Continued from last week’s article. If you don’t feel like scrolling back, just see this as a “pick a quote and get a tragedy” game. Or free therapy. Or the opposite of that.
3. “It was just red”
Burdened by all this suffering, it’s hard not to sink deeper and deeper. There is something more tragic than tragedy itself — glamorizing your pain because you don’t know what else to do with it. The title of this category comes from author Kait Rokowski — “Nothing ever ends poetically. It ends and we turn it into poetry. All that blood was never once beautiful. It was just red.” As artists and writers, most of your content revolves around self-expression, telling stories that you want to be detached from you as the creator, confessing things that you couldn’t have said in your own body. But how exactly, then, do you say anything at all?
“In the burned house I am eating breakfast. You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast, yet here I am.” (Margaret Atwood, Morning in the Burned House) Perhaps your tendency to tell everything in metaphors comes from the fear of reality, because after all, that is why you’re an artist — you like stories and fiction because they could be anything you want them to be. Perhaps you mold your own emotions into something they’re not, only to show the product you have polished and polished a hundred times, believing that no one would peel back the metaphors and strip your art of its symbolism until they find the few words you as the artist were underlining, if the thing under the limelight is beautiful enough. Do you ever get tired of hiding, of running away from your own body? Do you silently wish for someone to hold you and tell you that they have deciphered every figurative language you’ve ever put out and they still like the screwed-up version of you and that if you ever fall back they will be there to catch you?
Then take down your façade. No, really. Don’t let yourself get used to glamorizing all your pain because one day the mask will grow into your skin and it would take another decade to take off. In Everyday I am Trying New Techniques to Make Myself Disappear, E.E. Scot writes that “most days I am a museum of things I want to forget.” Even if you are, even if you’ve made yourself that way, it’s not too late to start again.
4. “Off knives”
One of the saddest things is to like something so much that you learn to hate yourself. You hook yourself up on the unattainability because of the certainty that comes with it — all you have to do is to break and break and break yourself into pieces to give out without the risky hope of getting anything back. And you tell yourself that you feel safe when you’re self-destructing, when the truth is that it is the consistency of your actions that you enjoy.
"When you are not fed love on a silver spoon you learn to lick it off knives." (Lauren Eden) The greatest tragedy here is that no one was forcing you to lick knives — no one had even asked you to. You hurt yourself and you pretend that it was someone else that made the scars and wounds because you see any type of attention as affection, even if they annihilate you in the end. Unknown person Lacey L. has once said — “The worst part about anything that’s self destructive is that it’s so intimate. You become so close with your addictions and illnesses that leaving them behind is like killing the part of yourself that taught you how to survive.” What do you do when your daydreams and nightmares are alike? The choice is there — to either end something you once and still adore, or to let that thing end you instead. Most people choose the latter because it is passive, because they don’t have to do anything against their will, but to wait, and waiting is quite easy compared to the other choice.
What is affection anyways? What is it if not people hurting for someone else, hoping that they’d reciprocate the action? “I’m not sure at all if love is salve or just a deeper kind of wound. I do not think it matters.” (Erica Jong)
Do you think it matters? Has anyone made you feel like it matters?
5. “More than I remember you”
And last, perhaps the most tragic of them all. There is nothing anyone could do about this one but let it consume. In the simplest words– “there are times when my longing for you overwhelms me.” (Franz Kafka, Letters to Felice) But even the most straight-forward type of love is too complicated. You want someone, but you don’t actually know what you want to do with them. (To hold them? To touch them, with hands or with words? To tell a joke and hear their laugh? To fall asleep with them or to wake up together? Do you want them in the past or the future?) You long for someone, but you would never reach out and tell them. (They’re too good for you. You wouldn’t know what to do. The fact that you like them has nothing to do with them). You miss someone but you avoid seeing them for the rest of your life. (As long as you don’t see them you can’t accidentally screw everything up, you won’t have to stop yourself from telling them everything, and you can turn them into anyone you want in your head. Do you really miss them, or do you miss the illusion that you’ll wake up one day and they’ll become the version of them in your mind?)
When Lee Martens wrote “I knew from the moment i met you i would spend a lifetime missing you” and Ocean Vuong in On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous that “I miss you more than I remember you,” do you think they mean what their words say, or are the words just the closest thing to what they feel even though it’s still significantly different?
It hurts, but that’s why you like tragedy so much.
“Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy.” F. Scott Fitzgerald has said. The most depressing stories all begin with a character with a tragic life stretched out like a fire walk in front of them.
And if you can’t be bothered to read poetry, here are a few songs that flow in the same vibe: exile, illicit affairs, and champagne problems by Taylor Swift, Moon Song by Phoebe Bridgers, and i love you by Billie Eilish.
The 2am writer that lives in the mind of sixteen-year-old Yun-Fei Wang has been taking over her sanity for a few years now, tearing her lifeline down, yet building up an escapism in the same breath. Find her in the evanescence of black-inked words, or at @rainofelsewhere on Instagram.