First chapter: here
Previous chapter: here
It was 11:30 in the night. Everyone was asleep; all but one.
Leslie was roaming the house. She had been for the past hour and a half, rummaging through cupboards, drawers and moving furniture around as if she was looking for something. Nicolas came to her, moments before, angrily begging for a peaceful night. But all she did was groan at him. Admitting defeat, he went back to bed, back to his wife, and they resigned themselves to sleeping with earplugs.
She kept pacing up and down until something stopped her in her tracks. Leslie stood still, two feet away from the fireplace, on top of which was a golden picture frame. It was a family portrait; a fresh memory.
In this chapter, we follow Leslie’s mother, Sophie, as she returns to her hotel room with Nicolas on that very same Saturday night.
Sophie dropped her phone on the bed and stared at it. She was thinking about the words her brain had just absorbed from its bright screen; digesting them. She bent down and reached for the red laces wrapped around her toned calves to undo the knots. Doing this always left her feeling dirty; the kind of shame that you have to scrub off for hours in the shower. Digging through her daughter’s blog and social medias weren’t her proudest moments, but that was just the way things were ever since Leslie’s…
She couldn’t bring herself to speak the word, let alone think it. A tragedy, was the word she’d rather use. They used to be so close, so bright together. But ever since the tragedy struck their family, she looked at her daughter differently. Leslie felt different, she was different. She had always been different but Sophie could now see all that was wrong about her. She used to only see her as her baby girl but the tragedy had opened her eyes and she could barely cover it up anymore.
Leslie’s stay at the rehab center had cleansed her and Sophie thought she could have had her baby girl back. But it was only temporary. A year for a year; now she was falling apart again. Something in her was broken and it would always keep breaking as long as she lived and no amount of cleansing would suffice. Leslie was broken and nothing was the same. They weren’t friends anymore, they weren’t the same as they used to be, much as they tried to pretend. Something had died in Leslie and with it went their bond.
Sophie still had hope, hope that somehow everything would fall back into place. And that was truly why she dug through her daughter’s online bubbles, not only to see if she was breaking down again but seeking signs of her getting better. She had hope that Leslie could go back to being who she was, her friend. She kept looking for progress, for sparks in all the darkness that oozed from her daughter’s mind. She desperately sought proof, clues, hints, that Leslie could be normal again, in one piece inside, and that they could be friends again. Sophie still had faith that things could be okay, even when all she could find was darkness and helplessly witness what was left of her daughter fading away.
Last week, I unexpectedly joined my family for a picnic in the woods. And, little did I know that it would not only, bring me back on my feet (I had a miserable weekend) but also surprise me in the loveliest possible way: I saw a live deer.
Growing up on my island, I spent loads of time with my nose stuck in books (mostly about animals or Egypt but honestly, just reading anything I could find lying around the house too haha) and I had never seen many animals which are pretty common in mainland France up until I went to Lille two years ago. Swans, magpies, and even ducks(I only saw a few when I was tiny but man, a long time ago..)!
I only finally saw them for real two years ago. Up until that point, it was all just book pictures in my head. Things I knew of, things I knew to be real but never actually saw with my own two eyes and so I did not have that feeling/relationship(?) with it. They had that mystery to them, some kind of magic that comes from only knowing something the way your imagination can conceive it.
And the first time I saw them, I was struck with awe. It’s almost like seeing my childhood heroes. I remember those long hours spend lying on the floor or on a couch just staring at these glossy pages in the books, examining every inch of each picture just to get a somewhat clear memory of it engraved in my mind.
I am really happy, though, to be able to say that seeing them IRL does not take away the magic but only adds on, and also more frills. Nature is scary beautiful in that fragile-though-almighty way.
