Lighter Now, Tighter Yet

I will cross my heart on a star named David. 
I will mumble curses at the ceiling. 
I will pound holes in the pavement 
and wake up with another untold lie. 

As lightly as I can try and tread, 
crossing something is as good as breaking it. 
Lighter now, tighter yet. 

I’ll still lose my mind while trying to save it. 
I’ll still fumble with how I’m feeling. 
I’ll still take it as well as I gave it 
and make a new lover of severed ties. 

Despite the unsightly words said, 
dismissing something is as bad as forsaking it. 
Tighter now; it’s all I’ll get. 

It’s a missing part you’ve found after the fact. 
It’s not knowing when or how to act. 
It’s finding yourself back at the start 
with what’s broken and sticking it in your eye.

It’s a needling blindness
and an awkward meeting at square one.
It’s crazy glue and paper hearts
tossed aside; I hope to die. 

As tightly as I bind my broken head, 
I’ve misunderstood how far to take it. 
Lost and found, an erstwhile pet.

It’s a need for kindness
and an insane way of going about it.
I will bleed until I find
someone who loves me enough not to doubt it. 

Formes Frustes – Lighter Now (2016)

Mini Mansions & Brian Wilson – Any Emotions


Beautiful creature,
Head in the sand.
I stand at the altar;
Cry on command.

You could be happy,
But I don’t understand any emotions.

Negative Nancy,
High in demand.
The cards on the table;
I’ll show you my hand.

You could be angry,
But I don’t understand any emotions.

Down on the corner,
Nothing to lose.
Man out of order;
Just bad news.

You could be lonely,
But I don’t understand any emotions.

“But for all I aspire, I am really a liar…

…and I’m running out of things I can do.”

Those aren’t my words, but I truly mean them.

You know when you put on music because your head’s just brimming full of shit? And you wonder if you’ll be able to just let some of that shit go if you ram your head full of noise somehow? So you put your headphones on while telling yourself that you’re justified in doing this, because it’s better than storming out of a room with your fingers in your ears whilst shouting, “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU HAHAHAH SHUT UP WHO CARES” all in one breath. Yes. At least you wouldn’t do that, right?

Except today, the lyrics feel like they’re a bit louder. So you’re going through your device settings or whatever, to see if you selected a different equaliser, just in case. No, that isn’t it. OK, fine. You switch tracks to try and get the words – any words – out of your head, because fuck words right now.

But for all I aspire, I am really a liar.
But for all I aspire, I am really a liar.
But for all I aspire, I am really a liar.
But for all I aspire, I am really a liar.
But for all I aspire, I am really a liar.


But… for… all… I… aspire…


I am really a liar.

I know that it’s a symptom of mental illness to take things too personally, like this song is about me! personally. Not everyone is talking to me. Or about me. Thank goodness. I know this. But that thought seems not to matter when I need to remember it most. When I feel small, when I feel vulnerable, when I feel far too shitty for words, the rational thoughts are just… gone.

Of course, this gives way to the irrational stuff. Convincing myself that maybe I feel this shitty because I am shit. A shit person. Made of shit and full of shit. A shit person who does shit things for the shit of it. Who wastes their shitty time thinking about how shit everything is. What a shitlord. That’s me. I’m a shitlord. Not #1 Shitlord, though. I’m so shit that I’m #2.

And maybe I can’t pretend that music will chase away the shit that I’ve invited into my shitty life. Not today. Maybe I’m just a horrible liar who deserves to eat shit and die. All the things I’ve done are shit. Everything I do to hide my truly shitty nature just makes the whole thing shittier. Rotten. Stinking. Foul beyond belief, to anyone with a nose and half a brain.

I am a disgusting liar.

I am sick.

Twisted filth.

I must be stopped.

How do I even begin my daily routine of kidding myself? How have I been doing this for so long? And why can’t I just do it again today, like every other day? Have I finally reached my tipping point? Is this the point where I completely lose my mind because I finally see myself for who I am and can’t get away from it this time? Am I finally at critical mass, ready to pollute anything around me?

Or am I just

—–draft saved 08/03/2016—–

—–draft resumed 14/09/2016—–

in need of reminding that these awful moods are transient? Temporary. Not so brief, but also not so permanent.

When I’m happy, I am sometimes inclined to tell myself that it isn’t always going to be like this (yeah, I’m great at parties…). Yet, I can’t seem to do this when I’m sad. I guess this is why people have those Live, Love, Laugh signs in their houses, maybe? It’s why I want to write Lighten Up, Asshole on my mirror, definitely. I won’t, though.

