Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden


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LGBTQ+ – But not asexual folk!

This just in, the “plus” of the LGBTQ+ no longer stands for “in addition to” but is now on par with a full stop. Only lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, and queer are in. The rest, are out.

I’ve been relatively quiet on this issue for a while. It’s always eaten at me though. I’ve seen numerous people say that asexual people do not belong within the LGBTQ+ community. More importantly, straight asexuals do not belong. They can “pass as straight” and therefore do not know the struggles.  Anyone is straight passing if they want to be – if you hide enough of who you are. 

Do asexual people face the same trials of gay and lesbian folk? No. Do they face discrimination and hate? Are they forced to change who they are because of outside sources (parents, boy/girlfriends, media etc)? While I do see gays and lesbians getting more hate and verbal/physical abuse, it does not erase the pain asexual people face. Growing up, I never thought there was anything wrong with me liking girls. I had never seen it to be an issue. But I knew there was something wrong with me when I didn’t like or want sex. I knew I was different. I felt like an outcast. All my friends would talk about sex and I just wanted to vomit. It never showed and there was no way to have known, but I was in pain. I felt like I was a broken version of a human. Like I missed the puberty train – the puberty train that gave me the need and desire for sex. It’s the same pain of other members of the LGBTQ+ community, the feeling of exclusion among society. The questioning of being wrong, or having the wrong brain functions. 

Asexual people face “conversion” therapy too. They’re forced into sex in an attempt to have them like it. As if being forced to have sex will make you want it – if it were even a choice. But just like being gay and being a lesbian and being bi, being asexual is not a choice. 

I remember a friend saying “well you can’t have a relationship without sex”, and my whole world shattered. I had just gotten comfortable with the thought that it would take me a lot longer to find my someone because I had to take sex out of the equation. But now I was being told it would always be in the equation. That if I were to ever have a relationship, to ever have any chance of comfort and companionship, I would have to force myself to have sex. It is no different than a gay man having to be in a straight relationship. A lesbian in a relationship with a man. It’s forcing what is not right, what is not me. 

I spent so much of my teen years trying to fit in. Trying to change myself to be what everyone said was “normal”. I would get high and get drunk just to even cope with the idea of having sex. When you compare the internal struggles of an asexual to the internal struggles of a gay/lesbian person, they’re not that different. If we take out street abuse, and slurs shouted on the sidewalk, etc. Then it’s the same. Asexual people are forced into having sex – not from themselves – but from their partners. I knew someone who was forced to have sex with their boyfriend every time. They cried each time. They didn’t want it. And it took a long time to realise this is rape. Asexual people are often raped when in their relationship. They say no, they say they don’t want it. And they’re told “oh no but everyone wants sex”, “it’s what people do in a relationship”. They’re excuses. Excuses used to justify rape. 

And to top it off, lesbian and gay folk are “allowed” in the place of sanctuary. They are allowed in queer bars, and queer groups. They are allowed to be there and be queer. But even people from the LGBTQ+ community exclude ace people. You may think I don’t have the whole totality of it. But I do. I am a girl, attracted to girls. I’m gay. And so I do know discrimination for liking my own sex. I know how it feels when someone yells “gay” in a not so nice way. But it was always okay. It was always okay because I knew that there were others like me out there. I knew there were boys that liked boys, and girls that liked girls. I knew I wasn’t alone. And this was in 2012, when gay rights were on the rise. When same sex marriage was becoming legal in more and more countries. I knew it was okay. But not wanting to have sex? Not wanting to even “french kiss”? That made me terrified. I didn’t know I wasn’t alone. As far as I knew at that moment, I was alone. I genuinely thought something was wrong with me. When I found out that it was in fact something real and not a malfunction in my genetics (yet another), it was like a weight have been lifted off my shoulders. I had never experienced this weight with being gay, it never felt heavy to like other girls. But it felt like I would be crushed to death with the weight of not wanting to have sex. 

