A Month in Prague: A Photo Story

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i am the child of a bipolar mother

How do I begin?
When I was thirteen, my mother went away. I did not see her again for months, and by the time I did, I’d already sealed myself shut.

Scratch that: once upon a time, there was a little girl whose mother began acting strange until she was taken away for a good long while.

It begins: I was a child, a very sheltered child, a quiet child who liked drawing and the internet and who knew there was something wrong with her mother. This girl hid in dark rooms and grew used to the pale glow of the desktop’s sheen against her skin. It was her only sunshine for that summer.

Scene: the girl is standing in or near a corner and watching the older woman stand in dining room chairs and search for invisible “bugs” “microphones” “government chips” in the eggshell colored ceiling.

Memories still there after all this time:

1. It is the small gradient of time between late night and early morning when the night is beginning to be the deepest shade of periwinkle. I am standing on the front porch and watching my mother in the cul-de-sac. She is pacing in circles and finally lies down so that it looks like she’s attempting a snow angel in the rough and pocked cement. I am yelling to her now, telling her to get up. I am learning what it looks like when sanity slips off.

2. I am in college and it is Christmas Eve and I can’t remember why she’s angry. But she is, and I’ve let myself yell too, and my father has that resignation in the blue of his eyes. He is silent. I am enough, though, of my mother’s temperament to yell back, use the loudness of words, feel the dull ache of a too-long scream scrape against my vocal chords. And then she is there in front of me, my own eyes reflected back at me but with a darker glitter than my own. But this isn’t her. This isn’t the woman I used to adore. I can see the dark thing right there in her, near to the surface, now. I wonder then, too, what it’s like to have that kind of internal shadow pressing against the edges of your insides. And then she says something and I say something, and finally i’m being told that I shouldn’t have been born. I have been told I was the cause for many things before: the bad marriage, the unhappiness, the money troubles, the cause of most things. This is the first time, however, that she’s wished my existence away.

3. I have drunk too much wine in order to warm myself in artificial ways. It’s probably winter. I trace the paths of my tears–press my pointer finger down to swipe, sponge, and then lick the salt from it. She is just now telling me or has just recently told me again that it’s my fault he has cancer. I am a bad daughter; I am the type of daughter who gives her father cancer.

4. It is me, ages thirteen to twenty-three, begging her to stop yelling.

Sometimes these days, I’ll knock and knock and there’s only ever that hollow greeting of mine I made way back when. I’ve gotten so good at defense mechanisms. So good that I don’t remember how to take them off again.

ocd

Having OCD is similar to hosting a third party in your mind that issues guilt-trips on a regular basis, so that you end up in a strange, masochistic tango of self-hatred and uneasy belief. You aren’t certain what you believe but you know there’s enough belief there to control you, make you perform actions that are dually self-soothing and agitating.

And then, when you let it win, you curse and look at the time and realize just how late you are. Can a stove be off after the seventh consecutive check? The world may never know.

Around the time I realized something wrong I was still young enough to treat it like an unwanted houseguest.

BBG: bullying brain ghost

It’s similar to knowing a monster has a fifty percent chance of being under your bed or not being under your bed, but you’re not about to take any chances in case that percentage doesn’t fall in your favor.

OCD = chronic worst case scenario thinking

guest posts

I want to  some guest posts on here from people (anyone). Things I’d like to see you write about:

  • being a person who writes (duh)
  • magical stuffs (mermaids, witchcraft, tarot cards, unicorns, etc.)
  • ghost stories
  • dogs
  • confessions
  • favorite writing tools (currently going through a Le Pen phase)
  • favorite cocktails

*email me at mbsellers29 [at] gmail [dot] com with ur ideaz

*image via tumblr (pastelbooty)

 

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There’s something about sleeping in my childhood bed that makes me start thinking like my sixteen year old self again.

Nostalgia feels like a lighter shade of sadness for me. It’s one of those softer emotions that’s sly when it comes to accidental tears.

Tears are such a messy business. Just like most necessary things tend to be.

necessary is to messy as ____ is to _____. 

rooms after funerals

It’s on entering her bedroom with the lights shut off and the bed made of neat corners and the things lying in the places she put them last that I first learn how strange it is to be in someone’s room without that someone. There’s something subtracted from the overall sense of the place, like a fire that lacks spark but keeps a dull burn. The owner of a room is an unnecessary variable for the room’s existence: the equilibrium of chair to angled T.V. remote to the small press of imprint into pillow–made by years of left cheeks and regular bedtimes. These things exist with or without her presence. But it’s this preserved state—this scene pressed pause—that makes the small casualties of the room’s items, the mild imperfectness it was left in, hurt with gunshot suddenness. And there now, there’s the pain I anticipated. The brand of hurt that requires raw removal’s deep missing, like longing for your shadow when there’s no light left. It’s the reason I’m writing this. Because at some point, after standing there a while and looking at a dead woman’s things, I notice what’s tangible, still. She’s tethered there, in the small room and small house, by the summation of her things. This isn’t a ghost or replacement. It’s what she left behind because she had to, and the things we’re meant to stop and see. There are memories in her materials, and she’s there, in touch, the many minutes in a precious life all over everything, like layers of dust.