Friday, 6 November 2015

Destroying myself

Sometimes I can't help but wonder,
what I am doing with my life.
I look back on decisions I have made,
and can't even remember why.

Why I decided I'd stop loving you,
why I decided you needed to go.
Why I broke your heart the way I did,
when you didn't want to let go.

I wonder why I thought I'd be better,
facing the world on my own.
Than living deep in your loving heart,
where you had always made me at home.

I wonder if it was something you did,
or if I just got bored, like I do.
I wonder if it was all in my head,
or if it had something to do with you.

It's been so long I can't remember the reasons,
I had for breaking your heart that day.
The reasons I coldly ignored you,
when you begged me just to stay.


Monday, 24 August 2015

Butterfly

Sunshine, rainbows and butterfly wings,
Little girls are made up of the prettiest things. 
Eyes opened wide and mouths made to smile, 
Tiny laughing creatures, make all the pain worthwhile. 

As each day ends, some of the light fades away, 
But little girls, forever, you wish they would stay. 
Sunshine becomes secrets and smiles turn to dust. 
Innocence corrupted as love turns to lust.

Little girls must grow up,
I'm sorry but it's true. 
But you say she will always
be that little girl to you. 

Life wreaks havoc and even butterflies break. 
Counting stars is replaced by a tally of mistakes. 
Headaches and heartbreaks and goals not achieved. 
Yelling and crying from lies not believed. 

Falling short of expectations,
and losing the will to try. 
Let go of little girl perfection,
or your young woman may say goodbye. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Things that make me happy.

This is a post about good things. Things that make me happy even when I am lost in the darkest parts of my mind. It's something I started working on a long time ago, but I never got around to finishing it until now. And now I need to finish it. I need to finish it because right now I am completely lost in the pitch dark nothingness that makes me who I am.
So, I need to remind myself that it's possible for me to be happy.

A little while back a friend of mine asked me to write a guest post for her blog of all the things that make me happy. Initially I thought this would be the easiest thing in the world. I mean, I know what makes me happy right?
Turns out no. The first list went something like this.
  1. Books. New books, old books, second hand books, any books
  2. Piercings and tattoos.
  3. Tea
  4. Music
  5. My family and my pets
  6. Late night adventures with my friends
  7. Stepping on crunchy leaves
  8. Rain. Both when I am walking in it and when I'm inside listening to it. 
  9. Having pretty coloured nails and awesome eyeliner
  10. Sleeping
The more I thought about it though, the more I realised that these things don't really make me all that happy.
The destructive hyper-energy I feel when I'm listening to really great heavy metal and rock music where the people scream so I don't have to isn't actually happiness.
The peace I feel walking on my own at night is actually much closer to despair the more I think about it. 
There are also things that make me smile, or things that I enjoy, but they aren't necessarily things that make me happy. 

After a lot more thought and close examination of my life, I think I came up with a pretty good list. Check it out here :]


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Commitment Issues

As some of you know, a few months ago I started on my resolution for this year of writing a novel. 
It was going pretty well. I really liked my idea and I thought the plot and characters were quite interesting, but making it come to life was kind of like pulling teeth. Like pulling my own teeth. With no anaesthetic. And only rusty screwdrivers as tools. 
So yeah. It wasn't going very well and I was feeling pretty disheartened. 
I also noticed that I didn't really want to talk about it. Which was worrying because some of the sites I had seen on writing novels said that it can be really helpful for authors to talk about their ideas with trusted friends or to let people know that they are writing a novel to help keep them motivated. I know this isn't for everyone, but I didn't even want to admit to people that I was writing, let alone discuss the content.  
I guess in hindsight I should have seen that as a warning, but alas, I pushed on. 
I pushed on for a few months with no success at all.
Finally I got fed up with the whole thing, and interestingly that's when everything started to fall into place. 
I resolved to stop writing (hence the blog inactivity), or thinking about writing, or reading about writing, or trying to talk about writing. I just stopped. 
I focused on my normal everyday life and trying to kick the cough that had been bugging me for weeks. 
That's when it happened. That's when I had the idea that has made me happier about writing than I have been in months. 
It was an idea for a new story. It started out as a random thought and developed quite quickly into a plot and characters and conflicts. 
I have progressed further with this story in two days than I did with the last one in all the months I was working on it. 
It seems wrong to jump from one thing to another. I feel like my commitment issues are coming out to play and I know this might be a huge mistake, but here I am, powering through the random notebook that I hurriedly bought at Coles the other night. :)

Here's hoping this streak of inspiration lasts a little longer. :)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Moonlight

The moon is biggest,
when it's close to the ground.
Your love says the most,
when you make not a sound.

Your kisses are liquid,
when they're warm in my hand.
Your goodbye meant the most,
when it really was the end.

The rain is softest,
when it falls on your grave.
My heart beats broken,
with the life I couldn't save.

Your memory lives on,
as the blood in my veins.
We dance in the moonlight,
now your heart's free of pain.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Planning or Pantsing?

Planning or pantsing? That is the question.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am determined to write a novel this year and right now I am well and truly caught up in the 'How' debate.

I have had this long standing superstition that the ability to write something great is directly related to the medium used. Like if I find the perfect note book I will somehow be more able to write the perfect novel. It's ridiculous, I know, but that doesn't stop me walking into every stationary store that I see.
This long standing theory of mine has led me well and truly down the rabbit hole in all questions regarding how to write a novel. Do I want to write in ink on paper or type on the computer? Do I want to follow some kind of guideline or book and plan it all out (Planning) or do I just sit at my computer and start typing (Pantsing)? How will each of these methods assist and restrict my ability to write when and where I want to write? If I opt for paper, how will I keep it all organised? If I opt for computer will I need to buy some kind of software package to help me along the way?

There are so many different options and so many different opinions, but what works for someone else might not work for me. It's crazy.
Who knew there were so many different ways to write a book? I sure as hell didn't.

After a lot of research I think I am going to do a bit of planning first just because at the moment I feel totally overwhelmed by the whole process, and some structure might help.

Now I just have to decide how I'm going to do it.
There are tonnes of different software packages designed to help writers organise their thoughts and research and character profiles and things. I have used Scrivener before and really enjoyed it, but it was a little confusing and time consuming to figure out. Plus these things tie you to one computer and I like the idea of working anywhere. They also cost money, even if they do usually offer a free trial, and I have always kind of felt like I write better with just a pen and some paper.

So. Pen and paper it is then.
Now, originally I thought I would want to write in a really beautiful note book that I could carry around with me all the time. Now I'm not so sure because obviously I will need multiple note books and how will I keep it all organised? I'm going to be all over the place at the start, sometimes working on character profiles, sometimes on plot problems. It seems really organic and awesome to just work on it all as it comes, but I can't imagine that I will be super happy when I start actually writing and have to sort through it all to find certain bits and pieces of information.

So now I don't really know what to do.

*sigh*
I just wanna write a book...  :/

Suggestions from anyone who has been here before would be greatly appreciated. :[

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Moving On

So things have been really busy for me recently and I haven't had as much time to blog as I would like. There has been illness, death, more illness, unplanned puppies, packing, moving house, work and a whole range of other stuff.
To say that it has been a stressful time would be a pretty huge understatement. I have been totally overwhelmed and close to tears on number of occasions. Moving out was a really huge deal because I have always been really close to my parents and my family and it's going to be really hard to be so far away from them.
Plus there is the fact that I don't have internet in my new house for FOUR more days!!
I'm not sure if I can survive without internet for that long. I'm stealing work internet just so that I can write this post! (Shhh. Don't tell anyone.) How am I supposed to pay bills and buy things late at night on an impulse or binge watch netflix?? *sigh*

So anyway. I got a little off track there complaining about my lack of internet. The point of this post is that things have been pretty rubbish and stressful but now I have moved to Sydney I'm trying to use it as an opportunity to make a fresh start.

