The life I have lived is more the climate of Hollywood than the establishment of New York. More Zelda Fitzgerald than Rebecca Miller. People are always furiously watching me, observing me, and I hate that. I absolutely do. I feel like they have no right to do that to me anyway, but they do. It is merely an aspect of the illness, symptomatic of the mood. Everybody is just waiting for my father to die. They named a building after him here in this port town. All these men have ever done for me, all these short-lived love affairs, these complicated relationships, always complicated because I was the factor, they all killed the poet inside of me. In return, years and years and years later, they become muse in my head, interpreter in the room where I write, or, read, or, or sleep, or watch Netflix. I wish I was as beautiful as my sister. I wish that instead of my psyche being the ballet Swan Lake, I was traveling the world somewhat like her. Teaching English as a foreign language. I wish, I truly wish that I was happy, but I am not. Everything in life is temporary. The arts and literature to me are not. I dream of falling in love when the loneliness and the torment and the high and the anger that comes upon me. But when I write, I write vicariously through the greats. The great female poets. Women I consider my contemporaries. The writing is vivacious and lavish like a room in Gertrude Stein’s Paris apartment. There are days when I feel completely still and calm. There are days when I feel as if I am buried and gone. I hate my body. It disgusts me. There are days that I eat. There are days that I do not eat. I survive on toast and black coffee. I wish it weren’t so, but that is the way it goes.
Eat, and be a slave to eating, or, don’t eat and don’t love myself. I have a poor self-concept. My identity is to fly under the radar, and not be in the spotlight. I don’t really have close friends. Don’t have intimates, or, confidantes. Anything, I would give anything to numb this pain inside, Petya. Bang, bang. The bullets are in the gun. Gone, gone then this clinical depression instead of feeling like taking a pill, or, a pharmaceutical. The autonomy of life spreading out before me as a leaf. I numb myself with tranquilisers and sleeping pills. Sleep does not come. When it does, it is usually four or five hours of completely natural sleep. A response to the environment I that live in now. Before, I was fine. Before being hospitalised again. Now I am dead inside. Completely numb. Before I was happy and outspoken. Now I am filled with dread when speaking to people. What to speak of, what to do, what to make conversation about, I don’t know anymore. I don’t want anything out of life. I don’t want anything out of life anymore. It has spat me out. I am chicken shit. Take me to the afterlife. Take me to the moon, the other solitary planets, the sun, the stars. Let me feel. Let me feel adventurous. I was like that before being locked up in a high care facility. Didn’t need to be there. So, now at home I make noodles all the time and sauce, and tell myself to be happy, rather than unhappy. The bullets in the gun go bang, bang, bang and the door on life is shut to me forever. I am the key to trepidation. I am the underworld. I am an embryo. I am a greenhouse. And everything, everything has a womb. They want me dead.
They want me dead. They don’t want me alive anymore. Get me gone. Get me out of here. I want to be dead. I want to be buried. I want to be gone. Kill, kill, kill. Kill me, kill me, kill me. That is all that they do. And then I think of the bullets in the gun. To take me out of this life for good. Macbeth sees a ghost. Lady Macbeth has psychosis. Sees the blood on her hands. When will they see my blood on their hands, when I take my own life? Is that what it all comes down to, that I am the daughter of this gun. I am the birthday girl that no one sings happy birthday to, that no one buys presents for. That no one visits. But I am not lonely because of this. I kiss someone and inside it makes me feel more dead than alive, and no one, no one can understand this. I am a poor woman clothed in mist. I have nothing to give you except drowsy hardship, and the wintertime of despair. I try to write a little from the folds of my belly, the sun of my laughter, the trick of the light, but everything that comes out of me, spills out of me, pours out of me is death. Today I hate myself and tomorrow I shall surely love myself again, and be full of breath, and Goliath shall strike me, and I will life again. The periodic table will fit into my pocket and I will be 14 years of age again. Inside I feel 14 years of age. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. Strange for a burnt-out adult woman to feel like a child. The stress of life has marked me this time for good. I want to leave, leave, leave. Get out of this town. But wherever I go I will be the drowning visitor. I have eaten the sun, the cold ripe figs in the refrigerator at the speed of light. There is a wedding in my head.
Drumming away like a suckled thing, lingering there like a yellow harvest, or, a season’s gurgle. But there is no groom. She waits for him, this vision, like I wait for him. To save me. To save me. But there is no mercurial saving. And there is no Saviour. My skin is hot. This sadness will not vanish. I sprawl on my bed in the hopes of perfecting this line in this novel I am writing, this letter I am writing to you on your island, but I feel just about as focused as a monkey. The relaxed business of the afternoon is spilling over my head. It feels as if I am drowning again. I am a heard child crying in the dark of nightfall. I am taking on the world one word at a time, dispelling intricate stigma and discrimination. I am a seawards boat following an island on the horizon on a film set. I dreamed of that once. I don’t anymore. There are days when it feels so completely, and utterly natural to me to think of that world. A steak and potatoes will be good eating now. The rain has stopped like the bleating of a lamb yielding to death after being caught by the wired hooks of a fence. There will be stretchmarks that will not fade. There will be cellulite that looks like orange peel. There will be fad diets and no exercise. Everybody knows me in this town. The mad girl with a disability. Her highs and her lows. There are days when I feel more woman than girl. More girl than woman. I am lost. I am stolen. I am forgotten. My struggle with depression steals me away until I am truly lost and forgotten. Evening comes and falls all around me. I eat a congealed egg and a slice of burnt toast. Think of when I was a child and I was molested. I am pollen.
