Poem: Milly is Not My Name

I will be Agate, with her turquoise glasses
and smile like a broken picket fence that needs new paint,
whose mom sends her to school with cosmic brownies
and an apple cherry juice box. She arrives for the day
wrapped in Daddy’s arms and eagerly waits to go Home again.

I will be Carley, with her shiny hair
and bright pink fingernails, glittering in the sunshine
of our school playground. She is Master of the Monkey Bars;
boys try to look up her dress as she swings across,
and I don’t know why, but they keep on looking anyway.

I will be Rachel, with her Ken doll and Barbies
and green backpack so bright it hurts my eyes to look at.
She plays with Mabel, Gwen, and Denise, and sometimes,
their dolls do naughty things when Teacher isn’t looking.
She knows where babies come from, and everyone asks to sit by her.

But I am me, with my matted red hair
and a sunset, fading into dusk, streaked across my arms and legs.
I hide at the back of the class because Teacher won’t stop
asking about Daddy, and Carley wants to know why
my eye looks gross and why my lip is so fat, but I can’t tell her

And I am me, with my empty bedroom
and doll whose head is cracked like mine and whose arms and legs
skew apart and whose body is thin in the middle
where I hold onto her for dear life. I am the canvas of my daddy’s art,
but he only paints in amethyst, sapphire, and onyx.

I am his masterpiece, but I am so tired of being painted.

Welcome to My World

Greetings!

This is my writing blog, geared toward readers and fellow writers of Fiction and Poetry. I’ve been writing since I was six years old (I recall my first story being about a family of penguins). I am excited to start sharing my work with readers and friends. Feel free to share anything you’ve enjoyed here, with credit to my name and authorship.

I’ll be updating the blog every Sunday with either works of poetry or snippets of fictional pieces I’m working on. Currently, I’m writing a young adult fiction novel  (called Velvet and Ink) and will be posting small teasers and snippets of that on here as well as other short works of fiction. I might randomly through in a post or two between Sundays with random thoughts or creative exercises I enjoyed.

I am always open to fellow writers sharing their works with me, and with the author’s permission and if I enjoy it and feel readers will also enjoy it, I will be sharing those works here as well, with credit to the appropriate author(s). Please feel free to submit your works to my email with a brief author bio.

Finally, I will be posting personal non-fiction pieces about my life and my struggles and my unique perspective. I hope my experiences will be not only enjoyable to read but also something to stir your thoughts.

Please note that while some of the pieces posted on here have been through the editing process, a lot of it will be raw, as I’m trying to post new material weekly to keep me writing, so be ready for some messy stuff.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll join me over the next year and beyond.

Peace and love friends,
Kariana “Kay” Anderson

The Creature

A lot of people don’t understand Depression. Maybe they’ve felt it before but mistook it for Sadness, or maybe they thought they were depressed but really just sad.

Here, I want to offer my own definition. I guess that’s kind of what I want this blog to be about. For those who understand, I’m here to be your sounding board. If you don’t understand but you know or love someone who suffers, let me offer a new perspective. (I’m not a doctor, so I’m only speaking for myself)

When you’re depressed, it’s hard not to always feel like the poison in the water hole. It’s hard to ignore that ever present voice in your head that says, “You did it again: you ruined everything.” The Voice even ruins the good things people do or say, by reminding you how terrible you are and how undeserving.

I’d say that’s the difference between Depression and Sadness: Sadness grips you and brings you to your knees, but once you relish in all that makes you feel, Sadness lets go. On the other hand, Depression is the lover that grips you tight and waltzes you away into a flurry of unwanted thoughts and uncontrollable feelings. It’s like a bird squawking in your ear every few minutes. It’s this presence that clutches your soul and makes everything feel difficult. Everything sounds exhausting when you’re depressed and everything is work, even the things you love and sometimes even the people. Depression is like this monster that kind of just eats you from the inside out until you become the monster and don’t even recognize yourself.

When I say uncontrollable feelings, I mean completely unwarranted and unwanted waves of anger, bitterness, jealousy, hatred, fear, worry, and sadness. Everything that happens in the day elicits these responses that leave me feeling helpless, like a prisoner to my own mind and emotions. And then there are the waves of numbness. Those are the worst because the apathy and lack of feeling comes from nowhere. Sometimes, I feel this apathy towards things or people that I once felt so deeply for and about. I think it’s from this fear of all the work and energy it takes to feel and be passionate about anything, so even my deepest passions turn to dust in the face of Depression.

It’s also guilt. A lot of guilt and a lot shame—a never ending cycle that usually ends with me paralyzed in my bed, afraid to move or speak because it might lead to something else I’ll regret or hurting someone else I love.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Depression:

ONE. Selfishness is the cause of Depression. It’s a constant looking in that causes people to become this hopeless blob. While I warrant this has merit, it sure as hell doesn’t suggest a cure either. It’s hard to be selfless when you can’t even get out of bed. Sometimes, this sentiment just leads to more guilt.

