Catherine Micqu

Kneeling

I am kneeling

Trying to see the sky

But the shadows conceal its beauty

Staggering through the laughing crowd

The blood is pounding in my ears

A song plays behind my eyes

I need to move, or else I will combust

My twin is laughing; my soul is weeping

And I see your thoughts

And I feel your words

I am hiding

Maybe I will find what I need while

I am on my knees.

Fifteen months

(Repost from September 16th, 2016)

And then it happened, and her demons won. Just like that and without a fair warning. They didn’t play fair. For fifteen months she had fought them off, and now she had lost the battle with her self-harming demons. Just two small cuts. Usually, she only made one deep incision. But cutting along existing scars proved challenging. And fascinating. The way the skin stretched without breaking. The way she realised that the pain from cutting her skin stopped the moment it began to bleed.

But something wasn’t right. Something was not like she remembered it. She didn’t feel the usual calm settle down over her like a relaxing fog. This time, she stayed agitated. Unsettled. Two cuts. Very small, yet there. They hadn’t opened the valve that allowed her skin to expand and give her more room to breathe. Not this time. This time, the cuts were a testimony to her failure as an adult. She was broken beyond repair. They were affirming her failure. Affirming that she was just a freak. Nothing more.

She grew restless. She was determined to punish herself and her body for all the things that weren’t right – mostly her mind.

Transfixed, she watched the drops of blood sliding down her wrist. Had it ever bled this much? Had she cut too deep? Was she done, or was there more cutting to do to ease her troubled soul? She started shaking violently. She cleaned the box cutter in a hurry, before returning it to its place on the shelf. She couldn’t stand its sight anymore.

She ran her arm under the sink and still reeling, she lit a cigarette. She claimed to be a non-smoker but once in a while; she liked the taste of her Luckies. This time, it was different – not calming her nerves, and still shaking all over, she felt so nauseous from the smoke that she put the cigarette out.

She considered drinking a shot of vodka, but she had promised to herself to be abstinent from alcohol and carbohydrates for at least two weeks. She had no intention of breaking that vow. Even under these circumstances. Or was it despite them? She had to stick to something.

But what was she supposed to do? All alone. She called her best friend, but she was busy. It was the usual scenario: she needed someone, but the world was too busy to care. She never pretended to be the centre of the universe, but she gave all the time, and when she needed a shoulder, some support, nobody was there.

On a whim, she messaged her ex-affair. It would have been their first anniversary. Did he know? He didn’t, but it was okay. The moment she heard his voice, she had to swallow down a wave of tears. She hadn’t believed that he would pick up the phone, but he had. He had always been a good listener. And even now, after months of silence between them, he did the same – he listened. Giving gentle advice, never judging. He held his narcissistic self under control while she confessed and confided in him what she had never confessed or admitted to anyone. She had harmed herself. Now she felt ashamed and exhausted. The tension hadn’t left. But his voice was reassuring, comforting. She never wanted to show him his weaknesses, but now she had done it anyway. He knew. She was naked, soul-stripped in front of him. He stirred the conversation in a different direction. And she let him, fully aware that he was asking for something in return. Nothing was for free.

On a path to self-destruction phone sex with him was just another step towards her final demise. Was she his prostitute? For him, she was. She was allowed to unload her emotional crap as long as she paid her debts with her body. She hated herself either way. This didn’t change a thing. And yet, she felt proud when she heard his moans and his erratic breathing. She didn’t feel dirty or ashamed that he had made her cum twice too. It was just words. A fantasy. Orders she bs followed. But sometimes, it was more. It had released the rest of the tension that had kept her on edge for so long, and when he told her so, knowing exactly how she felt, she had laughed out loud — a genuine s.
The earlier thoughts were forgotten. Not really forgotten, just pushed aside. She was still shaking all over. But there had been someone who had caught her, and it meant a lot to her. On a day, when she had hinted so many times, in front of so many people about all the things that weren’t right, and nobody asked if she was okay or needed help; on a day when she felt invisible and unseen, one person had seen her. And he had loved her. For how long it would last didn’t matter. He had been there when she had needed him. And it had indeed changed her day. Her demons were still hiding in the shadows. Bloodhounds. She wasn’t sure if she could keep them at bay, for she would try — fifteen months or longer.