I am pollen found on Kathmandu, the symbol of a grave rabbit. There is this feeling that I have to alter something. Perhaps my adult life. There will always be the capacity for pain. How to deal with trauma. How not to always play the role of victim. I have to heal myself for all the lost boys, for daddy, for mum but there are days that I don’t care anymore if I live, or if I lay dying in the foetal position on my bed, or on my bedroom floor. All I ever wanted to do, to be, was to love, and to be loved in return. Didn’t work out that way. There are fireworks inside my brain. I am the woman who buried her affairs so deep like a voice. I was a big girl. Now I am a thin girl again. The dangling wildflowers are in a panic. Father is kind, but he can be unkind. Like locking me up in a hospital so that I am out of the picture. Nobody brings me clean clothes to wear, or, sanitary napkins. Nobody picks up the telephone and makes that call. And everything is a mildewed statement about a wolf, or, that there is a nobility in the fear that an artist can be lonely too. I am insanely grateful for ever having lived at all. If you only knew half of my anxieties, my difficulties. I am truly, truly insanely grateful for ever having lived at all, Bulgarian poetess Petya Dubarova with the sad eyes. The sad world that I live in has kept me safe for as long as it possibly could. It can’t anymore. It can’t possibly anymore. I was kept safe. Keep me safe from the liberties of the drowning sea, is all the ghost of me asks. I wish I was dead. I wish I lay at the bottom of the ocean with a gun in my mouth. The light has gone out of my eyes. The faith, and will, and strength has left my physical body.
I am no poet. I was a failure at everything. I am spoiling your life, mother. You have been patient with me all this time. I seem to have fallen out of select society with abandon to cover the invention of the of silence. I am disciple, while my sister is follower. I am feminist, while my sister is educationalist. You kissed me on the lips. You kissed me on the cheek. You kissed me on the beach. The sea kissed me on the lips. The sea kissing me on the cheek. The sea kissed me on the beach. The glaciers need elbow room to grow, to grow, to grow. I use the things which actually happen, but not in a bad way. I thought it was my fault the day that my sister told me that she never wanted to get married. Thought that it was because I had a mental illness. But my alter ego discovered that there is freedom in artistic expression. Everybody gets hurt sometimes. I want it all. Just to have it all again. The singing rivers of it all, the zen mood of the owl and the broken link, to be existentialist in the frog hospital. To be the starling in the gap again, not to be this broken darling, but to be transformed by good. Then there’s this avalanche of sin. In me. In me. Like a photo workshop, even the trying decline of the citizenship (belonging to the working and lower middle classes) of stigma and the super-rise of discrimination amongst the mentally ill has myths and attitudes. It has become kind of like an occupational hazard to know and understand this ‘captive-apartheid’ (separate but equal mentality, this psyche) of what it is like to be mentally ill, to be hospitalised, institutionalised on a long-term basis.
Then there is the conflict in the home that needs to be considered that leads to isolation, withdrawal from the community and broader society of the ‘victim’. In anger and agony, there will be violence and assault against the mentally ill that is never spoken about. There will never be an apology. The arrogant and thoughtless perpetrators from all quarters would think that with time memories of the past injustices and brutality will fade. That the mentally ill sufferer would forget the pain of the mental cruelty of the emotional abuser. Well, I will never forget the emotional pain, the mental cruelty, the embarrassment and humiliation at the hands of family members. I think of when God called Isaiah to be a prophet, the sign of Immanuel, the evil that men can do, and I know that aspects of my life have been useless, but I have seen everything. That there is enough injustice in the world at the end of the day, but that is the philosopher’s experience, the teacher’s experience, the parent’s jurisdiction. We all know that although mental illness is permanent, you can learn coping skills, how to cope, how to survive in this world. You can find a return to normality. You can find your reality again. Sometimes my thoughts go back to something someone insensitively said, or, the supportive role, the intervention, the difference that a person made in my life. I discover then I am grateful. That although mental illness is the broken link in my life, it has given so much to me. I wouldn’t be a writer. I wouldn’t be a poet. I wouldn’t be a daughter, or, a sister, or an aunt. Pushing up the hill, I found God. In finding God, I found purpose. Meaning in activities.
The ghost in the shadows’ kind of true happiness. I became a kind of voyager. I found the exit out from the renal unit into a voyage into eternity.