Long Gone

We tend to fear, and judge harshly, what our minds can’t comprehend. Mostly, because the unknown scares us. A few days ago, was the suicide anniversary of someone I knew and it reminded me of my own darkness.

Writing about our experiences is as healing as it can be dangerous. There are things I’ve never written about because to do so means to go back and (to some extent) experience the pain I felt when they happened. But sometimes, it takes looking back in order to move forward.

There was a time when I was so tired of not understanding life and the purpose of mine that I ached to vanish. It wasn’t so much a wish to die but just to disappear. To find life elsewhere where everything made sense. I imagined a parallel universe where I’d be born to parents who wanted me, who never left me, and taught me to trust in someone other than myself; A world where I did not feel completely isolated.

I didn’t want to die, I just no longer wanted to be here.

That yearning was pervasive and, for years, I tried hard to suffocate it. I drank, I smoked, I was promiscuous-I lost myself in lovers I never took the time to know, then discarded them like empty cigarette cartons.

I lived dangerously and I was reckless with the life I had because I felt broken; something inside of me was missing and I couldn’t figure out what it was so I thought I’d never find it.

I felt lost in a world where everyone else seemed to have come with life instructions and I was dying to keep afloat while simultaneously fighting the urge to dissolve into nothingness-because nothingness felt like the next best thing to existing that way.

In spite of it, I grasped at anything that made me feel grounded and for a long time, I convinced myself that I stayed alive for reasons outside of myself. The truth is, I stayed alive because even when I wanted to disappear, there was inside of me a sliver of hope that life was worth living.

But that isn’t always the case with broken people. Some reach their breaking point before they realize that they don’t want to die, that what they want is to stop hurting-or they reach a place of numbness, which is much, much worse than sadness…

People like me, we feel much more deeply and so we build walls around us, some to safeguards ourselves, some to safeguard those around us-that’s our way of loving them.

I don’t know what makes us different, or why we are so, I just know that I was born already hurting, with my heart on my sleeve and an innate understanding that there was more to life than the life that I’d been living. But it wasn’t until I learned to tell my story differently that I truly understood that.

In this world there is so much of what looks like love, and sounds like love, and calls itself love, but it isn’t. It’s just people saying and doing what they think they ought to say and do. And when you feel more than most, knowing that makes it difficult to get close to anyone. The thought of someone getting close enough to feel your raw edges only to leave when they touch them is terrifying. So, I’d unknowingly isolate myself even in crowded places.

Time has a way of becoming more valuable only after you’ve realized how much of it has already been wasted and after you go through life dragging all of your monsters with you and there’s enough history behind you, you just learn that though you may feel broken, you’re not meant to walk alone, or carry you demons everywhere you go. I’ve learned that if you hold on long enough, you shed yourself of what weighs you down, eventually. Then, you begin living.

The person that I am now is not who I used to be. I’m no longer afraid of loving, or of living. I’ve sat in the center of my own sorrow and didn’t let it shrink me. I’m no longer afraid of people leaving, I’m interested in seeing who sees my scarred, and bruised up, heart and still finds beauty within it-and if they leave, so be it. Now, I walk through life with a sense of wonder, seeking magic even in places where I once found only sorrow.

Still, I can’t help but understand those who’ve lost their battle, their will to keep on living, to keep on fighting, to keep on striving when there seems to be nothing left to hope for. The ones who became so sad, there was nothing left to fan the flames of their own fire and so they wore their darkness in silence until it became too much of a weight to carry.

Suicide is real, it’s the ultimate cry for help, for understanding, for someone to reach out and save them. And It pains me to hear those who have never dealt with darkness call it “an easy way out”.

You know what is easy? Judging someone who’s in a place you’ve never been, in a kind of pain, and sadness, that you have never known, with a heart that is still beating in your chest while the beat of theirs is long gone…

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“You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before. And that, my love, is bravery.”

