A feeling of emptiness rules my life.
After going back to Uni, I’ve let the long train journeys that pass me back and forth as I switch between the careful gaze of my parents and the complete anonymity of University life, pass me slowly by. As these two hour long journeys drag painfully across my vision, they serve as a reminder that I am never heading towards where I want to be. Regardless of my destination, I never feel at home, I never feel satisfied. I trawl through life with a dissatisfied scowl on my face, bitter and resentful at how I have ended-up in this trap, resembling a pendulum swinging from one end of the country to the other. Yet, I have no idea how to resolve the situation…what is the cure, the solution that I am waiting for?
When I sit staring at the four walls of my room, I simply feel a gaping hollowness inside. This sounds dramatic and cliched but I have never felt anything so desperate and crushing before. It feels like my chest is constantly in danger of ripping open and the guttural scream that I suppress inside of me will finally unleash it’s wild frustration. The problem is, I don’t know how I will ever put myself back together if I let these emotions tear out of me.
I’m back at Uni and it feels like a completely alien space to me. After a six week break for Christmas and the exam period, it started to feel like that first semester had just been a bad dream, something that I had now woken-up from. I let myself fantasise about a different life, one where I didn’t feel trapped in a course which I mistakenly chose on a whim when I was mentally unwell. I thought about the possibilities of feeling ‘normal’, not like the outcast I have made myself at Uni. My creativity began to flow through my veins again and the unexpected pleasure of poetry popped back into my life again after years of absence.
Yet, I then found myself in my dad’s freezing cold car making the journey back to that dreaded place. Back to my room in halls where I had holed myself up a couple of months previously and torn my body apart. The walls of my room hold the memories of depression naps in the middle of the day in which I fell into impossibly deep sleeps because I felt so exhausted with the effort of getting up, washing myself and eating. Now, I have to face these memories again, shrink myself back down to the size I was when I was drained and hopeless wishing for a way out of education finally and desperate for a way to feel adequate again – not the sum of my grades and tutors’ comments.
Onwards I go into this new semester, scared of what is lurking around the corner for me and hoping that one day the sunlight will filter into my room and rather than feel ashamed of it’s touch, I will feel hopeful instead.
‘I want to go home’
Is the constant refrain
I repeat in unfamiliar terrain.
When I’m about to hyperventilate
Because there’s no space in my chest
For my stress to digest,
I look to the floor
And think of being trapped
In that same green room
Where at least I have control.
Sometimes it feels like sinking,
Like life is too heavy –
Denser than what the world can bear.
The tears that well-up in my eyes
Catch the back of my throat;
I can’t breathe.
I am enveloped in a cold embrace,
Eroded by salt, adding insult
To the injury of being torn apart
By waves that hit me from all sides.
Purpose is a spineless word,
An excuse for existence
Without any merit or substance,
A carrot dangled in front of noses
To keep them pleading until the end.
Purpose can be elusive, mysterious,
Mixing itself with necessity and desperation,
A trickster keeping us running
Like clockwork; pained, rhythmic, undeviating,
For some cruelty, for some a blessing.
Purpose is practical and pragmatic,
Rarely whimsical or creative,
Too conformist to reach those people
Who dream of radical upsets
Or the hope of ink on a page.
If I screamed
Would you even hear?
I may waste the air,
Lying restlessly in my lungs,
On you, pleading,
With every word
Scraped from my mouth,
Falling on deaf ears
That do not want to listen.
If I rearrange the words,
Form them into a pleasant landscape,
Then you will have to take notice.
Surely you cannot ignore
What is battering at your head
Insistently, for days on end?
If I take pains
To explain it perfectly,
Will you then turn your head,
Look into my eyes
Or will you tilt your head to the ceiling,
Bold and brash in your ignorance,
And hope you will never understand
The despair that I am feeling?
Gentle, insistent bleeps,
Hinges groan and creak,
My muscles tense.
This house is so full,
A time capsule of lives;
Moments lived and breathed,
Now immortalised and drifting away,
Garments of children
Long since gone
And changed from all recognition,
Shelves littered with ornaments
And old trophies mocking their winners.
We are tortured and plagued
By the memories which eye us
Eerily from every shelf and cupboard,
Poisoning the stifling air
Until a heavy hand comes down,
Pounds on stiff leather.
Occupants jump, hearts leap
The silence breaks – without release.
Those framed memories,
They take on a new sheen.
Frozen smiles now too stretched,
Casually slung arms;
Questionably stiff, formal, posed.
The happy group?
Now, almost comical,
Pale, fragile and holding their breaths,
Figures, now abandoned,
Suspended in time
Longing to be forgotten.
Trains roll past miserably,
Everyone is watching
Yet no-one is listening,
Numbed to their own voices,
Staring straight into the grey distance,
An abyss of high-rises
Invisible poison seeping through
The pores of the clockwork city,
The nameless, faceless God
Which rules all of our lives,
The paths of the young,
The routine of the adults,
The deaths of the old.
A number amongst thousands
Raising his face to the sky,
To feel some air
Wash across his face
A connection to his childhood –
The crowd of demure coats
And pristine shined shoes,
They are statistics,
Chewed-up pieces, mangled,
Designed for a broken puzzle.
Eyes glazed over,
Drifting through consciousness,
Forlorn, passive players,
In a game long since forgotten.
Taken for granted
And dying by the second.
My life is your death,
I can see it pulling at the corner of your eyes,
Depressing your fake, stretched smile,
Straining your worry-scarred forehead.
You say this is what it is;
The common parental sacrifice,
A life of escalating heart beats
And sleepless nights of fretting,
I can feel myself sucking the life out of you.
The dreams you had for me:
Thrown away, dirtied and destroyed,
Replaced by flimsy, naive whims.
As I break under reality’s pressure,
I make you crumble with me.
In the least I am the rainbow coloured contradiction,
I’m filled to the brim with quiet,
I’m exploding with ‘that’s okay’,
I’m bursting into flames with a submissive smile,
I’m fizzing with subtlety and obedience,
I could kill you with kindness;
But don’t worry, I’ll give you a hug instead.
You can smother me all you want with your loud,
But don’t you know?
I’m simmering with silence
But I’m soaring with the voice inside my head.