I shared this piece of fiction because I stumbled across it today, and I liked that comment so much. The music I had added was Help Me by Maximilian Hecker

nothing as it seems.

Shelly sat on her bed, the laptop heating her thighs and knees. Things had changed; she had. Months ago, it was easy just to let every thought spill onto her screen, but now, it was a struggle even to write a word. She defended her silence with writer’s block; or the fact that she worked so much. It had never bothered her before. She started censoring herself and her writing when she noticed the traffic on her blog was coming consistently. Readers or viewers came by daily to see if she had shared something. Where they waiting for her to share some more of her gruesome inner life? Where they waiting in the shadows, silently judging, ready to twist her words in real life? She hated the thought that people she knew read her words. She wasn’t embarrassed, she was just so naked on her blog, and she was afraid that her fragile mind would destroy the image of herself that she tried to hold upright. She tried to appear humorous and composed, relaxed and focused. But she wasn’t. Inside she was always struggling, wondering what she should have done differently; what she should have said instead of what she said; trying to remember everything so that she could make life easier for everyone who had to endure her presence.

Shelly had taken all her courage to tell her colleagues at work that she is mentally ill – depression. But she was not sad enough, not tired enough, not silent enough, not lethargic enough. She was functional. They didn’t see that she cried every day in her car on her way to work. They didn’t see how draining work was for her. They didn’t see that every little accomplishment came with a mountain of doubts and crippling thoughts.

Shelly had a lot to say, but nothing was worthy of her readers. She checked the stats and updated blogs. Nothing was inspiring, yet everything she read was inspiring. People had things to say and to share with the world. She had once been like that. Once, before her mind had decided to tell her lies again. Lies, all lies. And not even music was helping anymore.

Shelly closed the lid of her laptop and listened as the heater went silent. It was time to catch some sleep. Tomorrow, people who look at here again and wonder why she made such a fuss about depression when she didn’t look depressed. She was even smiling. But every smile came with a price. Frail. She was fragile, and if she weren’t careful, she would break apart.

Shelly turned to her side and pulled the blanket up over her head. It was comforting to be hidden from the world, and she slipped into a colourless dream.

#tbt what a difference 17 years make

This is an old picture of me. I like it quite a bit. In a time without photoshop or filters, I looked like this when the sun was about to go to sleep and the first half of the bottle of wine was empty, lol

There are not many pictures of me as a young woman; here I was 19. (My husband took the photo in 2002)

I was in Brittany with my husband, my sister, and three German guys whose lack of knowledge of the French language made for a couple of running gags that are still existing 17 years later. My sister married one of the guys and ran off with him. She never came back home again. (Well, she did, but only about a handful of times in all these years…)

The woman on this picture is not the same woman I am today. And that is good. Physically, I stayed the same height, just a little wider – more to love?! Emotionally, I am a different person.

Writing these sentences is quite trying. I am not my best friend and focusing on nice things to say about myself is hard. I wrote a lot that put me down but erased all the negativity again.

The woman on the picture is a strong one. She achieved every goal without any emotional support. In fact, she was often told that she was stupid and not good enough for anything at all. A lot of my emotional damage comes from this time and the years before that. Caring for my mom as a child was challenging, but I was naive and didn’t know it any other way. It became a burden when I was a teenager. I believe that if I had been treated with more love and care from my family, a lot of my mental issues would not exist. Maybe that is a bold statement. Maybe I was born this way. Maybe I was born with a predisposition… I don’t know.