So here are the things I am going to do. These are kind of promises that I am making to myself so that I don't forget what this move represents.
I am going to walk my dogs every day and get healthy.
I am going to keep my room and my house clean. 
I am going to go out and see people and make new friends. 
I'm going to get motivated at work and get a promotion. 
I am going to write more blog posts and keep you all updated on my adventures.
I am going to finish my whispers in the night series. 

And then

Last but not least.

I am going to write a novel.

:]

I'm going to do it. It's going to be awesome. And I am going to post all about it on here as I go through all the highs and lows.


So here's to starting fresh and making the decision to chase after the things that I want from life. :]

Wish me luck.

Addiction

Protect me from myself,
Save my heart from its addiction. 
Paint over my very soul,
With the colour of your prescription. 

Monday, 15 June 2015

XV VI

Today I went to my grandfather's funeral. 

Today in 2007 one of the ones I love most died in my arms. 

Today sucked. 

:[


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

That Other Girl

When you look in the mirror,
are you the only one you ever see?
Sometimes I look and see a face,
that doesn't belong to me.

Dead eyes and a sarcastic smile,
lank hair and bleeding wrists,
She is a vine through my soul,
that kills me as she twists.

When I cough and choke on nothing,
she is breathing under water.
When I'm alive she tries to kill me,
a self inflicted slaughter.

She is a lurking presence in the dark,
the reason I cry when I'm asleep.
She is the twisted broken half of me,
and a secret that I must keep.

She is the one that trips me up,
and never gives me a moment to rest.
She is the reason I broke your heart,
when you just did you best.

She is the current dragging me under,
the silence that makes me scream.
She is the empty hole inside me,
the doubt that kills my self esteem.

She is the part of me that broke,
under the weight of death and despair.
She is the part that keeps me running,
when my lungs cry out for air.

We are one but not the same,
she is the dark and I'm the light.
So how can I hope to survive,
when part of me will always lose the fight?

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Give Me Love

Though the night has never been darker,
my eyes are filled with stars.
Though the air is frozen around me,
my heart is warm with the fire of Mars.

The god of war fights a raging battle,
of my heart against my mind.
The desire to keep on loving you,
versus the need to leave you behind.

With our promises kept like secrets,
and all my secrets spilled like lies.
I still need your arms around me,
but I'm wrapped up in empty skies.

Pinprick stars are hope still held,
the bright moon is the mistake I can't ignore.
My faith in our future ruined,
by all the times we broke before.

There were the times that I broke you,
and the times we broke each other.
But also the sweet lingers tingle,
of the night you first became my lover.

So how can I let go,
of the soft need within your kiss,
or the way you stole my breath,
when my name fell from your lips?

I still need your love, like I needed you,
right from the very start.
So give me all the love you have,
in every little piece of your broken heart.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

This Shadow Life - What Hurts the Most

Losing someone you love is hard. It is certainly the most painful thing I have ever endured. Agony is the word that come to mind. But over the years I have found that the people generally misunderstand what it is that hurts so much.

For me, watching someone I loved suffer through excruciatingly painful illness was awful, but it wasn't the hardest part.
Cradling him as the light faded from his eyes felt like having by heart torn from my chest and my soul ripped apart by wolves, but even that wasn't the hardest part.
Seeing the fresh patch of dirt over his body that would keep us apart forever felt like warm sunshine compared to what came next, because what came next was and still is the hardest part.

The thing is, in those awful moments of seeing him hurt and watching him die there was pain, so much pain, but it was just the pain of that moment. When he was sick I wasn't thinking of watching him die. When he died I didn't think of how it hurt when he was sick. However, once that immediate pain was over I was able to feel every moment of pain and happiness and love in an overwhelming rush.
The hardest part of losing someone that I love, the part that hurt the most, was the knife being plunged into my chest every moment of every day afterwards when I realised that he was gone. It was the pain of loving him and seeing him suffer and watching him die and kneeling in the dirt of his grave all rolled into one split second of realisation that tore me apart over and over and over again a million times each day.

I was haunted by him and every moment that we shared together. Every place we went punched me in the stomach, and every face that reminded me of him made me smile for a second before it killed me.

New places were just as painful. Every new experience or place was tarnished by the fact that he wasn't there with me. I am still tortured by all the places he should have been and all the things we should have done together.

Then there are all the times I forget for an instant that he is gone. When I wake up in the morning and my mind tricks me into believing that he will be waiting for me where we used to meet. Then I open my eyes and the truth rushes in and the pain of it all leaves me curled in a ball and shivering.

When he died the world became much smaller and much colder. Each day I had to try and live my life while navigating a minefield. Every step risked an explosion that would destroy me, every glance risked seeing something that would kill me all over again.

About a year after he died I thought I was doing better. I felt stronger and more relaxed because I felt that after a year I had set off all the landmines because I had been all the places and seen all the things that were going to hurt me. I could once again walk comfortably through the world. Then I went camping for a week with a bunch of friends and someone got sick with the same illness that had destroyed my life nearly a year previously. In an instant the pain flooded back and I found myself blown to smithereens just when I thought I was safe.

It's been years since the initial loss, but I still feel it every day and although things are definitely better now I still step on the occasional landmine and fall to pieces as all that pain rushes back in on me.
What makes it even harder is that I am often completely alone. No one seems to understand that I am still dealing with the worst part of the whole experience. They think that because he died so long ago I should be starting to feel better, and in some ways that's true, but time means nothing when it comes to pain and loss and love. When I breakdown for no apparent reason, no one wants to hear that it's because of him. Everyone else has moved on so they seem to think I should too.

Sometimes I wish someone else understood what it is like to be fine one moment and then reliving all the best and worst moments of your life in the next. I wish someone could tell me that they too have totally lost it over the most seemingly innocent thing because it brought all the memories crashing back. Sometimes I wish someone would tell me that it's okay to still fall to ruins after seven years. No one seems to understand that it still isn't over for me, and it probably never will be...

Monday, 4 May 2015

Growing Up

The pressure of adoration.
The pressure of your trust.
The pressure to keep on going,
when dreams have died and turned to dust.

I know you say you love me,
but I don't know if that's really true.
I think that some place in your heart,
I'm still just a little girl to you.

I don't blame you for hanging on,
for not wanting to let her go.
But I don't know how to keep living,
in the weight of her perfect shadow.

I feel like a disappointment,
for outgrowing the girl that you knew.
I feel like every step towards finding myself,
is a step taking me further from you.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

This Shadow Life - Hopeful

You might have noticed (or maybe you haven't) that I have been away a bit lately. I have been feeling pretty down and kind of numb so it's been hard to come up with anything to write about that wouldn't just be insanely depressing.
But! Recently something happened that made me really happy and so I just wanted to write a quick post to tell you all about it.

A friend and I went to grab a coffee a few afternoons ago. Nothing too exciting about getting coffee, but while we were in the line we were talking about one of our work friends. He has been having trouble working because his wife isn't well and so we were talking, and the conversation went something like this.

Friend: When I was working with him a few days ago he was saying how he can't get much work done because he is taking care of his wife and trying to get her up and moving.
Me: Oh that sounds awful. Do you know what it is that's wrong? (asked in the hope that she would say something short term and non-life threatening.)
Friend: She has depression.

Her answer wasn't what made me happy (obviously I don't like the idea of anyone suffering with depression. It was the way that she said it. It was "She has depression" like "She has the flu" or "She has chickenpox." There was no stigma, no judgement, and no reservations. She said the word just like any other word. She said it like depression is just an illness like any other that a person might have to face. I was amazed and honestly it just made me so hopeful that one day everyone will view depression this way. That people will be able to talk about it in a totally open, honest, and comfortable way. That I won't have to hide what I am going through and pretend that I am okay.
That one word and the woman who said it honestly made my week about one million times better. :]

Monday, 27 April 2015

Dig your fingers, 
into the hollow of my spine.
Make love to my soul,
one kiss at a time.