I know there are people who won’t even read this in it’s entirety but will comment about how ace people are not truly part of the LGBTQ+ community. How they “don’t belong here”. Funny how people were saying that about gay, lesbian, and bi folk way back when. But then people grew. They made their own group. They united together. But now they are deciding who can sit with them.  Only the cool kids that are socially acceptable are allowed. No ace, no agender, no fun. If society isn’t on the up with it, then neither is the LGBTQ+ community. Asexual people are valid and they have a right to be apart of the community. It’s a place for inclusion and acceptance. A place and community to be who you are despite what society says you should. A place to like who you like, in the way you like (excl. abuse), with no judgement. No. Judgement. 


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Pride – Coming out and coming to terms…

Same-Sex Attraction:

You always hear stories about how “I knew when I was young”, “I knew that I was different” and maybe that’s true. But for the longest time I didn’t really think it was any different. I thought everyone felt that way. None of my friends thought boys were cute – ew cooties! – and so I just assumed it was the same for them as it was for me. Looking back all the pieces of the puzzle fit, but at the time it felt like they were all from eight different puzzles and no pieces matched.

I would see boys and think nothing of them. Nothing happened. I could tell you if a boy was hot or if they were cute but that was it. I had no desire to want to be with them. It terrified me to think I would have to spend the rest of my life with a man. To have to live day in day out, until I died with someone I didn’t care for like that. But that was “the way that it goes” and so I thought I had to suck it up. Until I was 15, I didn’t really have much idea about same sex relationships. I think I knew that they existed, but I can’t actually confirm that. I don’t remember thinking “oh two girls can be a couple” or “two boys can be a couple” – I think that was some good ole institutionalised heterosexual madness going on. Boys were with girls, and girls were with boys. It wasn’t until high school that I realised it didn’t have to be that way. I was lucky enough to go to a very diverse school. People would tell you it’s a crap school, and while it doesn’t offer a lot of additional subjects, it was a lot better than other schools in my town. I remember seeing my first same sex couple. They were walking around like nothing mattered. I remember thinking that it didn’t have to be the way they say it goes. I didn’t have to marry a man, not if I didn’t want to.

My first girlfriend was a…lets call it lesson. I used her to prove I was attracted to girls, I used her for my own personal security, and she used me too. We were toxic and a horrible combination. For a while I thought that it was because I didn’t like girls, because I was a liar. Turns out I just didn’t like her. And that doesn’t make me straight. It took a lot to realise that. I thought if I didn’t like every single girl then I was straight. But hetero people don’t like every single member of the opposite sex so why should I be held to that standard?

Non-sexual Desires:

Sexuality and different means of attraction should be taught in schools. Unlike being gay, I did think I was different. I knew from the start. From when I learned what sex was and that people “had” to do it to love each other. I tried so hard to fit in that way. I wanted to enjoy sex. But every time I even thought about it, it made me vomit. It disgusted me. I could never do it sober. Always drunk/other. The feeling, the sound, all of it. I knew something was wrong. All my friends were in love with the idea of it. They wanted it more and more and more. When I had my first french kiss, all I could think about was how disgusting it was. I felt like such a prude. No one else felt like this. The first time I ever heard the term “asexual” I had no idea what it was. I looked it up and I could have cried. It was me. I wasn’t as alone as I believed. I was so mad that I had to learn about it from the internet. Someone should have told us about it in sex-ed. I spent so long thinking I was wrong. That I had been messed up in the womb that I didn’t like sex. I thought I would have to add it to my list of “ways I’m screwed up”. But I don’t. It doesn’t mean I’m screwed up, it doesn’t mean anything. It just means I don’t like sex. And that’s okay. At least I know the person I will end up with won’t like me just for the sex.

I think the difference between being gay and being asexual was that when I was little, I was naive. But when I was at high school – when everyone started having sex – I was more aware of others. I could see that they were not like me, that I was not like them. I knew I was different because I was more aware. I was not young and naive, I was old and wise (as much as a 15 year old is).

