don’t worry baby

hi friends! today’s the last day of teen suicide prevention week in south africa. i’ve already written about this but i was going through some of my stuff the other day  and found something weirdly specific that i’d like to share with you. is it a bit personal? yes. is it overly personal? yes. am i a chronic oversharer? also yes.

today i’d like to share a suicide note that ended up not being a suicide note from 2015. yikes. it’s a weird thing to share & put on the internet, but this week is important and this is important and i’m doing this. in june 2015 i wrote a note in my journal (named janine). this is it:


i am so tired. i’m just so tired of being tired and then not being allowed to be tired. i can’t do this. i wish it was different but i can’t do this every day. i can’t do this. i’m not even seventeen and i feel like i have forty lifetimes lived out inside me, each with a dreadfully unhappy ending. i can’t do this. i can’t just go to school and exist and come home and exist and get up and exist if existing is the problem. i can’t do this anymore.

i want to be sorry and i want to feel and i want hope that it’ll be better but i can’t do this. i can’t cry for help because nobody is out there and i can’t even cry these days because it takes too much to cry. i can’t do this. i wish i could tell you to show this to people after but you can’t because you’re a journal and nobody even i can’t fucking do this. i can’t do this.

okay, if someone finds this, and i half hope nobody does, i want you to know some things. i’m sixteen and i’m in my final year of high school and i want to stand in front of a fast moving vehicle twice and make sure there’s nothing after. i know it’s pretty disturbing because sixteen year olds are supposed to be living out the hype of grade ten and being a senior and kissing boys and drinking alcohol you shouldn’t but i…i am not them. i am sixteen and tired and the more i sleep the more tired i get. i have some friends at school but they’re not really my friends. they like doing stuff and leaving me out of them and then telling me that i’m not part of that part of the group. and i have some friends from my old high school but most of them are too busy living out their final year of high school to be bothered and…i can’t be bothered anymore. i’m too tired to do this.

i’ve written notes like this before but they used to be dedicated to whole people and how i wished i could have done more for them because any semblance of sanity or functionality disappeared once i let them down. i hope i haven’t made any promises to you. i’m sorry that i can’t live them out. i can’t live anything out anymore. i’m so tired, reader. i’m so tired and i can’t do this and i can’t feel so much and nothing at the same time anymore and i can’t long for life and love and normalcy when i look the way i do and am the way i am and i am so sorry.

i love you so much. i wish i was okay, i wish i could show you how much i love you. i love you, and i know you might not know me but i love you. i want you to know that you’re so strong and brilliant and i’m so proud of you for having made it so far. your story is so far from over and i am so excited for what you will become and what you are. i’m sorry i won’t be around to see it but it doesn’t matter because you will be and it will be brilliant. i know it’s a lot of pressure because this strange girl with nothing to show for herself is leaving you a message to continue when she’s quitting, but it’s all true. i believe in you. now and later and always.

if you meet someone who feels like me one day and you don’t know what to say to them, tell them…tell them that they’re enough. tell them that even though they are done, the world isn’t done with them and that there is so much left for them to do, see, live, love and be before they go. tell them that they aren’t cowardly or craven for wanting things to stop hurting. tell them that you care for them and mean it. tell them that one day they’ll find people who care about them as much as they care for everyone else. tell them that their capacity for love is endless and that everything that hurts sucks but that they can make things with it. tell them to talk to someone and if that person won’t listen, tell them to talk to someone else. to a billion other people who will. tell them that even though the world acts as though there is no room for them, that your world has room for them. tell them that they are brave and honest and raw and valued and important. tell them that they are important and that the world needs them. call them friend, and mean it.

i feel so at odds with myself. i wish someone would have told me the things i would have said. i’m so sorry. i’m so tired. i can’t do this.

tell them that it’s gonna be okay if they keep moving. tell them to get out of bed at least once a day. tell them that loving everyone is enough and that while nobody tells them that they are in love with them, that they are loved. tell them that their love is strong and bigger than their tired. tell them that the biggest thing they can do is try their best not to get lost in the nothingness that comes with tired and lonely and i want to die. take them outside. tell them to breathe and to touch and to do their best to feel. tell them to keep on. learn to live with them. learn from them and with them. live.

don’t tell them a sixteen year old told you this.they probably won’t take you seriously. (take them seriously.)

i love you, dear reader. i love you and my mom and my siblings and my friends and my “friends” and the kid who stole my shoes in first grade and the teacher who humiliated me in grade five and everyone else. i love you and it’s so not your fault and i’m sorry and i love you. you are so loved. i want this to be different. i want…i want to live too. i want to love too. i want to keep loving. i’m just so tired.


