Original Essays Now On Substack!

Photo by Euphrosyne

Moving to substack, officially! I’ll continue to post my original poems and short stories on this website, but I’ll be posting my original essays on substack.

The first essay I published on substack is about self-identity and celebrity culture in social media, and how those two things coincide with each other. If that piques your interest, click here to read the full essay. I’m really bad at titles but I think it’s a bit fitting, given the circumstances. Social media did leave me stranded because I was so fixated on finding my identity in a place that would almost certainly give me an identity crisis instead. That’s not to say social media is fully to blame though. It’s like that saying, “we’re looking for love in places where there are none” except replace love with self-identity.

I’ve also recently posted my poems on Instagram!

Trying my best to promote my work while also taking care of my mental health can be difficult but I’m trying, so I won’t be posting as much unless I feel like I have something worth publishing. Right now, I’m working extra hard to get better at my poetry writing.

Take care, everyone! Throwing lots of love.

I’m Trying Not to Kill Myself (Mentally)

Inside Lewyn Davis (2013) dir. Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

There’s always this desire to appear better than how we’re actually doing. We pretend we are doing fine but underneath the profile photos and Instagram posts with optimistic captions, we’ll never fully reach the pinnacle of what makes a person truly happy (at least to some of us).

I’ve come to terms that I’ve tremendously wasted so much of my time tolerating people and situations that I now recognize were harmful to me simply because I didn’t want to appear overbearing, weak, or overtly sensitive. I wanted to earn their respect and so I believed that in order for that to happen, I had to put aside my feelings. I didn’t realize that it would ultimately lead to my turmoil.

I’ve bottled my emotions and tolerated toxic environments because I assumed it was just part of the work, or as we’ve been told, part of life, but do I really want to spend the rest of my life chasing something that is ultimately harming my well-being in more ways than one? I expected to be tougher by now, but I’ve essentially grown weaker at an age when I shouldn’t be.

Do I want to make it past eighty and realize, far too late, that I haven’t been contented in a very long time and have never done anything to address those feelings? As I sit here typing this, unable to fully enjoy my youth, should I really take the risk of pursuing happiness as my last resort? Knowing that pursuing what you want in life and in career can possibly lead back to depression because maybe the outcome might not be what you expected. It’s perplexing that in this day and age, happiness is regarded as a risk. Getting the job you truly wanted is a risk. Spending all your savings to go to Paris is a risk. Buying something for yourself is a risk. Leaving your partner and the future you’ve planned with them is a risk. Adopting a pet and creating an emotional attachment to them is a risk. So much of what is really harmless in life is suddenly a risk factor to us. Another issue that prevents us from truly embracing our youth is that we don’t have the privilege and time to do any of the things that will make us happy, nor do we have the emotional stability to make these choices. It crushes my heart that I’ve spent years contemplating how I can break free from the despair that’s been holding me back, knowing that the answer is that I don’t have the resources to do so. Every choice to happiness is tenuous at best.

Even pretending you’re happy is a risk because it reduces your chances of ever acknowledging your pain, and when you do, it will always be too late. You’ll explode into a mess that someone else has to pick up. That’s why I don’t want to have to play a role. I don’t want to act as if everything in my life is going swimmingly. I only want to get better. Feel better. Look better. Now I’ve realized that maybe impossibility is just a lie you tell yourself when you don’t think there’s anything left in you to save. The subtle stares, harsh jokes, and judgements are enough to tell yourself that you are not worth fixing. I despise it, but subconsciously, we’ve all thought of ourselves as lost causes, but there’s always that glimmer of hope telling you not to fully believe in that yet. It’s insanely unfair to have some bit of hope left, but perhaps in some bizarre manner, it can be a sign or a wake-up call. To hope is to push us to the edge, where we’ll finally look up at the hard ceiling and realize that you don’t have to have it all to be happy. We can create something in us to be happy about. There are endless possibilities for getting better. It doesn’t have to be this incredibly overblown event where you need countless other things to mentally recover. It can be a modest amount. There are plenty of ways to utilize in improving our mental health. Money doesn’t have to be the only source that opens us to those possibilities.

The question lies, how do we move from here? I’m going to keep a journal of my recovery journey. I’d like to be able to find other ways to improve my mental health. I shouldn’t have to feel like a lost cause because another factor that contributes to my depression is the high cost of therapy in today’s world. I don’t want to keep hurting. I don’t want to have to give up on myself because I don’t have the expenses to afford any of the necessities in mental health recovery. I’ve wasted so many tears. I wish you could feel how exhausted I am.

I’ve recently read The Upward Spiral and it provided so many tips, resources, and hard facts about depression that it uplifted me into believing that I can get better (I’m not there yet with the ‘I will get better’). I purchased a yoga matt and I’ve been drinking tea. A cliche approach but I’ve been told that it works and we’ll have to see. I’m starting small as advised. I want to start making choices again instead of continuously neglecting my pain. If the outcome hurts then at least I tried, right? It’s okay to fall apart if it doesn’t work out. I can always try again. I am able to finally tell myself that and really mean it.

Note: Do not take this essay as a means to stop your medication and therapy sessions. If you can afford professional help, get professional help.

You Still Have Plenty of Years Left to Take Care of Yourself

Photography by Oh Sun Hye

Are you okay?”

I shall suspend myself from responding to such a thoughtless query.

“Let the remnants of your hope bedew…”

Hush.

Always as vexatious, this something new.
Perplexing in its attempt to pursue.

Every day for me is a reason to be blue.

What I have in me is weary.
My body exemplifies everything tired and hoary.

My decrepit features and the squandered years I have spent are so unlike you.

Heed your own advice; spend yours with as much love as you are giving me.

Be Kind to Those Who Choose to Go Quietly.

