Wednesday, May 23, 2012


To Those Who Saved My Life:

Thank you.
I don't know if I would have committed suicide if you weren't there  I never really considered it. At times, I wanted to die, but your support and love made me want to live – to conquer and live. Your love for me was my love for life. This is how you saved my life.

To B.B.:
Thank you for being there for me from the first scratch. Thank you for being someone who noticed and asked and kept asking and noticing. Thank you for being someone to whom I could tell the truth, and thank you for always pointing me to the Truth. I cannot imagine how you suffered – you were truly loyal, and I know that I asked you to bear heavy burdens. You held steady for me though I know it must have taxed you so. I'm sorry for the harsh words I sometimes said to you; thank you for understanding.
I remember when I was trying to stop, when I went for three weeks without cutting, and you wanted to throw a party for me. That meant so much to me. It reminds me of Jesus and how absolutely pleased, how enraptured He is with our weak yes – how delighted He is when we get back up, no matter how feebly and no matter how many times we fall.
Your friendship to me during that time was invaluable. I am so happy to see you happy now.

To G.H. and D.H.:
Thank you for trying so hard and hurting so much for me. Thank you for taking me seriously and for getting me help.

To K.S.:
Thank you for being so full of life and love and understanding. I was so scared back then, but your smile was like sunshine to me – warm and hopeful. I remember the day I left class crying, and you found me later and asked if I was alright; you smiled, and you hugged me. When I was with you, I felt normal because you treated me like I was normal. When we went on our first trip together, and I told you at three in the morning about my battle with depression and cutting, you just listened and worked to understand. You didn't take anything I said for granted – you asked questions. I was so happy to be by your side and joke and laugh together. Thank you for knowing me. Thank you for being you – I love you so much.
Thank you so much.
P.S. I miss you. Lettuce hang out.

To T.L.:
Thank you for not being horrified when I showed you my scars and scabs. I was terrified to show you because my own heart was so weak – I couldn't say it with words. I saw a struggle on your face for a moment after I pulled back my sleeve, but it resolved into kind calmness, and you nodded.
How young we were then! You were a tremendous friend – strong, accepting, focused. I know how surprised you were when I gave you my blades. Your response still kind of amazes me: "Heather, are you sure?"
I said, "Yes. I want to get rid of them."
"Okay, I'll destroy them. I'll put them through the garbage disposal." You grinned then. "Well, maybe not. But I'll destroy them." You were so zealous; it reminds me of Jesus and how completely He consumes everything meant to harm us when we are certain that we want to let them go. Isn't He brilliant? Like all the suns in the universe.
When you spoke about me to other people, I felt respected, and I needed that. I laid so much on you as well – thank you so much for holding it. It meant my life to me.
P.S. Congratulations! I haven't gotten to say it yet, but I am very happy for you and the Mrs.!

To M.B.:
Thank you for so carelessly remarking that if I were an emo, I'd have scars on my arms just before I defiantly showed you the scars on my arm. That was the first time I'd shown anyone without feeling afraid, and even though you apologized over and over, I'm not sure you'll ever know how important that moment was to me. I'm sorry I spoke so angrily to you then – I wasn't really angry. Thank you for bearing it and for caring and emailing me from so far away. Thank you for reading my poetry. Thank you for asking, listening, loving, and offering to be my shoulder to cry on. You were an incredibly important part of my healing.

To M.H.:
Thank you for being there and for doing what you had to to cope with (and help me cope with) my sickness. I wish you wholeness now. I love you more than I could ever say.

To J.W.:
You were my North Star. Looking back, I don't know what it was about you then, but you inspired me to live. When I watched you, I knew that I wanted to get better, and I knew that I could. Maybe the future was somehow shining through you – you are indeed my bright star, my favorite and my best. You were with me on one of the most important anniversaries of my life then – January 31 – and you sat by as I buried that past forever. We walked then and talked, and I healed.
Thank you for everything you've ever done for me. Beyond even that, thank you for being you – you saved my life by being yourself. I love you.

To my Jesus:
Thank you for placing each of these and so many others in my life. Thank you for Love and Healing and Life. Thank you for Yourself.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Remember when you used to sit and watch me play piano? I couldn't play much, and you said I was amazing. You had your life, and you loved somebody. I was grateful to watch you mark out your path and slowly take those steps away from where I was. I think I was a guardian spirit. Maybe that's what I thought.

And then, you two - I sat and watched you play piano. Remember that? You both told me you'd played for 10 years. I said you were pretty good. Your music made my head swell like a hot air balloon, and my heart would float up beneath it - resting, peaceful. From there, I could see my whole life, and I could understand it. I think you were kindred spirits, open souls.

And finally, my dear, you - I sat and watched you play piano; you play it rarely. The notes you touched spoke of a future - an uncertain, certainly beautiful life. I saw a road stretched out in front of me, and I felt hope - and love. Your music made my heart swell. I thought you were my guardian spirit.

But I was wrong. You are a real person with a warm, beating heart.