i didn’t kill myself that night. i read the letter again and again and again and felt too much like a fake to give all of that advice and then disappear. i’m still around, and every day is a struggle. i have a bunch of these letters and most of them don’t end with a realisation that i wanted to live. this one did, though. i’m grateful to my past self. i called SADAG and went to school, told my teacher i needed to be in therapy because i wanted to die, and walked out of class when she told me i was being dramatic. suicide is dramatic. it’s a matter of life and death. take it seriously.

do what you need to do to stay alive. the sun will rise and we will try again. don’t worry, baby.

love and light,
shalom xo

to the one who broke my heart | honest letters #1

A friend of mine is posting a series of twenty-two honest letters to people in his life. I find the idea extremely brave, honestly, and I also really need to say what I need to say to some people, regardless of whether they can appreciate it or not. So. Here are some honest letters. Shall we?

Oh, love.

I remember falling in love with you hard and fast and with every part of myself. You are still the happiest time of my life so far. I remember longing to be with you when you left to get water, and I remember sitting in your lap hoping that I’d always get to see you looking at something from under your eyelashes. I remember the way that you thought your hands were too coarse to be good to hold, and I remember the silly half-mouthed kiss you gave me when I told you that I thought they were lovely. They are lovely.

I know you didn’t break it on purpose. I know. It was more of a civilian casualty: things were flying everywhere and decisions had to be made and the tornado that is my head didn’t help your balance either – and then you dropped it. It broke into three pieces that I broke further. With every drunk text and every “I just miss you” and every textpost and every “Just, call me if you miss me back, okay?” I dropped what was left. I shattered the fragments that you unintentionally left behind, and dissolved the rest of it in alcohol and tears and sweat.

I’ve come a long way from being the living embodiment of Tove Lo’s Stay High. I do miss you, still. I miss singing for you, and arguing about breakfast. You know this.

You know that I love you. You know that I always will.

You know that I have no sense of self preservation, and that if you came back with a piece of the broken heart that I left you with, I’d be on my hands and knees looking for fragments that had been missing for a year or three; that I’d dedicate myself to drawing up equations concerning where I can find exactly what we’d lost; that I’d cut myself down to size, again and again and again.

You know.

I can’t do that, though. I miss you, but differently now. The only science I was good at was our chemistry, and we both know that an attempt at complex mathematics would be better suited to you. You’re not too into maths, though.

I’m sorry about how things turned out. I’m sorry that nothing ended like we hoped; with off white walls and early morning espressos. I miss you indefinitely. I love you. I’m sorry that we’re finished, but we are. I know that now. My drunk heart knows it now. The pages of my journal know it. The Internet knows now, and so do you.

Stay well, and take constant care of yourself.

love and light,
shalom xo

Bravado

This week has been something.

I went from crying for seven straight hours to not crying at all. It may not seem like a world altering change, but when your eyes are suddenly unpuffy and nobody’s asking you what you’ve been drinking for the whole week, it makes a bit of a difference.

I was stuck with an English essay that provoked procrastination from every crevice of my being. The essay topic was alright, but one of the short stories that we were working on just…ah, it did nothing for me. It was (a) more of a novella than a short story, (b) had a rapist as the narrator on moral authority. I just got very tired reading it. It’s an excellently written story, though. I think that everything happening in my country about rape culture at the moment made me a little apprehensive.

I just submitted my essay a whole 12 hours before it’s due. I’m feeling quite accomplished. (This is a lie. I am not.)

I’ve got a little bit of time tonight because I am neglecting my law & philosophy readings. I feel as though my room is conspiring against me: My doorknob sliced my finger when I entered, and now it won’t stop showing me that in less time than I can adequately comprehend, I will have been alive for eighteen years.

Eighteen doesn’t seem like a long time, and birthdays don’t seem like a big deal, but if you’ve been around this little corner of the internet, you’ll know that I don’t do well with birthdays. The ABEC (Annual Birthday Existential Crisis) comes to town a month before my birthday, usually. Being the Americanest American to ever American, my birthday is on July 4th. (The bitch is early this year.)

I think this has all started because I’m listening to my favourite music from 2013. I loved Lorde in 2013. Everything she sang made sense to me. In 2013, I was a 15 year old in 10th grade struggling with physics dating a twin boy. I wanted to dance more than anything, I wanted to sit on tennis courts with my then-boyfriend and his brother, my then-best friend and our little clan, drinking out of paper cups. I wanted to be able to describe my year as the feeling of wind on your hand when you stick your arm out of the car window on a roadtrip.

