a girl in a rom-com

trigger warning: implied suicidal ideation

oh / and everything would just be so perfect / wouldn’t it? and i would toss my hair / and bike through town / and fall in love with someone who loves me back / or some dumb shit like that / because i just wish i could be normal sometimes / is what i’m getting at / not forever / just… for a moment / just to see what it’s like / to feel okay / because it must be nice / if anyone out there ever actually feels that way / and maybe i want to die again / but i’m a girl in a rom-com / so nothing too bad ever really happens / does it? / because there’s nothing love can’t heal in an instant / and what are you talking about? / just yesterday / my friends and i went to the cute little cafe downtown / and talked about our crushes / and these milkshakes / and laughed / and i never lie awake at night / thinking about how much i hate myself / because the plot doesn’t have time for that / so just keep moving / roll out of bed / dance around your room / and come on / that’s your cue / you can stop with the act now / little girl… i know you


To provide a little context for this, about a month ago I went through this HUGE phase, where I watched, like, an obscene amount of teen rom-coms. (Obscene for me anyway, since normally I like to stick to my territory of animated Netflix shows and stay there.) (Cough cough, She-Ra.) (Cough cough, The Dragon Prince.) (Cough cough, this is a bad joke and I need to stop.)

Anyhow, although it was really fun watching these movies and shows that are super cute and feel-good… well, they also have a pretty unrealistic standard (or, unrealistic to ME anyway) of being a teenager. And that really triggered this whole kind of mid-life crisis situation for me, except rather than being a burnt out 40-year-old dad, I am literally in high school. I started to question whether this image they present of teen life in books and movies was normal–because, like, sometimes it feels like that’s truly the life other, more normal kids get to lead. One where teen years are just spent going to parties, and having cute montages of our charming protagonist holding hands with her crush, while doing dumb, risky things. I’ve never even kissed anyone before. I’ve never wanted to.

The last time I liked someone I was ten, and honestly I don’t particularly want to feel that way about anyone right now. What does it say about me, that I don’t have those experiences that society has deemed to be such a normal part of being my age? Does it mean I’m broken, somehow? Am I going to look back on this part of my life and regret not seeking out those experiences, even though I don’t really want them right now?

I know this is silly–that most of us essentially just spend our whole lives chasing after unattainable standards set by social media, film, books and just our culture in general, and that the irony of loneliness is that in any given room half of the people there probably feel the exact same way you do. But… you know. Brains can really suck sometimes, I guess.

Anyhow, this is probably one of the most teenagery posts I have written in a very long time, but oh well, I guess this is my life, and hopefully you enjoy. 🙂

Lots of love (as always),

dragonwritesthings

michelangelo

oh / my love / where did you go / did i drop you somewhere / leave you / with a box of matches all alone / and i don’t remember who i am anymore / so where is my home / and what do i want / and where do i go / because if you left me / who am i to say that they won’t / so what do i do mom / what do i do dad / what are you supposed to say to make yourself feel better / when you are completely fucking alone? / drown yourself in clothes? / paint the walls a new colour? / keep checking your phone? / and what am i to do / when even though my denial / the loneliness bleeds through / and i cry out in pain / just hoping to be beautiful / so someday / just promise / that michelangelo will paint me / on the roof of some church / feet planted firmly to the ground / tears spilling down my cheeks as i push up against gravity / ever-so-slowly / shifting the clouds


I wanted this poem to have an epic, slightly dramatic, medieval-ish vibe to it–like, the literary version of one of those ancient church frescoes you see in, like, European cathedrals. (Not that I have any experience with those in person, I just grew up on a steady diet of BBC history documentaries with obscene amounts of church montages and I will not pretend it hasn’t influenced me.) Anyhow, I think it actually really came out pretty good.

There’s a certain performative nature that comes with discussing mental health online for me–and honestly with talking to other people period.

Like, there’s the me I am when I’m alone… and there’s the me I am when I’m terrified that other people won’t believe and validate my suffering, the me that therefore exaggerates my emotions as a kind of… defense mechanism, I guess. That lies out of habit just because I am so desperate for people to believe me, and trust me, and love me, that there’s a small part of me that will do almost anything to get validation. I’m always just a little fake, even around the people I trust the most in the world… simply because I’m just so used to having to put up my guard that I don’t even think about it anymore. That really bothers me.

Another element of this poem is the line where I say “and i cry out in pain / just hoping to be beautiful.” Which is sort of referring to the fact that when you share your experiences with a wider audience… it’s not just about you anymore. It’s about framing your experiences in such a way that other people want to know about them, extract some kind of value from them, whether that be by using things you’ve been through for comedy or entertainment, or by making them into art for people to enjoy and see beauty in. And, I don’t know, I guess I just have a bit of a love-hate relationship with that, and figuring out how to discuss this stuff online without feeling as though I’m exploiting my own experiences is definitely something I’m working on.

I don’t know if anyone cares about this stuff, but I like writing these analyses, and making more in-depth posts discussing my writing, so yeah. 🙂 How do you feel about sharing your experiences with mental health issues online? What are your experiences? I’d love to know, so if you’re feeling chatty, feel free to share in the comments.

Lots of love,

dragonwritesthings