from a woman who is hard to love

before we get started and my friends start grinding their teeth and saying but meaggy we love you! just know that i mean a very certain thing.  i mean i am the kind of woman that warsan shire talks about in this poem.  i know that people love me and i love them too.  this is more about me saying that i am the furthest thing from what the world wants me to be, and i'm okay with that.  but not everyone is.

you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.
  (warsan shire) -- 

i love boundlessly.  i love people i barely know.  this is a phenomenon that comes not from being neurotic, but from caring sincerely and deeply about everything.  anytime i have any kind of crush or mild little love for anyone, it comes from this little chesnut of truth deep inside of my soul which is this: i really, genuinely, wholeheartedly and full-throttledly (notaword) love people.  i get deeply invested in people who say three words to me, and that is because i can tell from three words what heart is holding them and that is enough for me.  that is enough.  i don't need to wait to know someone's whole soul before i care how they are doing or what happens in their life.  the first day of group therapy, i left with an overwhelming sensation of wanting to hold everyone's heart.  i feel like that literally every day.
i've got an obnoxious heart that just can't handle love with any dignity.

and then i'll tell you this is a hard way to live.
because it makes this true: i am a woman who is hard to love.

people meet me and they see my sureness.  this is funny to me because i know i do not have very much sureness or confidence.  the sureness is this: i know that you are good.  that's where it comes from.  if i seem confident to you, that's why.

there are too many reasons why to list, but for those of you who still tear their hair out over what a jellicle cat is, i'll try to define myself in this way.  i am a woman who is hard to love.  i am a woman whose arms are flabbier than they should be and my hair is wild and waxen, i am a woman with a loud voice who says hey shut the hell up when i'm drunk enough when you whistle or cry out at me.  i am a woman with a clear voice who sings like a lark or a total loon and i love so much i have nothing left.  i am hard to love because i have been told i am hard to love, and i have been told i am not worth loving, and i don't know what to say to either of those things except 'okay'.  i am obnoxious instead of shy and i love ruthlessly instead of quietly.  i am a woman who is hard to love and this is my letter to the world.  i am sad instead of happy and dark instead of light and i know how we become the abyss that we live in.  i am a woman who is difficult to love.  

because the truth is, i'm just a regular girl with a really big heart.  it is difficult to love me.  but this is what i have to say: it's okay.

there are a lot of things for me to learn.  you can't make homes out of human beings.  
but for the most part, i just want you to know
most of my smiles are real
and we are extremely beautiful.

partners for mental health: not myself today

hey guess what! i'm the newest community correspondent for partners for mental health!  this is one of my first steps to wellness.  there are a handful of us across canada and we do things like blog and tweet and engage with media to promote partners for mental health and their message!

when i started writing this blog, i was not well.  i would howl through the day and cry through the night and spend my days with the bell jar or i would sleep for 20 hours at a time.

once i started writing this blog i started perusing the internet for groups that support the mental health cause and work to eliminate mental health stigma.  and then i came upon partners for mental health (@PartnersforMH) and all of their campaigns and there were a lot of little cogs in my head that went clickclickclock because the organization is simple and lovely and everything the world needs it to be.  the organization is about mobilizing and action. 

so hi. my name is meaggy aylward.  i am a 22 year old go-girl who wrings out depression like the damp weight it is to find water and light, little droplets of truth in the strange nuanced world of sadness, mental illness, and i look for ways to find light.  mostly, i am a newfoundlander in ottawa romping around doing psychology courses and collecting the fragmented pieces of my life and putting them back together after my depressive episode last year.  i still find it hard to write about depression, but it is something i do because i believe that stigma lives in the air- the space that exists between people who have depression and people who don't when nobody talks about it.  because there are so many strange and covert realities of depression that some people just don't know about: there is more to being sad for several months than just sadness- there is the teary reality that you can't imagine any version of your life in which you live past the age of 25, there is the place where a future doesn't exist and the present is only a piece of the future so that doesn't exist either.  and the truth of stigma is, it is borne of the space where words can fail and heart need to be as open as possible.  and so that is what i am asking of my friends, family, acquaintances and strangers.  i am asking you to have an open heart.
which is why, if you haven't already, i'm really really asking you from the bottom of my heart to take this pledge.

