an incomprehensive guide to coping

  1. stop scrolling through your phone first thing in the morning. delete all the apps on your phone. (it won’t last, and you know this. do it anyway.)
  2. try to breathe, in and out until it fades to muscle memory. stitch your pieces into order. slowly.
  3. when you stab yourself with the needle, force yourself not to bleed on the fabric. get up, and go to the medicine cabinet. wash the blood off your hands.
  4. take your brain in for repairs, like a shitty computer, constantly needing to be taken in for repairs. you tighten the screws, you reset the hard drive, you bang the dust out of the keyboard, and know you’ll come back here next week.
  5. have a drink of water, ‘cause you can’t drown out this weight in your belly, but you sure can try. (dizzy on the tennis court, sick in the sunrise.)
  6. sometimes, depression feels like drowning slowly. sometimes, there are good days, and you gasp for air and you think you’re all right, until the next wave hits me from behind. but all this time, you’ve been floating in the sea. and there’s no land in sight.
  7. so try not to feel sorry for yourself. even when your life feels like a sob story in a youtube comments section. even when you’re drifting, and you’re screaming out, and no one comes to help you. 
  8. go to sleep. tell yourself you’ll wake up early. save it for another night. ‘cause when you can barely breathe, you’ve got other things on your mind. and yeah, it sucks. but in the big scheme of things, it’ll turn out all right.
  9. call your friend. zone out. stare into blue light. take a bath and iron that twisty feeling out of your stomach. lie on the floor, exhausted and breathing.
  10. fashion a raft out of kelp and driftwood. it’s shitty, and haphazard, and it’ll only last a week. but it’s something.

rom-com protagonist (a short essay)

When I was younger, I loved reading love stories. I was obsessed with them–arguably because I had absolutely no experience with real-life relationships. I think that made it better; like how movies about high school are always more fun to watch if you haven’t been to high school yet.

I thought that was where I wanted to focus with my writing. I was gonna write contemporary teen romances, because that was what I was really into at the time. About complex characters, who had usually been through it, who clicked together like little pieces in a puzzle, who made each other feel like all the stuff they had gone through was worth it. I still love writing those kinds of dynamics; they’re pretty compelling. And love stories were how I learned to write. It’s a little part of my roots, I guess. (Nope, nope, that feels really dumb to say as a fifteen year old, forget I wrote that.)

Anyway–I still love writing love stories. But at some point, I guess I just fell out of love with reading them; somehow it just feels different. Now, when I read these kind of stories, all I feel is sad, because… I just don’t get it anymore. Now I am a big, tough, scary teenager or whatever, whose biggest dreams include being able to afford rent and food without working a job I completely despise. I don’t know when that changed–I guess it’s really true, that thing they say about how growing up just means giving up on your dreams.

It was a lot easier to romanticize the idea of having a high school romance when I was in middle school and never left the house. But when you’ve actually met other teenagers, the idea suddenly becomes a lot less appealing. In romance novels through, it’s not all really about the central relationship–it’s about the characters both finding someone who helps them make their life better. They have friends, and dreams that come true, and challenges that are always faced and not always overcome. I think that’s really why I fell in love with them. I don’t need a fairy tale relationship. But I think everyone needs a family, someone who loves and supports them no matter what, whether that’s a parent or a friend, whatever. Someone who fights for you, against all better judgement.

I don’t think I’ll ever give up though. Not in my heart of hearts. I think I’ve just… gotten really jaded, as a way of protecting myself. Because I’m not where I thought I’d be right now, and I’ve messed up in a thousand different ways, and I tear myself down because I’m scared to be noticed. And also scared I’ll never be noticed. I think it’ll pass.

I think I’ll learn to be soft, some day. I hope I will. I hope even half of the things I used to read come true. I hope I get to fall in love, and someday I don’t spend most of my time worrying about survival. I hope I prove myself wrong, and I stop caring what other people think, I learn to walk through the hard days, and linger in the good.

