back from self-imposed exile… ha. ha. cry.

Funnily enough, I returned.

Not because my conviction was wrong.

Not because I was only ever being a ‘drama queen’ (think what you like)

Not because I necessarily think I ‘should’.

But because I felt like an outsider to my own life. Isolated from where my tribe live. the things that I thought leaving would heal … festered.

Because I left some of the light back there. And leaving it behind made me realize that light … its so vital. Right here .. right now. I need light. The darkness gets in whether I have a Facebook app or not (new truth) – but the light … that’s less predictable.

I do though, yes, feel like a failure (not a new truth).

I do though, yes, feel like I can fix that.

New mission … Spread Goodness. The virtual world needs it.

(Thank you Kirsty … for showing me options )

 

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Four Facebook Fears

A couple of weeks ago I decided that it was a good idea to leave Facebook for a while. There were many reasons that led me to that decision, both short and long term; medical and psychological.

     Mainly there were, what I call, Four Facebook Fears.

  1. Inadequacy
  2. (unhealthy) Competition
  3. Normalization (of self-destructive behaviours)
  4. Unfair judgment (of myself and others)

     I am someone that has spent most of their life trying to escape a full-bodied, sickening feeling of fear that sits in my chest, or sometimes in my ears. It has pursued me through childhood self-taunting, teenage anorexia and adulthood loneliness. I have never been able to explain with complete accuracy just what I mean by this fear – but it’s always been material and embodied; always assiduous and meticulous.

I associate it with disintegration and fatigue, and it is worse when I am alone.

     I’ve got a stronger dose than usual today as I am recovering from a child-free evening jammed with ‘uppers’ which I delighted in at the time but pay the price of days with much less light. So today instead of sitting in my chest, the fear is sitting on top of it. Bloated and viscous. All the moments left empty between tasks are filled with taunting voices, calling me back to a place of dissolution. A place which is terribly hard to come back from.

Confession : I scrolled Facebook last night

against my own rules and I felt momentarily better, as what I was searching for in my self-piteous state of mind was reassurance that I was wanted. That I stood in the protected space of friendship and relationship-hood and could derive assurance in the reflections that space provides. I wanted to gift myself with a palpable sense of ‘confidence’ ….. also, this is all an over-glorified way of saying I was making sure I wasn’t coming second place to the multiplicitous, young, blossoming Facebook universe of singer-songwriters, artists and more beautiful personalities/profiles/prospects  … and yes yes, now I am feeling the shame. I found all four Facebook fears waiting for me with open arms. But I did, after, retreat and delete again – and don’t consider myself a lesser being for the mistake. I am just hoping that in making my choices to leave social media, I haven’t opened myself up to magnified judgement and criticism. I am left wondering though, is there a way to craft for myself some more armor? Is that what I need?

I do so dislike being the messy person.

I do so want to be the person who brings warmth and comfort.

     I’ve got a lot of work to do on myself – I know this. I accept it too. I have tried to give myself the protected, well-insulated space in which to do so by retreating from the things that encourage self-harm and moving towards the things that are REAL. And my own, somewhat manipulated, definition of ‘real’ here is, nourishing, up close, unfiltered interaction with people and things that assign me value.

It’s so very hard though. And I am still Afraid.

Can you relate?

 

Sian Alexia.

Postscript : These posts do get posted to a Facebook page of mine. This, as deliciously ironic as it seems, happens without requiring FB access and, is because I am yet to find a better medium through which to share my work.

Stop the Flashing Lights

One that still flashes

the magic word for peace

I still get these, these … flashing lights. Something deep in my neural pathways that’s telling me – it’s not okay. You’re not okay. When the lights flash, reality is so broken. I feel broken. All the hope and love that I build throughout the day – watching my children play and say please and eat their broccoli – feeling the ease in my yoga practice – walking out of a lecture theater feeling a little bit wiser – being embraced by someone my soul aches for – yet all that is damaged. And the hope doesn’t linger. Hopelessness can be so crippling. I worked so fucking hard to keep the hope. I gave everything of myself to keep it. Flash. It’s gone.

I hate those moments. And they do linger.

Like cigarette smoke in your clothing. I walk around after, tainted. I feel like people can smell my fear…

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Patchwork Girls – A Poem.

 

Sometimes, what it feels to be a woman … Thanks for reading.

 

Patchwork Girls 

 

Only tiny tastes.

     Melt in the mouth but

never get stuck in His teeth.

A lick of lip.

A nipple may leak

 — nothing left beneath.

 

Cradle at night.

     If He calls but

we offer only fruit.

No bended knee.

This day she knows

 — to kneel is bittersweet.  

 

Feast unfolded.

     Save Him a touch of wine

to drip slowly through bathwater.

Sink circles.

Days discolor.

 — fullness forgets Her.

 

Sian Alexia.

Confessions of a Welfare Mother.

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(photo – The Press, Christchurch December 2016)

Confession number one – I accept charity.

You know, I grew up to be a teenager that believed I was the soon-to-be-owner of a multi-story mansion. I’d even designed myself a spiral staircase (marble, naturally…) and a minimalist, artsy decor. Basically, I, Sian Alexia, believed that I was going to be a capitalist success – making lots of cash which = happiness.

{Flash-forward 10 years}

There’s no staircase in my small, Phillipstown rental. There’s no decor, aside from pre-school artwork and alphabet fridge magnets. I am a solo mother, and a student, on welfare.

No degree. No mortgage. No wedding photo’s of me and ‘Mr Right’ waving like royalty. I have failed my teenage imagination.

