The death of Christmas Magic

This year, I decided not to celebrate Christmas. At least, not the way I used to in the past years.

For the past six years, I would host several Christmas parties every year, listen to the music starting in November, buy all the holidays related shit I could find, I needed to own it. I was watching all the Christmas movies I could find, Hallmark ones and all. It was an obsession. I wanted to succeed at Christmas. I would have done everything to have this Christmas Magic feeling back, only for a minute. Holding it and never letting go. Only to be disappointed once more every year. Nothing could even compete with this level of expectation. Christmas came with this mix of dread, hope and disappointment. This massive source of stress and expectations, ending the holidays emotionally and physically exhausted and sad. Usually followed by the winter months of depression.

I had been reflecting on the moment this Christmas Magic feeling vanished for me lately. I can almost certainly pin it back to the year my grand-mother died, 14 years ago. Christmases were never the same after. I just only realized this, all those years later. Ever since, I have been chasing these feelings of amazement, sparkles, being swiped off your feet. Moments that would leave you breathless, full of wonder, grateful. I know I will never see my grand-mother again, but I think a part of me died when she did. Now, it is up to me to make this holiday my own.

This year, due to several circonstances, I decided to not celebrate. I tuned it down to minimum, mostly on my expectations. No gifts, no decorations, limited parties. Very low dose of Christmas music, which I realize really just makes me feel sad for now. Same goes for Christmas movies, especially Hallmark or romantic related ones. I see this as a break. Perhaps, one day, I will find a new meaning to this Christmas Magic; have healthier expectations, closer to reality. But for now, it is easier to take a step back from this collective madness that can be Christmas, with the holiday stress of diners, gifts giving, overspending, and just focus on the present time.

I used to think that you could win or fail at Christmas. I valued this holiday above all the others. I wanted to be the Christmas Queen. It was the time of the year where I HAD to be happy and spread the cheers. Giving a lot of presents, homemade gifts, thoughtful cards. I focused so much on making it perfect, looking everywhere for a feeling that doesn’t exist, that I ended up missing everything. I would feel resentment at times, sadness and unfilled needs I couldn’t identify at others. I don’t want to become bitter, become a Grinch. I just want to be happy.

I wish everyone happy holidays, may they be jolly and bright, whatever it means to you. Whether you are lonely or working or away during this period, remember that you are not alone. It is a time to reflect on the past year and the one to come. Spend it with the ones you care for and that love you as you are. It doesn’t have to be your blood family. And if you don’t feel safe celebrating this year, it’s okay to take a break, skip parties, not giving gifts. You don’t owe anymore. Take care of yourself first. This is the best gift you could ever give yourself.

Love

– Cynical Mermaid.

Old pictures and mental breakdown

Trigger Warning: This post contains mention of self-harm, suicidal ideations and fat-shaming that can be triggering to some readers.

With the holidays coming, a lot of pictures will soon enough flood our media feeds. It is a good time to remind ourselves to be mindful and compassionate when confronted with our own reflection. Especially when we struggle with poor self-image and body issue. Be kind to yourself. Don’t be too harsh. Your perception toward the pictures is a distortion sent by your lying brain, your personal mind chaos. These voices are not true. Do not listen to them. You are so much more.

A cautionary tale

A few days ago, my mother sent me pictures of myself from 6 years ago. Although I was already a little sensitive that day, I never expected to react this way. It hit me in the face like a brick. Seeing myself like this completely threw me back into a cycle of self-loathing and disgust I had thought I left behind. How was I wrong.

I couldn’t help but focused on the ugly, the fat, the imperfections. My eyes could only fix on the enormous double chin, the arm fat, the ugly face, the crooked smile, the flawed skin. All the internalized fat-shaming I had been fighting for the past year came down rushing at once, leaving me extraordinarily distressed.

I broke down in tears. I was hurt, in pain. Seeing my own reflections made me spiral down right into the darkest of darks. All the past came rushing back to my mind. I wanted to hurt myself. I wanted to put a knife through my body, cut the extra (disgusting) fat. I wanted to kill myself.

Over a year of work ruined over a few wedding pictures. On them, I was smiling. I was dancing. I was loved. I could only focus on what wasn’t suppose to be. How my feelings about myself are still so unresolved. How I pretend I am okay, but in the end, seeing myself still distresses and disgusts me. I came to the realization that the progress I thought I had made were mostly avoidance.

The mind chaos was spiralling intensely, filling my thoughts with lies.

“You are so gross”

“Look at that fat face, that crooked smile”

“Look at this double chin the size of the everest”

“Nobody loves you”

“You have no friends because you’re fat”

“You deserve to hurt yourself”

I knew I would not get out of this on my own this time. I called my person. He knew something was wrong. Over the tears, I told him what had happened, how I felt, all the violence and pain I wanted to inflict on my body. All the pain and punishment it needed, for being different. For being bigger.

He was listening, trying to reassure me. His voice was soothing. Until he asked what I had trained him to do: “Do you want to go to the hospital?” I thought about it for a few seconds. Maybe.

