11.53pm ~ made your absence too much. thought too much about your face. couldn’t sleep. took myself out for a walk. found some water. found a bridge. found some grass. I think you are quite unbearable. as for me, I have everything I need to be terrific. a cigarette. some water. some bridge. some grass. a scarf. a pen. everything. now all I need is you.
Quote from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.
I have this sudden urge to tell you everything. It seems unfair the way you dispense, dispense, dispense all of the time. What makes you think I want to be your container? Do you have any idea how much of yourself you are giving? I wake in a body that cannot rise with you inside of it and this is a terrible way to know a person. What was it to let me know you like this? I don’t think I can know you like this much longer but if you knew why I must forget you, and you must, and I must, everything would be finished. But what is everything? A thing I have made up? I think. You think. Everything is something. Everything is all. You must realise the affections I have for you, you have read them in my letters and watched them on my lips; you must know the way I moved cities to cut you out, the way I am still accommodating you here against my better sense. You must know the way I kill a lung to kill this capacity—how useless, that my demise shall be this. I am losing my years to you. Four years and I have not let myself lie with another body. I am tired of letting myself wait. I am tired of letting myself let. I am tired of cutting myself into pieces to make room for the beautiful, troublesome pieces of you and yet, I am too tired to stop. I am too tired of trying to cut you out so I will continue to love you until one day, when you reach for your container, you will no longer be reaching for me, and suddenly, very suddenly, you will know everything.
Note: This post mentions sexual trauma & suicide.
I used to see God everywhere. When I was a teenager I would take the long route to school so I could walk through the reserve at the end of my street with the statue in its middle. I would stand with my back against the statue and look at everything and see God. I would take the acorns from the grass into my hands like Rachel and Theo with their stone in Under The Mountain and I would feel God. I have always felt God, even before I went to church or prayed my first prayer, I knew there was something else, something I couldn’t see, and I needed this something to be real, much realer than the real that had become so unreal I could call it illusory. This inversion, and perversion of reality, came as a result of my childhood sexual trauma. The only way I knew how to trust in this time was through the secrets I kept for and from other people. My reality was secrecy and my secrets were a reality distinguished from real life. Everything I could see I could no longer trust because I could see it and everything I could see – everything that wasn’t a secret and stored in the secret pocket of my mind – was everything I did not want to see, and so I turned to God. God seemed secret but not the kind of secret that would keep me from myself. God seemed like the kind of secret I could acknowledge aloud and the kind that would never hurt me like a person, or secret belonging to a person. Seven-year-old me didn’t really know what she was turning to, she just knew that she needed to turn before she could trust, and that God was hiding ‘up there’ in the sky somewhere, and so seven-year-old me became obsessed with the sky (and she is still very much obsessed with the sky). I drew pictures of the sky everyday with crayons in my notepad. I took out books on meteorology and astronomy from the school library. I wrote letters to God and sent them up in helium balloons (and I am only realising now that anyone could’ve read these. I could’ve had multiple Gods a day and multiple Gods a day read my letters… what a wonderfully uncomfortable thought!). I did go to church when I was young, I just didn’t pay enough attention to know that this was where God was supposed to be, and when I was old and attentive enough to know this I could not seem to find God anywhere, and I really didn’t like going to church because it was not what I wanted church, or God, to look like. Every Sunday the same songs were sung and the same points were made and the same pastor would ask the same children to leave the same building at the same time for the same Sunday School. I would give my parents a convincing enough sort of nod, much like the nods I saw every other child give their parents, and I’d disappear down the path to the Jubilee Hall. I would walk halfway down the path because my parents could see this half through the main church window and then I’d sneak off through the foliage down another path to my secret spot. There was a very little, very rotten fence round the back of our church that, as far as I’m aware, nobody but me knew about. It was concealed by a number of trees, droopy and overhung, and so much moss you could barely see the wood, and this is where I would sit every Sunday for an hour while the other kids sung their same songs, and read their same bibles, and ate their same wine biscuits for morning tea. I wasn’t too far from the hall so I could still hear the children singing and sometimes I joined in, but mostly I just sat and thought my thoughts and wrote my thoughts in my diary. I liked picking the little red berries from the trees as well and I knew they were poisonous little berries meant for the birds so I didn’t eat them, but I really really wanted to eat them (I did nibble on the leaves sometimes and take the berries home for my potions). I don’t know why I didn’t like going to church. Perhaps it was not so much the church as the way church was put to me, it all seeming rather forced and toffee-nosed. I hated the way adults treated me when I was a child, like a child, or some kind of gnome in the garden not able to answer for itself or put itself in the right places, and there was always the feeling of being talked over, or to, but never with, and I suppose this is why I wanted to find God out for myself. I wanted God to be sought, not told. I am thinking now of my earliest God memory. I believe I was four years old and outstretched beside my mother in her bed, my baby sister in her crib next-door. I wanted to see whether my sister could put her hand in mine so I left my hand on her blanket and waited for a while. I lay there with mum, staring at the ceiling, until I felt a soft thing brush my hand. I looked over at my sister expecting to see her hand in mine but it was tucked, still, by her side. This was very confusing, I was so sure she had reached for me, but even more confusing was this feeling that didn’t go away… the feeling of a hand that kept getting bigger, and warmer, and more pronounced, until eventually it was pulsing like a heartbeat hot around my hand. It was in this moment that I met God, not knowing it was God, but knowing it was not my mother, or my sister, or father in the corner of the room – this was not the hand of a person. I still feel the hand today and get just as overwhelmed by it as I did when I first felt it, but it is also a source of comfort now that I am familiar with its feel.