When I saw the deer, my brain just went *blop* *happy* and also, many (MANY) flashbacks to the Hannibal tv series… Ha ha! I had a small though intense phase last year where I got a tad bit obsessed with deer and drew loads of them. It was at the time I had started watching Hannibal and was shamelessly embracing my love for horror and disgusting stuff. In midst all the blood and chaos, those deer that I drew brought in some light in my dark room and mind.
I got pictures of all the deer drawings that I did in that short period to display them right here, in this post, and look back with a bittersweet smile on my face.
I honestly loved the Hannibal show. And I’d have so much to say about it, but I’d rather not enlarge on the matter. What I’m going to say though is that it brought a lot of good out me, a lot of inspiration and reflections on life, and art… And deer!! At that time, I was going through a rough patch and things weren’t really good at all; I was at war with myself and also being sat on fire by other beings whom I thought were worth all the burns (spoiler alert: they weren’t). It was a dark time but weirdly enough(or not at all), I found comfort in this show and it brought loads of good things into my mind.
And as I type this, I’m reminded that my Thomas Harris books stayed at my mom’s house, several thousand kilometers away from me and I’d love to dive back in Red Dragon now. Heartbreaking thought, I must confess. That book was so good! And what a shame I didn’t even have time to read the other two before I had to abandon them in my nest in order to take my leap and fly so far away from it. I’ll probably get mom to send them back to me or something at some point anyway, I just know it.
That deer was beautiful. I’m not going to lie, there was a drop of disappointment as my eyes found their way to the live body of what used to fuel my pencil on my sketchbook months ago. I was delighted to see a deer and really happy. And there was magic. But, the truth is that there is always that drop of disappointment.
Whenever you finally come to face with something you’ve only been dreaming about, reading about, looking at pictures of, it is here, in the back of your mouth or tickling the inside of your eyelids. That tiny drop of disappointment, tightly seated next to the tears of joy and surprise, keeping the back of your throat moist as you scream “Oh God, I’m alive!”. I think it is nearly impossible not to have expectations, as humans, as creatures that dream and hope. And, the longer the road you have to walk between the moment it first captures your attention and monopolizes parts of your mind and heart, the bigger the expectations (no matter how small), and the bitter the drop of disappointment.
You will be excited, you will be delighted; happiness, tears, smiles and fire inside. But it’ll be here, whether you feel it or not. Sometimes, even through the happy storm, there will be more than one drop. You might not be able to feel it, but it’ll be here. It might not ruin your happy time, but it’ll be here. And I think it’s important to acknowledge that.
It’s a reminder in a way, isn’t it? That there is never just one emotion, one feeling, one sensation; never just one thing happening at once. Life is plural. There’s always lots happening at once. We’re always feeling so much at once. Different intensities, different temperatures, different shapes, different causes and different spots hit. But at once. And you get to decide where the focus is.
You can focus on the pebble in your shoe. And then, you can shift the focus and go on think about that headache you have now. And you can move that focus as much as you want, as much as your mind is able to before it runs out of energy. Or you can keep the focus on one point tiny as it may be and make it seem bigger than that big bright sun shining out your window. You get to choose. Or, at least you have the possibility to do so. The power is in your hands but I guess the battery can’t always be full enough to enjoy its wide range of possibilities.
I saw that deer and the second I did, as I had a miserable weekend and I still had my negative glasses on, I felt the drop of disappointment. And I swallowed it, and the taste lingered on but I didn’t mind it; I enjoyed it. I let it do its job and I minded my own business, took pictures of the deer and tried to get over the fact that “Wow, there is a real deer in front of me!”.
Trying hard not to make this a generalization but I’ve met quite a few people with a positive outtake on life, those striving for a happy existence, and I always feel like they are missing out on something. I’m not a pessimistic. I’m not an optimistic either. I might actually strongly be both and usually all at the same time because I’m a walking disaster. But I just don’t think that being positive and happy is about rejecting nor ignoring the dark bits, the negative points, the heavy stuff. I think it’s all about accepting light and darkness no matter the amount or diversity of what’s within you. It’s about accepting them as a part of life, as a part of you and dealing with them, and maybe just learning to co-exist again.