Gender identity:

This one I knew. From the moment my body started changing. Until then nothing much was different. I could have been a boy, I could have been a girl. I could have been neither. When I started growing boobs, and I was an early bloomer, I cried. It meant I was a woman. It meant that was it. I had to be a woman. I watched a documentary on transgender people, I thought “maybe that’s what this is, maybe I’m transgender”. I didn’t want to be a woman so maybe I was a man…but that wasn’t it either. I was 17 when I learned what the term agender meant. 17. I thought it was just people who were both man and woman. Non-binary. I thought that you had to be one or the other or both. I had no idea you could be neither. But I can. And I am. I call myself her and she, but I am not a woman. Don’t call me that. I’m me. I’m Riley.

When I envision my future, I have a wife, we have a kid, and we are happy. We live on a farm – that’s not too close to town, but close enough. She protects me from all that scares me, and I try to do the same for her. We love each other so much and we are so happy. She doesn’t force me to have sex, she doesn’t care for it so much either. She doesn’t call me a woman, because I’m just Riley. And we have family game night, and couples game night, and we go out to dinner, and we go out to places. I finally see my future relationship as happy. I realise it doesn’t have to be the way I was made to think it did. I don’t have to be unhappily married to a man who makes me have sex. It doesn’t have to be like that at all. I can be happy. I can have my happy ever after, after all.


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And Then There Were Three – DaddyOFive and the abuse allegations

Let’s begin with some wonderful news – Rose (the biological mother of Cody and Emma) has been given emergency custody over her two children. Cody and Emma have been removed from the toxic home they were in.

The channel is supposedly a family channel of fun pranks and hilarious jokes. But I would NEVER want any child, in fact any adult, to watch these videos. It broke my heart to watch them even in clips. My heart broke for these kids and the hell that their lives must be. This is not an easy thing to write about, but I’m beyond mad. I’m beyond upset and watching the videos makes me wonder how anyone can sit there and watch them. How can anyone be silent?

People are still arguing whether the children are abused or whether it was fake. If it was fake, what kind of sick, sadistic person would write a script about your kids slapping one another, and throwing iPads at another, and hurting each other. Why would you want that to be your channel? Have you no pride? You would think an honest person would see these allegations and think, “look, we made a mistake, we notice now that we were treating our children wrong and are going to get help”. Instead, they brag about having social services investigate them already – and they passed, but that’s easy enough to do. In the first “explanation” video to tell people there is no abuse going on, you can see Cody – the main victim of all of the abuse – move his eyes as he is denying the abuse allegations. And having kids being asked by the person abusing them if they’re being abused is ridiculous. Of course they’re going to say no – they’re terrified of him. Why would they say “oh yeah they are hurting us and I don’t like it” when the dad will a) cut it out, and b) most likely play another “prank” on them?

Now the main reason I am now invested in this and hope for the best is the fact that the mother – Cody and Emma’s biological mother – Rose was denied custody of her kids after Mike took them away in ill circumstances. The judge/courts determined a mother with bipolar was not able to take care of kids. From a video posted on Rose’s channel, we can see how happy and ecstatic the kids are for life. They look like they are surrounded by love, their eyes are full of light and their faces are bright. It’s a stark comparison to now, they are clearly terrified of Mike and are petrified of what he’s going to do if they “disobey” him. It must be a nightmare for them living in that house, and all because the mother was apparently unable to raise the kids. She had been doing a fine job until they were taken from her by Mike for what she believed was a six month period. To make matters worse, Mike is living with – as are the children – a lady named Heather (who has three children of her own). Heather has a previous record of second degree assault. In the state of Maryland (where Baltimore is situated), second degree assault is defined as someone causing serious bodily harm to another being. Now I’m sure each person differs, but I consider myself to place children at the top of the human pyramid. Children are the highest of society and the ones that deserve our utmost respect and care. So personally, if I were to have two kids of my own, then miraculously meet the love of my life, then find out they have an assault charge on them, I would not take my children anywhere near them. Regardless of what the circumstances – if it were self defense it would not be charged as assault – if they can hurt an adult, or another human being, then they will not be going near my kids. It’s just logical. The “EhBeeFamily” brings forth what a loving family on YouTube means, it means that the kids are not used for profit, that their sanity and their dignity is not sacrificed for some money.