When I was ten, or maybe eleven, I had a dream about a girl in a purple dress on a swing. This girl needed my help with something but I woke before I could know what it was that she needed. The next day my grandmother took me to the playground and I saw a girl in a purple dress on a swing, crying. I went up to this girl and asked her what was wrong and she told me that her parents had been fighting every night and how sad she was to see them fight. I sat on the swing next to this girl. We swung and spoke with one another until it was time to go. This girl in the purple dress became my best and only friend. She lived with me for a while when her mum developed cancer and we wrote plays, made potions, and ate lots of jam on toast together. My friend took her life a few years ago. I am still grieving this loss. She is still the girl in the purple dress on the swing & I am still the girl that got to be her friend & I am so very lucky to have been her friend. This dream was the first time God and I had a conversation. This was not like the one-way conversations had at church. This was dialogue. God prompted and I replied but didn’t know this was God until the dreams kept on happening and having some profound, inexplicable sense of meaning attached to them, and it is only overtime that I have come to know them to be God. Someone from Auckland injured themselves in one of my dreams last year. I called my sister the next day to ask if this person was alright and she said they had just been admitted to hospital. How useless it was it for me to have dreamed this, I thought, how utterly useless. But it wasn’t useless. I told them about this dream a few days later and it is because I told them that they listened to me when I told them about another dream I had this year, one in which they were sobbing uncontrollably in my arms, and when I approached them the day after this dream and told them about it they revealed in full their wound to me, a wound invisible to most but made entirely visible for the first time in my presence, in that moment. She sobbed in my arms. I sobbed in hers. We sob in each other’s arms often.
I don’t know how dreams work and I will never know how they work, just as I don’t know how God works and will never know God’s way with me or why God wants any way with me at all. What I do know, however, is that God is in my dreams. God is my dreams. God holds my hand and is the hand that lets me hold the hands of others. God is the statue in the park. God is the acorn on the grass. God is the tree I sat under every Sunday morning. God is the tree I sit under today. God is the rotten fence. God is the red berry. God is the paper on which I write. God is what I write. God is the girl in the purple dress on the swing. God is who I meet. God is what I meet. God is what I used to see. God is what I am still trying to see. God is me looking for God.
It is finally time to capitalise the title of my blog.
It is also finally time to make a page for my poetry/lyrics/stories.
Silence will not cover me.
my sister: but how do you keep on loving someone who keeps on destroying you?
me: honestly, Lauren, it’s like writing. I don’t know how to do anything else.