But yeah, this woman on that picture, that version of myself had a goal in life. And I achieved it. And despite everything (and the mental health…) I became a successful woman. And I did it all without any help from my family. Granted, I often wonder why no one was ever there for me in times of need, why did I have to fight alone; but in the end, it doesn’t matter. Because I got shit done. It would have been easy to find excuses, drop out of school and do nothing – but that was not how I was wired. And so, I got my driving license, I got my professional degree from a university of applied sciences, I have a family with loving children (and they are loved and supported unconditionally) and I was told often enough that I would never become a good mom when I was pregnant with my first child… No matter what I did and no matter how many successes I had to celebrate, my family always found something negative to say about it, and I was always a failure for them.

But what can we do? We all fight battles and we all have a past. I am not trying to belittle mine, but my own experiences aren’t better or worse than yours. The only difference is that they are mine…

Below is a picture of me with my two angels. They didn’t want to let me go to work so they decided to pin me down to the bed by climbing on top of me.

What a difference 17 years make!

Et le temps court…

My bed is empty. My mind is full. I am tired, fighting a headache. Lying in the dark, I am listening to the rain. The window is open, and I feel the breeze on my skin. I know I should be asleep, it would ease the headache and maybe prevent the bad mood I am sure I will suffer in the morning. But I can’t fall asleep. I had troubles letting go the last few nights — dreams; not a nightmare, just unsettling dreams.

I have so many things to say and to share, and yet, they don’t matter, and so I keep them to myself.

There are times when I share most everything on my mind. I let my fingers write, and my mind think, and I just float on that wave that jumps from one thought to the next. I can’t seem to do that right now. (Although I am doing it) It just feels like stealing your time and attention. I know that you give it freely or else you wouldn’t be here, but my mind is trying to tell me that no one cares and that I don’t matter?

Why am I sabotaging myself this much? After all, I am an okay person. Ordinary, but okay.

I ordered new music today (her name is Calla – animal choir). And I watched two movies (untamed heart and pump up the volume) with my favourite actor (Christian Slater). I also listened to music by Coastlands (postrock from Oregon/USA), burnt down an incense stick (sandalwood) and ate pizza (prosciutto). I read a couple of pages in my book (the I undiscovered gyrl by Allison Burnett)…

Who cares?! I want you to care, to be honest, because I want you to care about me. But again, who cares about this narcissistic vanity.

Do you dream about specific colours? I am used to having dreams that repeat themselves. They used to be in a green hue. Like a green veil or fog in front of my eyes… Nowadays that fog or veil is blue, but the images I see – the pictures in my dream are still the same.

Maybe the breeze and the rain will let me fall asleep eventually anyway… Who knows?

The title of this post is French and could be translated to “the time keeps running”

*hugs*

Cathy

Unforgettable

One of my biggest and most irrational fears is to be forgotten. Rationally, I know that we don’t forget the people we like. We don’t forget the people who we invite in our lives or hearts. And yet, I am afraid to be forgotten. Once in a while, I ask people not to forget me. It must sound strange to them; maybe even annoying. Just, at that moment, my mind needs a reminder that I am unforgettable.

I am a piece of work.

Un-asleep

2:45 am. I can’t sleep. I woke up from a dream – not a nightmare, but unsettling too. I keep trying to recall my dream, but it is gone – lost in the corners of my mind. I just know that I was wrong about something. I did the worst one can do when unable to sleep; I took my phone and checked notifications. I was on Twitter and on a whim, I unfollowed a couple of accounts, the one of my former favourite band too – turns out they are a bunch of pretentious bellends. It took me almost 20 years to see it. I still appreciate their music; it was the soundtrack of my life, and yet… I really don’t like the people they became. Or is it me?

Am I drifting away from the person I used to be? I feel empty and overflowing. Sad and happy. Tired and wide awake.

How did that happen? When did everything change?

In a little more than 2 hours my alarm will go off, and I need to go to work. Early shift. I like that – if only it started later, lol.

Birds are beginning to chirp outside (the window is open); my husband is snoring next to me, and my mind is thinking too loud.