Hearts beat together, 
as your passion chases mine.
Lost in a moment, 
some never find.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Spinning world,
in the palm of my hand.
Traded in,
for the heart of a man. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Make Me

Make me break.
Make me bruise.
This isn't love. 
I'm here to be used.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

To the Letter

In another life I'll find you
and somehow I'll be better
You'll kiss me and I'll kiss you back
We will be perfect to the letter

Danny

He lends me his strength and it is my strength.
He lends me his power and his grace.
He is the peace that quiets my heart,
and the warmth in the smile on my face.

He is the speed of wind over mountains,
a cresting wave in the wild raging sea.
He is patient as snowflakes falling,
and all this he gives freely to me.

He is fearless and strong and kind.
He is gentle when there is need.
He is huge and intelligent and wild,
and with him I feel myself freed.

With each hour he makes me better.
He shares all the best parts of his soul.
I never knew what I was missing,
until we met and he made me whole.

I know I can never deserve him.
Beside his greatness I'll always be small.
But each day he lifts me higher,
and gives me the strength I need to stand tall.

To many people he is just a horse,
but to me he will always be more.
He is a friend and a constant reminder,
that there are still things worth living for.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

This Shadow Life - My Perfect Writing Desk

I'm not really the kind of person who has nice things. I am especially not the kind of person who can make nice things. Most of the stuff in my house is old and worn and functional. That's just me. I am not good at being creative (even though I love it) and I am not good at taking care of things.
However, as always, there is an exception to these rules. There is one thing in my house that I think is incredibly beautiful. It is something I take great care of and amazingly, it's something that I made myself.
What is this amazing thing? It's my writing desk.

I spend a stupid amount of time at my desk and so I have always felt that it should be a really inviting, comfortable and inspiring kind of place. When I was young and destructive this meant having a big old clunky desk with a laminate top that I could scribble all over in permanent marker. I drew pictures, wrote poetry and song lyrics and notes to myself. It was amazing. Then when it got full or I got bored I would wash it all off with nail polish remover and start all over again.

When I got a bit older I kind of grew out of the need to graffiti my desk and I wanted it to be a bit more mature and a lot more beautiful. I spent a while thinking about it and looked at buying new desks (God desks are expensive) but eventually I settled on the idea to cover my desk with a book.
This might sound a bit strange but I love reading (as you might have guessed) and what could be more inspiring and inviting for a writer than the pages of my favourite book? Nothing.
There is nothing more inviting.

So here's how I turned a boring old desk into a wonderful piece of furniture that reflects who I am and what I love most.

1. Clean your desk.
This step is super important because you need a good clean surface to start with so that everything sticks and you don't end up with lumpy little crumbs of dirt or stains seeping through. I used a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt, metho to remove hard stains and permanent marker, and then a dry cloth to finish up and remove any excess moisture.

2. Pick a book.
Go through your library or your memory or your Goodreads account and find the perfect book to use. It has to be something that you truly love because if you use your desk as much as me you are going to be seeing it a whole lot. It should also be something that you wouldn't be embarrassed to have other people reading. If a kid or your mother-in-law jumps on your computer when they are visiting, they might not want to see your favourite parts of the 50 Shades series. Awkward!
It's also good to pick a book that will look interesting when it's all done. This means preferably going for a book (or an edition of a book) that has some pictures or poems or other changes in the text style rather than just blocks of unbroken size 9 font.
Now I'm not proposing that you mutilate one of the Harry Potter collectors edition books on your shelf. I'm not that barbaric. So once you have picked a book go online or to your local second hand book store and buy yourself another copy of the book you have chosen. I think a used book actually looks a bit better in the end because it's got a bit more character, but maybe that's just me.

I chose to use one of my all time favourite book series, The Lord of the Rings. It's a wonderful set of books that always inspire me as a writer and a reader. Fortunately I had the SUPER old illustrated copy of the three books all crammed into one paperback. It was very worn and completely falling apart so this project seemed like a great way to re-purpose it rather than let it die.

3. Pick your pages.
Unless you have picked a relatively short book you are unlikely to be able to use all the pages to cover the desk (or whatever you are covering), so go through the book and pick out the pages and passages you like best.
I started out by just thinking of the songs and poems or bits of the story that I loved and writing down a little reminder for each so that when I went through step 4 I would be able to find all the bits I wanted.

4. Pull your book apart.
This step felt totally blasphemous at the time and still makes me feel guilty whenever I think about it, but oh well. It had to be done. The best way I found to do this was unfortunately also the most time consuming.
Tear off the pages a few at a time and set aside the ones that you have picked out to use. Try to keep the unwanted pages in order in case you want to go back and find more parts of the book because you didn't pick enough to cover then whole surface of the desk in step 3.

I found it was easiest to keep the book in order using the following steps:
      a) Have the book sitting on the right hand side or the desk,
      b) Open a few pages in,
      c) Gently tear the pages away from the spine of the book, and then
      d) Set the torn pages face down on the left hand side of the book as it would look if the pages were still connected (so it's like you are turning the pages of the book, but you tear them out as you go).

Note that my book was bound with glue, so if you are using a book with any other kind of binding you might have to figure out the mechanics of this step for yourself.

As I went through step 4 I couldn't help skimming each page as I tore it off, which actually turned out to be a great way of finding any bits of the story I had forgotten about when completing step 3 as well as a bunch of extra pages that were just really pretty. I ended up with a whole stack of pages with illustrations and maps, poetry and songs, key pieces of the story, and chapter headings.

5. Arrange the pages.
This is probably the simplest and most enjoyable part of the project, but it can also be the most time consuming.
Start by sitting at your desk so that you get the same view that you will have when it's all finished. This will allow you to arrange the pages in the way that will be most appealing at the end.
Pick a spot on the desk and begin laying out the pages then work your way out to the edges.
Try not to use the same angles all the time or let anything line up too perfectly. This project looks best if the layout is as natural as possible so you don't want it to look as though you planned it too hard.
Also try not to have too much overlap or your desk will end up lumpy and bumpy.

When laying out the pages try to be concious of how you use your desk. For example, I wanted all my favourite bits in the spots where I would see them most, so it was easy to want to put these pages right in front of where I sit. However, I realised that pages right in front of me would actually be covered by my keyboard and ones just to the right would be covered by my mouse pad, so all the best pages actually ended up going on the bottom left and far right side of the desk.

When arranging pages it is good to have some little pieces of sticky tape handy so that when you have a few pages aligned how you want them you can stick them into place. I started off not doing this and quickly found that adjusting pages on one side of the desk can totally ruin the alignment of pages on the other side, so instead of framing the paragraph you want, the pages can shift and cover it up! Disaster!

6. Start sticking and trimming.
Once you have everything aligned the way that you want it, go around and really make sure that everything is securely stuck to the desk. I used more sticky tape to attach the pages in the middle and to stick down the pages that curled over the edge of the desk.
Next, go along the edges and carefully cut off all the overhanging bits of paper so that you get a nice clean edge.

Another option here is to use some kind craft glue to stick all the pages to the desk (like papering a wall), but be careful that it doesn't make the pages semi-see-through or anything. You don't want to be seeing the writing from both sides at once. That would just be a mess.

7. Make contact.
Once the pages are all secure it's time to seal them in. I got the help of two other people for this part of the project, one to unroll the contact and make sure that it was travelling perfectly straight across the desk (you definitely don't want the contact going across at some weird angle, particularly if your desk is too wide for just one row of contact and you are going to need to have a seam in the middle), and two people to smooth out the contact and press it flat to avoid bubbles forming.