Because deep down, I still believe in happy endings. Not the perfect Hallmark movie kind, where within an hour and fifteen minutes, our protagonist learns her lesson and lives happily ever after. But the real kind–the kind that you have to really fight for, the kind you choose every day. Joy and love, hewn by tired, dirty fists. I mean, I have to–I’d lose my mind if I didn’t.

a letter to my future self (because i am cheesy)

to be opened when needed

you should write the poem

and stop scrolling through your phone while you do the dishes

or trying to eat your food with one hand

you should call your friends

you should listen to the butterflies in your stomach

and stop always doing as you’re told

you should get your shit together

listen to a lullaby

and cry your eyes out as you scroll through parenting articles on your phone

take a shower and get changed out of your work clothes

you should sing yourself a song

put on some heels

and dance around your bedroom

until you fuck up your ankle, and you fall to the ground

ibut t’s okay

you don’t have to be perfect

or try to make money off every single fucking thing you like to do

you survived

that’s what matters

you made it through another day

and in case no one has said so in a while, i’m really proud of you

oh tired soldier

oh crossfire baby

oh fighter girl

you’re not a weapon

you’re not wasted potential

with room to improve

so put down the mallet

put down the blade

’cause pretty soon, you’re not even gonna remember

what it’s like to feel this way

2000-and-something // sob story (2)

does it really matter how old i was?

and are we still doing this?

this stupid thing

where i will give you my silly putty heart

and you will weigh its innocence?

***

2000-and-something. i was soft

and guilty

quick breathing

clawing my skin off in the counsellor’s office

’cause it helped me focus, or something

as she told me, told me, told me

that my brain was wired wrong

cyborg girl, can’t be fixed

lazy and reckless and cold

and what was i supposed to do with that? you know?

except in all honesty

i can’t remember what she said

and for all i know, she might have been a perfectly nice person

who was trying her best

but i do know is how it made me feel

like a scratched hard drive

the faulty cog in the machine

who hid under tables

who cried and cried and screamed

but i built up a callous, you see

and i learned a few things that year

don’t cry in the hallways

don’t make a mess

and above all else, just try your best not to feel

’cause then i will be normal

i’ll be happy; i mean honeycomb sweet

i’ll curl my hair

and and wash my face each morning

and if you play the ukulele

i swear i’ll sing along

***

you know what?

maybe the trauma made me better

maybe it smashed my head against the rocks

until poetry bled out; maybe it taught me

to pick my friends carefully

and keep going on

but i was a child

i shouldn’t have had to be strong

so if you’re listening

all the way back from 2000-and-something

i’m sorry

that people hurt you

that you hurt yourself

cause you deserve good things

twirly dresses, bookstore gift cards

play-fights and daydreams

and raspberry hope

i know it’s hard right now, though

i know you trip over your circuits

i know you can’t stay in time

and i’m still working it out

but i do know:

that knife-wounds will soften

and burn marks will fade

and i am trying to be better

every fucking day


Is this becoming a series? Maybe. Probably. I don’t know, I really like this format, and also, writing this piece made me very emotional.

Lots of love,

Lorna

settle

someday, the dust is going to settle

and the scab will form

over the hole you tore through me

the tapestry of hopes you’ve torn to shreds

with your jaded fingernails

and walk away

someday, i’ll brush the dust off my cheeks

and do my hair all pretty

for no one at all

and maybe i won’t need to tear myself to pieces

just to stay awake

amd i’ll know who i am

i’ll walk onto a stage

i’ll speak clear, and loud

and if you’re lucky

you’ll catch me on the radio

wouldn’t that be nice?

and i could put two smiley faces in my email

like a heartless killer

or tell you to shut the fuck up

when you talk about your outdated opinions

as though you expect me to agree

i could live my life like an inspirational quote

and retire to the town i grew up in

with all my best friends, and the charcoal trees to keep us company

and it’d be all right, really

and i know that hope can’t be trusted

but maybe this time, i could let it walk me home

in the dark

hold my hand

and tell shitty patchwork jokes

that make me laugh hysterically

kiss me thick-skinned and old

and leather-jacket-wearing

and blow away like smoke