Zanze: Help

I want nothing more than to ask

For help, yet I have no idea

How to start this most painful task

As I must acknowledge my fear

I want nothing more than

My opportunity

To walk where I have ran

From obligation free

I want nothing

Yet must take time

Never loving

This life of mine

I want

To lie and bask

Though fear will always haunt

I want nothing more than to ask

Zanze: Feeling

Feeling as though I can’t be seen

I am walked through like a doorway

I live a life that has not been

Of my life I am a stow-away.

Feeling as though I can’t

Make any more mistakes

A truth I can’t recant

Too fast to hit the brakes.

Feeling as though

My mind is blank

I want to go

But my heart sank.

Feeling

A building scream

I find myself kneeling

Feeling as though I can’t be seen.

2019©DSCoremans

Free Verse: Letter To Myself (Aged 14)

DS,

There are so many things
That will challenge you in life,
And challenge will push you
To learn things
You should have never had to know.

Sickness,
Emotional pain,
And death.

You know all of these things early,
Yet I’m not sure anyone
Ever thought
To explain them to you
Properly.

Instead, you take everything in,
And you understand it
As best you can.

Help will always be there
When you need it.
If you need it.
But it will take you
A long time
To be okay with asking,
And even longer
To actually accept it.

You spend years,
Trying to repress
Any part of yourself
That makes you different.
That makes you stand out.

After realising you’ll never fit in,
You try to change yourself,
To make it less obvious
That you are different.
You try so hard
To make yourself invisible.

You will repress
Every part of you
That makes you unique,
For fear
Those other people
Will judge you.

But all the while,
You will desperately seek
Some form of acceptance.

First from adults,
Because as far as you are concerned
They are right,
And know what is best
For you.

Some will see you,
Really see you,
But their influence
Will be fleeting.

Most will side with the masses.

Most will tell you to be
Like those that make it hardest
To be yourself.

People will tell you to change,
And because you can’t
You will tell yourself
You have failed them.

That you have failed yourself.

I need you to know
That is not the case.

DS I wish I could tell you
That the loneliness goes away.
I wish I could tell you
That the love
You so desperately want to feel
Is something you will have
In abundance.
Perhaps never in the way you yearned for,
But know you are loved.

Your family’s needs will drain you,
But they also love you.
You have real friends,
Friends who you have absolute trust in
And who love you.

Not a pretend version
Of yourself, not a facade,
Not even the version of yourself
You portray to the world
To make it seem
Like you are confident.
They love all of you,
With no parameters.

Love is hard
For you DS.
It’s not something
That comes easy.

Even now
The most important person
Who could love you,
Needs to remind himself
Every day
That it is okay to do so.

I am so sorry for the damage
I have caused to you
Over the years.
I’m sorry for punishing you,
When you had worked your hardest.
I’m sorry for not understanding
What you gained, when you walked away
From a path which seemed important.

I’m sorry for pushing you
To be something you are not.
I’m sorry for blaming you,
For the things in your life
That you never had control over.

I’m sorry DS, for never trusting you
To make decisions,
For hiding and playing it safe,
When I could have instead
Let you live.
Truly live.

Worst of all DS
I am so sorry for not loving you.
You are wonderful.
You won’t always feel like that,
But it is no less true.

What you overcome in life,
Is truly outstanding.
You judge yourself
Against the worth
And the attainment
Of others.

You push yourself
To grow and develop.
But everything you do
Is done with passion,
Dedication,
And a sense of purpose.
Commitment
Which I cannot begin
To commend enough.

You can turn your hand
To anything
And make it work for you.

You’re flighty.
You are easily distracted,
But you always get done
What needs to be done.

You have so much love
In your heart,
And you willingly invest it
In others
Before you invest it in yourself.

You push yourself
To make life better
For others
And in so doing
Make it harder for yourself.

You struggle to get by.
You push to be better.
And if those around you
Aren’t flourishing
You will do anything you can
To help them, or blame yourself
If you can’t.

It is both the best
And the worst thing about you.
It will take you far in life,
But the one thing
That will evade you
Is your own sense of self.
Your own purpose.
Your own happiness.

But help is always there.

Eventually, you’ll ask for it.
Eventually, you’ll accept it.

Where you go after that
Is up to you.
But know that wherever you go
You have my love,
My support
And my trust.
For once, above all else I have
Your best interests at heart.

One day
I may feel like I have found
‘My purpose’.

But until I know for sure,
I would like
To make you a promise:

‘To keep trying, to enjoy
What I’m doing,
And to take care of myself.

To live a life I am proud of,
And one which allows you
To be as happy
As you possibly can be.’

19th May 2017

One year ago today, I was at the very beginning of a mental breakdown that led me to write this.

I shared it on Facebook at the time, but the words seem so powerful still that I wanted to share them again. This time as a reflection, and a reminder of where I have come from, and how far I have come to get to where I am.

Life is so hard to evaluate at the time, but rather than saying “is it better?” It has helped me to say,

“What is different?”

In the time since writing this so much has changed for me and likely will continue to do so, but I feel ever closer to the life I should be living. It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I remember to do what I do for me and no one else.