Today, in 2016, I’m still faking glory. I’m trying to convince myself that when the lights come on, I’ll be ready. I have been ready, for the most part. I’ve fooled everyone into thinking I have been, at least. Every day is a pill tipped back, every day a brand new story. Everything is for the applause, in the most selfish way possible. Does that make any sense?

I’m walking to 18 slowly, and it’s running at me. I’m trying to find my own bravado before it crashes into me.

I’m also going to move to New York in 3-ish years.

Love and light,
shalom xo


featured image from this 8tracks mix

my youth is yours

what if we say goodbye to safe and sound?

It’s always a whirlwind. It’s a crazy amount of everything you’ve always wanted to feel and everything you’ve been told only “stupid teenagers” do. It’s breathing when another person does and trying to recreate the moment that the two of you stood with baited breath, words hitched on either of your tongues, thoughts running amok in both of your heads.

when the stars start exploding, we’ll be fireproof

It’s “we’ll weather this”, it’s “long distance will work because we’re different”, it’s “I can’t tell my parents about us” and “I want to do this”. It’s every fear every adult has thrown at you, and anything that can and will happen to the 21st century relationship – it’s what you won’t allow to happen to you.

cross your fingers; here we go

It’s every single BuzzFeed article about how to make things work, every single #relateable post from Tumblr that was tweeted about that you saw on Facebook. Every day is a risk, love is risk, art is risk – and you have and always will be determined to create a masterpiece.

we’ve no time for getting old, mortal body; timeless souls

It’s making a decision to never stop doing the little things, a promise to yourself that you’ll never end up like your best friend’s mom, crying over a broken marriage and a broken man. It’s an acknowledgement to yourself that despite all of your only eighteen years here, you know what’s good for you. That you know what you want, what you need; and that what you have has got to be the best of both.

a truth so loud you can’t ignore

It’s the moment you realise that this is not forever, but it is all you have. That you’re more than warnings and false starts, that “you are what you love and not who loves you”. It’s the moment that you surrender to yourself – your young, idealistic, opportunistic self. It’s all you. It’s all youth.

a truth so loud you can’t ignore
my youth, my youth, my youth
my youth is yours


happy tunesday! this piece of writing was based on troye sivan’s “youth”, for which the lyric video was released yesterday. blue neighbourhood is available for preorder here, and several tracks become available upon preorder, including “youth” and “talk me down“. i’m a big, big fangirl. sue me.

love and light,
shalom

 

 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Deadlines | Re: College Apps

My final exams are on their last legs. I have three more papers, two of which are on the same day (yes, it’s alright History & Drama, you can kill me, I don’t mind), and I’m very, very excited to have it all over with.

Mostly because I need more time. For school.

I’m applying to several universities (colleges?) in both the USA and Canada, and most of my deadlines are disturbingly close to December 10th – the day one of my girls (who are we kidding) leaves for Viet-fricken-nam. There is a lot to be done in the way of essays, “why and how would your admission to XYZ University benefit the University and the world?” type questions, paying CRAZY fees just to send through a form, and hoping to all that is holy that I didn’t screw up too badly in these finals so that I can at least  have some sort of shot.

In other December news: It’s almost Christmas?

I was talking to my mom about how this year, Christmas doesn’t feel anything like it. The supermarkets started decorating late, no Christmas craft pop-up stores have opened up as of yet, and honestly, nobody is excited. My mom gave me a simple answer: “it’s because there’s no money this year.”Makes sense.

In any case, the Christmas feeling is near non-existent; the pressure of deadlines is mounting, and I think I’m going to an 18th birthday party tonight. Maybe. (Update: I’m going.)

To all of the kids completing college apps as well, good luck. May we all finish in time, write bomb ass essays, and be accepted to our RD schools with promising financial aid packages. May we not break out into hives every time we think about out upcoming student loans and the fact that we’ll all be broke until we’re 35.

love and light,
shalom


Also; thanks for the new update, WordPress! I love it.

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: TWO DAYS TO GO

I almost didn’t write this post.

Many more people allowed me to take photographs of them today. I now have just about 58 minutes of footage that I will have to condense into a video no longer than three minutes. Lovely.

I had many of my “lasts” today. My last Dramatic Arts lesson, my last Physical Science lesson – and in all this, we, as the matrics, were exhausted. We were too tired to register that the regular alternate Wednesdays that we’d become so accustomed to would stop existing when tomorrow comes around. We don’t think things end but they do and here we are.

We think we’re invincible. I read this post about teenagers and our attitudes towards death  and growing old, and I recommend it 100%. It talks about how we think we’re “too young to die”. On that note, listen to this Panic!At The Disco song – it’s called Far Too Young To Die and it’s perfect.