❤ ,

Mari

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I Wish

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“I wish I could tell you that I am the bravest person you’ve ever met. That I learned my lesson, that I know what I want and have found my way. I wish I could tell you that I am the calm in the storm, and not the storm itself. And that I take everything at face value. But that’s not me. I find beauty and romance in things that most others couldn’t understand like airports and the way an old record cracks and pops. And in the way the stars seem brighter when it’s darkest. I wish I could tell you I was the bravest person you’d ever meet but maybe my skin isn’t as thick as I once thought…”

❤ ,

Mari

One Life

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He said “One life on this earth is all we get, whether it is enough or not enough. And the obvious conclusion would seem to be that, at the very least, we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely, and beautifully, as we can”.

❤ ,

Mari

My Favorite F Word

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A woman said to me yesterday “My husband left me and I’ve always depended on him. Now I have to figure out how to find a place to live and find a job but I don’t know how to do any of it. I haven’t worked since we got married, he made way more money than me. Now, I have nothing and he will still have everything because even if he left me the house, I would never be able to afford it. What do I do? Where do I start?”

How do you tell someone how to do life? I wanted to tell her we are all in the same boat with her because nobody knows how to live, really. We’re all just sort of figuring it out as we go. You know?

Instead, I told her to take it one day at a time and before she realizes it, everything will work out (because it always does) and I didn’t say it in a cliché kind of way, I meant it. Life, I’ve figured out in hindsight, has always worked out for me. Perhaps, not always as I’d envisioned it would but definitely always for the better. Especially, once I learned to stay out of my own way.

But that conversation left me thinking “this is why we need feminism”. Because feminism means equality and women need to be equally capable of taking care of themselves as men are when relationships don’t work out.

Census numbers from 2012 show that U.S. women were more likely to live in poverty than men. Especially, if they’re raising families alone, and thirty percent of single mothers in America lived in poverty then (I’m not sure what that number is now).

Poverty among women is not only about the wage gap between men and women but, combined with the fact that women tend to end up raising their families alone more often than men do, women’s disadvantage in their earnings potential is ultimately what has the biggest impact on their economy.

Being a feminist is, sometimes, misinterpreted by people. It’s often confused with wanting to be better than men. People assume that if you are a feminist, you must hate men when what we really hate is the huge gap that exists socially, economically, and politically, between men and women’s rights.

I find it especially unsettling when the ones misinterpreting feminism are other women. My stomach sinks when women shame other women for doing things men have done since the beginning of time and no one’s batted an eye over it, or it’s taken as “men being men”. A prime example of it is that a man who believes and openly expresses that women must be “grabbed by the pussy” is running our country RIGHT NOW.

Yesterday, a female user posted on Facebook “It’s sad, but I’ve never seen a generation of women be more proud of being hoes, strippers, side chicks, and thots (slang for sluts)” to which I replied, genuinely intrigued, “Why is it sad? Men have been proud of doing the same shit since the beginning of time and I’ve yet to hear one man call another one any of those names. We should really stop judging each other so harshly.”

Rather than replying to my question, the post was taken down completely or I was blocked from seeing it because I couldn’t find it anymore.

I often wonder if women who don’t believe in equality truly believe that other women should be treated as less than and shamed for the same behaviors that men are praised for. And I wonder if they portray so out of fear of their own strength, or out of shame for not standing up for themselves.

Honestly, I believe that those who feel threatened by feminism are either men who don’t deem women worthy of being treated with the same respect they expect to be treated with, or they are women who don’t realize that there is something terribly wrong with women having to say that they have a boyfriend in order to stop someone from harassing them at a bar because it’s easier to get a man to respect another man who may, or may not, exist than it is to be respected for being a human being.

Perhaps, those women have been raised with patriarchal values and they don’t know any different. I don’t know but I won’t shame them for it.

My wish for them is that some day they realize their own potential, and that they stop contributing to their own oppression, so that they can step into their own power and thus join the rest of us in paving the way for other women to realize their strength, beginning with our own daughters.

As for me, I am raising mine to recognize her own strength, because feminism isn’t about making women stronger, it’s about helping them realize the strength that is already within them so that they may stand on their own two feet and do the hard things we have been told for so long that we are incapable of doing.

Have a great weekend, you guys!

Mari

Like A Glass Building

When you fall, do it gloriously; Collapse like a glass building, sink like a gigantic ship. And when you are done sinking and collapsing, and sinking and collapsing, build yourself with your own wreckage.-Noor Unnahar

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❤ ,

Mari