Balancing Act

Another morning waiting for the bus to pick me up so I can go home for a short break from the school environment.

Another night spent in school working, session of drinking, talking.

Another question asked about my legs.

Another question about my weight.

Another cry for him.

Another memory rises when I lie in a cold studio unable to sleep, while the rest of my overworked friends take a sleep break.

“What happened to M? She has such beautiful legs. My heart pains.”

“We were all very sad. He cried. I cried. They were all very sad when they saw the pictures.”

“What happened to your leg? Have you lost weight? You look skinny.”

“No, you drink a lot!”

“Is that why you always suddenly look sad? Because of him? Can you imagine what would happen with you if one day, he died?”

“In Animation, if you keep walking, you’ll get there.”

He was helping me film the ending shot upwards at our friend who was about to walk across railings. I sat up while he still had his back against the concrete ramp, trying to capture the perspective into the camera frame. Suddenly he sat up and held my leg, looking intently where his finger made a short stroke against the scars. They’re faint but still visible under bright sunlight up close. He asked about it an hour before but I didn’t say because I never knew he existed until an hour before that. I didn’t know there were other people coming. Not that it matters.

Every now and then over these two years, people will ask if cutting hurts. It sounds rhetorical yet contrary to what it should be, the answer is that it honestly doesn’t. My self-inflicted gashes don’t hurt me. Only the scars do and only on the inside.

It was the night I physically acted on quitting alcohol control. I’ve started being around people again since halloween. I haven’t really had much of a choice between schoolwork and. I have to let myself go and it feels like I walk everywhere carrying a translucent fluid sac with my legs, feelings spilling out like bodily fluids. Similar to a container filled to the brim and an unsteady waiter. Yet I’m at my best and getting better like this. Exposing myself and my inabilities so that people can guide me so I may wrap myself back together.

It’s only been a week. A week of so many new people, of opening up and trusting my friends and letting them really speak to me, of reaching out in my hours of darkness, of finding myself and learning art, of being touched where it should hurt, of unthinking, of thinking only of, of just trying working trying working at recovering my direction. It’s been a week but it feels like a month has passed. Connectivity was the first thing I cut out from my life then, because people are what make me alive. Art connects me with people, all kinds of wonderful people from all over who take me places with their words, their lines, their minds, their bodies, our laughs, our drinks, our talks. It’s felt so much like the start of university when all the goodness of experiencing people and pulses and life gathered and grew until I finally wanted more than what I’ve reduced myself to. I just really want to get through this last week before submissions. It’s another week of working insane hours and pushing chairs together for a nap in wee hours in school.

I love art and I’ve come to realise it needs to be at my core. I believe what they all say, that you’ll get there. Concrete. Solid. Unshakable. Always. And therefore, a hazy idea of direction.

Real

It’s so painful. Everything.

This was not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about school and people. What is this?

Is it visible from my body? Everyone says I’m already doing so well from when they saw me in the hospital. I always asked, what did I feel in the hospital? They all say the same thing every time. That it looked like everything was gone. Lost. That I couldn’t even hold back any emotion anymore. The look on my face, I was gone away with the loss and sadness and everything else. A few days after discharge, my mother had told me that when I was in the shower one evening in the ward, one of them cried. I could never have been able to tell. My mother said he just couldn’t help himself and he cried saying, he didn’t know things were that bad. That’s what they all said too. Even my parents. That no one knew. That even when it felt like something was wrong since last year, it seemed like I was coping. I don’t know.

Blank. Loss and lack of hope. And too much life inside because I’m crying. Why do I have to have feelings? What are they for? I just wish they would die. I wish they would stop interrupting my work but that’s only because I focus so much on work to block it all out. I don’t like work. But I have to like it because it is the only thing that can be the only thing. Just don’t think about feelings. What I like, what I don’t like. Just do, kill the hours. The day passes by. There isn’t even time for sleep.

And if only it were that mind-numbingly straightforward. It would be if I don’t have feelings. At least I think so.

I’m functional now, though barely sometimes and always with much struggling, much blocking. Why is it all coming out now, the moment I type? I didn’t want to write about this but it’s all that flows out. I never did very much want to live after it. I never said I did live from that day on. I didn’t realise how much I had started to work towards life until it all vanished. I am alive now only because I’m not dead. There’s no point dividing what living is from being alive because if it’s understood, this is understood. I just would rather strive for the next few years I had planned for myself last year. I don’t think I ever wrote about it or talked about it to anyone.

I was going to write about my prof, my best and not my perfection, the people around me, my work. I was going to journal and record now that all’s a little quieter. I can’t. All that comes out are these tears and pain. I hate this. I hate this.

There was an afternoon when all the connections died. Tried hard as I did but the connections repelled like like poles of a magnet. I don’t know how that could happen. It shouldn’t have.

I’m crying. But there is no time to. There is work to do.

‘The Clinic’

Was not clinical. Whiskey tasted like water. Freshie opens vodka. No mixer, ice please. Happy. Like water too. More please. Head rush P talks new pal S joins hello character animation animation animation animation senior joins hertfordshire cheap drinks lie down roll sit up you’re pale stand up sway talk some more big smiles easy laughs nothing else but us and vague questions and ideas and profs throw up look left they’re gone just us I can’t go home it’s okay senior pulls a mattress rest in lab not too loud people are working just lie down soft floor mattress couldn’t get up nevermind fade wake up one a.m. need to throw up slump fall asleep wake up three a.m. search for keys fall asleep find keys cold stone sleep bright lights six a.m. taxi need a lift? no noisy motor van lights did you drink? a little need a lift? really okay are you japanese? why? the socks funny.

