal.
I am what I am. This blessing and
this curse. The nightfall and the dawn.
An ever-changing instant
of infinity. And this beautiful mess
I’m in, is totally okay
*Written in the Psych Ward, right before Art bailed me out.