This whole situation brings forth the point that we need to be more vigilant as a society for our children. Cody’s teachers had noticed he was self-harming by scratching at his skin to make it bleed. Instead of contacting the schools guidance counselor, the school wrote it on a note to the father which resulted in the Cody being shamed by Mike. People have been watching this family for a while, the channel had some 700,000 subscribers. Why had no one spoken up before now? Why were those around the family silent? In New Zealand specifically, child abuse is a very real and very huge epidemic among our society. The biggest thing we as citizens of the country can do is raise questions. Step in for the kids when they have no voice.

Abuse is not just physical. It is a broad spectrum of things and it’s so important that people realise this. People need to be made aware of different means of abuse and how they are shown in children’s actions. We need to start asking questions and making things known. CYFs and any other child protective service would (or should) rather look into an allegation that holds no truth, than have a child not be saved because no one wanted to bother them. Better safe than sorry is not a statement made for fun. It is a truth that we need to remember. Better safe than another statistic to add to our growing rate.


If you, or anyone you know, is being abused, you can get help at these places:

USA:

General

Child Help

NEW ZEALAND:

2Shine

Are You Ok?

Parent Help – for parents that are seeking help on parenting techniques

AUSTRALIA:

1800Respect

ReachOut Info

And of course your local emergency number.


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Environmental vs. Chemical Depression

I’ve had this theory for a while. That there are two cloud causes for depression. There is environmental depression – caused by the environment around you, and chemical – caused by your brain chemicals.

In 2013 (I know ages ago, but New Zealand statistics are impossible to find) the amount of children and teenagers diagnosed with a mental health condition had almost doubled over the previous five years. But it’s known that the rate of those diagnosed with depression and anxiety is on the rise and we’re seeing some of the highest numbers yet. I think this is down to environmental depression becoming more prevalent. We have put pressures on academics, friendships, extra curricular, university entrance, job options, etc that adolescent are understandably struggling under the pressure. The way to distinguish environmental depression is if you were to have no stresses would you still be depressed? If you were climbing a mountain and no essays were due, you had just won the lottery so money wasn’t an issue, and you had a steady job source – would you still be depressed? I believe environmental depression still sees a decrease in serotonin but as an after effect – as a direct result of the environment and the situation one is in. The simplest way to determine environmental depression from chemical depression is it typically starts around adolescence and puberty.

Most people won’t admit that the environment has caused their depression, some think it makes it less real, others just don’t want to have to change everything in their life to cater to their depression. But it’s not any less real, and it’s important for one’s health to be in a position where you are able to live as stress free as possible. Of course in this consumerist, money hungry society it’s hard – and that’s on us as a nation and a globe. We have to change the demands if we want to see environmental depression decrease.

Chemical depression is as it sounds. Just like ADHD, and other chemically changing disorders, chemical depression changes the serotonin levels in your brain. Not when you reach puberty or stressful times, but from birth. It would 9/10 times go unnoticed, because children aren’t good at explaining their emotions, but it can produce as shyness. A child may seem shy on certain days and not shy on others. Looking back on my childhood I wonder how no one noticed I was depressed. It’s this lingering sense of “what’s the point of it all?” I remember thinking – as a child, about 6 or 7 – about being killed and aside from it hurting and me being scared of the person should they be a stranger, I didn’t really think it would make a difference. It wouldn’t matter if I was alive or dead – it was all the same. That’s chemical depression. And it typically goes away with anti depressants and minimal counselling. I have never received adequate counselling because it never helped. It was just annoying to me. And I think this is why. Because it wasn’t anything that happened to have caused it – sure things had happened to me, but talking about them and learning to cope with them wouldn’t make it all go away. It was just the way my brain was and when I found the proper medication, I saw my mood rise. I still get sad about the things that happened and happen to me, but they aren’t the reasons I want to kill myself. They’re just “life” to me. But for those with environmental depression they are the root of their depression.