It has been a wild two weeks since my last blog post. All aside from today’s hangover I have been feeling rather fine of late which is unusual considering my mood is 99% of the time a static melancholy. I think it must be a combination of my new medication and me anticipating going home in a few weeks time. How lovely it will be to be home again. Wellington is home too, but it is a very different kind of home to the home that has my family inside of it, and I have two families inside of this home now: my blood one, with my parents, sister, and cats, and the one I have been nannying for since 2017. I love these kids so very much they almost feel like my own, and my decision to move to Wellington was one of the hardest I have ever had to make for this reason. I am not saying I know what it is to be a mother, but I certainly have a new level of empathy for the mothers that are separated from their children. I cried at least once a day every day for four months after leaving. I don’t know if I will ever have children myself and don’t believe I will have an answer to this question for a while yet. If I’m honest, I find even the thought of a baby absolutely uncomfortable, and people who revel in baby videos and *cute* baby bodies even more uncomfortable. Maybe my maternal instincts will kick in one day, or maybe they already have but decided to skip the whole baby part, or maybe they never will. Anyway, I can’t write about babies anymore so we are moving on. I am DESPERATELY eager for it to be summer again (god Amy are you really pulling the ‘let’s change the subject by talking about the weather/seasons’ card) because I get to be a sandy grassy sloppy wet-wandering mess every day and not have to think twice about it (ok I am surely a slither redeemed by my idiosyncratic choice of language). I will be so happy to be back at the bach and to have the sleepout to crawl about in among all of the other crawlies. Last year I made friends with a very friendly spider living above my bed on the central arch of wood and I called them Angelica after the angel that appeared one evening under the arch of my bedroom doorway. I would go for my evening dip in the ocean where I did a lot of my thinking and a lot of looking at everything rather than moving my limbs in any kind of swimming way and then return to the sleepout where I would download it all to Angelica. Spiders don’t have this opportunity to talk about their water experiences after they’ve had them, unless they defy all odds and survive of course, and so I think Angelica appreciated me sharing mine with them. I felt a bit sorry for them actually because sometimes I would be putting on my togs and they would be creeping along the arch to where I was getting changed and just sit there, above me, as though they were ready to put on some togs of their own and run down to the water with me. I suppose we humans can’t do spider things either like crawl on ceilings, or make webs. It is quite wonderful how we are all so different, and how we can only observe one another’s differences rather than talk about them (I did talk to Angelica though and I am pretty sure they understood me). I wonder if they will be there when I get back, or if I will find a new Angelica waiting for me, a spider Angelica or some other friendly creature. I wonder if the new Angelica will listen to my stories or if they will be disinterested. There have been no crawlies in my central city flat this year, no animals of any kind in fact, but there have been birds that have many a day saved me from myself. I love non-human creatures perhaps more than I love creatures that look like me and I think this is because they look nothing like me. I am currently lying on my bed thinking about all of the things I am writing about as well as looking around my room at all the clutter I am going to have to clean up before I leave. I only brought one suitcase with me when I moved but I am sure I have at least four suitcases worth of things to pack away – mostly books, heavy ones, and of all my things my books will be the first to be put in my suitcase. I am looking forward to reading more books in summer too, and to be sitting on the sand, or the grass, or in my hammock with a glass of wine in one hand and book in the other. There are so many lovely things to be excited about and I do feel very privileged by and grateful for them all, and to think I am 99% of the time in a static state of melancholy… I don’t get it, but then again, no one really does.
It seems the only way I am able to write is by asking myself questions
I have decided today that I am going to move back home to Auckland. My mental health and health in general are not good (if you haven’t gathered this already from my posts) and I need to get out of this city and be with my blood family & other family again; I need to watch the kids sprout & time is getting thin. To put it plainly ~ I need to be looked after, as much as I hate to admit it, I really do. I need someone to remind me to eat properly, to do my laundry, to go to sleep at night, to get out of bed in the morning, and I am entitled to want/need these things. The logistics I haven’t quite figured out yet. It should be as simple as booking a flight and leaving but it’s not and this is very annoying. Step 1: call mum and ask if she and dad will take me back. Step 2: find someone to take my room. Step 3: find someone to take my job. Steps 4 to 200 are currently invisible.
Update: Step 1 is complete. My parents said “of course you can! we know you like to think you can do it all on your own, and we know you are very capable, but we also know that you need respite and you are allowed to honour this need.” Bless their beautiful hearts. I am so grateful for my parents.
Today I have been strong: three meals and three snacks, plenty of water, a mouth that moved to chew and to speak, a phone call with my mother that lasted a long time, a little lie down when it was needed, a chat with a stranger at the bus stop, a letter in the mail, a flight booked to Auckland for dad’s birthday, a clean bedroom and fresh linen, a long email to my therapist, and I still feel like I am drowning, but in water not quite so cold, or deep. a puddle would be nice one day, if it will have me.
can’t sleep can’t write can’t speak can’t eat properly can’t feel my cheeks just want to feel okay for half an hour stop feeling you for half an hour feel myself again for half an hour be a child again for half an hour and all the choirs in my head say no and all the devils dance again