Time

winter sunglasses, 2005hanging2

How time flies. Only 18 years ago I was holding my baby cousin and buying presents for him every Christmas. Now, he has no interest in me which doesn’t surprise me.

There was a time when I wanted children but that period has passed. I’m glad of my firm choices and views that I was not able to have children for many reasons, and it didn’t matter if I was feeling ‘broody,’ I’d have to deal with that loss that year. The year was 2012 and it only seems like yesterday.

I don’t know how I knew I wasn’t cut out to be a mother. It was something I realised very young and when I could see others around me who didn’t care about life planning a child I’d get upset. It was because of a childhood where I was acutely aware of absent parents, or parents who did not care.

I’ve been bonding with my nephew by feeding him and playing with him when I can. I find it incredible how quickly he’s growing.

The picture above was taken when I wasn’t well with depression in 2005. I feel very similar right now. It’s when I take a lot of time out to sleep and recover from my mind and what it does to me, so I haven’t been wearing make up and my focus has been on rest. It’s been working so far.

I’ve been singing and recording my voice and listening to music today. I’ve been reading out or singing the Manic’s poetry and I’ve titled them ‘neon loneliness.’

Staying on the topic of time: what has changed in the last 10 years? My mind has. I’m less confused and dissociated and more grounded with every day life. It means I live a less ‘hectic’ life than I did and I proceed with caution. What hasn’t changed are my social circumstances. I am vulnerable and I know this every day.

What do I focus on? The small things in life that matter. My cat, my bed and eating as healthily as I can. I’ve lost my appetite and have been missing meals again.

I’ve found an old friend again and just knowing he’s around makes me feel a lot better. I hope to meet him soon as we only ‘went out’ on the internet…

 

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Quiet days in and cooking..

..and hopefully, some baking. I’m cooking roast chicken, roast potatoes and vegetables tonight which’ll help me ‘structure my day.’ The structure of my day has never been the way others have wanted it, which is why I’m ‘not engaging’ with mental health services at the moment; I can’t stand their language.

I’m very unwell with anxiety and depression so I need more sleep than other people to overcome my feelings. The dreams I’ve had have told me that certain books aren’t good for my mind, I knew that anyway scrolling through them. The essays and stories of people suffering injustice that I want to read might be something that I find later through my researching. I did read this book Nobody Passes about 10 years ago which let me know of the inner worlds of people who were queer but would find they weren’t queer enough for some people, if I remember correctly. Am I still queer is a question I ask myself now? Maybe I’ll find out with more reading and writing. I think I still am.

Whenever I’m in the kitchen I’m reminded of the food I cook and the food others don’t make. It is a creative task and I find myself enjoying it much more than tasting the food that others make which includes going out and eating in diners and restaurants. Yesterday my mother, sister, and I tried out a few dishes from Chiquitos all of which were dull and uninteresting. I haven’t eaten out once recently and thought- that was delicious.

Today I made a low-fat cheese sandwich that was appetising (and good for me), and a coffee mocha which was delicious. It is just not worth it to go out and spend money on things that do not sit well with my idea of taste. It all improved my mood and my fear that I’ll be dependent on people cooking rubbish for me as I get more ill. Making my own food was central to getting better and keeping food down for me in my flat and I will continue to do that here. Yesterday I had to eat curries made from my brother-in-law’s mother. They were all disgusting and I’ve learnt by Our Father cooking can be done in sexual frustration: to be a more attractive woman, and this woman cooks that way.

The food in the hospital was not food I’d make, not food I eat every day and eating and keeping myself clean from this environment is why I might write and think the way I do. Part of my politics when removing myself from this world was to do a lot myself so I needn’t get dependent on the mental health system first and foremost. That worked and Our Father is saying it is working now as well.

I’m actually a cook He says, a very good cook and that is why I enjoy good food. What is good food for me? It depends on what I’m cooking, but I like food to taste of something, even if it is just a boiled carrot in a salad.

Alienation.