Why does all this matter now? I’m sure we’ve all heard about or seen the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. There are numerous reasons I am against this series, but this is a very crucial part. By killing herself, Hannah has stopped all living. She cannot grow to see the happy. From the portrayal of the story on her tapes, all her reasons were a direct result of her environment. If she was removed – flown to a remote island – she would most likely not want to kill herself. In 5 years from when the suicide happened, Hannah could have very well not even believed she was going to kill herself – had she made it out alive. But because she threw it all away at high school, she will never be able to see anything she could have accomplished. Her story ends there. She could have done so much to raise awareness on bullying and sexual assault, she could have become a spokesperson for mental health, but instead she killed herself.

This means so many of those struggling with environmental depression will see this as a plausible and very real option. But they will fail to see that the situation will change. That school will end, and 90% of your friends will be people you haven’t even met yet. But because of this ill filmed and poorly devised show, people will think that it isn’t worth fighting for. That it’s better to just quit. It is not. It is worth staying alive for. There are so many great things out there that you can’t dream of because of school stress, and peer judgement. But it’s there and you can see it, but you have to stick around.


NOTE: Chemical depression is in no means a reason for suicide either. With the help of medications and a steady plan you can enjoy life. Please if you are feeling suicidal contact a 24/7 helpline

INTERNATIONAL:

LIST A (Wikipedia) LIST B (Suicide.org) LIST B.5 (Suicide.org, USA)

LIFELINE AUSTRALIA: 13 11 14

KIDSHELPLINE AUS: 1800 55 1800 (Ages 5-25)

NATIONAL (NZ):

LIFELINE AOTEAROA: 0800 543 354

SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)

DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 – or free text 4202

YOUTHLINE – 0800 376 633

KIDSLINE – 0800 543 754 (0800 KIDSLINE) *up to 18 years old


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Pro-Choice /= Pro-Abortion

It’s 2017, why is this even a blog post I am writing? This debate has been going on for decades and it’s the most ridiculous thing to exist. How I got to be so understanding and have the compassion that “pro-lifers” seem to lack is beyond me, but here we are.

I’m not pro-abortion. I believe you have the right to make decisions based on your own beliefs and ideals. By keeping abortion illegal and by making it a criminal offense, you are taking away other people’s right to make decisions based off their beliefs and ideals. You are taking away the same right you have – to choose not to have an abortion – from another person. My belief is that if you do not want the pregnancy, you can terminate it. Say you fall pregnant and maybe you don’t want it but you’re against abortion so you have it anyway – I could realistically come in and say well no, you have to have an abortion. My belief is that people should be able to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Does it sound completely unfair and definitely unjust? Welcome to compassion and understanding.

Religion. This is a huge part of why abortion is illegal. Church should not find itself in the Government. It is a separate entity and should be treated as such. How come other religions don’t get to be included in the Government? What makes Christians so special? I believe in God. And I also believe that other people deserve the right to choose. I choose to believe in God, I choose to do these things. Why shouldn’t others get that same opportunity? Why should I be any different and special so as to be the only one who gets to make a choice? My God does not care if you kill some cells. He has a soul up in heaven waiting for you and if He cannot bring it to you through your own body He will find a way. After all he is a miracle worker. If when my times comes, and I’m called before God and He tells me that He did in fact oppose abortion, I know I would still be welcomed into His kingdom because it was not my place to pass judgement. It was not my place to force another of His children into my beliefs.

