Sinn (Sense)

 

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Often times I find myself in the frozen food aisle and realize,

 I dont know what to get.

 My frozen fingers glide over the taught plastic packages

 and i seem to forget what I even came in for.

 

 Sometimes my life feels like an off-key symphony,

that I attempt to conduct without reading the score.

peace of mind, something always slightly out of reach behind closed doors,

to which I conveniently swallowed  the key.

 

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever stop feeling skewed and out of place,

drowning in  a world of self complacency and pretense.

But when i sink my head into your lap everything makes sense.

 

If I was eve, your arms around me would surely be how she felt like when she first walked into eden.

My body wrapped around yours, your breaths that are sharp, warm and uneven.

 the smell of your skin, the tickle of your hair.

your clothes strewn haphazardly like afterthoughts over the back of a weathered old chair.

 That makes sense.

 

Your body,

a body ive grown to know.

So much so, that I could trace a map of it with both eyes closed.

From the furrow I kissed etched between your brows,

down to the round of your thighs and  the base of your toes.

That makes sense.

 

It feels like i lose more and more of myself everyday.

Lose all my vocabulary till sorry, I’ve been busy and forgive me

are the only things I ever seem to say

like my pieces get flung across galaxies like particles from a high pressure spray.

my mind evolving into an elaborate arrangement of fog, dust and disarray.

riddled with holes..like ice sheets in the Antarctic,

that are slowly melting away.

 

 I lose myself over and over,

time and time again ,

 but I find myself between your hands.

And when i do.

That makes sense

 

Anesu Dzvuke

Vienna 19 June 2018

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How to find value in yourself, when you don’t know who you are.

 

After accidentally hearing classmates in the library say I would never have a boyfriend because of my looks and awkward personality; a ten year old me decided I was ugly. I say decided because it was something I had pondered about for ages and wholeheartedly came to believe and the snide remark by my peer was just the final proverbial nail in the coffin of my self esteem. I looked in the mirror and found my face and body too round, my eyelid droopy, my eyes too asymmetrical… was put off by what I perceived to be slight strabismus.

I decided that if I couldn’t be conventionally beautiful then I’d have to find other ways to be valuable. So I set out to become smarter than I was before. I had always prided myself on my grades, it was what I got compliments for. When I stood on stage and collected prizes, when authority figures spoke well off me I felt visible and seen and dare I say beautiful.  I read every book I could get my hands on and even started reading the encyclopedia Britannica in my free time. It wasn’t just about a thirst for knowledge anymore, I wanted to know and know, until in the end my academic achievements defined me.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t pore over fashion magazines, gazing at the long, gazelle-like legs of supermodels, longing for their high cheek bones and doe-like faces. I must have replayed the bike scene in “Memoirs of a Geisha” hundreds and hundreds of times. Where the main character “manages to stop a man in his tracks with one look”, in this scene a man on a bike is so stunned by her beauty and her stare that he veers off track and crashes his bike. I wanted the kind of beauty that would bring a man to his knees too but the inner voice in my head kept telling me I wasn’t beautiful enough but it didn’t matter because I could be smart.

I decided that I’d make my mark on this world with my brain, and so I filled my days with my head in a book daydreaming about being a powerhouse of a woman; a surgeon, a scientist or an author… the list was endless.

Imagine my dismay when in high school I started showing traits of mental illness and found my grades going into a free fall. I felt like the very thing that defined me and gave me an identity was slowly slipping from my grasp like water and the harder I tried to keep pushing, to attend my classes and stay on top of my grades, the harder the depression and dysfunction hit until I was skipping classes and lying in bed all day. My thoughts were cloudy, I cried all the time, didn’t have the strength to focus on anything or anyone let alone myself. I went from priding myself for writing a great English Essay to giving myself a pat on the back for actually managing to get up and take a shower after days of not doing so. I felt ashamed for being a mess and it would only be years later that I would receive an official diagnosis; Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Major Depressive Disorder.

In the aftermath of it all I think I struggled to reconcile the new me with my preconceived notions of what made me valuable. Torn between weeks of impulsive, self destructive, rambunctious behavior and weeks of crippling sadness, I was spreading myself thin and did not have time or energy to focus on my studies but I falsely attributed it to me not being “smart” anymore. I felt unremarkable and worthless, like I was defective and now I even had a diagnosis and a stigma ridden label to prove it.

So Borderline became my new identity and through it I was absolved of any expectations or responsibilities because I was “mentally ill”. Soon my life was dictated and limited by it.  I lost all my interests, goals and dreams. I didn’t want to paint, write, read or watch anything of substance. My opinions and ideas evaporated like vapor until I was a shell of the person I once was. I existed in a perpetual state of boredom and emptiness which I attempted to alleviate by being a self destructive “party girl” running from one crisis into the next and now that I look back I think that this time in my life was extremely important.