I recommend having the contact travel lengthways across the desk so that you minimise the number of seams. You can see the way that I did it in the image below.


Start off by aligning the contact so that it will completely cover the tops and sides of the desk. You want it to start on the underside of the desk surface (so that it wraps all the way around) and hang off the long edge enough that you will be able to wrap it around on the long side too.

Once you have got everything all squared up, peal back the paper on the contact and stick it to the underside and edge of the desk surface. When this first edge is stuck down you can unroll the contact for the whole length of the desk, but don't stick it down yet!
Using the edge that's already stuck down as an anchor, hold the remaining contact above the desk at a 45 degree angle to the desk surface (so unroll it but hold it up off the desk) (see below).

Once you have things set up like in my glorious diagram above you are ready to start sticking down the contact. You want to do this part very slowly and very carefully to avoid bubbles.
As one person continues to hold the end of the contact up off the desk as show above, the other two start to gradually stick down the rest of the contact. This is easiest if you just use your hands to smooth down the contact near where it is already anchored at the edge and gradually increase the amount of contact stuck to the desk (see below).


If you are going with the craft glue type option I imagine that there are some sealing products that you can use instead of contact, but I was too worried about it making the paper see through or something.

8. Seal the edges.
Once the contact is stuck to the surface of the desk, go around the desk and stick down all the edges so it's all sealed in tight. :]

9. Relax and enjoy.
You're done!
Once all the contact is stuck down and sealed you are finished and your beautiful perfect bookworm desk is ready to go. :]

I hope you enjoyed reading about this little project and that you will maybe consider doing it yourself.

Note that you could use this method to cover virtually anything with anything! You could cover your bed frame with band pics or cover a coffee table with magazine cut-outs. Whatever floats your boat.

If you have done anything like this or you have a crack at covering your desk like I did please post your pictures in the comments section. I would truly love to see them. :]



Thursday, 26 March 2015

Fear

I do not fear the things that could kill me.
I fear the dawning of each new day.
I fear the damage life can inflict.
I fear the toll I may have to pay.

Sinuous poison dripping down,
Filling me up till I overflow.
Thoughts spiralling filled with nothing,
I'm losing grip on what I know.

Every day steals something I cherish,
I'm losing it all, one moment at a time.
But when you see me my face will be smiling.
I'll never let you know I'm not fine.

Lines once clear and straight are blurring.
Connections are much harder to make,
but I'll smile just in case I'm supposed to,
I'll act like I still know your face.

My heart aches with the tears in your eyes,
and I know I've done something wrong.
But I have forgotten how to get better,
I've been lost in this haze for so long.

I'm drowning in smoke and terror,
in this world where I recognise naught.
It's never been this hard to fight,
for each gasp of clear concious thought.

I can feel myself slipping away,
I'm losing grip on man I used to be.
I'm trying to remember the people who matter,
but I don't even remember me.

Sometime I have good days,
but in some ways the make it harder.
I remember all that I've lost,
as the memories fade away faster.

We are told that it's just part of ageing,
and that there is nothing they can do.
I just have to sit and wait for Alzheimer's,
to steal every memory I have with you.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

100th Post

Today I was going to write my 100th blog post. It was going to be some poem or short story. I was going to think that it was amazing and share it on social media and try to get lots of people to read it, but now that seems absolutely ludicrous. Instead, I would like to say farewell. Farewell to a tiny baby boy who never even got the chance to live. 

Just over a week ago, a friend of mine started his paternity leave in preparation for the birth of his son. One week ago today he became a father. Yesterday his beautiful baby boy passed away.

I am haunted by how he looked the last time I saw him. He was practically vibrating with excitement at the prospect of being a dad. He was promising to send us pictures, cheerfully refusing to tell us what names he and his partner had picked, and incapable of not smiling. 
Now my heart is breaking to think what he must be going through. I can't even fathom what it must be like. It's just incomprehensible. How can someone survive something like that, let alone find the will to pick themselves up and keep going? How can they go home to the crib and the clothes and the toys? How can anything I might say or do possibly ease the burden of such a loss?
No one should have to endure such a thing as this.

It makes me feel so unreasonably fortunate and so wretchedly ungrateful. I am always talking about how things have happened that have made me suffer, but now I know that my friend and his partner would trade an eternity of my worst suffering just for one more day with their boy.
How can I lament experiencing pain, when I have had a life long enough to do so? It seems utterly despicable that I have all this time that I take completely for granted. Minutes and hours and days that I happily waste, when this poor child and his family had so few. 

I have never believed in an afterlife. I have never even wanted to believe in it, but now I find that I am hoping that I can. I want so badly to be able to believe that there is some kind of heaven for that tiny little boy or that there is some kind of master plan in which this somehow makes sense. 

I'm not quite there yet so I have done the only thing I can think of, write about it.
It's a pathetic offering to one so wronged by the world but it's all I know how to do. 


I humbly dedicate this post to him, baby boy Young. Even though he was only here for a short time he left an indelible mark on the world and on those who loved him. 
He will live forever in our hearts.

I know it's nothing compared to the life he should have had, but at the very least, this tiny corner of the internet will always belong to him. 

R.I.P



Sunday, 15 March 2015

Free From Scars

I'm venting the pain,
so blood must flow.
I just can't hold on,
so down I will go.

Deep down into,
the darkness my friend.
Can't see where,
this is going to end.

Might end in healing,
and yet it might not.
If I survive, the scars,
will be all that I've got.

I've got plenty of scars,
not all you can see.
They mark ever time,
I have failed to break free.

I just want to be free,
so high up in the stars.
Free from this body,
painted in scars.

I can forget the scars,
but the memories stay.
It doesn't change a thing.
I'm still not okay.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

What if...


There were infinite different paths,
I could have travelled along the way.
I wonder if in any of them,
I could have managed to make you stay...

I think, what if I were pretty,
and maybe a bit smarter too?
Would you still have left me?
Would I have still loved you?

What if I had kissed you,
that evening in the snow?
Silver starlight all around us,
and me never wanting to let go.

What if I hadn't called you again,
so soon after our date?
If I had sat home and just waited,
could I have avoided this fate?

What if I were like her,
so sexy, tall and smart?
Would I be cuddling in bed with you,
or still here with my broken heart?

Life is a series of choices,
so where did I choose wrong?
I must be at fault somehow,
I've known it all along.

You're so strong and smart and perfect.
Always far too good for me.
I know I have nothing to offer you,
I just wish you didn't agree.

What if I never loved you?
What if you never let go?
What if you never gave up?
What if I were still whole?

Watching Eyes

My skin prickles,
heart races,
soul feels,
your watching eyes.

I wonder what,
you think
you see,
within my lies.

Phantom watching,
me from
afar,
my heart denies.

You don't care,
enough
to share,
my broken skies.

Was not my choice,
to watch
you go,
leave me behind.

Forgotten friend,
you left
me alone,
and said goodbye.

Then from the blue,
I hear
you say,
we're still allies.

It's kind of nice,
to know
you're there,
to hear my cries.

I never let go,
even if
I gave,
you no replies.

You are not the
only
one who's
watching the skies

Can you feel it,
in your,
heart beat?
I'm watching Eyes.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

My Greatest Fiction

I am my greatest work of fiction,
a perfect work of art.
A person created from nothing,
complete with all except a heart.

I am a million different threads,
of lives I pretend to lead.
Tell me how you want me,
I'll be anything you need.

If you want, I can be the hero,
I can play the bad guy too.
Just as long as I can be something,
someone who matters to you.

Half forged and half forgotten,
many threads no longer used.
The people they were made for,
no longer caught up in the ruse.

Different colours for different people
but only one is really me.
My thread is black and fraying,
no longer someone safe to be.