people are so cautious around me.  it isn't because they are evil.  i don't think i know any evil people.  it is because they are afraid.  and that's okay.  it's okay to be afraid of hurting me at first, but soon i want you to realize that you don't need to be and i don't need you to worry about that. when everyone around you starts tiptoeing around the world like king midas it gets a bit daunting.  i want us to fill the air with words instead of misunderstandings and stigma because both of those things suspend love and friendship and all of the good things in the world.  i want you to say to me "i'm afraid if i talk to you you'll fall in love with me because i am a guy and you are a girl who is crazy" or "i'm kind of afraid to say the word crazy around you" so i can say "no dear, i'm just not myself today" or "psssssssstttt - that's just not how it works."  so that's what i'm asking for with this pledge.  i'm asking for more than my friends looking up and saying "RAH RAH WE HATE STIGMA" - what i'm asking is for friends, strangers, acquaintances, and people to just take this pledge thoughtfully and say to yourself that you will honestly help me try to fill the air with real words instead of the words we conjure to make sense of something we don't understand.  because stigma doesn't come from evil people who hate everyone - it comes from people who just don't always know how to love certain things.  that's okay.  but let's deal with it.  let's figure it out. let's take THIS PLEDGE and post about it and talk about stigma when it's there and love when it isn't.

and that's the not myself today campaign! it was launched ages ago (last april) but i still love it.  and guys. GUYS. there are MOOD RINGS involved.  in case you don't remember your childhood, mood rings are the best things in the world.  check it out, please.  and talk about it post about it comment about it or let me know that you took the pledge that you can find HERE, so i can smile and remember how wonderful i think you are.  

ottawa, ho!

this is a short post to tell you that i am moving to ottawa today.  
i am scared and it feels like someone has a balloon in the cavity of my torso that they are blowing up which feels a little like anxiety.
and also excitement.  i'm excited too.  ottawa is full of the most wonderful people and my most darling friends and i know that this is the best thing i can do for myself right now and i will be full of happiness and fun and joy.

i'm driving with hot geoffrey, so obviously the road trip is going to be a hilarious display of disgruntled meaggy following redundant safety measures and my dear father trying to interrupt my crying.  maybe i will make a rule: dad you're not allowed to interrupt my crying. i'm going to get there and be hurled into errands like oh i don't know buying everything you need to live.  
i will post something longer about the shared tragedy of moving away from newfoundland.  later.  when i'm done crying.  

for now, let this rock know i love her.
i love this place.
and i love all my friends and family that live here.

i won't be gone long.  a year, maybe two.  however long it takes me to find my way back home.  my mother is convinced i won't return to newfoundland.  obviously she has never met me.  saltwater is in my blood.  the sea is what i am made of.  

god guard thee.

four: ring in the true

now it's time for a little cheerier new years post.
the previous one was a bit of a backstory.  just that i've been a bit sad (understatement supreme) the past few days and needed to take a bit of a weary look back on my year.
the truth is, from an objective point of view, i've had an amazing year.  i graduated from university, i was surrounded by friends, i got it together and changed my whole life plan, i've sung some songs, been with family, and gotten the courage to decide to move to ottawa so i can find my way home.

every moment happens twice, inside and outside
the world inside of me has been dark and dormant, but the world around me has been spinning so fast it sings.  sometimes it is impossible to reach the true - to hold and understand that the world spinning around you is the world you need to be part of.  but i'm a little happy today, and so i can stick my hand into a small velvet black abyss and pull out bells, little golden tones of truth and the ring of the true is where i will come to find myself when i'm sad.  this is worth doing.  it's worth having a large amount of evidence to prove to yourself that the world would have holes in it without you.  here is my cup of kindness.  here is the mug with the warmth of the world that i get to drink.

