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Awkwardly adulting

(I'm trying my best)

Nice to meet you *firm handshake*

The title of this post is how I greet new people that I meet. Many of them are a little taken aback by the formality of it especially if they are only my age. A hug or a friendly wave would be considered more appropriate in many cases. I didn’t get into the whole hugging people you’ve only just met thing, until I moved to New Zealand alone at age eighteen. It seems to be the done thing in this country. I feel people express their emotions more here than where I grew up in Ireland, in particular when it comes to how they feel about you. If they love your personality they will tell you, and if they seem annoyed by you it means they are.

When you move to the other side of the world the only people you meet are ‘new’. Since I’ve been living here for just over a year now, the people in my life are no longer new but have taken on a new meaning for me. They tell me I’m positive, outgoing, and crazy. Their support is the reason I continue to awkwardly adult on my own. If I ever doubt myself they will always remind me about the 18,628 kilometers I have traveled to be here. Thank you to all you wonderful people who have influenced my choices and experiences so far. It’s a privilege to have you all in my life!

My goal was not clear at the start. It was all a blur really, a gap year I had talked about taking for so long that people didn’t believe it was really going to happen. Suddenly I was sitting on a plane, traveling to Dubai with a man sitting next to me who was educating me on the mountains in the desert as you fly into Dubai. When I hit land again I was greeted by palm trees, stunning sea views, huge motorways, all manner of high rise buildings and SO MUCH TRAFFIC. I was alone, everything was new, a tad homesick; but overall I was happy.

Travelling, going to music festivals, and just meeting people on the street opened my eyes to a whole new adventure that was mine to take. So I did.

I do a lot of things on impulse and other people may call these decisions mistakes, but I don’t see them that way. I see these irrational experiences as part of me just like my smile or my eye colour. This blog is basically my attempt to share my funny/crazy experiences with anyone who is interested.

Hope you enjoy 🙂

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Just another junkie

The prick of the needle no longer had any effect on me. The strap tightened just above my elbow. My blue veins visible and pulsing beneath my transparent skin no longer repulsed me, now I relished the sight of them. Watching the blood flow steadily through your body reminds you that you are alive. It seems to be the only thing that does for me, these days. The tingling sensation in my arm as my salvation spread through my inviting veins and took over my body was what I lived for now.

 

Heroin, my old friend. My heart beat so ferociously that my hands hugged my ribs to keep them from unhinging. I flopped backwards onto the stained mattress. Pupils dilated and completely comatose, I lay there alone. I no longer bothered to ensure that when I lay down I was on my side. If I overdosed I probably wouldn’t even be accounted for in the statistics of drug abusers. I had tried many other drugs as well but none had ever taken hold of me the way this did. Even ketamine didn’t give me the same kick. Heroin took me to a whole new level and I wanted to stay there. If I died, at least I would go out on a high.

 

People must take one look at me and think: “Just another junkie.”. They never see past the cuts and bruises; malnourished body; rotting teeth and matted hair to think “At one time she was beautiful and had a future, and maybe she could again.” At one time I was beautiful and I had a bright future ahead of me. I didn’t grow up in a rough area where drugs and dealing were part of everyday life. I came from a wealthy, wholesome, american-dream type family. My older brother was prom-king and my younger brother ended up getting a top honours degree in medicine. My father is a lawyer and my mother is a nurse. I have no contact with any of them anymore. The last time I spoke to my family was five years ago, the day I dropped out of college.

 

I was in my final year with only two months left until I became a fully qualified business woman. Of course at this stage I was already an entrepreneur selling specialised goods such as cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. My parents knew I had experimented with drugs in high school. They swept this history under the carpet in order to maintain their perfect family image. As a result my growing fascination with and addiction to drugs festered and stayed with me. Had the problem been confronted properly when it all began perhaps things would have turned out differently. Then again perhaps not, because teenagers are stubborn and don’t listen to anyone, least of all their parents.

 

Dropping out was my decision and it felt right at the time. When a dodgy guy promises you his heart and you have no self-worth you will believe him. He filled my head with drug-fueled fantasies of our non-existent future together. He was in it for the discounted drugs and sex, and I was trying to fill some deep void by means other than substance abuse. Neither of our intentions were good and I should have known the relationship was inevitably destructive.

 

The hardest time of my life was after we separated. I gave up my whole future and career for a hopeless, unrealistic, drug-induced dream. The only reason I didn’t end up living on the streets was because I got caught. Prison was a terrifying place, but if I had been on the streets I would be dead now. There were rehabilitation services offered but they were pointless, because prison is possibly the easiest place to find any drug you need. Prisoners can be walking pharmacies. During the six month sentence I served I did not make or receive a single phone call, and there was no point hoping for a visitor. I doubt my family even felt guilty. In their minds I had always been a burden and they believed they had done their best to help me. They thought that my marginalising me as an exception to the strong and reliable family unit, and sending me to counselling alone every week I would suddenly be miraculously cured of my addiction. The real cure would have been their acceptance and love. But deprivation of these things meant they were helping in their minds. The burden of guilt lies with me instead. I am guilty for causing pain to every family member. I am guilty for hating those who tried to love me the most. I am most guilty for destroying any chance I may have had at forgiveness.

 

After my time in prison I decided to stop dealing because I did not want to end up there again. I wanted to patch up the broken pieces of my life and move on. I thought I could stick myself back together without the help of anyone else. How wrong was I! My philosophy was that if I shut myself off from other people and blocked out the rest of the world I would never be tempted to take drugs again. Since adopting that philosophy almost four and a half years ago I have always been pretty much alone. I lasted two and a half years without touching any narcotics, with the exception of marijuana which doesn’t really count. My sobriety only taught me one thing: That drugs had always been better friends to me than people, and I needed a friend, so I began again. By keeping to myself during my brief period of sobriety I observed human nature in all its ugly glory. I knew I never wanted to let people back into my life having seen and encountered an infinite amount of verbal and physical abuse.

