I Was Torn

By: Amanda Maciel Antunes

“(…) And I a smiling women, I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die.” - Sylvia Plath I was torn.

I didn’t know what was wrong with me, it didn't even matter back then. I found comfort in remembering my fifteen year old episode of self-harm. And again at twenty two. And once more at twenty nine. Those versions of myself were my untrustable traitors. Never again, I thought. Never again. It is an entertained thought when the house is empty and only what remains of someone is left behind. You do not know when it's coming unless it vibrates like a drill about to explode. In me there’s always a slow awakening from my personal, my dream, creative life. But what first awakens is this resistance to outer destruction. Noise and light are amplified, so is dark and silence, until the senses become dulled. I’m always afraid it will do this while I’m asleep and that I'll vanish. I never tire of hearing about depression, and some of us seem to have a disguised opinion about it. “moved away”; “took drugs”; “found religion”; “met someone” —- It is something I’ve lived with for years. At times it is so deep that it’s useless to throw an anchor so you learn how to swim in emotional waters. Some would say they have been born there. Some discover the joy in excessive negligence associated with feeling at ease. Some will renounce it. Some will die a thousand times before they do. My internal conflicts with the creative, the content of my work, is the demon in me. The adventure-loving, and I do feel this adventurousness is a harm to my loves. I associate creation with ruthlessness and indifference to consequences. By being true to the woman, upon what the creative depends, an inevitable desertion makes you frequently feel a loss greater than the gain. Today it requires a more intensified shock to move us than it ever required before. The spirit of poetry is practically falling into turgid bankruptcy. The process of analyzing the world is unavoidably the difference between empathy suffering and personal suffering diluted by our aspirations. The consciousness of sensations seem to be dictated by ultra-expensive dining experiences in vapid and sterile environments issuing austerity and lifelong annuities stablished by one’s own good luck. We invite these sensations merely as a one-off festive entertainment. A type of lottery organized by communities for the relief and support of those who desire to obtain for themselves the pleasant and convenient means of reliable and substantial life. Then when depression cracks you open, everything is kind, cordial, without the warmth. You pretend in your mind that all you want is to sleep in the darkest depths of yourself. You don’t want to change your mind, you want rather to be encouraged. You seem not to see what was there in reality. There’s no need to oppose this inability to act, this personal reaction to cut out the umbilical chord between the real and the imaginable. For they never thought this misery had a practical solution. I Was Torn Amanda Maciel Antunes If you manage to get back to the surface from it you know what an absence of sense is. You know the grin with which you’re invited to battle. You know how indebted you are with having to say yes to being rescued. You weep because you should fight. You do not want any friendship that does not demand equal hardness. You want to be able to trust this connection you have with danger. You think that nobody but you who has felt it can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have your mind torn. And you want, most of all, joy at the realization that you’re completing a work in secrecy. You want to uncover the mundane so you can begin to understand the horizon like the edge of a saw. Yet it isn’t your ethics or the quality of your years in therapy that will presumably dare you to mind this feeling, that in some small or real way, betrays you. It’s a job in which obstacles, sentimental attachments and uncool soft spots become serious personal liabilities. People can kid about “peaceful feelings”, but there’s nothing redeeming about your milestones. They are like forest fires. Out of necessity, fires come and fires go. If you walk into those burned scars, you’ll find some new underbrush and you’ll wait for a new fire to come to your doorstep. There’s a pervasive and toxic quality to them as they burn unprotected acre after acre. But you’ve seen them grow, and darken, and some day for the first time your fires will smell like no other kind. But such is the effect of obstacles that you become familiar with the exposure of the worthless laws and you begin to wonder where there would seem to be virtually no escaping this time. Except, that’s not true to us mortals and reckless uncaring children. As far as we know, we are utterly alone in a floating rock, doomed for extinction. And our momentary reality, however fleeting, tracks the distance between an unhappy mix of betting and the sight of a breathtaking investment in magical thinking.