Again? Sure. Moving in. Maybe time outside will stop for a while.

The Screwup Screws Up

Eventually I smiled it off. I laugh like it’s a mistake that makes for a funny story. But I’m crouched in here, teardrops pool on the floor. Muffled crying. I’m gone too long. I wonder if they know I’m hiding until I can fix my face again. “Don’t. Graduate with us.” But I have to put in so much to get to the next day, normal. I can’t give up or I’ll lose all of what’s left of me. And if I don’t…

I want to stay in here for hours. I want to hide away and rest for days until I recover myself from my screwup.

Pulsating Wanderlust

“Why did she make things? Well, she enjoyed it, of course, but it also somehow helped her remember who she was and where she came from.”

It’s been coming back stronger each day again. It’s been months since I tingled with the crave, the spark, the challenge and the urge to drop everything to create. It’s to me, forming something from nothing but an idea — a product of the mind — with each result coming from conscious decisions and one’s own actions. The more basic the materials, the more engaging it is to me — think, ink and graphite and paper, think, combining scraps into objects. It’s putting my energies and a particular kind of emotion into the process of creation. The visible product can be applauded for its aesthetics but its what it initiates that grants it value. The tunnel of memories it leads one through and the ideas it kindles.

I step outside and feel lost in the centre of high concrete walls that block out chunks of sky. Realization strikes that I want immersion. I thrive on passion. It is a fiery desire to learn and experience. Intensity is daunting, yet I’ve always and can only thrive on passion. It’s not cold concrete or isolating woods I crave. Both are romantic images but neither location ever sit right with me when thought in permanence. I want to be wherever I can immerse myself in passion and have it engulf me. Even as school — university, high school — can be monotonous and dreary, there’s always been something that keeps me wanting. It’s a crave to learn — learn, not study — and therefore, an autonomous want, not an external push. School is an environment that draws people and stimulates their minds, albeit some not as well as others. Their laughter, their insights bring me somewhere because an environment like this draws people in and brings them out. I travel through them just as I always travelled through strangers’ lives in the train and bus rides.

I’ve weened off and am completely off medication. My mind has been rapidly clearing. My thoughts are coming back. My focus. I haven’t felt this way since I was put on any medication at all. It’s been months and I’m finding my core again. Stability. Desire. Movement. I thought I lost it, that I changed, or even that it might not have been the real me. I feel the wanderlust and with it, I’m remembering the wandering wonder and the many mediums.

BN

I’m absolutely terrified and stressed that I’ll slip into it completely again. Losing and restricting keeps me safe. Get smaller and it’ll feel more controllable. Just everything will feel more controllable. But I keep losing control. I’ve been delaying it for a few months while I scramble for something that works again but still it ebbs and flows. It’s been getting harder again. I’m fucking fucking scared. I hate bulimia. I fucking hate it.

Spurts

I miss his fingers
interlaced with mine
I miss his face
his warm embrace

I want to lie down
In the radius of his body heat
Listen to him breathing while he sleeps
Listen and let go of everything else
I want to let go of everything and have them fade
Just us, safe to have each other

I’m too alive some
Around me, it is dead
Further out it’s all alive but foreign and fake

Thrust myself into food and weight. Everytime it hurts again, deeper, in. Cannot no pain hurts too much. Food fogs. Helps. Little. Distracts. Makes sense. Fog so well I want to quit everything for it. But sometimes it clears. I cry. See I’m still as sad. Sad. So sad. Don’t feel don’t know to lift it. How fog. Go it’s fast easy as that. Why does it do that. Too late to think by then.

Miss too much. Missing brings tears. Crippling tears. Always run away. Fog fog my brain. Medicine and food and weight. But sometimes I stop running. I just pause and stay. And then it hits me wave by wave. Being hit always makes me struggle with starting to run again. If I don’t, I’ll fall. I don’t which to go with anymore.

Walk and Fade

It’s been on my mind to visit the park. It’s only across the street but for a while now, I haven’t been liking the sun much. Not it’s brightness or its warmth for the heart.

I pulled the covers over my head and breathed the sheets. As I thought, I was tired but I can’t sleep. I told my Mum I’m going downstairs, to the park. She paused at the door on her way out and I wondered if it was because she missed what I said or if it was because she hadn’t. I think it was fear in her voice when she asked if I was taking a run. In any case, I said no, just a walk. Didn’t sound like she believed me.

I had already crossed the first small road when I pulled up a loose sock and remembered my legs. I’m in shorts. I wondered what my Mum thought of that. I crossed another road and was at the park. I decided against tracking my walking distance. I took a different route at every fork I hit from my last running phase. I began becoming conscious of my decisions to do opposites and the anxieties creeped up.

I continued walking regardless.

The numerous colliding thoughts faded off one by one, like they always did. The edge blunted. The stresses dissipated into non-existence. My life started to look better again. I don’t know how it works but it’s huge reason why I keep running in my insane and pressurizing exercise phases. It helps me cope and blunts everything for a while. For a while, I’ll look into the distance and even feel like my life can be better.

I wonder how long this will last. I feel like an addict. I was torn inside when I remember how exercise was a way I controlled the eating disorder whenever every other number spiraled out of control. What misery to fight off the temptation to exercise despite how much I dislike it. Pathetic.

I grew tired and I stopped to rest. At least I’m still able to do that — stop when I want to, need to. My feet had the familiar zing when the pressure of my weight lifted.

It’s time to get off the stone bench now.