 

Now I lie here in my dilapidated apartment with the sound of sirens blaring, people screaming in the streets, and the smell of some building somewhere burning. I had many chances to change the direction my life was going in, but I didn’t take any of them. My life is one of billions so why does it matter to anyone else how I choose to live it? As an addict I know that death is coming sooner rather than later. Every time my small metal friend enters my arm I know it could be the last night I am alive, and sometimes I wish it is. I feel the vomit filling my throat and mouth. I cough and splutter once or twice.

 

In the middle of a city inhabited by millions, the body of a young, broken-hearted woman is sprawled on a stained mattress waiting to be pronounced dead.

 

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What you wish for

What you wish for is often not what you get,

and what do you do when your hopes are not met?

Disappointment settles in stratified clouds over your dusty mind,

Eyes closed tight stuck like soot in concrete chimney,

Your heart beats slowly as you escape reality,

Blind to the bad, making the good impossible to see,

and always wondering “Why me?”.

A seasonal scene

Sun-beams dancing on dew drop heavy leaves,

Fantastic feathers fluttering through trees,

An orange butterfly family watches over a cheerful hue of flowers in full bloom,

The stream gurgles, slowly caressing rock faces in its path,

A seasonal scene experienced by many,

And enjoyed by few.

Nothing

I had something,

Some would call it a spark,

Those who know me called it a flame

Burning bright and slow,

Illuminating those in the shadows

of fear, doubt, guilt, or humiliation,

For reasons I can’t explain

My flame has burned out,

And nothing remains.

Giving up

Success or even mediocrity is not guaranteed; but don’t give up

You’re breaking your own heart and maybe it’s all for nothing; but don’t give up

You keep making sacrifices although you don’t know the consequences; but don’t give up

Logic predicts you will give up; but when have you ever been logical?

Instinctively the struggle is always worth it,

That ache inside you reminds you of how and what you’ve achieved,

The risks you took will never be in vain when the existing outcome is everything you’ve done accumulated into one,

No other distinct possibilities are worth your time

Because what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine.

I can’t

“I can’t” is a childish game played in an attempt to prevent disappointment and challenge yourself,

Win and banners soar, fireworks light up the blossoming starry sky, and the overwhelming chorus chants celebratory songs to commemorate your victory.

Losing is drastic, useless, stupid, the most important question: why? circles and accumulates until you can barely breath except to scream.

Can’t is weak and vulnerable, embarrassing and overpowering;

Can’t leaves long-lasting effects like chemotherapy;

It feels impossible to get rid off, like a grass stain on white jeans;

Can’t forms invisible lists that you refer to for excuses to every and any situation;

Can’t is another word for the ways you hate yourself

and it breaks my heart.

 

Burned out 2017

Everyone said it would happen, and when enough people predict the same thing it usually comes true. There I was believing I was invincible, how wrong was I? Allowing my motto to be ‘work hard, play hard’ I really tested my body and my sanity to the absolute limits this year.

For the past eight months I have studied full time, worked part-time, held a lead role in a play, and set up my own positive mental health business with my best friend. That’s only the work side of things! On top of this I continue to party hard on the weekend and sometimes during the week too; I hang out with friends almost every day; write this blog; and exercise regularly. The end of 2017 is fast approaching and I have finally burned out. I say this with an underlying happy tone, quite the opposite to what you would expect. If my health and my body had not given up on me I would have continued to thrash myself to work even harder and faster under more pressure than ever all the way into 2018.

Although I did not see this burn out stage coming, I am not shocked. Prior to being sick I was only focusing on the next plan or goal and what I was doing to make it happen. Burning out has allowed me to reflect on what I have done this year, and I only realise now that I did a hell of a lot more than I set out to do. When you’re in the midst of a world fabricated from an endless abundance of to-do lists you don’t tend to do much emotional processing or be very kind to yourself.

I wish I could say that I am proud of myself for all the great things I achieved this year, but I honestly have not reached that level of self-compassion yet. There is still that niggly negative voice in my head telling me that I failed in some way because I didn’t do enough. No matter how many times I push that voice to the side or tell it to fuck off, it is always there, just with the volume turned down. There is no permanent mute setting that I have figured out. The volume is on high right now because I am sitting down typing this aggressively and licking my wounds as I feel I have failed in some way.

I’d like to thank all the people who told me I would burn out, because you were RIGHT. Should I have listened to you?

Absolutely NOT.

I’m saying thank you, because now I know:

All it takes to be ‘good enough’ is to be alive.

Break the mould

“Useless, stupid, spoilt bitch” the words flowing through her bloodstream,

as she physically exhausts herself for being this way,

Moulding herself to perfection through negative reinforcement.

The pain shooting through her legs tells her to stop,

but her brain tells her she deserves it,

Every step a concoction of emotional and physical pain.

Wounded by a mixture of words, mistakes, and failures,

Chipping away at her personality until she is free of vices,

Perfection is impossible: she knows.

But she can not break the mould.

 

Shine

I feel like I’ve met you before.

Your bright eyes hiding a sad smile,

Your tormented thought patterns tossing you to and fro,

Your shimmering laughter sounds shallow now,

Looking lost and I bet you feel it too.

 

That’s it!

I met you last week when the world was dull and grey,

I met you on your fall, your cyclical, infinite fall into darkness,

I met you and you told me it would never end,

and you believed it.

 

Since I first met you I’ve seen you glow.

Put on a show for the whole universe,

The fate of shooting stars is always a curse,

Fading and fizzling fast,

memories created soaring past.

 

But don’t be afraid, you’ll shine again my friend.

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