A question I had to ask myself after some writing was, am I a lesbian feminist or a queer one? I’m a queer one, which means my reading of feminism will be coloured by my identity and experience having had that identity for so long and how it has impacted upon my life.

I’m not going to read Reclaiming the F word as the book doesn’t talk to me. I want to read something that does. I’m 3/4 through Deborah Cameron’s Feminism: Ideas in Profile and know what I want to read next. I want to read about others’ experiences regarding sex and gender after reading the chapters, ‘Femininity’ and ‘Sex,’ I want to read something from queer perspectives as these might talk to me. I’ve done a lot of work like other feminists have in thinking about sex over the years. I want to read what queer activists say about feminism- I want to read their poetry about their lives. I want to read what it may mean to be anarchist like myself and what institutions have not liked their thinking. Having been in an art institution in the past, I only recently realised with the help of the dreams from God that these institutions were dangerous to my mind, body and soul. They did not like my work as it challenged their thought. This shouldn’t happen in an art institution but it did to me and many other people like me. Either you changed yourself to fit in with them or your dropped out. I dropped out for many reasons.

I’ve been many sexual orientations with a right to life I did not know. A right to express myself, that I hadn’t known. I’ve been asexual, pansexual, lesbian and heterosexual. Right now I’m lesbian but I don’t fit into the mainstream lesbian category because I’m queer. Sexual expression has always been a big part of my life and that’s what I miss about the life I lead now, where the public Sarah isn’t the same as the private Sarah. My colourful and dramatic expression through clothes and make up is too dangerous for me and I need to come across as a working woman, sometimes, or a student others- someone with an occupation lets say. I do have an unpaid occupation, it’s my art. It always has been but do I come across as an artist with my glasses and make up on? I come across as someone who has a job of some kind and I doubt ‘artist’ comes into their minds.

I suppose I came across as too free to be part of their rigid systems in the past. I dressed in almost theatrical clothing and make up and that would be part of the living system that was my flat. A place to express oneself and be live freely. I gather that others out there do not live as freely as I do and envy what they see or get confused by it.

 

 

Poems

rough nature, 2018nature7

Night-walking

The nets billowing like clouds over a frame

working out day or night;

I lay with you and waited for night forever

to come and sweep me off my feet.

 

Tears cascaded down sheets of

dandelions and berries, picked 

or scattered 

under a canopy of blue we lay

entwined in black time, our childhood, a tempest

squalling in stops and starts

never finishing and never quite ending-

 

we jumped into our pain.

 

Silence overcame me, gagged

and bound I left on a train

going nowhere; they all viewed nothing

houses, gardens, fences and trees

carparks, where we crept silently

wishing never to be seen,

our kisses hidden

our conversations nocturnal

it was all now over

and I had nothing to follow

but my own footsteps to nowhere:

my own tread on the ground leading

to safety, to another bed, another poem

of a room, another wall to look at

and nets on windows to watch flutter and fly

in the wind where lost hopes drifted-

I caught my own will and nailed it to the floor

to the ground beneath my soul

and wrote some more.

 

You weren’t mine

Wishing for something else

was always on my plan

scribbled thoughts flowing out of my pen

would amount to more

than we could ever be.

 

Chaos etched their work

into my form and I shrank from view

with lipstick, brown red and blue 

were my bruises flowering inside

to decide

my future away from you.

Silent screams

In the bin, on the board

scrawled over, ripped up paper

I freeze walk through the day-

my eyes on the end destination.

 

The end replied, I am still here

reminding me of what was never done,

“You never started me,

never completed me…”

The scream started but was never heard

it ended up discarded, a loud shout of remember

your voice

you always have it.

 

 

Anxiety and the body

I am suffering from crippling anxiety from my experience from the mental health system where I live.

I want to discuss the affect of anxiety on my thought processes, my mind and body and a soul despair that comes from being so exhausted by fear.

