Saturday, June 20, 2015
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Musings on a Comparative Essay on the Insignificance of Imagery and Allegory this time with psychology.
Just so you understand how serious I was about this, my thesis depended on being able to voice the same message while using completely different symbols and forms of alliteration. In order to make a comparison, I would have to rewrite an entire existing poem. Lady Lazarus, like much of Plath's later work, hides itself behind heavy imagery of the holocaust. (the Nazis vs. the Jews most commonly in her work). Here are both versions:
BY SYLVIA PLATH
My version incorporated science vs. religion.
She said she did it
One year in every ten,
But they do it annually, or weekly,
Some even do it daily,
Carrying her death around in their heads
And practising it. She saves them
The trouble of their own;
They can die through her
Without ever making
The decision. My buried mother
Is up-dug for repeat performances.
Now they want to make a film
For anyone lacking the ability
To imagine the body, head in oven,
Orphaning children. Then
It can be rewound
So they can watch her die
Right from the beginning again.
The peanut eaters, entertained
At my mother’s death, will go home,
Each carrying their memory of her,
Lifeless – a souvenir.
Maybe they’ll buy the video.
Watching someone on TV
Means all they have to do
Is press ‘pause’
If they want to boil a kettle,
While my mother holds her breath on screen
To finish dying after tea.
The filmmakers have collected
The body parts,
They want me to see.
They require dressings to cover the joins
And disguise the prosthetics
In their remake of my mother;
They want to use her poetry
As stitching and sutures
To give it credibility.
They think I should love it –
Having her back again, they think
I should give them my mother’s words
To fill the mouth of their monster,
Their Sylvia Suicide Doll,
Who will walk and talk
And die at will,
And die, and die
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
My psychiatrist and I touched on this topic at my last appointment, and it's been taking up space in my mind ever since. As I sat on his couch, he showed me an example: he continued to talk while looking around the room, until finally, still speaking, made eye contact. There was an immediate physical response. When his eyes found mine, I felt a warmth in my chest as though it was defining what it is to be heard. As a mentally ill person, I spend a lot of time feeling disconnected. There are so many emotions and responses that I fear will give me away, and this fear leaves me no option but to face these feelings alone. Most people with serious mental illness know this feeling only too well. The world has defined us as "abnormal", and the need to fit in keeps us at arms length from the rest of the world. He encouraged me to investigate the idea of disconnection, but our discussion led me to a much larger epiphany... what if we aren't alone? What if the entire world is made up of people who are too afraid to voice their feelings? What if we are all just slightly broken people fumbling around and stumbling under the weight of our brokenness and all to afraid to ask someone else if they had ever felt the way we feel? What if, having voiced those feelings, the person in front of us didn't turn and walk away, but instead, nodded solemnly in understanding. What if we didn't have to be afraid anymore because one other person's simple act of nodding in agreement validated every feeling we had been too afraid to voice? How would that change the way we view the world and each other?
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Sometimes I wonder if regret is linked to mental illness. Of course, I've never asked because there's always that small but pervasive fear that that alone will give me away. I spend so much time on regret. You know... that one time I said that thing in elementary school or at the grocery while talking to a complete stranger. Most of my regrets are like: unimportant because I'll never see the other person again. Still, I play the scenario over and over in mind even though I know this only causes anxiety, and unless I board the tardis, I'm unlikely to be allowed to go back in time to fix these things. Moreover, should I want to fix them? All these regrets that take up so much space in my head, that make me so unhappy, they're part of how I got here, and here is a good place. Here is a safe place, and I am thankful to be here. Would I really want to risk all this just so I could've said the right thing in a fleeting, never to be repeated conversation? I know the answer is no, but I can't ever turn off the tv in my head. It's always on... always repeating.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
I wanted to open with a racial slur. You see, I wanted to shock you into listening. The thing is, I don't use those words. I found it repugnant to consider having them, in black and white, associated with my name forever and ever. They are words you won't hear on primetime, as the punchline on your favorite tv show, or on the evening news.
Logically, words are only signifiers. They should hold no more power than a person allows them to. But we know that isn't true. Words can define us. They can be used to restrict us, and they can shape the way we see others. Their power is long lasting and long reaching.
How often have you heard someone describe their ex as bipolar, psycho, schizo, or just crazy? Because these terms are considered socially acceptable, most people don't even notice. They news media, tv shows, movies, casual quips, political exchanges... It wasn't very long ago that racial remarks were also considered socially acceptable. I'm fact, they are the same thing... Generalizations based on misinformation that create stigma. Stigma ruins lives. It changes the way we see others, and more importantly, it changes the way we see ourselves. It creates hostility and fear and an unwillingness to seek legitimate, and the answer is so much simpler than gun control or expensive mental health bills. All you have to do is choose a different word.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Someone asked me a little while ago why I named this blog, A High, Lonely Place. You see, very early on, psychiatrist tried to teach me that my mind was broken, that it was my enemy... but my mind has never been my enemy. In my mind, I have been to Hogwarts, down the rabbit hole to tea with the mad hatter and the March hare, solved cases with Sherlock, heard the call of the Tardis in the darkness, and alternated between saving the world and needing to be saved from it. You see, that's what it's really all about. It's what it has always been about... saving myself.
I never built hedges against the night... my mind built those for me. It created this high, lonely place, where I could see for miles, both ahead and behind me. Unlike many people who have been classified as mentally ill, I have never been afraid of being alone. I am not terrified of the sound of the voice in my head or the reflection of my life in my mind's eye. I'm safe there. I've always been safe there. It's out there with the rest of you that I falter, and that's not controlling behavior or agoraphobia, that's life experience.