I used to be very sad. Even just a few weeks ago, I couldn’t get out of bed for days at a time and once I didn’t brush my teeth for a month. Yes, I used to be sad, but now I am goooood. I have been okay for three weeks and that’s the longest it’s been in a while.
I’m running a bit late for a thing I’m supposed to go to and I have $12.23 (Canadian) in my bank account, but I’m trying to go easy on myself and think about the big picture. I was hungry when I woke up so I bought myself eggs (because I’m trying to take care of myself, even though I’m late for a thing).
Now I’m biking home and I keep thinking this phrase over and over. I wonder what it’s from. “Girls with kind eyes who talk too fast, girls with kind eyes who…”
Oh. Whoa. Oh. Yep.
Now I’ve fallen over. That makes sense. I wasn’t looking where I was going. My knee is a bit scraped and my eyes are burning (am I going to cry?) but still (in the big picture) this is fine.
The egg carton looks squished. I open it to check and then the carton rips and eggs start tumbling out, as if in slow motion, every single egg until they’re all on the sidewalk. This isn’t so bad, though. Some of these eggs look like they could be salvaged. I pick one up and the clear mucus, the uncooked egg white, slides out onto my fingers. The yolk plops to the sidewalk. This happens with a second egg and then a third, and I want to say damn it and go home, but I am not a person who gives up on herself, not anymore. Maybe I can pick up some of these yolks and just put them back in the shells.
I slide my fingers under the first yolk, feeling my nails chip against the sidewalk, and I manage to grab it, whole, globular and slippery. Ha! I am like a surgeon. I have million dollar fingers. I put the yolk back in its casing and then put the egg back in the carton.
“Hey, are you okay?” says a stranger whose sneakers are in front of me.
I look up and smile very wide. I can’t see their eyes. “Yes! I am fine.”
“Okay,” they say, and their sneakers leave.
I hope it’s not anyone I know, because I guess I look pretty crazy.
I start to feel frantic for a minute or two, when it looks like the next egg won’t come off the pavement, when it’s sliding around in my hand like a baby who can’t hold its head up yet, but then there you go, got em all.
There will be a few bits of rock in my scrambled eggs (Just the yolks. Is this healthy, like eating just the whites?) but that’s okay. Could be much worse.
The knurled cloth handles of Nicos’ hamper cut into his right hand. The straps are connected all the way to the base of the bag and the weight of the laundry keeps pushing them apart. They’re too short, now that the laundry is folded and holding the bag to its shape. You switch hands but there isn’t enough time to rub the indentations out of the left hand before the pain in the right hand is impossible.
Nicos puts the hamper down on a bench facing the front window of a coffee shop. People sit looking out onto the street—at the sidewalk and the bench and the parked cars and the road and the storefronts across the road that you can’t make out what they are from here. You have to rub your hands with each other and look out as well. How does anyone sit on this bench with the coffee shop staring them in the face. You’d have to seem surprised all the time that you’d caught someone sipping or biting or reading.
You can’t sit next to your laundry on a bench. It looks like you’re waiting for someone to come help you, because people can’t tell it’s done. Is it still laundry when it’s done, and folded. It’s laundry when it’s dirty, and while it’s getting clean, and while you fold it. It’s clothes when you put it away. You can sit next to clothes. Clothes are like shopping.
Nicos had sat next to half his laundry at the laundromat. Only because all the machines were full. You can sit next to your laundry in the laundromat, if the machines are full and you have enough for a good-size load. And if it’s a clean laundromat. How do laundromats get dirty. Car washes get dirty and the dirty ones have the strongest sprayers so you go to the dirtiest ones. Luckily the closest car wash is filthy.
You don’t care about how a hamper carries when the machines are in the building. Or when the laundromat at the corner is clean. Who sends you to a dirty laundromat. There isn’t another laundromat between here and home, so you have to buy another new hamper. The store that sells hampers isn’t on the way either.
“When Surviving Is Too Difficult”
They say that genius and madness are two sides of the same coin.
Well, my genius is elusive—I am descending into madness.
I feel crazy. Genuinely crazy. I feel as if an intangible, impregnable, unidentifiable force is weighing down on me, is clouding my mind.
It limits my judgement and tests my patience. I am struggling to break free from my own self-imposed shackles.
It is difficult to be strong when I feel so mentally and physically weak.
The bones in my body are frail, my sanity is fragile. The bones in my body do not form a skeleton—they form a carcass.
I am carcass.
Inside this carcass is emptiness, but the emptiness has a heaviness of its own.
I am a victim of my insecurities.
I am overwhelmed by my shortcomings.
I am burdened by my expectations.
For some of us, surviving is too difficult. I am tired of battling against my own mind.
I am tired. I am tired. I am tired.
My mind is an incredible thing, its capacity is endless; yet it continues to torment me.
word by Annie Rubin
colour by Garry Tugwell Smith
She’s flying. In wisps of purple clouds, planets whizzing by, spinning and floating and falling. It was this chalky white pill, that kind of separated reality from the extra terrestrial. Worlds weaving in and out, setting apart the frenzied train ride from this spontaneous trip in vibrant flashes.
The notion of the free-fall makes her jump with eyes fixated on the green circles of the metro line, they’re reading something altogether different than the weightlessness of her stomach or her fingers pressing onto what could only be hundreds of pins or the tightness in her chest: rising and falling in bursts of colour.
The same five senses designed to orient are skewed. The scent of the subway, the burn of the wheels against the hot metal tracks, and the chorus of echoing voice, chanting something painfully inaccessible are present, distant.
Fighting to define the boundaries of sobriety, she pieces together the images. There’s an empty seat beside her, she tries to listen to the silence. Wanting simultaneously to lie down and to break through the window of the train.
She’s watching herself hover above ground as the medication kicks in. Limbs go numb and the colours fade to a gentle hum of grey. Mood has been stabilized. The subway lurches to a stop and in the mass of bodies collecting at the doors, she makes her way onto the crowded street where her feet plant firmly into the concrete and her head feels lighter, less explosive.
What is left to believe when perception becomes unreliable?*
From the author: “This futuristic image depicts outer-worldly colours and objects. It inspired a piece that confronts mental health topics of perception, depersonalization and the effects of medication. The mixture of sensations represents the profundity of mental illness in its capacity to debilitate a person throughout daily life and the idiosyncratic experiences of depersonalization in a mental health crisis.”