In a sense it took those years of harrowing mental illness, it took what felt like the complete annihilation of my inner being to realize what I loved most about myself. It was during a therapy session that my therapist asked me to go home and do something I loved that I realized there was nothing I was passionate about anymore and even though I was consumed with trying to prove my worth and value during my earlier years, there had been more to me than academics. I had loved to paint, I loved to write and read, I danced salsa, played basketball and sprinted. I couldn’t sit still, there was always something to do, something to see. I was curious and wanted to know everything about a person in front of me.  I was in love with love…I loved to love people. Not just as a means to an end but as the end itself. I had an obsession with words…the way they sounded, when they rolled of someone’s tongue. I loved colors and could find the beauty or silver lining in any situation and most importantly I had felt a strong desire to help people and change something. Somewhere deep inside me I knew that that girl still existed and it was then that I knew something had to change.

This is not a pseudo introspective, wannabe intellectual story. I am not saying I have fully accepted myself and who I am. Nor am I saying that I am fully healed and have a solid sense of self. I am still a work in progress. I have days when I stand in front of the mirror (more often than not) and think to myself “daaaamn…hit the gym with your stretch marked zebra looking ass”, sometimes I get depressed and don’t have the energy to do the things I love but some days like today I lie in bed and trace those same stretch marks and realize that every scar, wrinkle, mark is fine exactly the way it is and I wouldn’t change a single thing.

None of us are “average” or worthless human beings. We are all extraordinary and have a purpose in life that makes us more valuable than we could ever comprehend. We are a collection of memories, experiences and stories. Our bodies are not just vessels to be coveted and admired but a living map of our individual journeys. Our bodies are our whole life stories and that of the people that came before us condensed into one. We are all collections of memories, walking picture story books and works of art.

Today I lay in bed and looked at my body…there’s a scar on my knee…from the one time I fell over a flower bed at 7 years old running after the ice-cream truck, ready to risk it all for a some dairy queen. There are wrinkles next to my mouth… because I’m always laughing, smiling and making odd facial expressions till my mom cuts the conversation short because “I’m being a damn fool”. There’s an unfortunate looking deer tattoo on my thigh from the one time I lent an amateur tattoo artist my skin because she seemed nice and I wanted her to practice and it wouldn’t bother me too much if she didn’t get it right.

My thoughts, emotions and memories make me who I am and my experiences have shaped the person I am today. Lending a listening ear or helping hand to a friend, sharing a memory, story or idea, giving love or cheering someone up by being “a damn fool” is my definition of beautiful. I sometimes wanted to erase the painful things that happened to me in the past or wished I didn’t have a mental illness but whether I like it or not, my mental illness showed me that I can be resilient and strong and I’ve become even better for it. (Plus I can probably tell you a wicked good story about my misguided adventures, that might make you laugh.)

 I think that’s why I share very intimate things on my blog because I think someone, somewhere out there may be going through the same thing and this in a way is my contribution to the other voices out there that tell you, you are not alone.  No human being is an island…our lives are all woven together in some shape or form and if sharing my experience will make at least one person feel better, then it’s worth it.

When I think about my friends, family, the people I fell in love with romantically; I realize that what makes them valuable or beautiful to me isn’t a razor sharp intellect or skin deep physical beauty. It is all their emotions and memories they choose to share with me, as well as well as the memories we create together. It is who they are as a person, what they do for other people, their values, ethics, integrity. The things they burn for; how they fight for their passions and dreams. The way they face adversities, fall down and get up even stronger than before. Beauty fades, intellect may too but some things are forever.

-Anesu Dzvuke

21 May 2018

I have a thing for black girls

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“I have a thing for black girls“

You say, as you run your fingertips across my skin

And as soon as this sentence slips from your lips,

I know I ought to prepare myself to become objectified.

I ought to prepare myself to be reduced to the one thing,

I cannot control..that covers every centimeter of my body.

This skin.

With your words the mood is set…the time is ripe,

for you to follow this seemingly harmless sentence,

With a not so harmless stereotype.

You “have a thing for black girls”

You “have a thing for black girls”

Because you’ve always wanted a mixed race baby with a set of light eyes and loose curls…

You “have a thing for black girls”

because you find them quote unquote “exotic”,

Meaning…non conventional…meaning…separate from your regular beauty standard.

You have a thing for black girls”

because you think the contrast between black and white skin..is taboo, kinky, erotic.

You “have a thing for black girls”

because you heard that they are “jungle princesses”, wild and animalistic in bed.

You “have a thing for black girls”

because they have attitude and you like that “ghetto” shaking thing they do with their head, when they snap their fingers in z-formation like in the music videos.

You “have a thing for black girls”

because you want to try something new…

 but somehow you never had the occasion.

But you nearly have your bucket list checked off you’ve been with a “fiery” latina and last summer you tried asian.

You “have a thing” for black girls.

But do you have a thing for our struggle?

An understanding of how it is, trying to widen the cracks in glass ceilings and burst racial bubbles?

You have “a thing for black girls”

But do you have a thing for our minds?

 A thing for our different individual non collective personalities and everything else,

 that has nothing to do with our skin, breasts and behinds?

You “have a thing” for black girls

But do you have a thing for the fact that a black girl is a black girl

and not your elected representative of an entire culture and nation?