I'm lost in all these masks,
that I plaster onto my face.
I've no idea what I'd be,
without a mask in place.

Don't try to understand,
my patterns colourful whirl.
There's no truth left within,
I'm just a lie in the shape of a girl.

Tighter

Tie me up in ribbons,
write your name upon my skin.
Hold me to you tighter,
so I don't end where you begin.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Kiss

I kiss your lips,
to taste the sky. 
You kiss me back,
and taste a lie.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Author's Lament

We are screaming into the void,
with our silent keyboard voices.
When noticed, not alone,
the keyboard heart rejoices.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Blessed

With this hole in my chest,
I know I shouldn't feel blessed,
but knowing you were real,
makes me feel so much less alone.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Infinity

Time is infinite,
I am not.
My life is bound,
by the ticking clock.


Time

A life on earth,
leaves no footprint behind.
All will be forgotten,
in the slow decay of time.

Leap

I'll let the sun kiss
the edge of my soul
then leap into nothing
down
down
I go

Friday, 20 February 2015

Taking Life From Me

I breathe what you scream,
and I bleed what you cry.
I'm dead while you live,
but I'll live when you die.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Poison


Creeping poison,
drought takes all.
Can't sell dust.
Farmers fall.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Wanna Play?

Breathe me in,
paper-cut lungs.
Blood races,
the beating drums.

Ready, set, go!
Exciting start.
Reward for playing,
a broken heart.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Books I always come back to

I recently read a post by Jemma of Dorkface where she lists a bunch of books that she loves to re-read. I have been wanting to do some posts about books for a while now and something like what Jemma did seems like a pretty good place to start.

You may have gathered that I read a huge amount of books. I mean, I read to the point where it interferes with my day to day life. It actually sometimes interferes with remembering to do important things like eating, sleeping and going to work.

I'm always reading a book, and sometimes I have two or three books going at once. Occasionally I will even read books that I don't particularly like, just for the experience of reading them.

I have draws and draws and draws of books (it keeps dust off better than having them on shelves) but there are some that I keep coming back to and will probably always come back to. 
In some cases it's because I still love the books, other times it's for the nostalgia of going back to when I first loved them.
Most of them are awesome, a couple are incredibly embarrassing, but we all have books like that in our collections. I'm not ashamed (much). lol 

Anyway, I wont stall any longer. Here they are, the books I always come back to...
  • Perfume: The story of a murderer - This is my all time favourite book. I adore it. The first time I read it I found some parts a bit slow, but by the time I finished it it had become my favourite book and nothing has come close since. This book isn't for everyone, most people don't seem to 'get it', and the most common response I get when someone returns the copy I lent them to read is, "This book was weird. You are weird. What just happened to me?" lol. But I love it. The story, the characters, the way that it is written. It's all just the best. 
  • The Harry Potter Series - I don't need to explain why these books are on the list. I must have read them all at least 7 times now and every time I read them I find something new to love. 
  • An Imaginary Life - This is a book that I had to read in high school and everyone hated it but it actually blew my mind. It's probably one of my next favourite stand alone books after Perfume. I absolutely love it. I can't even explain why this book is great. It just is. 
  • The Lord of the Rings - This is also one of my favourite book series. It kind of goes without saying. I come back to these books when I need to be reminded how an epic fantasy masterpiece should be written, and also when I just want to read something that I can completely lose myself in. 
  • We Need to Talk about Kevin - I don't come back to this book as often as some of the others, but I like it because it challenges me. It makes me think of one of the things I fear most as a woman with depression and difficulty forming emotions. 
  • Wuthering Heights - I'm not an enormous fan of the real old school classic novels but I really love Wuthering Heights. I love how incredibly flawed and awful everyone is. I love fiction where the characters are kind of messed up, not perfect princes and princesses. 
  • Requiem for a Dream - This book leaves me lost for words. It simply destroys me. It leaves me with nothing but a deep hollow sadness that takes a few days to shake. It might sound unpleasant, but it's so real and so emotive. It seeps into me and that's what makes it fantastic. It has a real physical impact, which is a rare and beautiful thing. 
  • The Virgin Suicides - Because it's fascinating. 
  • The Twilight Series - (embarrassing) I read this mostly for nostalgia purposes every few years or so. It's also pretty good if I just want a series that I can smash my way through really quickly and feel good at the end. The last time I read it I wasn't super impressed so it might be leaving this list in the next few years. 
  • The Hunger Games (not the series, just the first book) - This book is awesome. I love to just have a cold rainy day and power through the whole thing in one sitting. I find that I get pretty caught up in the stress of it all if I read it that way. :]
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (not the series, just the first book) - I loved the first book in the series. It set the bar pretty high and I just don't think the next two measured up. So I like to re-read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and leave it at that. I love the characters, the tone and just the general story of this book. It's refreshing to read something a little out of the box. 
  • Roma - As an ancient history fan this book is right up my alley. I also like how the story is told from multiple people throughout time but with one thing in common. It's nifty. 
  • Battle Royale - Because it's not your everyday novel. It's a bit weird and dark and that makes it interesting. 
  • 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy - Oh my god I just love these books so much, Christian is like, my ideal boyfriend, like totally. And the sex scenes were so out there, nothing I would ever be brave enough to do in real life. FFS. I'm totally just messing with you. I hate these books with a passion. never has my time been so wasted as when I sat down to read these books. Seriously. They are awful. So badly written and the sex isn't even that interesting. Maybe I', just a deviant, but nothing they did really blew my mind. :/
Have you read any of these books? Do you love them or hate them or not really care at all?
I love talking about books almost as much as I love reading them. :]
Also, what books do you re-read all the time?

xx Sasha

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

10 things no one told me about starting a blog

As an internet fan and avid blog reader, there came a point when I thought, "Hey! I have things to say! I can type words and take pictures! I should start a blog!"
Starting a blog seems like a great idea. You think you will pick a host website like blogger or wordpress, enter some info, click some buttons, write some words and then BAM! Internet superstardom will be yours. You will be like all those bloggers you have been following and admiring for years. People will flock to follow you on Twitter (lol. Punny) and social media and you will need to turn off notifications because all the likes and favourites are crashing your phone. No? Well, maybe you had more realistic expectations than me but some part of me thought that's what it would be like.
No one told me that it would be any different and frankly I had no idea what I was getting into.

So here is a list of ten things that no one told me about starting a blog. :]

1. It's addictive
If you start blogging, you had better have plenty of time on your hands (and a smartphone helps too) because you are going to want to be writing posts, taking pictures for posts, writing notes/planning for future posts, thinking about posts, trawling other peoples posts, checking social media, checking view stats, replying to comments, retweeting and liking and favouriting and hearting and anything else that you can think of even remotely related to blogging.
You will want to do these things at all times of the day and night. You will go to sleep thinking about blogging and wake up thinking about it. Your day will be divided into things that would make good posts and then just everything else.
I never realised how much of my brain would become preoccupied by thinking about my blog all the time.
I sincerely think I need to join some kind of Bloggers and Tweeters Anonymous program. :/

2. Posts take time and planning
Great blog posts are so much more than just words typed on a page. When you read them on someone else's blog they might seem effortless and simple and they might make you think, "Well that doesn't seems so hard. I could totally write something like that." However, great posts generally represent a great deal of consideration, planning, and deliberate choices on the part of the blogger.
You had better be prepared to put in that planning if you want to create something great.


This is something that I am still learning. For ages I would just sit at my computer and type all the random crap in my head, slap on a title, call it a blog post and expect that people would not only read it, but also connect with it to the point of wanting to comment on it or share it.
Turns out that my thoughts generally don't come out in ways that are logical, interesting, or even coherent. When I get bored and read back over some of my earliest blog posts it's really just one cringe worthy, unplanned, nonsensical post after another.