In my opinion, those people that I’ve met wrongly believe that negative = bad. Sure, negative vibes are definitely bad news and can dismantle the strongest of ships and you don’t want them around. But, think about balance, think about Nature and how everything serves a purpose. Blocking out all sadness, negative thoughts, anything that’s not rainbows and butterflies is going to ruin you on the long run. These things are part of being a human and you can’t just wipe them out of the board because you want things to look neat.
Life is not neat. Humans are not tidy inside. And you have to let it in, let it happen, let it out, let it roll over you…
Some things you have to face and break, some things you just have to throw straightaway and others you just have to sit down and swallow and maybe get some ice cream to let it make its way down your throat. And it’s something you learn to do, like recycling!
You learn where to put the tin cans and the glass bottles and the papers; you learn what can be reused, what just goes to waste and what things don’t go together even though they will serve a similar purpose. And sometimes you don’t want to throw something away although it belongs in the bin but you figure out some clever way to turn it into something useful, something you can still keep in your home and you transform it with your own two hands.
There’s a required balance in all of that rickety machinery inside. And it doesn’t always make sense. It’s not a simple list of do’s and don’t’s. It’s complex but at the same time, so easy. The darkness is part of life, part of light. There are dark spots in light, and light spots in darkness. And you can’t just try to wipe one side out cos that’ll mess you up. Gotta find the right middle. Equilibrium.
I’ve learned and am still learning that it’s okay not to be okay. And it’s okay to feel down, to feel sad, to feel horrible, even when you’re in a happy place, with happy people and you are happy. Because life is not a monochrome painting. It’s as complex and simple and intense as a five-year-old’s painting. And it’s beautiful.
My darkness keeps getting brighter and my fire finally feels like it’s actually burning. I love sharing and I hope that through my words, music and art(and rare smiles?) I reach some hearts, minds or just the eyes, really and shed some darkness; the good kind. No matter how very few that might be, I hope that some people read me and that it makes them questions things, think, feel or just smile cos I’m so dramatic about everything it’s funny. I hope that whenever my darkness shines and people get a peek inside, I hope that it makes a difference to them, even the tiniest and that somewhere along the way, some way, somehow, it helps them.
Until next post, let yourself learn, and let your darkness shine. ❤
Today I went out with my Lilly, her boyfriend and her nephew(and boy, has he grown!!). We saw the new Spiderman movie. I wish I could’ve heard Michael Keaton’s real voice instead of the French dub, but what d’you want? We’re not in Lille. The €€€ fly but your expectations can DIE. Not really kidding, but you can laugh! I do cos it’s saaaad 😦
Everything was fine until we sat in the cinema and they started chatting together and I was left with my thoughts and the darkness(not really at first but it already felt like it).
[ I will try and be as short as I can because I am tired right now and at home. Honestly, as much as I’d have lots to say and write, I can’t just spend my time on a computer/phone. I take pictures and post them when the internet allows it but even if it means not doing anything or simply staring at my mom all day, I’m spending as little time as needed on the internet. ]
And as I sat there, she started speaking; that voice that just knows not how to lift me up. I tried to fight it and keep busy, devour my popcorn before the screen is even turned on, stare at the ceiling, listen to my friends’ conversations… But nothing worked. She just talked and talked. She put me down. She did not hit where it hurts, on those swollen bits of me I’m used to pressing on whenever the challenges get a bit too heavy and I fall. She hit on one of the biggest insecurities of mine… And that is, the stupid storm.
That voice wasn’t telling me how bad a friend I am, how boring, nor how I’ve been looking fatter lately, how I might not be as strong as I thought. No, she did not mention any of those things, because they weren’t so important at that time. The storm was the real thorn on the sole of my foot which I had to push deeper in, jump on and torture myself with.
She was telling me how weak I was.