Paranoia takes on a bodily form. I’m tense out in public and look down as I walk. I don’t want to catch anyone’s eye and wish to withdraw to my room often. I’m paranoid about being ‘locked up’ again, I’m anxious about being locked in with a door that can’t open which was the door to the unit. I have memories of falling in and out of different consciousness, lying in my room knowing my voluntary stay was going to be decided by psychiatrists who wanted to talk to me when they wished and not when I wanted to leave. I stared at print on my table for hours, and the lock on my door, or the spots on the ceiling. I had been traumatised by being there again.

What does being a psychiatric patient mean in this society? It means you might not want to bathe because it’s too frightening; if you’re a woman with body hair you like to remove, you’re just going to accept being hairy for a while, when it comes to self care as a whole, they can erode your will to take care of yourself. It means you might feel unattractive, unworthy, unloved, and defiled by their system: which is why my suitcase was filled with things that I needed to look after my body the last time I was admitted.  I know by the way people who had been abused smelled, that they’d been hurt before they neglected themselves.

I know the smell of urine by men and women who were petrified of where they were. I know the feeling of my own Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the middle of a panic attack.

Now I’m out, now I can enjoy my freedoms that I should have had when I was in the ward, I’m still haunted by how much they’ve wounded me as a sexual being: a being that wants to be in a good relationship. If I was, would I have been admitted to a hospital? Would I know what safety was and kept myself safe as possible which is my job every day of every year? I was admitted because of self harming again and my thoughts were overwhelming me- but having been in two wards, I could see my strong health compared to the others. My mind was in better form than others who were manic.

I want to know why they made someone who looks the way I do feel so ugly with being alive. I want to know why I felt threatened in their showers. Why I couldn’t stand being in their rooms after a while. I want to know what my instinct told me which is, “They don’t like your appearance when you want to look the way you want,” and I want to know why.

The answer from God is sexism and homophobia.

Today I found myself so depressed I thought I’d be admitted to hospital again. I was told to sleep, so I did. I feel better enough to write about what I want to which is fear and the affect of fear on my body, mind and soul. I feel myself shutting down, not wanting to talk, wanting to disappear from the problem which are my anxiety attacks and wounds from the hospital. That all has gone now, which is the reason why systems like these are in place: to stop you talking and expressing yourself. What can be said is too much for the people in power.

 

Depression and friendship

Sleep is the best form of mental exercise for me in the mornings. As I wake up my mind goes around and around and around about what to do? They attempted to programme us to ‘do something’ every minute of the day, so our thoughts don’t sink with our depressions and fears. You need to distract yourself, they said. I’ve internalised their thoughts and find myself increasingly anxious when I sit here not knowing what to do with my feelings.

I am frustrated with the type of conversation around me. My mother, aunt, sister and nephew are downstairs and I just nod politely and let their talk flow around me. I then go upstairs and lie in bed and try to calm my mind down from my environment. My room is very therapeutic compared to the rest of the house where loneliness can overwhelm me. It’s a place where I can do what I like without others voices upsetting my thoughts.

There’s an internal part of me that says ‘ I want to read and paint, so I’ll do just that!’ but the most of my inner self feels low. It wants to express what I’m feeling and I can have difficulty doing this.

I suffer from self harm compulsions a lot like someone with OCD. I was a compulsive self-injurer as a teenager. Today it hasn’t been that bad. It’s the reason why the hospital outpatient team come to visit so often to keep an eye on me. I let them know when my thoughts are too overwhelming and I find myself talking to people who don’t really know me , or want to know me other than if I’m sleeping okay and eating okay. This wasn’t the case a few years ago. Those questions were not asked.

Friendship to me is listening to a beautiful piece of music and not wanting it to end. I know when I meet a good friend because of the type of conversation happening. This isn’t happening at the moment and I sit in silence most of the day reading, writing or sleeping. It’s been like this for years and sometimes it gets too much. It’s my desire for a friend, or someone I can spend some time with.

