Humans confuse me.
People want to feel like they’re helping, but they don’t want to actually help.
They want to ask everyone but you what you should need, and then get defensive and abusive when their brand of help actually makes your life harder.
If you want to know what someone needs, ask them. If they can communicate what they need, do what they need you to do.
Respect that the answer may be “I need you to get out of my space.”
If all you can do is not make their life worse, then do that.
Being a decent human is not that complicated.
Helping other people is not about you. If you’re making it about you, maybe work on why that is.
Mondays come like vultures
picking at the remains
of my will to live, testing me
with word problems like
if a shower takes twelve spoons and
scratching your itchy head all day
takes eleven and you only
start the week with ten, how
will you pay the rent?
So I try to learn a new math
one in which infinity
is a practical answer, like always
is a possibility, and negativity
because existence, in reality,
isn’t logical because logically
I should be dead by now.
Because I can’t do this.
That’s the simplified answer.
It’s not a radical expression like
No. Really, I can’t get out of bed
today, gravity isn’t on my side and
I lifed too much this weekend and
I can’t life anymore this week.
Please don’t make me. And
She says this is what depression is and
He says this is just laziness and
They say my picture is in the dictionary
next to the word burnout and
I don’t know the answer and
I’ve forgotten the question.
I’ve forgotten where the train station is and
I forgot to put on pants but
I remembered and went back for them and
She says someday I’ll get lost out there
and never find my way home and
He says it’s easy, just stop thinking about it and
They say they’re all there for me but
I’m not sure where there is and
She says I’m not as high functioning
as they seem to think I am and
He says it’s not the destination but the journey and
They say they don’t know
what to say anymore and I think
Because my head is just a box
that holds the ableism in
and if I bang it just right
with the side of my fist
I’ll feel better and
that works if no one is watching
but everyone is watching
because the train is almost downtown now
and people are standing in the aisles like
toy soldiers who can’t wait
to report for duty on Christmas morning
but then I hear one say to another one
that she despises Mondays and I think
Ok then. This society thing
isn’t working out for anybody
and another one yawns
and another one shakes their head
and they commiserate
about this bullshit and I think
Maybe this is where hope lives.
Maybe this is where the revolution begins.
Maybe we’ll all just quit and go back
but then one laughs
and another marches forward
and the doors open and
no one talks to each other anymore
because everyone is going fast
like a race but
And I sit here until it’s over
sit and wait for the last waft of
iTunes and perfume to pass
and I wipe the tears I didn’t know I had
off my face and pull myself up and
I stand in the doorway looking for inspiration
because pigeons are always dancing
in a circle like some kind of ritual
around the ankles of the bagel people
who sometimes drop a crumb and
the birds survive somehow.
Maybe they know something I don’t.
Maybe their ability to fly
makes them feel safe enough
to stand their ground and wait.
And a child skips
too close to the tracks
and her mother drags her
without explaining why
in the strangest places and
I wish I could go back.
Not to my own childhood, certainly, but
to someone’s. Back when I believed
I was the future and
imagination was encouraged and
not a sign of a mental health crisis
Back when plans were drawn
in sidewalk chalk and word games
were washed away in the tide
Back when if I wasn’t strong
nobody noticed and showing up
every day got a trophy
Back when I cared about things
like recognition and I was motivated
by scratch-and-sniff stickers and
getting through another Monday meant
dodging the kind of balls you could throw back
but no, I have to go
and a pigeon follows me because it doesn’t know
I don’t have anything and I laugh
because I wonder if birds know
what weekends mean and
I wonder if they spend their Sundays
lifing at the beach because they know
not to bother coming here because
there are no bagels until Monday.
And I wonder if they look forward to this
and I wonder how many spoons birds get
and I imagine back at the beach
there is one of them that looks
a lot like this one who just
can’t even anymore and is waiting for
the others to return exasperated
waiting to ask them
if the journey was worth it.
[pigeon on a statue of a person stock photo from pixabay.com]
She wants to talk about the weather,
asks about my weekend plans while I’m
still trying to form a sentence worthy
of describing the locomotion of clouds
and how the drizzle of dew danced
this morning framed like a vintage photograph
by the blades of crabgrass and ivy’s trance
around the window frames, but she is talking
about something else now. A Saturday sport
and how someone whose name
I don’t remember is visiting someone else
I don’t know and why can’t I remember
and am I not really going anyplace with anyone?
What about Sunday?
I want to say slow down please.