TWO. You’ve got to be selfish. If you’re constantly “pouring from an empty cup,” you’ll never get better. Be selfish, so you can be selfless later.

I think both are right to a certain extent, but in moderation and balance. The hardest part is learning the healthy balance between self-love and doing things to help you get better, and actually falling deeper into the all-consuming world view of poor me. 

I’m not really sure what causes Depression. I wish there was a clear answer: like make sure to eat your vegetables and don’t drink blue Kool-Aid and have lots of friends and good family, then you won’t catch Depression. God, I wish it were that easy. All I know is that when I was twelve, I woke up one day with this weight over me, like wearing a heavy cloak I couldn’t take off. I remember that first bout so clearly. In a jewelry box in the closet of my apartment, there are twelve letters written to God. It was 2004. How guilty I felt then, and now. As a little girl, I shouldn’t have had a reason to be depressed, not really. I had a family that loved me and food and shelter and clothes (though no sense of style sadly). I didn’t know why I was so tired. I didn’t know why I was so sad. I didn’t know why dying sounded so sweet. I didn’t understand. I was only a kid.

There are things I didn’t know then and still don’t know why now. Why Depression chose me, I’ll never know. If you’ve suffered through Depression for any length of time, you’ll sympathize.

I am often told: “It gets better.” It’s such a sweet thought. If you’re anything like me though, this sentiment will frustrate the hell out of you (as most supposedly reassuring clichés are prone to do. I’ll write a lot about how much I hate these types of sayings). Try feeling the same way for ten or more years. That little flicker of hope snuffs out quickly, and when the light at the end of the tunnel goes black, being told to hope for the sake of hoping doesn’t seem good enough anymore.

I’m not trying to offer excuses for my behavior; I know there are parts I am responsible for. I just want to help people understand where I’m coming from, and the why to the questions I still cannot answer. I know that I am difficult, and not from a self-pitying stand point but from self-awareness. I want so badly to love the people in my life the way they deserve. I want to be there for them. I want to laugh and have fun and be present wherever I am. I dearly love the people in my life, but I will be the first to admit that I cannot always communicate and show my love for them. I require a lot of patience and comfort. For now, I think that’s okay. But my hope this year is that the tides will change.

This year I want to be better. I want to love others in return better. I want to live better. I want to work better. I want better.

In the meantime, this is how I keep myself going, how I keep fighting for the life I want to have. On the bad days, I remind myself:

This feeling will pass.

I can do this because I am brave. I am brilliant. I am beautiful.

I will get better, because “it” might not. But I can, and that’s all I want anyway.

 

Joy and happiness friends,
With love,

Kariana

 

 

Share your story here:

2016: Leaving Neverland

After an unfortunate tea spill, my computer has been out of commission for the last month, so I apologize for the absence of writing. I assure you: it was terrible (as a writer, not having a computer for a month equates with being on an all juice diet for a month. I survived, but I wasn’t satisfied or happy about it). However, thanks to a superb and brilliant boyfriend, my computer is up and running again.

I’m aware that New Year’s Resolutions might be overrated and possibly unhelpful, but I love them, these ideas and little promises of “fresh starts.” I use every month as a fresh start as well, which keeps me on my toes. I haven’t actually put too much thought into it this year, mostly because I want my resolutions to be different than they have in past years (thanks in part to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin).

By different, I mean I want them to stick.

My theme last year was mourning (not that I intentionally chose that at the beginning of the year. It just sort of developed). This year, I have a few themes in mind. Over all, though, I want to grow up–or at least accept that I’m no longer a child.

I want to pursue happiness and creativity. I want to be engaged in community and school. I want to try new things that are also terrifying to me. This year, I’m avoiding any resolutions related to weight loss because I’ve come to the realization that I’m tired of talking about the things that make me unhappy.

This year is going to be full of actions or acceptance, meaning I will either do something about the things in my life that I dislike or I will accept what is and be done with it. More than anything, this year will be about self-love and hope.

Happy New Year! Good luck with your resolutions. Let me know yours, and tell me your tricks for keeping them!

Joy and happiness friends,
With love,

Kariana

Auld Lang Syne

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for joining me this cold December evening.  As I sit in the kitchen of my parent’s house, I wonder where 2015 has gone. I suppose it has gone with the rest of the years, like faded photographs in the back pocket of my memory. While this year was significantly different in some ways, it was the same and harder in others.

If 2015 has taught me anything, it is this: I cannot keep running.

2014 taught me that I am more than I ever thought possible, and sometimes being more means being broken in ways I didn’t think I was whole. 2016 awaits, and in my fear, I begged to put more time and space between myself and the events of last year (forgive my vagueness, but these matters are too private for common knowledge).

So I ran to 2015 with arms spread wide, begging it to carry me to better places. And in someways it did.

