Awake


In the third grade, I had my first stint with mental illness. My only real friend had just moved away, and no one wanted to play with me at recess. I was depressed, big time, and I was also working through grief at the loss of my friend. The stages were evident (retrospectively) in the narratives that went through my head as I tried to sleep. Some nights I would cry. Some nights I would invent stories in which who had abandoned me continued to wrong me; some nights I would scream my anger at her. At eight years old, I would spend some nights thinking seriously about death. But it wasn’t until the next school year that I started to understand that these thoughts were anything out of the ordinary. lonely-child-1024x678In the fourth grade, after she saw me hitting myself repeatedly during tests, my teacher sent me to weekly group sessions with the school counselor.

It’s gotten worse since then, but it’s also gotten better since then. My depression comes in waves. The stresses of elementary school, junior high, and high school all took their toll on me. So, too, has the unforgiving coldness of winter, as well as the unrelenting loneliness of summer. Depression is not a constant companion, but it is a consistent companion.

My anxiety, on the other hand, does not come in waves. They aren’t as bad as they could be, and I’m always learning to ways to negotiate with them, but they never leave. Ever. In fact, I’m not totally sure where my anxiety stops and my nervous personality begins. Fretting is ingrained into my very aspect.

I was born an anxious person. I was also born a sad person. That’s sort of my point, my raison d’être: to be anxious and sad. It makes me see things that other people ignore, and it allows me to be introspective. In that, mental illness is what makes me a writer. I’m only an artist because I was wired incorrectly at the factory.

Maybe I should be grateful. Continue reading “Awake”

An Open Letter to My Hair II: The Long and Short of It


About four years ago, I wrote a post entitled “An Open Letter to My Hair.”

And, well, things have changed for me since then.

After I was introduced to feminism, I started to learn more about myself and my relationship with femininity. I came to realize that long hair was not really helping me feel feminine, even though it is the traditional prescription for women and girls. Its frizzy, tickly nature weighed me down until I felt more like an ogre than a girl. And although Princess Fiona is a lovely lady, the swamp life wasn’t really my speed.

I was done with long hair. For about a month, I would ponytail it, then tuck it into a knit hat with the tips sticking out to appear like bangs. My face seemed rounder and younger, but I still preferred the short hair look. So, finally, I got it lopped off.

casually anonymous picture of my pixie cut

casually anonymous picture of my pixie cut

Best decision ever.

Now that my abbreviated waves rule over the lands, I’m happier and more confident with how I look and who I am.

The responses to my haircut were overwhelmingly positive, with only a few people thinking it okay to suggest that I should grow it back out (Hint 1: it’s not okay. Hint 2: I won’t). Only a few times have I been mistaken for a guy–– which is great, because I’ve never felt more female.

Yes, my icon has been a lie for some time nowscreen-shot-2016-11-12-at-11-09-25-am. I’ll change it––as soon as I find an avatar generator that allows the user to put short hair on a woman. Until then, I’ll continue living a lie online, while being my truest self in person.

I might not look the way a woman is supposed to, but that doesn’t matter. Because I feel like a woman is supposed to.

CIao for now,

Mikki

Breakups


They suck, apparently.

It’s been over a month since I split with my ex-boyfriend and I’m still not really over it. At all.

0a134f738216560debdc0e5e71764726In that time, he’s done cool stuff with his friends and he has even obtained a new girlfriend. I’ve just kind of cried a lot. I miss the sense of security I had when I was in his arms, or cooking with him, or even when he would stop by my house on his runs and bike rides. It felt so nice to be wanted, loved, to feel special and important to someone.

I could sense when he stopped loving me. Those were a lot of nights spent staying up in bed, pretending to be asleep, with my heart rate at a million beats per second and a small puddle in each eye. I’d tried to break up with him a few times in the month before that–for his sake, believe it or not (that’s another story). But I still can’t shake how terrifying, how unexpected it was that he would stop loving me. I never stopped loving him during our relationship. I still haven’t.

I’ve been trying to fight so many of my negative thoughts that have appeared as a result of the breakup. A main one is reconciling the idea that someone could fall out of love with me  with my constant battle for self-love. Another is the loss of one of the best friends I’ve ever had–someone I felt so comfortable with that I never felt the need to hide any aspect of who I am from him. I don’t know how to feel about being discarded. I still want to be special to him–even if I can’t be his girlfriend, I want to be his best friend again. I know it’s impossible, but it doesn’t change how I feel.

Even with all of these things in mind, the absolute worst part is trying to get him out of my system. I think about him when I’m trying to sleep, when I wake up, when I get cold, when I need someone to talk to (ironically, the breakup has been the main reason for this as of late), when I see a joke that I want to share, and when I just need to see a face outside my family. I have to consciously remind myself that we won’t ever be the same, that some of the things I had looked forward to in our relationship will never come to pass. I can’t rely on him anymore. And although my feelings work to the contrary, I have no right to be jealous anymore.

