So here’s the thing…
When you are crazy (and I am, and it’s mine, and I fucking claim the word), you question everything about yourself.
Some questions that have actually occurred:
- I know my throat is raw and I can’t breathe but seriously depression does that, right?
- Did I really make plans to go out tonight or did I just make that up in my head?
- Who am I?
- Where am I?
- I can’t believe I said that… is she going to hate me forever?
- Am I the only person in this world and everyone else a part of my imagination?
- Why am I the ugliest person in the world?
So when you are in the here and now, wanting and working your fucking ass off to be better (day by day), you really have to figure your damn head out in order to function like a human.
The problem lies in your ability to be ok with yourself. When you question everything around you, you forget how to understand yourself as a thinking thing, a human, a valid voice. You forget (in fact may have never known) that how you think and feel is ok.
When you are sick… you are sick. Fucking period. You didn’t make up the 103 degree fever or the constant stream of… well you get the point. You did not make this up because you are not some superhuman with the ability to inflict imaginary germs on yourself.
When you are upset… you are upset. Your set of okayness values was not met… you’re sad, angry, frustrated. To feel that is ok… more than ok. When you close off your heart for long periods of time to avoid potential cataclysmic events that most people call life (you just can’t deal) and have the fucking courage to open your heart up and have it be stomped on… by all means… MOTHER FUCKING CRY!
Cry for your delicate yet powerful heart, for its ache but also for its courage to open itself up to possibility… to beautiful life! You have become a part of the majority (but are so happy that you’re still a little weird).
When you question your set of values… just stop. Your values are your own. When a girlfriend (now ex) tells you that you are ‘too gay’ (she was the one with the mullet) or another one tells you that ‘you are just too much to handle’… fuck ’em. Fuck them and their bullshit attack on who you are. Fuck them for not embracing the everything that is you. You earned this badge… you fucking earned it.
When you think you are not good enough and feel like you have to hide so you won’t be hurt… go out! Test yourself, force yourself. Not everyone is going to like you and even if you go on some manic tangent (because you are after all deliciously crazy) don’t fucking worry about it. Not everyone is going to like you, but those who do are yours for life.
When your girlfriends (now exes) cheat on you once, twice, three fucking times… get out. Don’t hate yourself because you went back… you went back because you believe (and still do) in the sanctity of commitment and love. You were willing to fight for it even when it wasn’t pretty. You loved and loved hard and were willing to try… so don’t lose faith in your potential to love and be loved back. Your person(s) are out there.
When you look in the mirror and seriously fucking hate what you are looking at (and may go for days without ever looking) don’t beat yourself up. Just live… maybe without looking for a while until you’re ready… (baby steps). You hate what you see because you are not looking at yourself. That person is not you. That is the sad, beaten down, and exhausted you.
You, the real you, the full you, are hiding in there… you will come out… (still working on that).
Remember that this reflection is what is holding you back from doing things… being alive… drinking with drag queens, protesting bullshit homophobes, dancing until you forget that there is gravity, loving and being loved by your people, finding those people you desperately yearn for.
The problem lies with the fact that you have not been able to be ok because some ridiculous piece of shit chemical in your brain is tearing you apart. You have been fighting for so long just to walk out the door and survive… you’ve gotta fight. You have to fight for yourself… for your rightful place in the world. No one is going to do this for you… but if you let them, the good ones will help you along the way.
But you have to let them in.
You have to trust the process.
You have to live.
You have to fight.
And if you feel like your whole world is going to crumble… because it will… we aren’t immune… fucking cry. Cry alone, cry with friends, just cry with every ounce of you. And then take a breath… and get up, and let love reign.
Dallas Barnes is a queer, cisgender, feminist, activist, and writer. She writes about life—its downfalls, turmoils, hilarities, and elations. Her experience with mental illness and all things queer makes her writing real, raw, and in your face. Dallas lives in Calgary, Alberta with her cat Grizzly and tweets as @salladsenrab.
text © Dallas Barnes 2017
photography © Jennifer Weihmann
used with permission; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
SCREW CHOCOLATE: 14 Queer Valentines To Help You Survive February 14 is a collaborative project by YYC Queer Writers. We get together intermittently to… write. Also, laud our lovers. Commiserate about our exes. Read each other what we wrote. Explain what we want to write. Try to justify why we aren’t writing it. Go home and write it. Come back. Share it… repeat.