It also felt like the slap in the face I needed to ground myself back to reality. No, I did not wanted to go. I would be okay. I was not alone. I had the tools to move past this. I only forgot them for a moment. After we hung up, much calmer, I finished what I had to do, already feeling better. I noted my train of thoughts, and realized the magnitude of the work left to be done. I was slightly discourage, but also hopeful.

Rationally, I know these are lies.

I know I am loved by my family and friends. I know my worth is not dependant from my size.

But deep down, the little girl hasn’t healed. I am still ashamed of how I look. I still believe I deserve to be hurt because of my size. The violence that came out of my internal monologue astonished me.

The irony is also that I would never say or think that about someone else. Because I know people are so much more than their appearance. That they are worthy. Valid. Important. So why can I apply the same to myself?

It also tells me I have still a long way to go toward acceptance. Toward compassion to myself. Toward self-love.

I realize I still don’t know how to love myself. I fail to see my worth as an individual, to see outside my size, my body and what it represents.

It is much easier to preach to others than to oneself.

But as I took this step backward, I hope this truly will help me forward and unlock new lies I kept as truth to myself.

We are all worthy of love, regardless of your appearance, size, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, neurostatus or anything else. But above all, a life hating yourself is not a happy life. I realize this now.

If you ever feel distressed over your appearance, reach help, call a friend, call a professional, reach for me. Find your own lifeline. You are not alone. You are beautiful, we all are in our own unique ways.

Til then,

Cynical Mermaid

This image was cropped to protect the identity of the other person.

Melodrama of the mind

Recently, it has been brought to my attention (by my therapist), that my reactions and emotions may be overly dramatic. That my perceptions of things may tend toward the negative sides of things. Nothing new, but presented in a much more confronting manner. Also, she’s right.

Since childhood, I have been creating melodramatic stories in my mind, filled with intense emotions and grand gestures. It would take me hours to fall asleep, dealing with grief, love stories, heartbreak and a lot of existential dread.

To this day, most of my life drama plays out in my head. My mind creates problems. Induce intense emotions. Hopes for the life changing gestures and the signs that may lead to it. The Quest. The Journey. The Romance.

As an adult, apart from the lack of sleep, it does create challenges. Inability to make decisions. Unrealistic expectations toward my life and the future. Disappointements of daily living that can’t keep up with the intensity this mind seeks so badly.

It leads to endless questions, discomfort, boredom. This mind chaos, rooted in anxiety and confusion, stalled by a feeling, a life that does not exist.

So, where do we go from all this internalize melodrama?

1} Do Nothing

This one seems obvious. I could continue like I have always did, pretend like everything is fine. Wish to feel numb. Overwhelmed by all these emotions I do not understand. Overanalyze everything. Wish for a different life.

Not able to put this melodrama on paper, in writing, from fear; from high expectations. Of never amounting to anything other than a nobody.

2} Live the melodrama

Follow all the ideas in my mind chaos. Live fully through all this intensity, pain, and possibly a lot of suffering. Go down this cycle of autodestructive behaviors and bring down other people with it.

Seems unlikely. As much as I can deal with self-inflected pain, I can’t bear the thought of hurting others.

3} Practice Mindfulness.

So my therapist suggested I practice mindfulness. The conscious act of observing one’s own emotions and thoughts without judging or acting on them. To reduce the stress induced by them, reduce the urge to act on them and the powerlessness it brings.

So basically,

mindfulness = chill the fuck down.

At this point, it may be worth a try.

I guess there is a bunch of others options available but at the moment, those seems the most likely. I am open to other suggestions if any.

Fueling these self created melodramas and living a life filled with mind chaos created problems is exhausting. It feels lonesome.

So far, the previous method hasn’t been successful. I have been standing still for a long time in the middle of this mind storm, unable to move by fear of failing, hurting others, disappointing some. In the end, I am the one suffering.

It might be time to face the music and its lack of intensity. Highs are fun, but crashes hurt too much. It fuels the mind chaos. It strives on it.

I appear to have it all. I have everything I need. But such are the mysterious ways of invisible illness.

Apparently, we have everything we need within us. Feeling of loneliness, self hatred, lack of confidence can only be healed from within. It’s time to break up with these old companions. I deserve better friends. I deserve better.

Uncooperating mind chaos

 

Some people say they write to shut the voices in their heads. Mine tend to do the opposite. As soon as I get in front of the computer, I am overwhelmed by a waves of excuses and exhaustion. My eyes burn. My mind goes blank. Just to spite me. To keep me in this mind prison. Focus left a long time ago, I guess he couldn’t keep up with this non-sense. With the chronic pains of this debilitating mind.

Since I joined Twitter, I have met a lot of writers, made a few friends. Some accomplished authors, others in progress. Some mindblows me with their focus and discipline. Most of them share this terrifying problems; self-doubts and lack of confidence. This seems pretty common among artists of the words. I am not immune.

So what do you do when you project yourself into writing, have a decent amount of good ideas, but stand still for fear of failing into the void. Overwhelmed by the sea of writers. Waves of ideas going around. An impressive amount of people wording your thoughts in a much better way. An uncooperating mind that will not be willed into putting the words down.