*****

Two days ago, I became so overwhelmed I cried at work. On that same day the exhaust fell off my car, and when I finally made it home it was to find my washing machine had broken and the kitchen floor was very wet. But the time I was done cleaning it up, I was laughing at just how ridiculous a day could be.

Since then I’ve done very little. I’ve pressed pause, and I’m currently evaluating. I’m going up North with my family for a couple of days, and in that time I’m going to try and figure out what the next step forward is.

Sometimes it is about stepping backwards from the things that upset you and looking at the bigger picture. Once I have a better idea of what is really going on in my life I can consider what I do armed with information, clarity and hopefully for once in my life, my own interests at the forefront of my decision making process.

There have been more than a few people who have helped keep me together over the past… how long has this really been going on? It’s been a while.

Thank you for your ongoing support and thank you for giving me the space to get to grips with things in my own time. It can’t be easy being friends with someone with depression, but know that even when I can’t speak to you directly or when I cancel on plans that took far to long to put in place that I love you for your support and will always do my best to come back to you when I am ready to try again.

Kintsukuroi

Kintsukuroi : The Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted with gold silver or platinum powder.

Have you ever broken something you love? A favourite coffee cup, a decorative vase or bowl, something that to you represented beauty, life or simply was an extension of yourself (if I were an action figure I’d come with a coffee cup accessory.) When the thing you loved broke what did you do? If you are anything like me, you probably mourned it for a few moments, before discarding it and moving on.

We live in an increasingly material world, where it is not only part of our culture to replace that which is broken, but to replace or attain things which we may not necessarily need. We revel in the comfort of physical possession, because it is something tangible which we can use as a marker of attainment.

In a society where it is easier to replace than to fix, it is often easy to overlook the little things, and discard that which just doesn’t work.

A few years ago, I learned about a Japanese art form called ‘Kintsukuroi (or Kintsugi)’. In Japan when something breaks, rather than discard it, the broken thing can be repaired by fusing the pieces back together filling in the spaces with a precious metal. The metal is usually gold or silver, but when finished the broken thing will often end up being more beautiful than it was before.

This art form isn’t reserved for items which are already expensive, instead the art form is used by those who wish to retain something sentimental by fixing what broken and in so doing making it more than it ever was.

This art resonates with me because I feel that the lesson to be learned from the art is something that can go beyond fixing objects. It can be applied to people. These last few weeks have been difficult. Without going into too much, for the past few weeks I have been the broken mug. Split into pieces, sharp cutting edges which when handled can do more damage to a person than can ever be done to the object itself.

I for too long was cracked, and leaking, but yet I still tried to carry myself at full capacity giving to those who required the sustenance that I carried. The problem is when your cup leaks, and you still share the contents with others, you run the risk of emptying. Once I was empty, I felt like the mug falling from a great height, smashing into pieces as I hit the ground.

At that point I could have discarded the mug, and walked away. But instead I collected the pieces, sometimes the sharp edges cut me and I had to stop collecting for a moment to deal with the cut, before continuing to gather the pieces. After a few weeks the pieces are there, and those that are lost, instead of detracting from the rebuild can be replaced with the precious metal which is available.

The difference between a mug, bowl or whatever else is being repaired and person is that the precious metal is not something that can be easily found. Each fragment, work, life, relationships, friendships they can be brought back together. But until you are able to bind them, you run the risk of the pieces once again falling apart. So what is it that we have have to find in order to fuse our broken edges? I don’t know yet, not fully. But I suspect that the answer lies perhaps in the strongest resource on the planet. That resource is of course love. But, a special kind of love, the love of others can hold us together and make is strong, but I don’t think it has the power to fix things. Not properly.

The most powerful love out there, is self love. Something which those who have been broken may be able to empathise with. Finding love for yourself can be difficult, and it can be frustrating, because just when you think you’ve got it, you can just as quickly be knocked right back down. It can be frustrating, it can seem like all of the work you have done is for nothing. It can make you doubt the beauty that you know yourself to possess.

However, with patience, attention and forgiveness in your heart you can use the negatives to bolster yourself, becoming stronger than you ever were before. Once you bring yourself back together, and truly reflect on that which challenges you and tries to tear you apart and break you down. You can begin to put yourself back together, with a strength you may not have ever had to begin with.

Today, you may feel like you are the broken mug. But, don’t push yourself, collect the pieces. Find the beauty in your life, and bring everything together. Once you do, you may just find you are more valuable than you ever realised, and that your true beauty is not in makes you whole, but the scars that you have filled with gold.

It’s not about becoming what you once were, once broken you will never be the same again. But that should never be the reason to stop trying to rebuild. What you end up with will look different, but as long as you love it. And truly appreciate it for what it is, that love will keep you together no matter what you do.

Hear Me Roar

Sunday, 14th May 2017 – 12:43

In November of last year I developed three things: an idea for a short story (Luca’s Story), a horrid chest infection, and the beginnings of a relationship. By mid December, only one of those things was still around.