Mental floss aside, I guess I’m just glad I don’t feel so miserable right now. I’m not at that level of neat-o, gang! excitement, but it’s nice to be able to cross the street with a sense of purpose, instead of contemplating just giving up and lying down in the middle. Almost anything’s better than that.

MBTI: TMI? Or not enough?


As I take another look at these results, I think of the part in ‘Religulous‘ when Bill Maher talks about having been ideologically vulnerable in the past:

When I was 17,
my first girlfriend dumped me,

and I was sad in a way
I'd never been sad.

You know,
your first dumping is the worst.

And at that point,
you're very vulnerable

to any sort of connection

with, you know--

I didn't get like Jesus-religious,

but I did think a force out there

was communicating to me
through song lyrics or--

numerology I was
very interested in for a while.

You said you were groping
for something at that time.

You know, you make up
an imaginary friend who loves you,

is sympathetic to you
and has a plan for you.

It's much more important.
He didn't have to love me, God,

He just had
to be working for me.

( [Religulous])

…and I try to tell myself that I’m not doing the same thing right now. I know I’m not imagining that every song has a message for me, or getting into numerology, but those are both things I’ve done in the past, whilst annoyingly depressed and immensely confused on many levels. Disappointingly, the so-called answers I found in those two things in particular were promptly replaced tenfold with doubts whenever I thought about them in depth.

Being someone who always wants an answer, no matter how stupid, I find myself asking a lot of stupid questions. I’ve always thought that the stupidest question is the one that goes unasked, but of course I’d say that. Despite this, I’m now shamelessly asking a lot of stupid questions, of myself and the world at large. I’m pretty sure the stupidest one is: why me? There’s no clear-cut answer to this question, and I know this. It just smacks of vagueness and some kind of victim complex. But I’ll still try to sniff something out, like a lethargic bloodhound who eats their own sick, just to throw it up again. I’m sure it’s just as frustrating and gross to be around.

And so, in the ever-shifting tide that is my sense of self, I’m grasping at these personality test results, in much the same way that I once cared about horoscopes or religious scripture or cartomancy. I happen to like the MBTI one most, as I’m sure a lot of people might do. I’m sure the other tests have their value, but probably only as entertainment. The basis this test has in Jungian theory allays any concerns of plausibility as far as I’m concerned. I might be wrong, but I’m far too much in need of self-knowledge and self-belief that I am willing to ignore that possibility, at least for now. One day, I’ll probably find myself going on about how reducing people to sixteen main personality types is a painfully errant and myopic thing to do, but today is not that day.

Still, I can’t help but feel like I’m reading through these statements and attaching too much meaning to them – like how someone would call themselves a Sassy Scorpio or a Laid-back Libra or something like that. Every time I find myself surprised at how on-the-nose my results are, I subsequently wonder if I’m not just giving into some kind of confirmation fallacy. Then, as I find myself reading about how “my type” leans heavily towards self-doubt, I start screaming inside. Choke down another paradox. Scream again.

Go outside. Be alone. Find somewhere quiet. Think.

Why am I giving myself so much shit over the fact that I want to believe in something? Honestly, why am I being so fucking mean to myself? If anyone else came to me with this problem, I’d hardly treat them like an idiot, not like how I do to myself. So, I think I’d better start treating myself a bit like a friend, and not some kind of annoying little douche who just needs to get over themselves and their own bullshit. What would I say to a friend, while being friendly?

> Hey, Ilene. I’m distraught and everything feels empty and pointless. I’m trying to believe in myself and it isn’t working. What do you believe in, that brings you comfort? Could you recommend something, please? – Friend

> hey, friend. shit, that’s heavy. not sure what to recommend, if anything. gotta ask though – what’s wrong? you’re clearly not feeling too good. wanna spill? – Ilene

And, much like Maher, I’ve made an imaginary friend. I’m not sure if they love me or are sympathetic to me, but they are working for me. It’s part of myself that I’ve assigned a voice to, if only for a short instance. And it makes me feel less like I’m a pile of hot garbage without leaning too hard on anyone else, so, almost tacitly, I’m in favour.

It just involves me being nicer to myself, in this moment. Let’s see how I go with that. If it goes badly, I’m sure I’ll move on to the five-factor model. Or red licorice. Or Futurism. Or something. Hopefully I won’t bully myself for it, but rather examine why I am so confused and tentatively idealistic.

Difficult, but a worthy task, I suppose.