Screen shot 2016-02-04 at 4.41.18 PMI’ve had to adopt a new mantra. Whereas pre-split I used to tell myself, “You are loved,” I have since found that that particular sentence can be very hard to believe (after all, he told me he loved me after he stopped meaning it, so how can I trust that anyone loves me?). The new one is also a challenge, but it’s a necessary challenge, because without it I can’t ever move on.

I am not his failure to love me.

I am worth so much more than his love. He is, after all, the one who failed. The one who wasn’t willing to work things out. The one who didn’t care enough about me to fight his cowardice and tell me he was done. He’s the one who lied, who kept giving me an empty “I love you.”

I tried to keep him. I tried so hard. But in the end, he wasn’t worth the effort. And that isn’t my fault. Nothing I could have done would have made him stay. And that isn’t my fault. It’s his fault. He is the one with the problem. He is the one who threw me away. He is the one who loses.

He was the best boyfriend in the whole world until he stopped loving me.  He was sweet, patient, cuddly, soft, honest, open-minded, kind, gentle, and maybe even a little indulging. In short, he did everything right. But it’s difficult–impossible, even–to forgive this one misstep. And maybe I don’t have to.

I will be loved again. I will find another friend like him.

I am not his failure to love me.

He is his failure to love me.

And that is not my fault.

Ciao for now,
Mikki (who, despite the odds, is in one piece)

phototropism: A Poem


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

crying is a freedom. so are
the legend-of-pop stadium shows
I host in the bathroom mirror.
today (it’s been
too long) I rolled my window down
and let the wind ruin me.
I came home calm.
I snipped an inch
of brunette cumulonimbus
from my head–an inch
he may once have loved,
held, smoothed. can it only be
twenty-four hours ago that I
caged myself with him,
tearless,
motionless,
awful chaos contained?
a dandelion
spits her seeds into the breeze.
I’ll do the same with mine.
a flurry of idiosyncrasy,
unabashed.
watch the sunlight on my petals, now.
watch me turn to it
and grow.
this is what I am meant to do.

I am Normal


Yes, I am normal. Sadly. Even though I’m good at a lot of things, I’m not a standout. My writing is okay, but lots of people write better, even peers. Same goes for my drawing, my singing, my songwriting.

The way I dress is pretty normal, too, jeans and a tee-shirt on most days. I have my ears pierced, but that’s as far as it goes for bodily expression. No hair dye, no tattoos, some days no makeup either. I am not beautiful, but I’m not ugly either. My face is probably utterly forgettable. (Not that I would know; I can’t just forget my own face.) There are a ton of people just like me and they’re everywhere, and tons of them have blogs too.

My friends are all more interesting than me. One of them has bright purple hair and a nose ring and always wears band shirts. Another knows what it’s like to have a boyfriend. A third is Buddhist.

I’m surrounded by thriving individuals in a society where “being yourself” is stressed, and I’m a person for which “being yourself” means being nothing special. I’m normal and I don’t think I’m okay with it.

Ciao for now,

Mikki

Dreams and Les Mis


I went to see Les Miserables two-ish days ago. It was a really fantastic movie and I would definitely watch it again. I cried like a baby through about half of it, which was slightly awkward because I had gone with some of my friends and whenever I cry during a movie I feel like I’m the only one crying. Unlike a lot of movies (i.e. LOTR) when soldiers from either side were killed I twinged a little and it was all a little more personal than a lot of movies I’ve seen. I recommend in the highest (if that makes any sense).
And all this death and hurt and personal feelings got me to thinking about this dream I had two-ish weeks ago that was also very personal and painful and also vaguely related to LOTR (sort of).
I was a warrior in one of those old-timey fantasy-style battles. A bow was passed up to me, a shaft of arrows already against my back. I grabbed the reins of my chestnut horse and rode into battle. A bowman stood on a platform, mowing down the army that I was a part of. His one weakness was a gap in the wall surrounding the platform, which he had his back to. My burden was to slash his back as my horse ran past him. My horse and I were in a long line, extending both in front of and behind us, of people who had failed at this task and people who had yet to attempt it. I reached my sword out, but I was either too late or too far away from him. He swiveled, anger across his face, and I saw what came next before it came. He pulled back the bow and let an arrow fly right into the center of my neck. It was a weird feeling, not at all unlike getting food caught un my throat. Death was peaceful, quiet, and fast: I was dead before my body hit the ground. Then came a noise, a flapping like rapid wings, growing louder and louder and being pumped directly into both of my ears.
And then I woke up.
I’m not sure why exactly, but I have this eerie suspicion that that’s just what death is like (in the words of Sirius Black, “just like falling asleep”).
But anyway you should watch Les Miserables sometime, it really is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen and probably will be one of yours too, if you haven’t seen it yet.
Ciao for now,
Mikki

PS This is the first post I wrote on my phone.

PPS I would say “the first of many” but I can’t promise that there will be another one. It’s impossible to edit on that thing.

PPPS The only reason that dream is like Lord of the Rings is because of the fantasy-style battles.

PPPPS That’s all.