The Secret Language of Flowers, or The Enigma of Unrequited Love in Rose Talk

The last month of 1820

was a dying bouquet.

Women wore hyacinths

in ashy chignon buns,

blue laced with sunlight.

Men slashed gardenias

across their throats

like box blades, leaving

the slated white to

stain their collarbones.

They say every flower

is a secret language;

where yellow sees kin,

red sees limerence

and the blood of angels.

White is a purity ring

of hope, of sleepsongs

and his wrists on yours.

When I met you,

there were black petals

resting on your left foot–

dark magic, you said.

A columbine, a primrose,

pollen mixed with nightfall.

You took the flower from off

your body and tucked it

into my hair, told me it was

dying nightshade, louder

than red and twice as lucky.

When you left

it rained for

days, enough to wither the

tongues of the flowers,

kill their spoken word, wash

the black out with salt.

Your roses were a dark

cloud, and I’m finally learning

how to unlearn their language.

 

 

Cherry Vanilla Soda, Haikus I Keep Under My Pillow and the Now/Then Conundrum

Cherry Vanilla Soda

They say that to preserve a memory,

you must tie a red ribbon around

its picture frame, red mixed with wood;

once the glue holding the ribbon flat

has come undone, you must bury the picture

in the place you made your memory.

I have taken all our photographs

off the walls, burying them underneath

my bed instead of underground,

and braiding the memories

into my hair. I have never been one

to follow traditions. In truth,

you and I were refracting magnets,

pushing back and forth until

the very end. My nostalgia

is irresponsible and if you ask me,

I think it has overstayed its welcome

because I can still feel the angel’s kiss

of August morning’s heat in my hair,

the tangy teal toothpaste lingering

on your lips, the starlight smiles

and sadness as black as my hair that

I can now watch only through pictures.

Perhaps I may start burying.

 

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Haikus I Keep Under My Pillow

Glass jar in the sky-

its stars inhibit moonshine,

charred cosmic escape.

A sailboat, clockwork

soaring through clouds of the sea,

minute hand ticking.

Wooden corn contains

whispered secrets on our lips

while we lie in rest.

Dark eyes, a landscape;

melodic melancholy,

celestial sleep.

 

The Now/Then Conundrum

Here’s what I used to do.

I used to look at you and see heavy billows of mist blown along by autumn winds through sprouting trees. I used to look at you and see wintergreen air kissing frosted windows, the dark wooden panes burned by your embers. I used to sit on mountaintops with you and watch sunshadows dance across the sky in kaleidoscopic bursts of wistful violets, dazzling empty teal, burnt orange charcoal. I used to collect the shaved damp bark of dying willow trees and keep it in my pocket because they it was your favorite tree. I used to wake up to your body folded into me, the flawless shape of a fragile dahlia — sunlit morning honey running its gingery finger down your collarbone. I used to pick you snapdragons and waxflowers, climbing nightshades and rosemary so you could tuck them in your pocket for good luck. I used to tell you outlandish superstitions about the way people used to love under those tempestuous December skies, watch your mouth curl up into the whisper of a smile.

Now, though. Now is now is not then is only today is now. I wake up at six am when the obsidian blankets of night fall away and leave blooming clouds of soft blue in their wake and reach for you, my brain stuck on the idea that you never left, grabbing empty air instead. I now watch you kiss rosy-cheeked girls like you used to kiss the rose on my arm. I now learn to braid moonshine and joy into my hair to absorb their radiance. I now become a teacher to my own heart, lessons and lessons of how to feel okay alone again. I now feel aware of my body’s every move, the pulse in my chest, the subtle tremble of my fingertips, the flush in my face. I now feel you everywhere and nowhere. I now breathe in April air through cupped hands and throw out handfuls of light. I now watch your life in pictures and remember how your heart used to beat like a slow, steady drum: you were, you were, you were. What was once is no longer breathing.