Just a moment of slight darkness and I was gone, gone with the winds of despair and self-loathe. All it told me was “Look at you, the movie’s not even started yet and you’ve already let your thoughts flood you and drown you. Just a minute in and you’ve been reduced to a quiet piece of shit, and nobody even notices.”
I wasn’t putting the blame on my friends for not noticing me getting quieter and slowly fading in the background, it was all on me.
And the worst part was that, with all this already heavy enough bullshit in me came a crippling guilt which glued me to my seat. How could I be feeling bad and having all these thoughts run through my head while I was with my best friend and expected to be all about the good time? How could I just start thinking of myself and let sadness fill me while sitting next to my best friend whom I love and whose presence just completes me? I just felt bad for feeling bad, which is a feeling I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. And it sucks.
I had all these racing dark thoughts, sad ones and those mean ones pressing on my other weaknesses. But this voice was the loudest, the narrator of that afternoon. Because that’s what it was doing, narrating with acid words the mayhem in me as I sat near my dear best friend and her close ones.
And maybe the reason why I couldn’t fight it is because I agreed with it. The voice was right. I was being assaulted by those razor-sharp thoughts while there was still light in the room and I wasn’t on my own.
I don’t think that I can enjoy going to the movies anymore.
And that’s how I came to this conclusion.
I used to enjoy this because it was a way to keep me completely distracted from the bullshit inside and outside but just like a lot of things, it seems it’s not enough anymore to anesthetize my restless self. So maybe I should just stop going. I can still watch movies at home and it’ll be just the same but with more food! 😛
But really though, it sucks to pay so much money to sit in a dark room full of strangers enjoying a movie while you’re just melting on your seat and having multiple life crises at once. I can still enjoy it but it leaves me so messed up. And I feel even more alone like this, because I’m trapped in myself and no one can possibly know and it physically hurts.
Is it worth it?
It took me about thirty to forty-five minutes to get somewhat focused on the movie rather than my thoughts and hands. Just like it did, back when I still went to class, for me to calm down from my anxiety fits. It’s not as much a torture, honeslty. But it’s just not enjoyable, I’m so uncomfortable when this happens and I can’t escape. It’s actually pretty horrible.
So, yeah, this happened; again. I had a good time. I had a good afternoon. I was with my best friend and on the ride back home, even though I wasn’t feeling so well and quiet as fuck, she managed to make me smile and laugh and speak.
It was good but it was also really bad. And as happy a day it was, all it leaves me with, sadly, is this thought: I don’t think I can enjoy simple things anymore because I’m a wreck. I’ll try to hold on to the light of this day and the smiles and the good. But I seem to have discovered that brains tend to focus on the bad memories, or maybe that’s just me.
Everything is exaggerated in this 5″2 factory and well, I’m tired; I don’t want to type anymore.
That’s gonna be it. Longer than I thought it’d be, but I’m a fast-typer! 😛
Until next post, just, breathe. ❤
The Joy Graveyard (?need a better title?)
This is the story of a girl who knew better. For inside her heart, where most would bury their rancor, she kept all that was dear to her. She knew better than to let hate devour the light and the love in her. Most people would bite their tongue and tell not where they hurt; they would swallow the rage and the poisonous fire but never mention how upset an event/a person left them. But not her for she knew better than to let the darkness destroy her like it did her forefathers. No, she wouldn’t trap the hate out of sight and let it consume her insides. When she’d bite her tongue, it’d be for a laugh or a smile.
She had seen, countless times, how slow and painful a death such a life brings. And she had witnessed the terrifying explosion that happens when too much has been shoved down the throat and all the burning poison, like a herd of suns, rushes out of a person’s mouth and attacks anything it lays eyes on. With her wide eyes, she had watched the decay, the destruction, the darkness reign over these people and replace them piece by piece, throwing the human away and leaving only rotten flesh and hollow bones; demons.