It seems super obvious in hindsight, but I now realise that for me at least, writing a good blog post requires a lot of planning. Before writing a post I need to at least think about things like what the point of the post is, what I am trying to say, how I want people to react, why do I think people care, how do I want the post to flow (ie what is the beginning, middle and end), will it make sense to someone living outside of my brain? etc.

I also realise that I need to be consistent with my writing while at the same time trying to create something new and interesting. By this I mean that a blog needs to have similar themes and topics. As much as a blog is a place of freedom (see number 9) there is also a limit to how random you can be if you want to keep people reading. One of your regulars isn't going to be impressed if they come to your blog for information about the latest fashion trends, only to find that you have started writing about different breeds of fish or endorsing a new type of cross country skis.
So general themes need to be consistent, but you also can't write the same thing every week. You need to mix it up and write things that no one else is writing.
Complicated much?

3. It's insanely hard work
I guess this encompasses what I said above about the planning, but unfortunately planning and writing posts is not the only bit of hard work that you need to put in. Oh no. You also need to work at creating a great space for your words. This means you need a good layout that makes sense and is easy to navigate. The aesthetics also need to be right and they need to fit with your writing. It's no good having flames and skulls and evil stuff when you are writing about butterflies and rainbows and unicorns.
It has to fit.

Sounds simple enough right? Just pick one of the ready-made templates that works for you. That counts as customising. Nope. For most of us, customising a blog means finding pictures and themes and fonts that all work with the content and then learning to code so that it can all be inserted and edited without breaking the page each time something needs to be changed.
It might also mean investing time (and possibly also money) into creating some custom artwork and banners to make the blog really unique.

Bloggers also need to work at cultivating an online presence. You need to be reading other people's blogs and replying to posts and tweets and emails and instagram pics. You need to be sharing your ideas and personality. You need to be engaging readers, and you need to be an engaged reader.
In some parallel universe the readers might come to you, but in the one that I occupy, readers have to be actively sought.

You need to keep up with the times. This means staying abreast of trends and events in your field and also just the world in general. This is important so that what you are writing is relevant to what people are experiencing in their day-to-day lives.
A snowstorm where many of your readers live might be the perfect time to publish your post on keeping warm in winter or your favourite types of tea, even though where you are it's hot and sunny.
Trying to theme your posts with holidays and celebrations can also be a really good idea because people will probably already be in the mood for what you are writing.

You also need to be (somewhat) consistent in terms of the time that you publish. You cant just blog randomly with ten posts on one day and then nothing for a month. You need to get yourself into someone's routine. For example, I am a HUGE fan of Post Secret. Every Monday morning while my work computer is loading up I am on the Post Secret website reading the new Sunday secrets. It's part of my routine to the point where my day is kind of ruined if for some reason there is no new post and it's still showing last weeks secrets or if the page wont load. That blog is 100% part on my Monday routine and if you look at other successful bloggers, they tend to try and do the same thing.  

4. It's not the fast track to fame
As I have stated above and as I will state below, blogging takes time, hard work, planning, and perseverance, none of which add up to making you an internet superstar overnight. While some people might go "viral" and pick a significant following early on, that's not going to be the case for the vast majority.

Most of us will have to start with just a few followers and work our way up to more and more people with weeks and months and years of really great content and dedicated networking. If you are looking for a quick fix, blogging is definitely not the thing for you.

5. Collaboration is key
Working with bloggers you admire through collaborations and guest posts is pretty great. It will help you reach new audiences and make new friends.

It can be hard when you join the blogging community. It seems like everyone knows everyone but no one knows you. No one wants to know you either. It's like changing schools in the middle of semester. Everyone is already established in there little groups, and then there's you, tagging along and trying to join in. It can be demoralising and downright depressing to feel so left out and alone all the time.
This is where collaborating on a post, joining in discussions with meaningful comments (not just links to your blog posts) and writing guest posts on other people's blogs can be a great help.

6. Social media matters, but it's not the end of the world
As I said above, creating an online presence is really important for a blogger and social media is one of the easiest and best ways to go. It can be a great tool in helping  you reach readers and connect with peers. It can also be a huge detriment if you get a bit hot headed and blast someone or say something controversial or make any other kind of mistake. You can remove these posts but someone will always have gotten a screenshot before you manage to click delete.
How you act online is how most people will see you. Most readers don't know  you in person, so who you are on social media is often all that they have to go on.
In saying this, it's not the be all and end all. We all make mistakes and most people understand that, so don't let fear keep you from the awesomeness that is social media.

There will also be some tweets that just disappear into the aether without a single like or reply. In fact most of my tweets are like that. Don't be disheartened. Make sure you take the time to connect with others the way you want them to connect with you, but don't get too caught up in it.
Twitter and Instagram and Facebook aren't real life.

7. No one is Youer than You
You are the best person in the world at being you. You are also the best person in the world at writing YOUR blog, so try not to compare yourself to others. This is something I struggled with at the start. I was constantly thinking about who had more followers than me and who got more comments on their posts and who did a far better job of writing that post than I ever could.

While it can be helpful to look at other bloggers work and try to learn from them, it's important not to get bogged down in making comparisons.
It is especially important to not just throw out your ideas and your personality and try to copy them instead, just because what they are doing seems to be way more popular.
You will never be as good at being someone else as you are at being you.


Focus on creating a blog that you love. One that reflects who you are and what you want to do. You might find that most people just don't get it, but someone will and they will love you all the more for being different to everyone else.
You can grow and change and get better, but don't sell out and just try to be like someone else.

8. It can be hard to find the right audience
This one is pretty simple, but it is also pretty easy to forget. Finding the right audience can be the difference between a popular blog and one that is only read by you and your mum.
Not that there is anything wrong with your mum...

In a world where follow-for-a-follow is an accepted part of social media etiquette, it can be easy to get a whole lot of followers just by following other bloggers and friends and stuff. However, while having lots of followers might look great and make you feel like you are achieving something, it's not necessarily the right way to go.
Just because you have a huge number of followers, doesn't mean you have a huge number of people who are reading and engaging with your work. Hell, your followers might not even like what you are doing but as long as you follow them, they will follow you back.

At the start my twitter feed was full of beauty bloggers. They were just people I found and followed and who followed me back. While I have nothing against beauty bloggers (I love their posts and frankly I need as much help in the beauty department as I can get), they aren't really my target audience.
What I write about is kind of niche. I mean, everyone wears clothes (yay for fashion bloggers) even if they don't really care about fashion. But not nearly as many people can relate to my writing about depression and suicide and poetry and stuff. Once I stopped and thought about this I realised that I need to take a completely different approach when it comes to engaging with readers.

It takes some time and planning to figure out who is the right audience for your blog, but ...
"Readers that engage are worth a hell of a lot more that someone that follows for a follow." - @BlogBeth

9. It is complete freedom
One of the most wonderful things about blogging is how liberating it is. When you write a blog you are 100% in control all the time. You can say what you want, you can do what you want and you can be whoever the hell you want. There is nothing stopping you. The possibilities and limitless.
You can make friends, generate income, find yourself, lose yourself, and just generally have the time of your life. :]

10. Don't Give Up
It isn't always easy and it certainly isn't always rewarding but if you love it, don't give up. You are amazing. Your blog is amazing. Someone out there probably loves it already and it's only going to get better with time.

I am not an important blogger by any means. I am pretty sure that about 99% of the people who go to my blog or follow me and like my posts on Twitter don't even read my posts. But you know what? That's fine. It's fine because it only takes one person to make all the time, all the energy, all the preparation, all the coding, all the obsessing, and all the ignored posts seem worthwhile.
I am lucky enough to have had that one person. She introduced herself to me and told me that my blog helped her when she was feeling really down. She read my words and didn't feel quite so alone.
I have to say that hearing that was one of the best feelings in the world. Here was this total stranger, half way around the world, who felt like I felt. Who connected with me to the point where she took the time to find me and contact me. It was beautiful.