Hold My Hand and Walk Back Through Time: Growing Up with BPD

“Someday, the nostalgia will fade and we will learn that it is merely gravity making us frown.” ~d.s.h.

I have never been an aggressive person. Even as a child in class I was afraid to ask someone for a pencil or speak up in class when a peer made an offhand comment to me for fear of drawing attention to myself, of being called dramatic and “tattle-tale.” Regarding my elementary school, my peers and I were part of this international baccalaureate program in which we were rewarded for demonstrating skills such as empathy, or getting a top grade on our reading comprehension tests. We were considered the “gifted” kids. Fifth grade came around, and with my mousy black hair and wide, anxious eyes, I auditioned for the winter school musical. I’m not even sure I was all that good at singing, but I got the part for solo. I find this very strange looking back on it. Presently, I would never think about performing in front of a giant crowd like I once did — I admire child-me’s bravery.

I had always been a nervous, highly sensitive child. At age seven I started this compulsive habit of ripping out my hair and picking off skin from the area around my fingernails (I still have the finger-picking habit today). No one understood why I did this and I didn’t either. It felt like it was something I had to do, and while I was doing it, I’d go into this trance-like state where I wasn’t entirely aware of my surroundings. At that age I also found anger quite a difficult emotion for me to articulate. I could get intensely jealous over small things, and this led to a lot of fights with my friends back then. I wasn’t capable of introspection at ten years old. When my family upset me I released the growing tension inside of me, the electrical storm brewing in my chest, by bending my fingers back as far as they’d go. I did this because the pain relieved the anger. except my family didn’t know that — they thought it was funny and often mocked me. At the time I didn’t know what self-harm even was. It was just something I did. When I got older, this coping mechanism evolved from finger-bending to cutting my thighs, burning my arms, and punching things.

As I grew into adolescence, my emotions became increasingly volatile. I remember feeling like a dull, hollow shell of a child, entirely at the mercy of my environment. I could flip from one emotion and to another and then back again at the drop of a hat. It was frightening both to me and my family.

Shame, shame, shame. January of this year I was reevaluated by psychiatrists (the first time I received two diagnoses of MDD and social phobia) and diagnosed with type II bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and borderline personality disorder. I did not begin taking medicine until the end of March when I spent eight days in a psychiatric facility. I remember being woken up at six am in the soft blue light of dawn to have my blood taken; as I was sitting on the chair outside my nurse’s office, groggy and annoyed, a middle-aged blonde woman approached me and said, “Oh, sorry to interrupt, but I’ve been watching you just from over there. You’re very beautiful. You could be a model! What’s a pretty little girl like you doing in a place like this?” I didn’t know what to say. What was I doing in there? There’s a lot of answers. The most obvious one, I had overdosed on pills. The second answer, I had lost control of my emotions. Third, I wanted to start over. There’s a whole lot of excuses.

In the hospital I was prescribed 10mg Lexapro and 100mg Seroquel. I was advised to take it at night due to how sleepy the medication makes me. So far, my moods are still a tempest, only slightly more dampened down. Now I don’t have mania to sweep me off my feet and turn my thoughts into a cyclone, and I’m not particularly depressed, but I still spiral into a suicidal downfall when my borderline triggers act up. I’m in therapy twice a week. It’s a work in progress, but I know anything is possible.

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First Post!

Hello!

I’m new to this blogging thing. Only recently have I decided to use an actual blogging platform rather than impulsively posting my thoughts, opinions, and miscellaneous writings on Instagram (much to the dismay of my followers).

So, I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Julia, I’m eighteen, and I spend a lot (most) of my time writing poetry. I live on the southern east coast, but I think one day I’d rather live up north. I have a lot of opinions on things. I’ve always felt the need to get my words out there, because to me, bottling my thoughts up is slow poison. I’ll be using this blog for poetry, updates on my mental health and my battle with Bipolar II disorder, and whatever topics come to mind, particularly regarding psychology.

Get to know me!