She knew better than. Or at least so she thought.
This is the story of a girl who never laughed and barely smiled but lived maybe to be the happiest of them all. She had figured out the key to happiness, or at least, how to shield oneself against the darkness and leave this world as human as we entered it. She took all the sparks, all the light and buried it deep inside her heart. She filled herself with blue skies and bird songs. She swallowed all her smiles before they even reached her lips, she choked on her laughter and packed them tightly in tiny jars and planted them in the soil of her heart, the deepest she could reach.
As years passed by, the joy kept stacking up inside. Her friends and family kept wondering why she was always so sad and not laughing, why did she never seem to be having a good time? And she never said anything to them because they were all fake happy and couldn’t understand. To pretend was their way of life. She was happier than they could ever have wished to be.
With all this happiness inside of her, she was all set for life; she didn’t have to worry about facing tragedies because she could always reach inside to get some light. Would some bad luck strike her, she’d just open one of those jars, dig up a few smiles and she’d make it out alright. And there was always something to smile or laugh about, so she’d keep harvesting and would never run out.
Only once in her whole lifetime had she been so full of happiness that she had a breakdown. And like she predicted it was nothing destructive. It was a moment of pure happiness where she contaminated everyone in the room. It was on her twenty fifth birthday, when her mom had flown all the way from the other side of the earth to surprise her and she stood there in the middle of her tiny apartment with her friends, her boyfriend and a new dog. She was just full to the brim and after a single tear ran down her cheek, she broke the concerned silence with a laughter. Her mother cried when she saw her smile and laugh like that, like she hadn’t in forever. And the whole day was cheerful and everybody was happy and having a good time; not pretending. But that was the only time.
After that, she just kept stacking and stacking. The light was a little harder to find as the tragedies finally found her. She lost her dog. Then her mom. Eventually, her job. And maybe bits of her mind too. But life still went on and she could still reach inside to drink from those tiny jars on those long nights she’d cry herself to sleep. The world grew darker around her as her hair also progressively lost their color, but she still sought the light. She kept looking for it, eventually it got to a point where there were only sparks to be found but she’d manage to catch them and bury them just the same. And on the day she finally went to visit the clouds, she had the biggest smile on her face. 🙂
You can chose a path of self-destruction and allow hate to enter your heart and eat away at your soul or you can chose to let the light, no matter how small a spark, how weak a flame it is be the one riding shotgun. I think that’s mostly the idea I had in mind when I wrote this.
I believe it was the day right after the a7x show when I was on my way back “home” after a sleepless night at the hotel. I was in the metro and I just had a lighting hit my head and try to write the idea as quick as I could with my eyes half open.
As per usual, my writing this idea into a story is taking it to an extreme. And I don’t think that this girl truly knew better nor had the key to happiness. But I think she was onto something! 😉
You really do have power over your life and how the story unrolls and the sooner you realize that, the sooner you can make the choice to actually take charge! It’s easy to let the darkness consume you, it’s really easy. And I know that it always seems like a good idea to just bury what’s bad inside and never mention it, never think about it, just look away. It feels safer and for a while you feel like you’re actually okay and you can lead a normal life. But it kills you slowly and silently, like a gas leak in your house while you’re asleep. It is not the solution.
I believe you have to face the darkness inside and outside and seek the light. Easier said than done, I know! But evil ways always seem so much more painless and easier at first sight, it’s on the long run that you truly see how destructive they are. You can run, but you’ll never escape because it’s all inside of you and all around you anyway, so looking away is actually a pretty silly thing to do. Build up walls and paint them the color of the rainbow but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s dark outside and it’s raining inside of you.
It can be hard and painful sometimes to face the darkness. And some things you really can’t deal with and have to bury as deep as you can because they are just too much. I know. I just think that you need to try your hardest to keep the dark out of you, and especially those silly things that can turn into bitter acid in the back of your throat after you’ve let them sit in here for too long. Hate is a big no-no to me.