I met Roar (not his real name) on Tinder. It wasn’t my first time attempting to meet someone using the medium of online dating. But Roar was definitely the first person from that specific app I’d genuinely considered meeting. Based in Dundee, I was immediately hesitant to get involved with him fearing that there was just too much distance to start anything with him. However the more we chatted, the more I came to really like him. He was dorky, cute, and he made me smile. Pretty much everything I look for in a guy. I quickly became smitten with someone I’d yet to even meet.

But meet we did. After about a week of almost constant chatting back and forth we decided to meet up in Perth. It was for the most part, the middle ground between us. I had asked him out, so the date was mine to plan. I hadn’t really been in Perth since the year I had spent studying there almost seven years prior. Needless to say my ‘plan’ involved a lot of winging things as I went.

We agreed to meet at the Perth Train Station. I had driven through and parked as close as I could, using my sat nav to find a spot I could park for free. Roar travelled through from Dundee, and waited patiently even when I was a little late getting in to Perth. I made it to the station, but didn’t realise I had parked at the rear of the station and so when I approached, I actually entered the rear platforms, before making it to inner station. Roar eventually called me, I think he must have thought I wasn’t going to show. After assuring him I was really in Perth, he managed to direct me through the station, getting me to the main gates where I had to sheepishly find a guard to let me through the barriers. Both the guard and Roar found my plea to get through quite amusing.

Roar was sweet, he playfully mocked me for breaking into a train station, but it made it easier to talk to him. I admitted that I hadn’t really planned anything specific, but that I was hoping to find a place to have pizza together. Neither of us knew Perth particularly well so when we stumbled upon a Pizza Express within five minutes of walking I think we were both quite relieved.

We already knew quite a bit about one another through texting, and had even used FaceTime to talk in person a couple of times prior to actually meeting. We chatted back and forth, and it was just so easy to be in each others company. All too soon we finished eating. I don’t think either of us wanted to end things at that point, and so it was a relief when Roar mentioned that his next train was still an hour and a half away. What to do during that time?

We settled on going to the cinema. It was snowing lightly and neither of us were keen on being outside any longer than we had to be. There was nothing either of us wanted to see, but that didn’t stop us. We decided to watch ‘The Light Between Oceans’, in hindsight not a film for first dates, but it gave us a chance to just be around one another with no agenda or need to think of what to say. I’d say we spent more time looking sideways at one another than we did watching the film, and we left about half an hour before the end to allow time to get back to the train station.

The snow was still falling as we walked back to the station, and as we walked through the streets of Perth our hands met, and without it being a big deal, we walked hand in hand back to the station. It felt right, and it felt special.

It was less than a week before we met again. This time it was Roar’s time to plan the date, and his itinerary was much more detailed than mine. A full day of activities were planned, with a back up wet weather plan should we have needed it. We managed about two of the activities he had planned that day, due mostly to the fact that my chest infection had gotten much worse and beyond sitting in the cinema, or driving around, I was not really able to do too much that day. But it was a day that brought us much closer. I think both of us had allowed ourselves to get swept up in the joys of a developing relationship. Even on our second date, we really felt so close.

I saw Roar a number of times throughout the rest of the month. Each time we got closer, and more comfortable around one another.

Yet already my nemesis was at work. The part of me which destroys the things I care about. The part of me which walks away from things I am passionate about. My inner self, the part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve the good things I have. I had so many reasons at the time that made sense when it came to ending things.

I had no time, I lived too far away, I didn’t have enough money to travel so often. I had just given up a flat, and was living in between my brother’s flat and my parents house. I was a full time carer for my brother. I was still helping out regularly at home. I had a lot of work commitments.

The list went on and on. Yet while each reason was valid and made sense, ultimately my decision was truly a reflection of my relationship with myself.

It’s often very easy to get swept up in something new. Roar wasn’t just something new in my life, he represented something I don’t think I’ve ever had before. He represented a desire to have more than just a life which facilitated to the needs of others. He represented my desire to have a life that catered to my needs as a priority. It wasn’t just that I wanted a relationship, it was that I wanted to put myself first.

I’m a very closed person. I don’t let my guard down easily, I don’t let people in, not entirely. Even the people that know me best have had to build up what they know about me over years of friendship.

With Roar it was different. I not only wanted to share the bits of myself that I was proud of, but I felt I could share the bits of myself that I often tried to hide. I ended things before they ever really begun. I ended things because I was scared. I ended things because by opening up to another person, I had finally began to open up to myself. I realised that I needed to become more familiar with who I was, and the things that I actually wanted in life, before I could share that with another person.

Learning to love yourself is a daily practice. I wish I had been able to figure these things out before I met Roar. But meeting him, and getting to know him has led me down a path that I am happy to have travelled. I doubt I will ever see Roar again, but I will be forever grateful that I met him. Knowing him left me with the realisation that it is okay to feel special, and that it is okay to want more from life. Above all, it made me aware that my needs are as important as the needs of other people.

Six months have passed and while the relationship with Roar is long over, the positive relationship with myself that I once again have is something I can take from our short time together. So thank you Roar. I truly hope you also find lasting happiness.

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