I haven’t had a friend since my teens, apart from my ex girlfriend. I met her as I turned 18, when I was severely suicidal and did not want to live anymore. It was during this time I was referred to mental health services and my life has been one long struggle with  people who just do not care when you need them to. I experience this in hospital.

I spent my teens painting, reading and writing. I was popular in my own loner-type way at school; I got on with many different types of people but I felt alone with them. I loved starting conversations about what mattered to me and religion and spirituality was discussed often. As my depression and eating disorder worsened, I withdrew from people out of anger. I felt anger at the type of friends I had.

Before my teens, I had a best friend I’ll call ‘F.’ We spent all our time together and I could share anything with her. I’d invite her around any time she could come over and we’d spend all our time in the garden playing, or in my bedroom talking. She then became my bully in Year 5 and my life fell apart. I don’t think I ever recovered from F, even as she tried to mend the relationship between the ages of 13 and 14. The friendship fell apart as I withdrew from everyone and we have only been in contact once since that time.

What is a friend, I used to ask myself? Am I happier alone? I thought I was and I’ve told people who question my choice not to have friends that I want to be with the right people, not the wrong ones.

I might edit this throughout the day with any thoughts of anything I’m reading or anything I make.

Reading ‘Feminism: Ideas in Profile’

by Deborah Cameron.

I find this book very easy to read. I’ve just finished the first chapter. It has been recently published too and cites written work that has been published recently.

What does feminism mean?

  • as an idea
  • as a collective political project
  • as an intellectual framework to ask questions and search for answers

I can see myself at art college as someone very interested in theory but couldn’t get into and I still can’t get into the political feminism  of today because I have no trust in the governments. I wanted to critique feminism or what I knew and felt of it I’m hearing and I did that well with my anti-porn work. I had no idea what I was doing. I was exploring my life and found ideas that supported them in video art.

I find this book very very interesting and not a boring historical account of first wave feminism which has been discussed in the first chapter. The analysis of theory is what makes this such an enjoyable read for me. The book criticises the wave movement definitions and tells us of all the activism that happens outside those movements and I can say that applied to my  personal life, especially after art college. I was an activist and didn’t know it. I thought the personal is political and sought to change my life with what I learnt and I did that through therapy and psychoanalytical thinking with my mental illnesses. The therapists were overjoyed at my work and one wrote a case-study on me without my full consent as I wasn’t well at the time to agree to it. I was deeply ‘under the ocean’ working in therapy and through our conversations, my art and my writing I could eat and keep food down again.

Being sexually active in college

I was a couple of years older than them when I last attended. I’d had a lot of sex at that time and would enjoy being abstinent. I wanted to know why my life was so grey with a woman who was transitioning into a man at that point and why I couldn’t connect sensually to her. I know sexually active people can appear differently from people who aren’t. It can be seen with me. I think I came across as soft, loving, dreamy and sad. I was a normal weight at that time. I’d put on a stone and didn’t like my body one bit but my body was the site of all the questions I wanted to ask about why I was unhappy. This would then turn into ‘erotica’ for others, Our Father is saying which is why I was in danger of being seen as something pornographic because I wanted to question my desire. I wanted to know what I wanted. My work was full of anger and longing. Those strong passions were seen and ridiculed by teenage boys who were too immature to understand me.

I was seen as someone who could write, who had a connection to the people ‘outside’ and lived ‘outside the system,’ by an art tutor and would send me off to watch The Piano and other films by Jane Campion. This was a very lonely time for me as I eventually found myself disliking this film’s message. Did I come across as Ada in the Piano? I’m hearing that I did and that’s where they lost the plot when it came to my writing and art.

I’ll probably edit this throughout the day with more thoughts as I think them. : )

Edit:

Patriarchy doesn’t exist to some men  in ‘Is Masculinity in Crisis’ on YT! I’m having a break from reading and am watching this at the moment. I had been reading about radical feminists remembered I identified as that when I was younger as I knew the foundations of society was why I experienced oppression and prejudice the way I did.

I wonder if they will talk about gender roles and the masculine in women in this video I’m watching.