Being pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion and I’m willing to bet there is no one pro-abortion. People have somehow confused the two and begun to see pro-choice as if it were pro-abortion. What I am asking for – and what every other sane human being is  asking and promoting – is the right for people to have the choice.

Scenario I – My friend and I walk into an ice cream shop. My friend picks chocolate flavour, but I don’t like that flavour. I tell her no. She has to have vanilla. Here I am telling my friend that she cannot have chocolate ice cream for no reason other than because I don’t like it. Am I going to be eating her ice cream? No. Am I going to even be affected by her chocolate ice cream? No. Is the person behind the counter going to be affected by her choice? No. Do you see what is happening here?

Scenario II – My friend and I walk into a pet store, she’s looking for a dog. I don’t like dogs (I do, but for the sake of the scenario I don’t) and so I tell her that I don’t like dogs. She tells me “okay, don’t buy a dog.” I don’t buy a dog. When she gets to the counter to pay I say nothing and I walk out with her. Was this wrong? Yes. Why? Because I forgot to remind her to get dog food. Other than the lack of nutrition, there is no reason why my friend cannot buy herself a dog if she wants one. It’s her choice. Regardless of my opinion on the matter, she can choose to buy a dog if she wants because she’s allowed to make her own decisions. Remember how they tell you that about 100 times in primary school? It doesn’t change…or it shouldn’t.

I am not promoting abortions, I am not pro-abortion. I am human and I realise that people who fall pregnant and don’t want to be/cannot be are going to find a way to terminate that foetus. I would rather they have the option of it being done safely by a professional. No one wants an abortion. Not like you want an ice cream truck or a bouncy castle. You want an abortion the way you want to get a filling done. You don’t (unless you have a filling procedure fetish?) want to do it but you have to before it gets worse.

One more time for the people in the back – pro-choice /= pro-abortion.


If you live in NZ – or are just a good human being and understand that everyone has the right to choose – please sign this petition to get abortions decriminalised in New Zealand. At present, although you can get an abortion, it is still classed as a crime to have an abortion. It’s got to change.

>SIGN THIS PETITION<


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Old vs. New: Why Raising the Retirement Age Shouldn’t Be A Topic…

If you’re even remotely up-to-date with New Zealand news, you’ll know there has been talk about raising the superannuation age. It currently sits at 65, but one party wants to raise it to 67 by 2040.

National leader Bill English confirmed on that if National were to be re-elected they would indeed raise the superannuation age to 67. Other leaders have come out in opposition and said they would not raise the age above the already standing 65 years.

Why is it a bad idea to raise the retirement age? Shouldn’t we promote continued working among those healthy enough to do so? Yes we should. We already do. The superannuation is available to those 65+, meaning those that are healthy and willing to work past 65 years can. But that those who are in pain, worn out, or just don’t want to work into their old age can retire. Raising the age would mean that people are staying in their jobs. We already have an issue with youth unemployment, mostly due to lack of job opportunities. If we don’t take out what we are putting in (i.e, we add workers without any leaving) then we end up with no job openings for those entering the fields. A reason our youth find it so hard to get a job is because their are no openings because the older generations are having to work longer to meet requirements of the superannuation. The reason Bill English doesn’t see this as an issue is because he believes youth are high on the job drug users unable to pass drug tests. He claims the youth are druggies at fault for the unemployment rates. He refuses to acknowledge that the elderly having to wait longer (67 years) to be eligible for the superannuation will have hazardous effects on the youth employment.