In other ways, it drug me like a dog to my mistakes and rubbed my nose in everything I had done and everything that had been done to me.

I have mourned this year.

I mourned the little girl I lost through my adolescence. I mourned the teenager that learned rejection and lost hope. I mourned the hatred I learned for myself. I mourned the bitterness that burrowed into my soul like an un-welcomed rodent, feeding on my happiness. I mourned the adult who thought she had to know it all and have it all and be it all right now. I mourned the girl who believed she would never be good enough. I mourned the relationships and friendships that confirmed the fear that I am worth nothing. I mourned the missionary girl who drowned in a sea of broken people and circumstances that could never be fixed. I mourned the weeping girl, crying alone in an airport thousands of miles from home. I mourned the girl who lost “home” and still can’t really find it. I mourned what I was. I mourned what I did.

In mourning, I realized how lost I am, and I mourned that too.

I’m not sure how long it takes to heal from tragedy or the death of a soul. I’m not sure how to forgive the destruction and havoc broken and angry people cause. I’m not sure how to move on without the things that were wrongfully taken away. I’m not sure why some people are prone to more bad luck or more sadness than other people. I’m not sure what distinguishes the happy people from the sad. I’m not sure how long it takes to learn self-love after years of self hatred. I’m not sure how to develop the desire to live and lose the fear of being alive.

This year marks ten years that I have struggled with depression. There are days that are better than others, and there are days that seem worse than the best day in hell.

But as 2015 ends and 2016 begins, I realize that I want more better days. I want the awareness that I am worth better days. This year was hard, but I am grateful for it. I mourned. Now, I am ready to move forward.

So here we are. I’m not sure if there’s a magical formula. I think there probably isn’t. The belief that there’s some magical way to fix everything is probably what landed me here in the first place. I am learning to stand my ground in all that was past and all that is in me. In being lost, I am learning to find hope for a better future.

In truth, this post is written rashly, but I think this is best–I can’t go back now, can I?

This is my promise:

I will be here. I will be alive. I will do things differently. I will try new things. I will be braver than I ever have before. I will be honest. I will be vulnerable. I will be selfish, so I can be selfless later.

I don’t want to be depressed anymore. I don’t want to watch the world happen around me. I don’t want to be afraid of my own happiness. I don’t want to sabotage the good possibilities in my life. I don’t want to dwell on the things that once hurt me. I don’t want to hurt others. I don’t want to be angry.

I want freedom and joy. I don’t know what that will look like for me right now, but I know it will be mine and mine alone. I’m not attempting to make a formula for happiness, and I won’t be able to do exactly what anyone else has done either.

I just want to write a little and invite you to live life with me for the next year. 

If you stick with me, perhaps we can learn something from one another. Follow along my journey. Root me on if you can. Give me a shove if I need it. And I’ll do the same whenever possible. Share your stories with me and feel free to share my stories with others.

Joy and happiness friends,
With love,

Kariana

Eating Shit (Some real, raw, and possibly offensive honesty by yours truly)

As this horrible, no good, very bad  year finally comes to an end, I thought I’d make my position clear: I no longer consider myself a Christian.

So why did I stop believing?

It was for selfish reasons mostly–things I wouldn’t or couldn’t give to god, guilt I refuse to feel, dreams I refuse to give up, and an earthly home I desperately long for. There are many things I’m supposed to want as a “Christian Girl” that I don’t and can’t want. And then there are the things I want that I’m not supposed to want.

I choose my dreams, my hopes, my home, my sex and sexuality, and my humanity over a god who stayed silent–a god whose only mouth-piece seemed to me like the words of love painted with the blood of hate.

Shrugging off the veil of my religion was a relief bound in a bittersweet sigh.  It was not an easy decision, and there are moments I mourn all I once held true. But in the first moments of my disbelief, the first thing I noticed was the silence of my guilt. I am free. And for once, being lost isn’t a negative but a chance for adventure and discovery.

At the end of the day, however, I’m just tired of all the hate that comes from religious and nonreligious alike. I’m tired of the way we wake up in the morning and eat our own shit because we think we have to. I’m tired of the ways beliefs and politics pull us apart and make our Shit a livelihood.

The Shit we eat is full of bits of obligation and tradition, flecked with expectations and disappointments, hunks of fear and manipulation. But I promise, in the Shit we eat, you’ll never find humility or honesty or individuality. Every shit looks the same, and I see it all around us. It’s underfoot, it’s in our heads, it’s in our Bibles and textbooks, it’s in our constitutions and our handbooks. It’s in our peace, and it’s in our wars. It is both left and right. The Shit abounds, and the only escape is to stop feeding on the hate and judgement that points fingers and evades blame. It’s the Shit that renders us cowards in the face of anyone who looks different, speaks different, thinks different, believes different, worships different, and loves different.

We eat the same Shit, so we can fit in because on Earth, there is no greater curse than being different, and I am sick of it.