The mind chaos controlling your every thoughts. This chaos that render you exhausted as you have yet to exit the bed. The constant comparison. The doubts. The loneliness of this mind prison.

I know the door is unlocked. Comparisons are harmful. The only things that matter is to put the words down and make sense of them later.

But nothing makes sense anymore. I can’t recognize my own voice in the spining chaos. Maybe I never did.

Operate with caution

October was a challenging month. My depression flared up, I felt sad most of the time. My emotions were out of control. My sleep was filled with nightmares and vivid dreams.

It extended until November, which is also synonymous with my birthday. Every year, I welcome this day with bittersweet emotions. The priviledge of aging, of being surrounded and loved. But also noticing the lost ones, the changes, unfulfilled expectations. The dreadful feeling of time passing and standing still. Time going so fast, you can’t catch a breath.

Last week, my doctor increased my sleeping medications both at night and, a first, in the morning. Unsurprisingly, I have been fighting constant drowsyness for a week now. While I sleep better, I can’t help but feeling bad for my unproductivity, my brain fog, my lack of focus. I feel bad about myself and fear of dumping this incredibly heavy emotional labour on others. I can’t practice the compassion I preach to others on myself.

I am surrounded with brilliant writers, piling words like it’s nobody business and I can’t hardly focus to write a blog post. I sit in front of the screen and my mind usually spilling decides to go blank. The words feels wrong, the story doesn’t make sense. What do I have new to bring to this world?

I hate myself. I hate myself for feeling so much. I hate the brain fog ever so present. I hate the lack of focus. I hate pressuring myself so much I fell into inertia.

I hate that I can’t be my own best friend. Something that comes so easily with others. To care for others, to love them, to listen to their mind chaos.

I have no mercy toward my own chaos. Mercenary. Expecting productivity. Control. I have no patience for this shit. I want have everything. I am to do it all. Now. No compromise.

But at the end of the day, I am sad, restless and drowsy. I never expected this adult life to look like this. Years passes, and I have yet to find my way. Perhaps, there is none. Perhaps, this is the way.

Black hole

My mind is a black hole

Ferociously devouring the life

Away from me

I have never felt whole

But this mess is causing a strife

And nowhere seems safe in me

I look in my reflection

I see nothing but an empty heart

And A mind full of dreams

Of you, of us, of something

That will never be

Of a life that will never exist

Of children that will never breathe

Of you, of me

This beautiful mess we could have been

Because nothing is left

But these hopeless dreams

And a mind full of could-haves and darkness

I keep waiting for you to shed a light as I have lost the matches

At the end, I am left alone to sulk

At the end, I hide behind the mask

 

Hemingway Soliloquy

He calls me his little Hemingway. I like to remind him that he shot himself and had several wives. He also struggled with mental illness. Sometimes he talks about Virginia Woolf, and well, we all know how that ended.

I wouldn’t say this constitute a healthy role models.

However, as I become more familiar with the twittosphere, I am starting to see this writer hierarchy.

I will never be one of these Balzac type of mass production writing. I can barely go back to a project, let alone finish one.

I rarely see myself as a writer. I whisper it to others, almost embarassed.

Most days, I don’t write. I trip over all the obstacles my brain puts in the way of my writing.

Focusing is a very hard thing to do for me. I am easily distracted by others. Trying to get their approval, seeking the love I can’t give myself.

Feeling sad for myself.

Then I overthink everything.

Why would my writing be worth reading?

What do I have new to bring to this world?

What if it’s not good? What if it is?

I fear everything, including myself. The roadblocks are overwhelming most days. I see a lot of people talking openly about their struggles with anxiety and depression while being very productive. I am not one of these people. I feel too much. I feel too intensely. I obsess over things that are missing from my life, while having everything. I forgot happiness. I am my most unforgiving critic.

Most times, I think of myself as a disabled person, yet it doesn’t feel right to say it. Who am I to appropriate myself with this label? What does it means to be disabled? Would it really change something? That, I doubt.

So at the end of the day, I am lonely, riddled with anxiety and fears, exhausted from this brain chaos while looking at the obscene numbers of words written by fellow writers on my twitter timeline. I feel guilty and inadequate. It feels fraudulous to even pretend.

When I was a young adult, I imagined myself as a playwright, smoking a cigarette while drinking scotch because it looked so cool. I wish smoking was still cool, alas I fear much more. During my second depression, I convinced myself being a professional writer wasn’t a viable option and mental illness won. 8 years later, I obviously see a thriving community, yet can’t help but wonder how many of them may be full of shit. I judge harshly the self promotions and wouldn’t read most book going around. Maybe people have settled for mediocrity. Or maybe, you need bad writers so the good ones can rise above. They don’t seem to overthink everything and seem fairly happy with their second-class literature.

Maybe that is the way to peace. I won’t pretend to know the answers. I don’t know much.

So I may be a little Hemingway, but that would be pretentious to say. I am just the darker side of life. I am just drowning in my mind chaos and feeling sorry for myself. I am not looking for reassurance or pity, just needed to write something, so I could at least pretend for a few moments, that I can write.

I doubt this will be read. The plebs prefer positive psychology, they like to pretend that you can choose to be happy instead. The fools.