When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die.

-John Green, Looking for Alaska

Today I felt as though I became aware that I will not be a teenager for much longer. I will not be a high schooler (?) for much longer. I will not be invincible for much longer.

Today, awards were given out based on favour rather than merit, and service, passion, and dedication of five years worth were disregarded and condensed into an A4 piece of card that may well have read, “Thanks for coming.”.

Today, I realised that there isn’t nearly enough time left to fix the wrongs we, as a class, have been faced with; to change things to the degree that they need to be changed; to leave lasting marks on walls and trophies and hearts, or to simply be.

We have always thought that we are invincible. Soon, we will learn the truth.

Love and light,
shalom

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: 4 DAYS LEFT

I KEEP GETTING HIT BY PANIC WAVES AND I DO NOT APPRECIATE IT

I walked around school with my camera today, and I recorded little pieces of footage that I’d like to remember. It seemed strange to a lot of the girls – after all, I was taking 20 second videos of once shiny black school shoes shuffling to class after a meeting that DID NOT NEED TO TAKE UP MY ENTIRE BREAK. Yes.

The video footage aside, I had conversations with some of the most radical ladies I have ever had the privilege of meeting and talking to. We talked, yelled, debated, and laughed about drunk adventures, whitewashing in our school, the plight of the black woman in the world that we live in, ridiculous hair regulations, and why some boys are So. Thirsty. It was brilliant, and despite the 32°C temperature (that’s 90°F?) we managed to disturb the peace and have a phenomenal time.

I got emotional and nostalgic. As expected.

It pained me to think that whether I like it or not, this week may well be the last time I get to have these conversations with these people. I think it’s a shared matric sentiment: the thought that the people who you’ve loved and lived with for more than a quarter of your life will soon go on and create new lives, often without you, is nerve wrecking. And sad. Mostly sad.

This week, if not this entire year, has made me cherish the people in my grade more than I have in a long time. The class of 2015, the ‘black badges’ – we’ve never been favourites. We’ve probably seen the most high school dropouts and caused the most trouble for all of our respective schools. 1997 (for the most part) must have been a crazy year. Just saying.

In any case, high school as a whole has provided me with a lot – bruises, failures and heartbreak, as well as conversations I’ll miss and points of view that I’ll treasure. I’m going to keep recording this week, and hopefully fewer and fewer people will shy from my lens.
Eugh. Lasts and goodbyes are hard to navigate. I’m going to pretend to study, like the rest of us.

Love and light,
shalom


featured image from http://projectgrad2015.vpweb.com/Announcements.html

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN: 5 DAYS TO GO

This is a brief lil’ post-a-day series for the next week or so regarding my last days at high school. That sounded way, way more intense than I initially intended.


So, I’m finishing high school in five days. Well, not really, but technically. See, I won’t be a student anymore -my valediction is on Thursday- but I’ll still have to come back to write my final exams for four weeks, I think. I’m not sure. All the shit is terrifying.

I keep thinking about how I’m going to deal once school is over. See, I hate school, but it’s also pretty much the only constant I have in my life. If I didn’t go school, I wouldn’t see my friends, eat, or exercise because lord knows, those stairs and my thighs have had an appointment. Also, I’m a little stressed out at the fact that nothing is concrete for me at present? Like, the majority of the students in my year have plans: Finish school. 2 month break. Get results. University. I’m kind of in between every single one of these phases, like: Finish School. Retake SAT. Find job. Work. Get results. Send results to McGill. Find out if accepted into McGill. ET CETERA.

To cut a long and particularly haphazard story short, I’m tired and terrified. I don’t know how I’m going to take this week, or why I’m not studying for finals, or what I’m going to be doing at school tomorrow. I don’t know.

Essentially, I’m just really tired, and I want cuddles and a high speed internet connection.

In a word: Ugh.

Love and light,
shalom

LET’S HAVE THIS TALK, PARENTS

Okay, look. I know my blog reaches people. I don’t know their ages, but I do know that I have a whole bunch of parents who are friends with me on Facebook and they should read this. Alright. Beginning.


Parents. Let’s talk about privacy.

There are some rules about having a teenager. First off, do not DO NOT DON’T invalidate their feelings. Don’t tell them that “everyone gets depressed” or retort with something you’re used to saying like, “clean your room” when they talk about wanting to die.

Secondly, respect their damn privacy. I’m speaking on behalf of teenagers, so when I say us, I mean your kids.