Throwback – I’ll never stop giving up

*stream of consciousness*

I sit, and I wait. Sitting and waiting. And I hope that no one will ask what I am waiting for. I would answer “Life”, and they would quote John Lennon “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”. And they wouldn’t even know that it’s not a simple quote but that this sentence is a line of lyrics from a song he wrote for his beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy Julian. And I would bite my tongue because information like that is plenty in my brain. It’s just – no one cares about it. And that’s why I keep sitting and waiting. For life to happen. And to understand it. But that is not entirely true. Because from my place, I have a nice view. I observe and analyse, and I keep to myself. The things I know, are not the things I need to share. But on the other hand, all the half-truths and snippets of misinformation I know, are not the ones others want to hear. It’s a circle. And if I don’t find the right corner to get off, I will stumble, and my clumsy attempt to catch myself will end with me lying face down enduring the spiral, the slipstream that brought this upon me. Upwards or downwards? Which way does it go? Maybe just sideways? Either way, I will end up puking on the floor and emptying what little is inside me. All of it, until the heaving is dry and the acrid smell of bile chases everyone away. Everyone left the building. Including me. I need to pay attention to the little things. Hold on tight to the pillars of this meagre existence, to keep myself from stumbling. And while I am doing just that, all these unfiltered thoughts are rushing down onto the screen.

I put the cigarette to my lips and inhale. No filter. Rolled with my own shaky hands. Because – yes, why? Because it is edgy. Cool people roll their cigarettes themselves. It’s all pretending anyway. Oh yes, I’m a great pretender. Who gives a crap about my cigarettes and my thoughts. But I keep writing. Someday, the romantic voice inside of my head suggests, someone will read the mix of weirdness and eclecticism my brain produces. They will beg me to publish a book – a memoir – a biography of this writer and all will be good. At least, I have dreams. The other possibility, far more probable, is that the words stay unread. I will die in a stuffy room with overflowing ashtrays and too many empty bottles.
Maybe a cat or two. Sheets of papers with the start of the next big novel is strewn across the floor and the bed — music loud and on repeat. And in the centre of it all; me. Picture me like Jimi Hendrix, suffocated on my own vomit. A rock star death. Don’t be alarmed, though. I am not a rock star. I don’t play the guitar well enough and all in all, I am just a coward who never did any drugs. On second thought, aren’t most rock stars ridden with anxiety? Isn’t that why they turn to alcohol and drugs and whatnot? Always on the hunt for the next high? But one day your brain (and your soul too), are just too used to the girls screaming your name and the papers printing your photographs, your name in the headlines. And while you pretend to crave your privacy, the thought of being left alone and forgotten scares you to death. And so you power on, with some chemical help, because you couldn’t do all the shows and interviews and all that other crap that comes with being famous, without it. I don’t envy these people at all — not one bit.

And so I stare out onto the lake. The sky is grey; the water is too. And I wait for the next idea to come up. A real writer wouldn’t wait. They would write. Or am I wrong and a real writer would draw charts and write every idea down? Being organised? Where’s the fun in that? So – no labelling my ideas. Just sitting. Waiting. Staring. Smoking. And while I am doing that, the music plays softly in the background. It’s not loud enough to drown out the voices that keep telling me that I am a waste of talent. I can still hear them judging me and how I spend the days. For them, I am doing nothing. For me, I am savouring the moment. It’s as a friend told me once: We need time to understand who we are before someone else comes along and makes us into the version they want us to be. So maybe – just maybe, my answer to the question “What are you waiting for”, would not be “Life”, but maybe the truer answer would be “To understand”. I guess the reaction would be close to the same. They would urge me to get up and do something.

But, if they don’t see it, does that really mean that I am not doing anything? Because in my mind, eccentric as it may be, I am doing a whole lot. I am not giving up.

###

Author’s Note:

Written in March 2016.

I haven’t had a cigarette this year… And, I don’t know how you feel about it, but I think that the last paragraph in this piece of writing is the most important thing I have ever written. Whenever I encounter people who are struggling with their mental health, whenever I am struggling myself, I remember these words. I am not giving up, even if people are not seeing that I am fighting.