Photography by Laura Makabresku

Warning: This essay contains topics about suicidal tendencies and depression. If you are someone who experiences suicidal thoughts, please discontinue reading for your own caution.

I dreamt of my death and then I awoke from that dream, eyes flooded with tears, my hands clutched to my chest from the heavy remnants of a dream I didn’t even consider a nightmare. I was glad when it felt real and then I wasn’t when my mind came back to its senses, prompting me to laugh in hysterics as I lay awake in a bed that mirrored what I was going through. That’s how it starts — when waking up alive becomes the misfortune. There aren’t enough words to express why anyone would even think to put their lives to an end. In my part, all I can say is that I’ve waited my whole life for a moment when I wouldn’t feel stuck any longer, and somehow the way out became the way out.

Maybe it’s because we get told in various ways that we’re not good enough. Eventually, it reaches a point where we don’t want to hear it anymore. It’s an overwhelming feeling that gnaws us when we go to sleep. To feel unworthy and yet still very much alive.

Despite this, many continue to murmur in circles about our mental state. There’s something sad in fictionalizing an unexplained suicide because you wanted to find a plausible explanation. When someone takes their own life, it’s typically because they’ve yearned for some kind of peace that may never arrive whilst being alive. To put it simply, it’s exhausting to push through hoping there’s a better end in all this. This feels like a reasonable explanation as any that doesn’t need to be further impeded in order to fit your preferred story.

Suicide is where the living berates the lost soul. Where the dead cannot be respected regardless of the immense pain the person had to go through to ultimately put their life to an end. Suicide should never be an option, but that hasn’t stopped anyone suicidal from attempting. I’m not saying that suicide is right nor should it be done, but to merely respect the passing — and surely not to make a whole story out of it.

Even when we choose to leave this world because being alive simply became unbearable, they’ll twist it for the dramatics. Fiddle with our life story. Assumptions will be made and that assumption will be treated and shared as a fact.

We were hurting then and even now (that we’re gone) it’s…

When someone willingly dies, you can mourn without theorizing why. Give them the rest they never received when they were alive. That’s the least any living person can do for someone who willingly chose to end their life.

Some people would mock us for choosing to die over something “so simple”, but we’re much complicated than that. We’ve had reasons after reasons to, and what appears to be simple has far more complexity than any individual could ever imagine. When someone ends their life because they lost something, it’s not just because they lost something; it’s also because it became another thing for them to lose — even if it objectively looks to be too insignificant to justify killing themselves over. There are so many layers to our pain that it wouldn’t be fair for you to act like you know any better without seeing the whole picture. See we’ve tried to live and we lived our lives by clinging onto things that might keep us alive. When we lose that, we see it as another loss, and what then?

How can one person who lost the ability to go on, go on? There’s a numbness to our body and mind that has slowly evolved in each waking moment, and it’s making us physically unable to live out our lives. Sometimes getting things done feels like an open invitation to get hurt some more.

I’ve tried to be responsible and I’ve chosen life plenty of times, but all that has ever done is allow in the hurt my entire being could not endure anymore.

We’re flawed and complex creatures who have long enough realized that happiness is a prize that can never be won, so the very idea of ‘giving up’ slowly pulled itself up into becoming the choice that we felt like was the only thing left to make.

Hikikomori

Photography by Silvia Gil-Roldán

Mother of mine I am completely unwell.
I see now that I must move cautiously on every clear line.

My feathers have all been plucked out,
and my tattered mind lingers in solitude.

With all these wrong roads I was told to take but could never quell,
a thought follows —
about a great leap that would have been mine.

Hung dry on this grievous drought.
Left with a feeble body ached to servitude.

This temperament gave a face so eerily composed;
not one tear has escaped since then.

The curtains now closed;
no more will this noxious sunlight slip in.

Extinction

Photography by National Geographic


Despondent, the earth becomes.
Where peace draws its breath,
the world pretends to be somewhere else.

A time for an upheaval never comes.
Thus we’ve laid our wreath
on all the fallen progress.

The ice shifts to fire
and summer contrives snow.
That is every life to none.

Death deserved and death to be,
For we looked away and allowed it to happen to so many others.

Moment of Tangency

Buckingham Palace

I.

A room full of people I barely know,
and then there’s you.

Eyes so blue;
I cannot take it upon myself to look away.

You impart smiles and move in kind gestures
to those need be entertained.

Words spoken so eloquently
to each individual in the room.

I write those words into letters
as though they were meant for me.

Anytime there’s the slightest glint of you walking my way,
you’re suddenly somewhere else.

Nonetheless, we have swayed ourselves
into each other’s lives
for a brief moment.

A kind of love that ended so soon.
Alive in that singular evening,
then nonexistent by morning.

The only tenderness I’ve ever come to know
is of that clouded still midnight
when for the briefest of moments,
I meant something to you.


II.

The heavy heartache,
unspoken words, and feigned gestures.

Our thoughts are like letters we never send.

For all the titles I’ve chased for greed,
I could have at least took the time to reiterate the spirit of that winter’s night.

Alas, I chose without depth.
I went along where you weren’t.

Gave away the labour of something new.

Stolen glances are what our lost love is to be.
As almost lovers — my decisions led to be.

Your delicate brown eyes
sharply piercing through my lull skin.

It’s you, just you that’s left me undone.

Forgotten Machines

Still from The Woman Who Ran (2020) dir. Hong Sangsoo

The burden is here.

It is in every life forgotten.
It is in the chair you’re sitting on as you contemplate the misery you carry.

What is life when it is wasted on someone else’s welfare?
Everything we have given, we have given for the temporary.

A drink in your hand.
She says “You’ve been here before?”

You take a swig of your drink “What are we here for?”
Toiling away to time only to be erased fifty years later.

And I am too much of something gone to even attempt another day with the living.

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