SNOOPING AROUND DOES NOT HELP. The facts are these: parents who think that combing through every possession of ours until they find something incriminating are not helpful. You guys create better liars. Seriously. Go through our journals one time and I swear to all that is holy, in the seven minutes that you were yelling about how we’re not allowed to profane or buy more CDs or talk about boys the way we do, we’ll have created at least four new lies and cover ups for the next time. Promise.

IT’S MY HOUSE is not an excuse. Yes, parents, I am calling you the hell out on this. It may be your house but the living space belongs to us and it is NOT your place to go through it. It is not your right nor automatic privilege to raise hell because we’re not fully functioning adults. One word: TEENAGER. We screw up. It’s what we do. We’re kids and there is nothing worse than a parent making you feel like your existence is a burden. Because this thing where parents expect us to be visions of Christ at seventeen is ridiculous.

STOP. GOING. THROUGH. OUR. STUFF. It will not make you closer to us, it will not give you a better picture of how “things : are, and it will sure ass hell NOT tell you what we are going through. It’ll make you think you’re doing the right thing, and that you’re on the right track, but you’ll really just be driving the wedge between you and your teenagers deeper, okay?

Lastly, threats are not okay. You can’t threaten us with everything we hold near to us and expect us to snap up and all of a sudden be the twenty four year old you wish you gave birth to. Don’t threaten us with our friends, music, diets, routines. NOT. OKAY.  Don’t terrorise your kids in an attempt to fix them for God’s sake BE CIVIL WITH US.

I am angry and this is important. Pay attention, mothers. Take note, fathers. Open your eyes, anyone who takes care of a teenager.

Shalom

On Teenage Suicide (Prevention Week)

This week has been South African National Teenage Suicide Prevention Week.

Granted, some of you will be wondering why I’ve been such a twit and haven’t spoken up about this earlier, seeing that the SATSPW started on Valentine’s day – and I assure you it’s not because I was too busy with my valentine – and why I’m posting this so late.

The truth is, I don’t know what I want this post to be. I don’t want it to be just alarming statistics and frightening facts, and motivational quotes and sad stories. So, as expected, this post will be a complete mess of everything.

  1. Around the world, the third leading cause of death in teenagers is suicide. 20% of teenagers  suffer from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and countless other mental disorders.
  2. I have been and am part of that 20%.
  3. I’ve written an anthology on mental disorders in teenagers which I can send to you if you comment your email address!

Seeing that it’s suicide prevention week and not mental disorder awareness month (when is that?), I’m going to fill you guys in on some suicide facts:

IT’S TERRIFYING.

Not only for everyone who is affected by it but also to the victim of suicide. As someone who has been through some rough patches, and someone who wishes she didn’t have the suicide patch on her sash, let me tell you something:

Suicide isn’t always something that happens after you notice you’re once smiley friend retreat into themselves and the darkness that consumes them. It isn’t always forecastable by looking at the scars on someone’s wrists, thighs, calves, shoulders, hips. It isn’t always recognisable by a smile that you think is false. It isn’t funny, fun, or anything of the happy variety: its death. It’s awful and untimely and terrifying, and it’s not a good experience to be on either side of the suicide line.

I don’t know how to make it better.

I know that psychologists are EXPENSIVE and that therapy doesn’t always work, and that people aren’t always there for you, and that sometimes it feels like the darkness in the world is big enough to swallow you whole, and anyone you reach out to will be swallowed along with you, and the last thing you want is for anyone else to get hurt so you may as well just erase yourself from the catastrophic picture you may not have even drawn, but even something as small as sharpening the pencil seems like a big enough offence.

This, friend, isn’t always the case.

I used to be suicidal. I used to want to die, every day. I used to hate getting up, and I despised the fact that my lungs were still working in the morning. I tried to die. Often. And the experience is something I wouldn’t wish on any being or creature in the universe.

But friends, I’m still here.

If you’re looking for a sign not to kill yourself, this is it.

If you’re looking for someone who will miss you if you die, I am them.

I found myself in a hole of darkness and I won’t even lie and say I’ve climbed out. Because I haven’t. I’m still climbing and I climb every day. I can tell you that it’s far more difficult than I would have ever imagined, but also, far more worth it.

Regardless of where you are in the world, here you can find the number to call if you’re feeling suicidal.

In South Africa, we have SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) and they’ve helped me tonnes. You can contact them on 0800 567 567.

Please don’t ever hesitate to send me an email if you ever need any help. We’re all survivors here, and I’d be so, so honoured and willing to help.

I leave you with some lyrics by my favourite band:

Friend, please don’t take your life away from me.”

Love and light,
shalom