i. they told you

you shone bright

like the sun


like the stars in the sky

you wished on every single night

they told you to drop out of school

and write like your life depends on it

study economics, or history

spend all your money and make it all back

change the world, save some lives

don’t throw away your chance

like those who walked before you

swallow your pride; nod along, and do the dance

they told you you shone bright

called you god almighty; called you

sick little thing, no place to call home

they watched you spin your wheels

and waste away in pity

stroked your greasy hair

and pushed a water-glass against your parched lips

ii. so i am god, let’s say

so i am going to save the world

i’m going to make my family proud

with another wikipedia page

and i’m going to be happy

because that’s what makes me happy, right?

and i’m a crying baby in an empty room

i’m singing look at me, look at me

my wretched, crawling vermin heart

my lazy brain

i burn with all my might, i shine like a death rattle

i look in the mirror

and i still crumple like paper, i’m still cold to the touch

when they say,

you’re the dream come true

but you still don’t know that everything i’ve ever made

has been for you

if i’m bright

if i’m warm like the sun

it’s only on the outside

a hollow cast of paper-mache

’cause inside, i’m black ice

and shivering moonlight

begging for someone to love me so

Most of the time, like every other person on the planet, I love getting compliments. But on hard days, sometimes they make me feel really sad about myself. It can be kind of depressing, to hear someone tell you the things they like about you, when you have no idea what they’re talking about. Like they’re complimenting someone who doesn’t even really exist. But I’m still so desperate for it, desperate to understand that girl they’re talking about, and try to be her as best as I can. Because she seems like she’s doing all right. Like she at least comes across as though she knows what she’s doing in life.

Sometimes I think that I make art because I love it. And I do. That remains static, always. But sometimes, it becomes less about the art, and more about proving something. About getting attention, any kind of attention, to fill the holes in my chest. It gets tangled up in all these other things too, and I don’t really know how to deal with it yet.

peace (a personal narrative)

When I was young, I used to love to listen to the radio, and imagine what it would be like for someone to be so interested in me and my work, that they’d ask me all these carefully selected questions, and listen with rapture, and thank me profusely for my time afterwards. It was always my favourite thing to do on long car rides home.

I come from a family of people who almost made it; a long line of close brushes and has-beens. Sometimes, I imagine all my ancestors’ dreams, hovering over my shoulders, and ducking under my skin.

When I was young, I thought that someday, the whole world was gonna scream my name. I thought I’d do whatever I’d took–I’d push all my friends away, I’d leave my family in the dust, I’d accept any deal I was given. Any chance to make my mark. To make the world a better place, I hope. Because those two things aren’t always the same.

It’s hard, not to romanticize the tragedy of it all. The tortured celebrity, who has everything in the world, who’s loved by so many people, and still hates themselves. Drowning in all that glory, and attention, and money. Honestly, it’s hard not to romanticize having, period. Not having to worry about rent and food and electricity. Knowing whatever you want, you have enough money to pay for it. And whenever someone needs help, you’ll be able to help them without a second thought. It’s a good problem to have.

I spent my entire childhood holding the weight of generations worth of dreams on my shoulders. I have grown up hungry, for something, anything more than an average life. But where that used to inspire me… now it just feels heavy, and impossible. Like I’ve already failed before I’ve even started.

I want to be happy. I want to be reasonable. I want to do everything right, I want to show the world how good I can play the game. How strong I am, how wrong they were. I want, and I want, and I want, a thousand different things, most of which I can’t afford.

I want to make art. It’s the thing that makes the world spin around, that snaps me out of my darkest moments. I love it, more than anything else. But I don’t want to be a tortured artist. I don’t want to suffer for a dream. I want to be known and adored, to have the entire world sing my praises–but the idea of people criticizing me makes me feel like I’m collapsing inward like a dying star. I feel so young–soft, and small, and vulnerable, like a baby deer at the edge of the highway just begging not to get hit.

And… shit. I think I might have spent the past three years writing about how all I ever wanted was to be at peace. Not… to give up everything, for this massive career, and more money than I know what to do with. Not to change the entire world, not to be unforgettable, at the cost of my own sanity.

Just to be happy. To have a good job, a good life, and nice things. Success that didn’t come at the cost of my happiness. Maybe that doesn’t sound like the most revolutionary idea, but trust me. It is.

i call myself a narcissist

i spent most of my childhood narrating my life in third person. waiting for the portal to open, and take me away to some fantasy realm, which i would save someday. ’cause i was gonna charge into battle like a knight in shining armour, with my mentor behind me. i’d make lots and lots of friends, and call them my new family, so i’d never miss home. i’d go on lots of adventures, and maybe even get a movie, so bunch of grown-ups could make millions off my fate. and in the back of my mind, i’m still waiting.

still walking through lonely forests and opening up musty cupboard doors, just in case, and talking to the girl in the mirror like she knows what to do. because it’d be nice to run away. and finally see that land i take myself too when reality gets too loud to face; some weird self-soothing mechanism, or maybe i really was just born this way.

and when i fill out application forms, and talk to the guidance counsellor, i see the whole world stretched out before me. it is plastic, and glistening, and suddenly: i am ten years old: at the shopping mall with no money, running hands over fifty-dollar coats and dreaming of someday.

and in my head, there are a thousand different voices, competing for attention. in my head, i am clawing my way up a wall of rankings with my bare hands. i am constantly keeping score. even when no one asked, even when i’m the only person who gives a shit about this anymore.

in my head, i am flawless and beautiful. in my head, i am the worst person alive. and i don’t know which one of those is true, but just to be safe, i fade quietly to the background. i wear big t-shirts, and the same fucking pair of jeans for three days. i don’t say anything at all.

i shatter at the slightest critique, avoid conflict like the plague. and i know i can be wrong, i know the world is not always out to get me. but in my head, it’s a war zone; every last inch of it. so i’ll put on my armour, and i’ll rush into the fray, knowing full well that the only person i hurt was myself today.