In this series of posts I intend to pick away, if not openly erode, many of the inbuilt, self-punishing, socially circumcising, stigmas that go alongside being ‘dependent’ and an adult; what I will an ‘un-adult’ for fun. 

Back to my confession …. yes, I accept charity. My beautiful teen fantasy of making mountains of cash – and then setting up a charity to give away all said cash (“The Word Bank”, teaching illiterate children for free, rivaling the World Bank in influence…..sigh) became very twisted indeed. I have accepted parcels from 0800 HUNGRY to feed my 2 kids. I have applied for hardship grants at the university. I have been on the wait list for dental surgery at the Charity Hospital for two years – two painful years. I take hand outs from my parents and some times of the year, my children have holes in their shoes.

It ain’t glamorous. It makes me feel small and ashamed and unworthy.

How did I get here? one might ask. well, I can assure you it was not by choice. First year into my double-degree/double-major change the world mastery in Law, Politics and English, I got sick.

I got sick.

Diagnosed with anorexia-nervosa , I was hospitalized more than once, and quit university one semester in at 19 years old. Years following … I flip flopped between anorexia, bulimia, and severe depression. Sometimes I worked small jobs but those days I hardly remember. It is a black hole in my life that i believe much of my subconscious has fought hard to block out.

But miracles do happen. I got pregnant. And after a post-baby re-diagnosis with anorexia, I got pregnant again. A boy and a girl. My children.

It was all very beautiful and they saved my life – but I was a broken person who never got a chance to ‘want’ recovery – and all of a sudden, so needed …. so responsible for life. 

My partner at the time and the father of my kids was an addict and eventually, the addiction put out our flame. Horrid debt pursued us … addictions (and children) don’t come cheap. So here we are …back to today.

…living alone with my two children, a mental illness that has never really got put to bed, and my almost-finished-arts degree to work on into the wee hours of the morning.

I never chose to get sick.

I never chose to have children.

I would have stayed at uni, as far away from the doctors and nurses and small rooms and tears as possible, got that degree and ran. Positively propping up society. But I could not.

I might not have planned my children but I chose to keep them. and I choose them first every, single day.

Is *this* what a ‘burden to society’ looks like? and if so … can you blame me?

Is there someone to blame here? or are there only circumstances and fluctuations and things that none of us can foresee and SURVIVAL? 

I vote the latter. I used to blame myself – and still do at times – for the mess I have made of my life. I still get a bitter taste in my mouth when I sit in the waiting area at the Work and Income office, waiting to plead my case.

BUT. I know that I have only ever done what I can to bring safety and stability to my life and that of my children. I am not some ugly, money grabbing monster who lounges round in my bath robe all day and lives in luxury on my Sole-Parenting benefit. If you believe that is possible, you really do need to try it out. See how many luxuries you can buy with a benefit of $495.00 and rent of $350.00 ….

I accept charity because I need it now — and one day I wholeheartedly hope that I can be the one helping others; paying forward all the kindness and acceptance small pockets of society have offered me. Show me ONE ‘dole-bludger’ … one stay-at-home parent, one person living on the sickness benefit who doesn’t have a history. Many of them will break your heart. The biggest flaw to modern society is that we have learnt to see statistics before faces – dollar signs before empathy.

Show me ONE ‘dole-bludger’ … one stay-at-home parent, one person living on the sickness benefit who doesn’t have a history. Many of them will break your heart. The biggest flaw to modern society is that we have learnt to see statistics before faces – dollar signs before empathy.

And you know what? I am now more ashamed of my teenage self and her desire for material wealth and good PR than I am of being a charity case. I have learnt far more about life and people and love by living among the fallen than I could ever learn in a court room or a cocktail party. Beautiful people live at the bottom – people deserving of support, time, and compassion. Yes, some of them have addictions that make them dangerous and intractable bitterness resulting from years of insults and failures and abuse … but they are human, and they have a story.

Listen …open your eyes, ears and heart, before you decide.

umbras

By Sian Alexia

 

Shells linger, long limbed night

reveals what you have sheltered.

We turn away from Greatness

as the moon so restless waits

 

for light, once beheld

now looked upon with

whimpers.

You asked rough and I have answered

Not be;

 

To not be

thus, this. Untamed

and ill rendered,

alone to the lights and the caresses.

So near

and dear

 

At once unkind and nourishing

 

Shells linger, long limbed night

reveals what you have sheltered.

As we turn toward a selfless phrase

the moon so restless waits.

Quivering Lips ….. shall pass

But I want him for life, she said, quivering.

The man just stood and smiled. Standing and smiling and grieving. How can you condemn one to such a task? You know nothing of life beyond this moment. And this very moment, he is not yours to keep. Will you ask that he fail you even before he knows for what he lives?

I will ask, she said. How can I not ask?

Askance does not align with such claims. Ownership for life equally assigns one to subservience for life. You cannot make a slave of the man you love. You must ask, and therefore you must ask not.

And she thought love was the answer.

Perhaps, she had not loved long enough.

You drink wine long enough, you pass out. Inhale nicotine dreams long enough … fall into cancer and never crawl home… Love … is it the same? Have I not yet discovered its poison? Have I not yet matured into its pain?

And all she could think, hiding under the mink threads and forgotten sun, was how fitting that love, to her, was just like wine. Nicotine. Uncontrolled, destructive substances, that she once believed would bring her to Grace.

…. He was smothering her, one breath followed by silence. A silence that lasts through the night, through her dreams and drips out, the blood sucking through his teeth. How can one become such? No suchness … no life. Just one soul consumed. Living beneath the pavement of all else that screams to be real. To be walked upon and be bled upon. One life underneath the waves of war; a breathless moment that survives without air.

Sian Alexia

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