A foray into unchartered territory; a form of sexual and social experimentation?

So when you run your fingertips across my skin and whisper,

That you “have a thing” for black girls

Define thing.

 

-Anesu Dzvuke (2017)

Shards

Glass breaking

When you touch me,

I fall apart in shards

And forget my heart was ever broken

Forget that I lived so long in a house of cards

Where the word love was often spoken

But hardly ever meant

Forget that in this wicked world nothing is permanent

Forget that I knew other fragrances before I knew your scent

Forget how I ever spent the days without you,

Before our covenant, before our bond,

Before I loved you more than life itself, to the moon back and beyond.

Forget there were dreams without seeing your face,

Forget there was a hole in my heart,

Before you soaked up the space

And for that I love you

And because I love you, I love the world and everything in it,

I love space and time; meters, hours and minutes,

I love watching the space between us diminish until

You hold me in your arms

And I can fall apart

In shards

Why we should break up…

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Sometimes I disgust myself.

The things I’ve seen, the things I’ve done.

The things I’ve failed to do, the things I’ve become

And I try to make you understand where I’m coming from

But I might as well be speaking in tongues

When I try to justify myself and explain away my wrongs

I’m everything you scream I am

A  liar, a fraud, a cheat

And in the game of morals and love, I accept defeat

I apologize to you, then wash, rinse and repeat…the same shit again;

that brought you pain and knocked you off your feet.

A bigamous entity wrapped around your monogamous soul,

I try to love you as best as I can, to make this love feel whole

But no matter how much I try to stitch us tightly back together

There always seems to be a hole

And I believe somewhere, somehow deep down you know

That in order for you to grow, you have to let me go.

cause if we stayed together, we’d kiss and pretend that we’ve got it all

Whilst harboring anger between bed sheets and kitchen walls

Until  in the end there was nothing left for us to show

But bitterness, hate and distrust

As we’d sit in your dusty living room wondering

“What the fuck happened to us?”

-Anesu Dzvuke

Falling

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I loved you so much it hurt.

I used to smoke, sitting on your window sill

High up on the 8th floor, legs hanging over the ledge

And I swear, in that moment I felt so alive, so on edge,

as the smoke burnt its way into my lungs and into my head

those were the moments I loved you best…

smoking right after you’d taken my body in your bed,

smoking right after  I’d kissed you silent and there was nothing more left to be said..

I loved you so much it hurt.

You used to say…”don’t lean so far out the window, if you fall I won’t catch you”

But little did you know I’d already fallen a 100 times over…

and you caught me every time.

Heart shaped box

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I am a mess,

A thousand problems packed into one expensive dress

A time bomb, a cacophony of broken tick tocking clocks,

Hurricane Kathrina in a heart shaped box,

Flipping through conquests like an idle girl flips through the pages of a magazine

Haven’t felt virtuousness  since I was seventeen

Too restless to settle down, too tired to be restless

The grass isn’t green over here

I am a mess.

Photo: by Robert Zak

Poem: Anesu Dzvuke

Play

Angel Playing Harp

When the last of words are spoken

When there is nothing left to say.

I will sit at your bronzed feet..

and I will listen to you play.

The starless sky will be broken

as night gives in to day,

yet I will remain at your feet

and I will listen to you play

My body will be your harp psaltery,

my emotions, your strings,

to be handled lightly, carelessly as one would with play things.

My thoughts will fade into memories

today will become yesterday.

I will come and rest at your feet

I will listen to you play.

Thoughts on my first psychotherapy session

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4 days ago, I found myself having my very first existential psychotherapy session. I sat across my therapist in a sparsely furnished room and waited for something to happen. I’m not sure what it is I expected, I guess I expected to feel some kind of “aha” or “eureka!” moment where everything in the universe suddenly made sense. I expected her to be able to tell me why I thought as I did, I expected answers but received none. Instead she asked me the questions and I had to try to provide the answers to them all.  The questions were interspersed by moments of awkward silence; where I just sat there staring at her and when that got awkward, staring at my laces.

As one can tell from my wording, I wasn’t a great big fan of psychotherapy, I walked out feeling like I had wasted my time and money, 

However during the day as I went about my chores, I started to reflect on all the questions she had asked and found that they were questions I had never seriously considered or asked myself, but should have…. And I realized that there was something to this whole Psychotherapy thing after all.

There’s no point in pumping oneself full of antidepressants and hoping the problem will go away. Drugs are not the answer. One needs psychotherapy in order to deal with the underlying issues, so that if one were to discontinue the medication, one could have better coping strategies in place and other ways of dealing with problems. At times I think that everyone in the world needs psychotherapy. We all need someone to talk to and help us reflect on our lives.

Am I 100% for psychotherapy? I’m honestly not entirely sure, I think I would have to go to other sessions in order to see whether it is something that I, personally would like to continue with. I don’t know why my personal experience felt less than satisfactory, it could be because I haven’t formed any kind of patient/doctor relationship with my psychotherapist yet, or it could simply be that our personalities clash?

Who knows, who knows? Questions upon questions again…