Written August 11, 2010.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Often, when people hear me speaking, I get the decided impression that they are not understanding what I am saying. Well, I mean, they understand what I am saying, just not what I am talking about. I can ramble on and on about things which many people don't seem to understand and fewer still would actually care about. I know a lot of things, and I'm interested in strange things. I like biology and brain cells and hormones and neurotransmitters and nutrition and drugs and cellular respiration, and I often make the mistake of talking about these things, assuming that other people understand and care about these things too. I'm also interested in languages and grammar and writing and speaking properly. The way the structure of a language reflects on the culture in which it is used fascinates me. I forget that other people don't really find this at all interesting. I like literature and alliteration and poetry and style, and I love to read. I've read more books than many of the people I know. I've found that, on average, most of the people I know don't really care to compare the styles of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (outside of C.S. Lewis class) or discuss The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or The Bodysnatchers by Robert Louis Stevenson. Hardly anyone cares at all about how dead Jacob Marley was, and very few of the people I know really think that the bit about the doornail and the coffin nail is really all that funny. I think it's hilarious. I like philosophy and theology; though I hardly know anything about them, it seems the things I do know are sufficient to bore people to sleep.

Okay, so I exaggerate a little. I've never had anyone fall asleep while I was talking to them - that I'm aware of. I think my main problem is not really that other people don't care about these things; it'd be very unfair to say that no one cares about these things or laughs at the bit about the coffin nail - I'm sure that there are plenty of people with whom I interact every single day who were as creeped out by The Bodysnatchers as I was. It's just that (1) I am not around the people that do care at the same time that I am thinking about such things, and (2) when I am (or am not), I just say what I'm thinking without first finding out by some means whether the other person is even remotely interested in the subject. Then, I often just jump into the topic assuming that they know something of what I am talking about. Like C.S. Lewis, instead if asking someone if they've read anything by a certain poet, I'll ask them which of his poems is their favorite. I think I just have a hard tine conceiving that other people may not be interested in the same things as me or have had the same opportunities. I understand that in theory, but as soon as I start speaking about something as interesting as enzymes, I forget it. I am also very impulsive. Sometimes, the very moment a thought enters my head, it comes out my mouth. I never know when a question such as "Did you know that too much vitamin A in its pure form can kill you but high levels of beta carotene is perfectly alright?" or "What do you think about Zoroastrianism?" may come spewing out of my mouth.

This happens often in conversation where the other person is talking about something completely different. They'll be talking about algebra, which reminds me of my algebra instructor from Butler and how he said, "I know that for some people, algebra is like what French was for me," which will remind me that I had thought about going to France this summer - Paris or Bordeaux? - and Paris reminds me of Les Miserables, so I'll ask if they've seen it. This all happens in a split second, of course, so the conversation actually goes like this:
Other: "Man, I have so much algebra homework."
Me: "I took that class at Butler. Have you ever seen Les Miserables? On stage, I mean. Not the movie."

Sometimes, my "tactful" acknowledgment-of-what-you-just-said sentence isn't even there. So the conversation will look like this:
Other: "Man, I have so much algebra homework."
Me: "Les Mis is my favorite musical. Have you seen it?"

Sometimes, I can take a cue that they're not interested, and sometimes, I notice it and ignore it to avoid the awkward silences and stares that follow my interjections. Sometimes, I don't notice at all. "The cool thing about beta carotene is that it is also a coloring agent. It makes stuff orange and yellow. If you eat a ton of it, you'll actually turn orange. But not very much because you'd have to eat a whole ton, and your body is pretty efficient at cleaning out unneeded things. And if you do turn orange, it's not permanent, of course. It's just like babies with jaundice. They don't stay yellow forever. I bet the Oompa Loompas' diet is high in beta carotene. . . ."

I think the most disappointing thing is just that sometimes I get really excited about an idea, and no one really gets it. When I was a teenager, I traveled with some friends to pick up a mutual friend on her return from a trip to Russia. On the way back, I suddenly understood or wondered something about the nature of love and its different manifest types. I voiced my idea out loud, doing my best to explain it well. They didn't get it. I tried again. One of my friends said it was too complicated and started joking about something else with one of the other girls. The woman which was driving us said that my thought had been too abstract for them. She said it kindly, but I was crushed.

In the end, I just don't talk much to anyone. I want to, but it gets awkward, and then I feel weird and separate.
But I'll get the hang of it someday.

Speaking of hang. . . check this out!

Friday, May 4, 2012


Subside: The End of Things 

Open and close your mouth like a little fish.
Cough it out.
Remember other things.

The expression of her face was noble. It was a great deal too noble. Greatness, tragedy, high sentiment--these were obviously what occupied her thoughts. ... By earthly standards, an expression to be praised, even to be revered: but remembering all that he had read in her countenance before, the unselfconscious radiance, the frolic sanctity, the depth of stillness that reminded him sometimes of infancy and sometimes of extreme old age while the hard youth and valiancy of face and body denied both, he found this new expression horrifying.
Perelandra, C.S. Lewis, excerpt from chapter ten
 O Queen, how I envy and hate you,
with your painted face,
expression made noble
 and tragic -
so high and perfect -
a goddess,
a dream.