There is still a thing to say about the last thing
and you might also be interested to know how
the moon got its shape. But. She says
it’s rude to talk about things like that, things
that no one else is interested in
things like the thoughts I have about
hobbit houses and underground libraries and
other places where no one would actually
want to go because people need to live
with other people so they can talk about
important things that matter like sports and
other people and that’s what small talk is.
Small talk isn’t lemons or black telescope goldfish
or the origins of totalitarianism, small talk is
beautifully simple like
how are you but don’t answer that
and hope you are doing well but not really.
She says I need to get out more, get cultured,
get my feet wet and I think I
got my feet wet yesterday and
she’s talking about something, I know she is, but
you know what is really interesting?
Ants walk in a line and leave a scent path behind
so other ants don’t get lost.
[black and white stock photo with a yellow lemon from pixabay.com]
When it’s all I can do to wake up
and face a daylight that suffocates me
and face a world I know doesn’t want me
and face a face that is my own but I don’t recognize
why I don’t feel like facing anything because I can’t
differentiate feelings like that anymore
and so I go to get help
because the world says I need it and I’ve tried
all the alternatives, tried the diets
taken the pills, drenched myself in oils
chanted under the moonlight, prayed
read every self-help book and memorized
the words but don’t understand
how they’re supposed to help me
and I know, deep down, I know
as I walk the two miles to
this next helpful place
that it will just be another building
I later won’t be able to differentiate
from the next one and I know
the helpful person there won’t know
any better than the last one
any better than I do
how to help me
but will try
by saying things like trust me
you’re probably not autistic
you’re probably just depressed
you’re probably just bipolar
here take these pills you can’t afford
even though you said you tried them
and almost died you’re probably wrong
because that can’t happen, really
or you’re probably just confused
about your gender because autism
and if you think you want help
you will need money and approval
and other things you don’t have but
don’t let that stop you
because there are people that can help
people like you but first
you’ll probably need other help
and you’ll probably want to pray about it
and we’ll probably need to talk to your family
to evaluate if you’re really who you say you are
and we’ll probably need to refer you to a place
that’s too far to walk to
that’s too expensive for you to pay for
that’s too booked up with
the right kind of people.
And so, these are the things I think about
while I’m walking
to the helpful place
and I think
I walked around this block already but
I can’t be sure because this tree
looks a lot like that one and now
I have to sit down because my legs
can’t leg anymore
and I want to go home
where my bed is
but where am I?
and the daylight is stealing my last breath
and the wind is trying to kill me
and I just don’t know anymore
if I can find my way home
or if I got there
what I would do
so I stay here a while
on the side of the road
where the grass is and think
dandelions are more yellow
than I remember them last year
and they look a little like lions actually
and I remember as a kid
being thrown into the field
of dandelions behind
the elementary school
and the kids were laughing
and the teachers were laughing
and no one knew
I wasn’t laughing
because I was happy
but because I thought laughing
was what I was supposed to do
and no one helped me
and now a man is here
with a flashing light shining it
at my face and saying
something about my hands and
I hear screaming and
he tells me the scream is mine
and I’m lucky this time
because I’m white
and semi-safe looking
so I’m still alive
and the policeman
is only going to help me
and he says he’s going to drive me home
and I get there
and he asks me
if I have someone to help me
and I say yes because sometimes
the truth is more harmful than a lie
and I promise to be okay because
that’s what I’ve been doing my whole life
and I tell myself I’m fine
and one day
it will be like the books say
about how if you say it
to yourself enough
you will believe it
I. am. fine.
I. am. fine.
I. am. fine.
[dandelions at the side of the road stock photo from pixabay.com]
I consider myself super lucky to have a part time job where I can work from home because otherwise I don’t think I would be able to do it anymore… all the commuting (public transportation), peopling, wearing highly uncomfortable clothing, having to multitask and process constantly changing technology, all of the stress/pressure. I look back and don’t know how I ever survived working in an office but I really don’t think I would be able to hold down that kind of job anymore.
I think things have gotten harder for me instead of easier in so many ways, or maybe I just have a lower tolerance now or something. Or (as someone on FB pointed out), burnout.
I’ve written about burnout before. I think I’m on round three (or maybe five now, I’ve lost count tbh). Maybe it’s permanent this time? I dunno. I don’t know enough about it.
I have small glimpses where I’m like “OK I CAN DO THE THINGS” or “Omg I’m feeling so free from the pit of quicksand now” but nope. Maybe it really is depression. I’m not sure anymore.
This is a picture of a tired cat laying on a tiny couch. Because cat on a tiny couch. (free stock photo source: pixabay)