Don't give up.

    Sunday, 1 February 2015

    Reality Dreaming

    My dog is missing. You are missing too. The world is in an uproar trying to find you, but I'm looking for her. Somewhere in my heart I know that I will find you together, but that she is the only one who might come when I call. 
    It's dark, but also light. Puddles of white from street lamps, golden squares from open windows, a meteor shower of jumping torch beams. I know she will be in the dark, away from all the chaos. She will be somewhere in the shadows, out of reach of the pounding feet and panicked voices. Somewhere quiet. Somewhere she feels safe. 
    You will be with her, but not really with her. 

    My bare feet are silent on the dirt. It's soft and fine and caught up in the gaps between my toes. Wandering from shadow to shadow I call out to her. People are looking at me weirdly, probably because the name I'm calling isn't yours. Maybe also because I'm the only one without a torch in my hand. The only one slipping through the dark. They think I'm wasting my time, but I know something they don't. I know how to find you. I could tell them. I could let them help. But if they got to you before me? Somehow I need to be the one to do it. I need to be the one who finds you both.

    A house looms out of the shadows ahead. No lights on. No one home. On one side the house is just a few inches above the ground but on the far side the ground drops away creating a kind of cave. It looks warm and dry and peaceful. This is where she will be. I have found her. I have found you. The wind whips my clothes against me. I am cold. 

    Creeping up to the edge of the cave I finally see her, and you. Still as a stone she watches the chaos through a crack between the house and the ground. Something is wrong with her. Never have I seen her so calm and alert. She is too together. Too confident. Too something. She is not the girl I know. 
    My voice is just a whisper as I choke out her name. She turns and the look in her eyes is so familiar that I completely forget where we are. She loves me. I love her. We are friends. 
    She is pleased to see me I think. She has that look that dogs get when they want to show off.

    Thick ropes of blood hanging from her trembling lips draw my gaze away from her soft and cheerful eyes. She looks proud to be holding you in her mouth. I don't know what part of you it is. It looks kind of like a knee. I don't suppose it really matters, but it's hard to stop my mind jumping to the facts. It's at least a slight distraction from the cold reality trickling down my spine.
    The weight of blood soaked air it so heavy in my lungs. Each breath is like drowning. Drowning in the fact that you are dead. Drowning in you.
    The dirt is muddy as I fall to my knees and with a lurch in my stomach I realise why. It's hard to imagine how so much blood could have fit inside one person, though you were always so much larger than life.

    Time skips. Maybe this is all just a dream.
    I am inconsolable. People look at me and I burst into tears. Eyes wide with horror, hands clutching at my chest, the tears run unchecked down my face. They drip off my chin onto the sun warmed timber floor. You are gone. I am here. An eternity of possibilities have been erased from my existence. You are gone. I'm still here.

    With a start I wake to the morning light. It's soft. Soft as the tears tickling my cheeks.
    You are getting married. I am all alone. You are dead. I am left alone, my subconscious mourning the loss of a life we will never have.

    Friday, 30 January 2015

    This Shadow Life - Living for Others

    I wrote this for every person who knows what it is like to live for the sake of the people in our lives that we love too much to hurt. This is my tribute to the struggle that you and I face every day.
    It is also for the people that we are living for. I hope that you might read this and appreciate the selfless agony that we endure so that we can stay a little longer and force a smile for you. 


    One of the strangest things about my experience with depression and PTSD is that while I was completely suicidal for many years, and something I still am at times, I have always known that I would never do it.

    When I became depressed I spent a huge portion of my time thinking about suicide. I used to drive at night without my headlights on just hoping for an accident, or hope for a murderer to walk through my front door and save me the trouble.
    I even researched and planned what I would do if I ever did go through with it. But even with all of this, I kind of also knew that I would never let it happen. I would turn my headlights on before the really tight corners. I know that if that murderer ever did walk through my door I wouldn't go down without a fight, and to this day my suicide plan has remained nothing more than a list of steps in my head. I would never do it.

    I have always kind of wondered how I can want to die so badly but still know I will never do it.
    I think it's because of all the people that I would never want to hurt like that. I can't even begin to imagine what it would do to my parents and my brother and my extended family and my friends and even all the people who just know me from school or whatever.
    I am living for everyone who's lives would be changed forever and for the worse if I went through with it.

    This is something that I can sit and think rationally about now (hindsight is a wonderful thing) but at the time I resented it like you wouldn't believe.
    At the time I felt pretty much nothing. My body had shut down and numbed itself to most emotions so that I wouldn't have to feel the agony of what I was going through. So I didn't really feel love for my family, but I knew that I loved them. The love was just buried deep inside me with all the other feelings that were too real to touch. If I felt the love I would also have to feel the loss, the pain, and the overwhelming agony that was constantly threatening to suffocate me.
    So I never let myself feel it, but I acted on good faith that the love was still there. This meant that when my mum came into my room with tears in her eyes and pamphlets on mental health in her hand that she had printed out at work, I was so ashamed of what I had done to her. I was so sorry and I knew that I had to do better. Even just thinking about that moment makes me cry as I write this.

    So I tried to be better. I tried to drag myself back out of the darkness. I tried to smile and laugh and spend time outside of my room. I tried to listen to top 40 instead of rock, metal and screamo, and most importantly I tried to always wear long sleeves to cover the cuts on my arms. I don't kid myself into thinking that it was always believable, but I think I did a pretty good job.
    Unfortunately looking better on the outside never changed how I felt on the inside and I resented and hated everyone that I was living for. I hated how they were asking so much of me with every  look in their eyes, but how, somehow it was never enough.

    I felt like they had taken everything from me. Even though it went against everything that I wanted to the core of my being, it was never enough for me to just keep breathing for them.
    They took everything that I was using to cope with what I was going through. I know they just wanted what was best, but I often think it was what was best for them, not what was best for me.
    I know that it hurt them to see me hurt myself, but in wanting me to be whole they took all the things that I use to survive. They would see me cut and start to cry. I would see them cry and want it to stop, but the cutting released the pressure. I would tremble and sweat and shiver. My mind would stumble and fall and spiral and explode and fly. Then the blood would flow and that perfect calm would flood back into my bones.
    It would give me the strength and the focus to force one more smile, to make a convincing laugh, to survive another day.
    After they made me stop all I had was the heavy music that my parents hated, played quietly through my headphones (so they wouldn't hear), and sung by people who screamed so that I didn't have to.
    It drove me mad having to live like that. Having to hide how I felt so that I wouldn't keep hurting everyone. It was far too much pressure for anyone to have to take, let alone someone going through the hell I was living in.

    My parents always told me that I could be whoever and whatever I wanted, but I don't think they meant it. I know they would never say it, but it made them sad to see me who I became. It made them sad that I wasn't the bright, happy little girl I used to be.
    At first I was too lost in my sadness to care, but after that day with my mum I started learning to adjust to the pain that had become a part of me. I became strong enough to remember who I used to be, the person my parents need me to be, the person they wish I still was. Even though my world had changed, it's centre shifted to an unmarked grave where my broken heart lies, I learned how to live each day for the people I love. I learned how to breathe for them. How to leave my skin unmarked for them.
    It killed me, but I learned how to keep on living for them.
    I knew that they should never have to feel the way that I did, and I learned to live so that they would never have to.

    My problems were my own, but somehow my parents problems became mine too. I was stretched to the limit being who they needed me to be. Every second I was dreaming of that moment when I would finally be allowed to break. To shatter into a million trembling razor pieces.
    It was selfish of me to want to die. I know that. But it was also selfish of them to want me to stay, and I wonder if they knew that.
    They asked me every day to deny myself the one thing that I wanted in life. They asked me to bear the pain of existence with a smile and a laugh, to blend in with everyone else, when I was nothing like everyone else.
    With every breath that I took the pain was real. I know they needed me and so I shall stay. I just need them to know the price that they were asking me to pay.


