Today marks the end of the second annual Shattering Stigmas mental health event. I hope that it has been inspiring. I hope that you have learned something. I hope, mostly, that you have found hope in the stories that I & my co-hosts have shared.
I am a long way from feeling okay. My journey with mental illness is not over yet; it is a demon I will be battling for a long time to come. But events like these are, I think, the first step in showing them to the light of the world.
(And all of us know that light will conquer darkness in the end. Always, always, always.)
I wanted to end this event by sharing a poem with you. It is entitled Story & it is, I would venture to say, an accurate view of where I am now on the road to healing.
Enjoy, my loves. Thank you for joining us on this beautiful ride.
That’s what I do. I tell stories. Here’s one.
Starts like this: tears are exit wounds. Rebellion. Aftermath. Life when it looks so much like dying.
Starts with the girl talking in third person because she does not know where else to put all the hurting. The girl as in me, as in losing the war. The girl as in this story sucks. As in let’s tell a different one.
Starts like this:
I promise you that if I can’t feel my hands when they are not trembling, I will relearn their motions in earthquake language. In tornado tongue.
In the way of sky, which will scream and rage and fight and thunder. Which will turn sweet-swollen blue the very next day.
I promise you that if I can’t hear my voice when it is not apologising, then I will turn sorry into profanity. Into grace. Fearless downpour. Open mouth. Picked lock. Poetry.
Story starts like this: I will be anything that you want me to be, except for tragic.
I have to believe that there is more to this life than: girl is sad for no goddamn reason. There is more than helpless. Deathless.
Fuck that story. Instead, look how much I can hurt. Look how much I can heal. Look how my bones are screaming for mercy. Look how hard I fight my sadness because
nobody else knows how to. I will not close the door behind me. I will not leave what is already left behind.
Here is a new story. There’s more to it than: girl stays sad. I will not let that be enough.
Look. Look. Look. Look at the girl who does not want to get out of bed.
Look how she does anyway, just to spite the whole goddamn universe. Just to say I told you so. Look at how every single morning I wake up and gaze at myself in the mirror. How I do not flinch. How I will not turn away.
Look at how much courage I have found in existing. Look at how every single atom in my body is a warrior.
I will tell a story where the princess saves herself. It starts like this:
Look me. Look at how every breath I take is an act of defiance. Look at that. Look at that. Look at that. Look at that. Just look at that.