Yes our average life span is increasing, but he’s forgetting that the youth are what see the life increase. If we can’t provide New Zealand youth with steady employment, how are they meant to pay for groceries? How are they meant to afford medications they need to stay healthy? While our life span may be the highest it’s been, it can fall too. It’s not ever a set-in-stone age. If we don’t nurture and protect our youth then they won’t be around as long as today’s generation. We have children in poverty – New Zealand is notorious for it’s high poverty among first world countries. We have taken care of our elderly, we need to begin to take care of our children. Raising the superannuation age will not benefit our children and youth at all – in fact it will hinder them most. No longer will their grandparents be able to look after them and spent time with the kids, they will be too busy having to work. Kids won’t be able to spend an afternoon at Nan’s because she’ll be in the office.

Bill English (and National) are very much like my parents – they believe that the youth are lazy and the reason they don’t get a job or can’t buy a house is because they’re too lazy. Forgetting that they did not have to pay for tertiary study. Forgetting that they did not have the housing market of 2017…a house that would have cost them 350,000$ in 1999, will now cost anywhere upwards of 500,000$. They live in a very bubble world where everything is exactly how it was back then. I get that they worked hard and have done enough, but what on earth does raising the superannuation have to do with them working hard? If that was your argument wouldn’t you want to lower it? Let them have more time relaxing in retirement?

Give our youth  the employment opportunities you’re so ready to give to the elderly. They have had a good run, a long run. Pretend, for a moment, you give a damn about our children and their futures.


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My Emotions Are Too Big – Living with borderline personality disorder

It’s hell. In one word. But I am not on some twitter 140 character limit and so I can expand further than hell. Crap. Sh*t. Horrible. Adjectives (and even the words I write) cannot describe what it is like.

There is the inevitable “oh no I’ve made this up, I’m a fraud” when you see someone reblog/repost something that is specific to BPD. But there is also the toddler snatching back the toy because “it’s mine! You can’t have it!” If I see someone relate to a feeling I have, it’s a hard time not to completely hate them because they’re trying to take away what’s mine.

A massive criteria for BPD is the inability to create an identity of your own. You start to cling to the diagnosis because it’s all you have. It’s all you know for sure – and even then you don’t truly know. When you meet a new friend, you begin to become them. Although not the only time, when I was nine I watched Cheaper By the Dozen and I copied how Kim Baker (portrayed by Morgan York) talked, walked, sat, ate, and spoke. Of course my mother thought this imitation was adorable and creative, not the beginning of what I would soon find out to be a nonexistent-yet-ever-changing personality. Another instance I had hated the colour pink (thanks society) but I found out that Dakota and Elle Fanning’s favouite colour was pink. So suddenly I loved pink. I constantly try to find what is “my personality” but it always fails. No matter what I try, I am nothing. The very definition of the word. I don’t mean that in a negative way (not anymore anyway). By being nothing, I am also everything. I am a writer, a reader, a singer, I like colours, I hate those same colours, I talk like someone, I talk like someone else. I am nothing and I am everything.

If I were to explain BPD, I would say it’s big. Everything is big. Enlarged. Multiplied on a magnified scale. I don’t have any other way to explain it. It’s not, oh I’m really upset. It’s the worst you’ve ever felt. You have no emotional permanence, every emotion is the most you’ve ever felt. In today’s society we tend to have this nihilistic view that is exaggerated for humour and even as a stress relief. But for BPD it really IS that exsketch-1487512166904aggerated. Maybe not necessarily in the grand scheme of life and ‘there’s kids starving in Africa’ but to me in that moment, it is the most horrible I’ve ever felt. I imagine it like this: an average, neuro-typical persons emotions are a circle. A nice, neat, compact size circle. Someone with Bipolar takes two of the human emotions – mania and depression – and performs them on a much larger scale. (I am not clear on bipolar as it’s not something I struggle with so this is just my understanding.) Borderline personality is almost as if your brain has taken bipolar and gone, “you know what? let’s just do it with everything!” So all your emotions are drastic. All of them are at the tip of scale. They’re all too big and too much. I’ve lived through deaths and still I will swear that my cat getting up and leaving my room is the most lonely and sad and hurt I’ve ever felt. I feel everything on a  drastic scale. It’s being sensitive, but enlarged. I used to hate it – why was I made like a glass gone through one too many washes, almost about to shatter at all times? But now I like to think that it makes me a nicer person. I may feel my emotions on a big scale, but I also feel other people’s emotions on a big scale too. It helps me be empathetic and sympathetic. And I love that part of me. So I have learned to love the part that cries when my cat leaves or the part that wants to die when a friend is busy. I’m learning to love those parts because they’re a part of me.