    I have always been someone who will put everyone else's needs before my own, so it's been really hard, but I want you all to know that I have now started learning to be the person that I want to be, not just the person that everyone needs me to be. I have started to embrace who I am, scars and all.


    This story is my own and yours is probably somewhat different.
    The people you are living for might not be your parents. It might be your partner, your children, or your friends. However, our pain is similar.
    Unfortunately those of us who bear the emotional burden of depression and suicidal thoughts, often have to bear the burden of living for the sake of others as well.
    We have to be strong for the people around us so that they don't ever have to experience the same pain that we do every day.
    We have to live for them, even if it kills us.
    I think that it is the last and greatest gift that we can ever give and very few will ever understand what it cost us or appreciate the gesture.

    Many of you might even think that you can't relate to my story at all. But I promise you that you can. 
    Everyone walking this world is fighting a battle with something, and they are doing it for someone they care about. My burden of living for the sake of my family is the same as a person going to a job they hate to support the children that they love, or a kid battling through homework to make a good life for their future self. 
    Our struggle is the same, we are just fighting different things for different reasons.


    Wednesday, 28 January 2015

    This Shadow Life - Being Kind to Yourself

    Positive change starts with positive thinking, and one of the most important changes that you can make is learning to be kind to yourself

    I have found that it is really easy to get into the habit of being really negative towards people. It's something that I used to be very guilty of. I would see someone and instantly pick them to pieces in my head. I didn't think that it changed me on the outside, I actually thought I was pretty ninja about it. Like I had this stream of venom flowing through my brain but a friendly smile on my face. 

    My dad was also pretty negative, not in an intentionally unkind way, just really cynical and jaded about everyone and everything. I have always been really close to my dad and so it didn't take long for this habit to rub off on me. Experiencing depression probably made it easier to slip into this habit too. My head was already such a dark place so much of the time, it was easy to start projecting that out onto everyone. Interestingly I was kind of proud of it. I was proud of being cynical. I liked being like my dad and it felt like I was able to see through everyone's bullshit.

    After a while the things that my dad would say escalated a bit and started to bug me, maybe because he did it to people that I have some things in common with or maybe it was something else entirely. I don't know. 

    I finally noticed that although always priding myself on being someone who didn't judge anyone, thinking like my dad was causing me to judge everyone. And I mean everyone. The girl with the unwashed hair, the boy who incorrectly pronounced a word, the teacher who was boring me, the parent scolding me. No one was immune to my hateful thoughts and criticism. 

    This was also when I realised that all the judgement and negative thoughts I was having were ruining my life from the inside. They made my head into an awful place to live. A place of merciless criticism, insults and negativity. 
    It certainly wasn't making me any friends either. No matter how ninja you think you are, people have a way of feeling those secret negative thoughts. 
    As an added bonus, the judgement didn't stop with the people that I saw on the street or at school or in my day to day life adventures. I was so into the habit of hating everyone I saw that it didn't stop when I looked in the mirror. Just like with everyone else I would think of or see myself and without hesitation proceed to rip myself to shreds. This made me feel worse about myself, which then caused me to think more awful things about everyone else, which made me think more awful things about myself. It was a vicious cycle that it took me a really long time to escape. But I did escape.

    When I started noticing all these things I resolved to change. I decided that I would stop thinking awful things about everyone. This was a hard thing to do at first. I would look at someone and find that I was criticising them without even consciously deciding to do so. So I decided that when that happened, I would counteract it by making myself stop the awful thoughts, really look at the person and find at least one interesting or beautiful or positive thing about them and think about that instead.
    It is important to notice that I didn't reprimand or get down on myself any time that the negative thoughts slipped in. I just stopped them where I could and focused on the positive. 

    It was a slow process at first, but eventually the kindness and positive thoughts started coming to mind easier and the negative ones occurred less and less. Of course I still get annoyed at people and that might make me have a little tirade of nastiness in my brain, but I think that's normal and natural and not something to try and stop. You have to be able to express your feelings at times like that, but it's important not to let it slip back into needless and unwarranted negativity. 

    Eventually I noticed that I was able to follow the same process when I looked at myself. I learned to be kind and positive, if not all the time then most of it. This ended up helping a great deal with my mission to overcome my depression. It helped make my head a much nicer place to be (most of the time)
    We know our faults better than anyone else so it's really easy to tear ourselves down. Sometimes they are things that other people have pointed out or things we notice ourselves, and somehow they are always the easiest things to believe. But there is so much more that is beautiful and interesting and perfect, if we can only learn to see it.


    Good luck. 
    xx Sasha

    Monday, 26 January 2015

    This Shadow Life - Eating Disorders as Self Harm

    I recently read a very interesting, through provoking, and emotional post by Katie Arbre of Our Wolf Song (a fantastic blog that you can check out here). In the post Katie very bravely talked about her eating disorder and though our disorders are quite different, I found that we had a few important things in common.

    I don't like eating. I don't like eating in public. I worry about what I am going to eat when I go out for dinner with friends or whatever. I often lie and say that I have already eaten just so that I can avoid the situation all together. I actually kind of despise food. I have done so since year 5 (about 10 years old) when an older girl at school made fun of my weight and the unhealthy food that I happened to be having for lunch that day. On a side note, that girl has gained a pretty significant amount of weight in the decade or so since, which leads me to believe that at the time she probably had her own insecurities that caused her to lash out at me. But anyway. I digress. It made me hate food, feel really bad about myself, and feel really self concious about eating. This resulted in me developing some weird food habits like not wanting anyone to see me eat, ever. Not wanting to take bites out of food (to this day I either eat off a fork or pull things apart with my hands first and put the little pieces into my mouth). Hoarding unhealthy foods and sneaking off to binge eat. Plus I hate the sound of people chewing.

    Then my trauma happened (totally unrelated to my food disorders) and my self hatred increased exponentially. I despised myself. Enough to cut and burn and tattoo my skin.
    At the same time, my weird food habits developed into me swinging between pretty severe anorexia and bulimia.
    I have always just thought of my eating disorders as relating to wanting to be thin and not getting picked on or stared at, and I always just thought the hate and anger that they made me feel was because of my weight and the fact that I had succumb to an eating disorder in the first place.

    Then for some reason the post of Katie's made me think about my disorders in a different way and I realised that for me, my eating disorders are a form of self harm. Sure I want to be thin, and sure I hate that I let my food habits get that far, but more than that it is punishment. It is self loathing. It is anger and hatred not at the disorders or the girl that first pushed me in their direction, but anger and hatred towards myself.

    My name is Sasha and I self harm by cutting, burning, tattooing, starving, binging, and purging. 

    This might not seem like a big revelation to a lot of people, but to me it is huge. I never thought of it like that and now that I have, it's totally changed the way that I will deal with it.

    I used to try and deal with it by forcing myself into a strict regime of eating a relatively normal amount of healthy foods. I got an app on my phone that told me how many calories I should eat in a day and I tried my best to stick to it.
    Now I have begun researching scientific papers on how I can deal with my eating disorder as a form of self harm. It's already proving to be super helpful.

    I would like to encourage anyone else with an eating disorder to go on a little self discovery journey like I did (only if you are in a mental position where that would be safe of course). Try to think about how your disorder started, if there are times when you are more or less inclined to starve or purge, if there was a point where things escalated for you like they did for me, and most importantly, think about the feelings that go with all of these ideas. I know that's the super cliché doctor line of "How does that make you feel?" but for me it was examining my feelings that made me realise what I was really dealing with and how I can help myself get better.

    Things are looking up. :]