Written by Julie Everson
All my pain seems to create a beautiful symphony. Each note resounds from a scar etched deep in my heart. Beautiful frailty behind sparkling brown eyes. A women giving up and raising her eyes to the sky, saying “I don’t know if I’ve ever meant anything to this world but am I precious to you Lord? Should I still try?”
The horror of all the red Kool Aid when I ripped my play dough arms apart, filled with such violent desperation and need. Then the tears all these years later, as I realize these scars will always be a part of me. Winds up I wasn’t made of plasticine. The beauty that God has filled that deep need and showed pure love to me. It was the first time I had ever felt free.
The patches of purple and blue men’s anger left on me and my tears as I realize I never knew bruises could burrow so deep. I suffered alone in silence because I was scared to be all by myself if he leaves.
The beauty of a smile as a friendly stranger pauses to say Hi. Little moments of joy can stand together like soldiers when you’re struggling emotionally to get by. Lives touching for a moment is precious in this busy world with its hurried state.
I feel the financial desperation and need. I live in a place with cracked sidewalks and worn out shoes shuffling down the street. When wealth is as foreign as a homeless person driving a Mercedes.
I’ve learned that most people just want compassion and someone to look at them and really see. Do you see all the spectacular things I was meant to be? I feel myself reflect the environment around me. The broken sidewalks and garbage strewn between trees. I will stand among those whom society left behind, because I know the Lord will stand with me.
I put my music on random shuffle, I don’t care what plays. Just sing to me. Lull my racing thoughts into dreams. I’m sure they never meant to leave.
The horror of a baby abandoned into a stranger’s arms on a busy city street. The beauty of a foster mom who created a blanket just for me. The numb strength I feel as I write what happened to me.
The story really took on a twist when I was hospitalized at 15 and was told I would never mature more than this, as I had a borderline personality. Borderline between peas and carrots it seems. The beauty as I grew to enjoy this part of me.
I can see beauty and humour in life that most others can’t see. Making others laugh has become natural for me. I’ve learned to deflect judgmental stares just as the sunshine bounces off a lake, sending a brilliant shimmer of summertime haze.
I get an insane urge to jump into a boxcar on this stalled train and fly off wherever the track takes me, like a dandelion puff floating in the breeze. But love keeps me here and I will never leave, though I yearn to discover things I’ve never seen.
Sometimes my heart races and skips a beat. Years of drug abuse was more than my body could take and the side effects I feel now just take my breath away. I just thank God for everyday and that he never let me throw myself away. Hard drugs rip so many lives to shreds and I know I can stand, as long as old habits are never fed.
We were all born and given these bodies in which to live. Little vessels to carry our souls and bright eyes to look out from it. As the world tears and wears us away with it’s day to day problems like poverty and public disdain, we search for things to cling to, so we can alleviate the pain.
People to distract us but they can play cruel games. I’ve seen too many lost to hard drugs. They think they’ve found a way to escape but really they are just cementing their fate. Drugs slowly take your life away.
Can something so precious as a soul be laid to waste? Yes it happens everyday. Once bright lights fade to grey. There is only one who can change lives and I know, because out of a pit I was raised. I am a survivor of many terrible things. Jesus poured his grace out on me.
I remember back to the sixth grade when I couldn’t focus or keep quiet and finally the teacher stopped and turned to me. He told me everyone is listening and tell them what I need to say. I knew I should say something monumental to the world and society but instead I said nothing and willed everyone to just look away.
I’m no longer frozen, I am free, so please when I stand up listen to me. When I smile I want it to be more then showing you the cute gap in my front teeth. No I want it to resonate from deep inside of me. I think the world needs something real and real smiles are lacking in our streets. Not ‘Buy This!’ smiles on ads or ‘Elect Me!’ smiles on posters stabbed all over the grass. Real smiles have the uncanny ability to make someone glad. So I try to give them when I can. Unfortunately, so much is fake in the world that most eyes are downcast.
Have you ever been so broke you had to use a voucher to get clothes and a coat? If you don’t have any change they put your things in a garbage bag, because their bags cost money. So you walk home with a garbage bag of things from Salvation Army and watch how people stare! If you saw the stares would you be able not to care? It’s as though poverty is a disease and my garbage bag is a label marking me. It’s a good social experiment in the least. Try carrying a garbage bag around with clothes in it for a day. See how may self-righteous stares you can count along the way.
Here’s my point. I see a lady with all the bling stare up and then down at me. I want to yell at her that she is no better than me. Her fur coat and jewelry don’t raise the value of her soul and mine is worth its weight in gold. Gotta keep it real and not get disillusioned by a material world that beckons and divides reality. Your shiny car and my dirty streets. Social class means nothing to me. Just like labels mean nothing to me.
I am mentally ill and I am so easy to judge and stigmatize. You say I’m crazy or weird but I say hey, I am different but maybe that’s just how God wants some people made. I laugh easier, I cry easier, I am passionate about rescuing snails from being crushed by peoples feet. A terrible fate indeed.
I practice an art of being happy just because I choose to be and I try not to stay angry. You might think I’m not doing anything with my life because I’m on disability and that I am run by instability but I say look how I stay on this ball and keep it rolling. I look at myself and others with mental disabilities and see great strength and pain.
I see deep love and child-like faith. I see humour in things that make me giggle out loud and a grin sweeps my face. I see someone special a diagnoses can’t hold. So please before you judge me, please try and see my soul. The horror is sometimes stigma is worst at home and there is nowhere safe to go. People who are supposed to love you, make your blood run cold.
The beauty is I’ve learned how to let mean words go. I turn the pain into art and just let the words flow. They can’t touch me, they can’t take hold. The battle is real, my struggle is real, and here, this smile is real too. I’m opening up my heart just to give it to you. Can you do the same too?
Yes that’s me randomly dancing down the street. What’s this body good for if I can’t move my feet? I close my eyes and tap out the beat, tap out the beat that’s inside of me. I think now they will see me
Image by: Captured by Ciara
Julie Everson enjoys writing, reading, scrabble and public speaking. She loves music and her favourite band is The Tragically Hip. She loves cooking and wishes she had a dishwasher. She is beginning her journey of sharing her story of her struggle with a personality disorder. She hopes to continue speaking and being an inspiration to people. She can be found on twitter at @trawker.
Julie is available to speak about mental health to a wide range of audiences in the Greater Toronto Area. You can book her through contacting CMHA director Neil Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find more of Julie’s poetry at https://wolvesguardthegates.wordpress.com/.
To check out all of Julie’s guest posts on MHT, click here.