There’s the attention side. It sounds about as horrible as it is. Please know that most – if not all – people with BPD don’t want attention in the sense it seems. Somewhere between birth and puberty, their mind confused attention for love and affection. So when they’re seeking and striving for attention, it’s really just love they’re looking for. A misguided, miscommunicated love. When I’ve overdosed, it was never because I wanted people to look at me and say that I’m not okay, or because I wanted them to know I was hurting. I wanted the hug that came with it. I wanted the love that they gave because suddenly they realise you could be gone. That love is the love I’ll spend my whole life trying to safely create. It’s – to me – the epitome of love. Acts of attention are not acts of school girl, my boyfriend isn’t looking at me, acts of attention. They are bids to receive love and affection and acknowledgement. Misguided because our brains don’t work the same way…almost like we have a mental disorder…

Then there’s the part where you have to function among others because god forbid you are different. Existing, simply waking up and going about your day, is 100x harder with BPD. Before breakfast you’ve already gone from wishing you were dead, to hoping you will live forever, being the most distraught human on the planet to being the happiest person alive. And then you get to the kitchen and there’s no milk in the fridge so you cry because it’s the worst thing to have happened to you ever. And non of this is a millennial exaggeration. It literally does feel like the worst thing ever. Whenever anyone finds their milk empty they’re upset a little. So magnify it. Not by a hundred but by thousands, billions, and that’s how it feels. It’s almost like your body can’t feel anything so when it feels a tiny emotion it just HAS to make it big. So imagine feeling that every second of the day. Each action leads to an exceptional (in the nicest way possible) over reaction. It’s exhausting. And we haven’t even left the house. Imagine just getting to work? Drive down the road and a car comes out of nowhere? Never been more scared in your life! Driver toots their horn at you? I WANT TO DIE! It never ends and it’s too big and too much and to exist is hard. Sometimes I wish I could just find the “infected” part of my brain and get it removed. I don’t care if I can’t write some things, or if I can’t see out of one eye. I don’t care if my left side never works again. It would all be worth it if this would stop. It would be easier to have my right side overwork to compensate for my dead left side than to live with this. But I can’t do that because it’s not possible and it feels like it’s spread through my whole body anyway. So I have to learn to live on a small scale so my big emotions are as little as they will ever be. I feel like I have to live half of my life and never get to experience much because I get too overwhelmed. I get to scared, too sad, too angry. You can only be too much of something for so long before you have to get away.

Part of me wants to evade all responsibility and hide away because functioning and acting like a reasonable human being is too exhausting. The other part knows that I have something to offer and that one day this will all be worth it. Maybe a kid will come to me and say they feel things too big too and I will be able to show them they can be just like their friends too. They can live and they can be okay. Maybe it will be someone feeling upset and I lend a helping hand because it’s heartbreaking – of course literally heartbreaking – to see someone so sad. I’m not sure. But I have to believe it’s going to matter. So what if I tell myself a little lie to get me by? I have to make my body get out of bed and exist. I have to force my body to feel too much and be too much because I want to live.


PLEASE: Do not read this if you are not diagnosed (excluding appropriate self dxers) and think “Oh I have BPD.” Chances are, you don’t. A lot of today’s society is viewed in an exaggerated state. It is very hard for people with BPD to hear neurotypical people say they have BPD. See the identity paragraph. It’s like a blow to the stomach. We are toddlers on the playground – this disorder is ours. Please don’t romanticise it.

Art by Jake