My point is, you have the choice and the power and it’s you who decide what eats you and what you eat. So think twice or thrice before holding grudges over those people who didn’t take out the trash once when it was their turn to, those who never gave you back those twenty bucks they borrowed, those who broke you and those who taught you life a little too hard. Don’t let hate and darkness be the master of your life; you are not a puppet so stand up to yourself and keep your soul as safe as you can.
I’m done! Thanks for reading! I’ll leave you with a very fitting quote of Hayley (
MY QUEEN) Williams. Until next post, don’t forget to sit down, breathe and think before choosing to go left or right. ❤
“I have the ability to build myself up or break myself down. Strength comes from within. […] “B.O.Y.” means “Beware Of You”. Be aware of your power. We have the choice to live positively or in our own destruction.”
Darkness isn’t necessarily black. It is not colors that I lack but a darker shade of black; or maybe a bottle of Jack; or stronger bones in my back…
I wanted to make this a poem but it seems the shaking in my mind cannot handle structured writing, so I will have to let it be whatever it decides to be. I will let my fingers type these confused thoughts of mine and stain my white keyboard with the poisonned ink that leaks through my broken nails. Ain’t that just the way it always goes anyways? I am nothing more than the puppet of my own thoughts.
I’ve been thinking about darkness, as in the spots that cover my heart and soul; the pain, the silent wounds, the invisible scars, the bright crevasses. And again, my brain has sewed another fancy disguise for my bleeding soul from the tasteless word-stew that simmers forever in the back of my mouth. Because this blood never lingers on my flesh and shimmers better than when I hum these word-stuffed melodies. I can watch it dance and rejoice as I praise it with my dark poetry, the only music I can create.
Darkness isn’t necessarily black. I can tell because when I look inside, I can see the colorful polka dots adorning my soul.
My best friend used to call me her rainbow, I have lost track of her reason why, but today I have found my own. If I’m a rainbow, pain is a color and my thoughts are artists. And, of course, I’m holding the bigger brush and when I’m not poking my eyes with it, I paint the biggest patches of colors and take care of any needed touch-ups.
My heart is the color of the sky, a blue that gets deeper at night when my soul is an ocean where demons can’t drown.
My hands are the color of fire, a red that gets deeper when I wrap them around my neck tight enough to shut me up.
And my green-tinted smiles they’re here to hide my rotten faith and hopes.
My head is a mess right now. I was already dealing with the storm’s unexpected come-back and now I have all these doubts and whatnots coming uninvited to the party. The place is too crowded, it’s hard to breathe and I’m losing sleep again, and weight, and strength, and hope, and faith. But, believe it or not, I somehow am in better shape than usual. I mean, I’m a mess and this is very heavy to carry around. But I still feel like I’m handling it better than ever before. But maybe that’s just another illusion.
I’m glad I got that out. I had these few lines lying around for a while now and I just had to get them out. They’ll remain here for now. Maybe they will later find home in a poem or a song, if I ever birth one of these again.
And let me just add that, as much as this sounds dramatic, too dark or whatever you wanna call it, I’m a very positive person. Don’t get me wrong, I ooze darkness and cold coffee; but I still shine, even when I shine dark. I might even be the most optimistic person I’ve met so far. I mean, if you trim all the excessive use of words, the dark tone and all the dramatic poetry, there’s light here! Not because I admit and often emphasize the ugly and darkness of certain things (mostly me) doesn’t mean I don’t see the beautiful. I actually, sadly(there it is again!…), see it everywhere.
I don’t like being called a pessimistic or a fatalist or whatever things you people can come up with, because I’m not. I see the light and the beauty in places you would never even think of looking, and I don’t give up even when I do; so shut up with your labels that don’t even fit. And to quote that Paramore song, “For a Pessimistic, I’m Pretty Optimistic“.
Cherish your pets while you have them and water your plants. ❤