four: ring in the true

i know there are people who literally drop everything and come to me when i am depressed.  they just come over to watch me cry and hold me and keep me safe.  they cry with me and are just there, exactly where i need them to be.  in my darkest moments, when the only thing i want is to get out of the world.

i have friends who come to me when i'm crying and are just present.  and that's all you really need to be.  the isolation of depression helps build the bad world; it builds your inside world where certain moments mean that certain people hate you, even if they have only ever felt love for you ever.  but when people come to be with you, even if they don't say anything, they are just there and that is good because they are a piece of truth, a piece of the moments and a piece of the space that live in the true world, the world that is held by everyone.  elizabeth has done that for me so many times.  she just comes and gently reminds me to believe in that world.  i don't know if i would have made it through the summer without elizabeth, and i say that with a lot of real tears and real truth.

pretty much the exact same goes for shauna.  shauna and i shared a sadness sometime, and there is nothing more relieving than holding the world together.  if anyone has held the part of me that glows, and reminded me that i am something more than sadness, it has been shauna.  because she holds a light the thing i call darkness and makes me look at myself and see that i have been something, and i have been someone who smiles and laughs to kill myself and is loud and full of love.  but the ability to hold someone when you're not your happiest self is astonishing, and shauna has done that for me so many times.  to suspend your own world and live in someone elses.  that's crazy.  shauna rules.  diva4lyfe.  shauna got me out of bed and into the world and that is one astonishing feat.  she brought me to the truth when i was too blind to find it myself.

and there are soooooo many people who have done this for me.  people who have rang the bells of truth in my life and sat with me when i've been sad; so here's a cup of kindness, to shauna, to elizabeth, to michael, to stephanie, to david, to sarah, to erin, to mitchy, to jeremy, to andrew, to erinandstephenandbefferandlauren, to daniel and to anyone whose name i might have skipped; you are the reasons there is any truth at all in my world.  so thanks for that.

anyone who knows me knows that my family is at the very center of my self.  they always are and always have been.  my family has been pouring their love for me into my heart since i was born, and they never, ever stop.  lauren and kristian and bethany came for two weeks in the summer so i got to flee from my life and take refuge in the best place in the world (middle arm, our cabin) where we swam and drank and laughed because the baby's eighth word was "cognac."  and of course chris' family are always my perpetual fortress of refuge.

and of course.
the baby.
the baaaaby!
sophie was born in november two years ago, but i saw lots of her this year.  she came here dressed as a peacock for halloween (can i just say, adorable).  she burbles and bellows and recognizes me and squeals with delight and really is there anything more validating than a baby loving you that much the answer is no meaggy, there is nothing more validating than that.  

and i graduated.  whut.  i can't even believe i got a degree through four years steeped in my little depressivecoma.  but i did, in a weird feat of stubbornness and fear.  and my family surrounded me and celebrated me and so did my friends and it was weird and disorienting but it happened.  cool.  

and then there are the groups that have held me.  the little collections of people that hold me together.  the people who are collectively patient with my silly little inability to do anything, and were again, just there.  so here's to the mun oxfams of the world, and millenium network, and the farfalla, and the colouring club, and the choirs, and the rotary music peeps, and groups of old friends, and groups of new friends, and all of you.  all of the people i smiled with in the past who helped me know that even if i thought in my heart of hearts that everyone hated me, it was okay.  

and the music, the thing that (in case you have read this poem (my heart my opus)) anchored me to the world and kept me here and made me feel with a heart i honestly didn't know i had anymore.  there is something strange yet wonderful about singing all lies, aka "i can see the light of a clear blue morning" when that is in fact something i can not see at all.  here's to the overtones and the nets of people behind them and the meaning in music that is more than us and more than me and that is just the melodic beats of truth that bells ring out.  ring in the true.  here's to kellie and robin and maria and anyone who somehow got me to sing despite myself and all of the choirs and all of the pieces of music there are.  

here's to the every laugh and smile of everyone this year.  because each peal of laughter and piece of smile is a coin of gold to me, and all together it is the best treasure ever.  here's to more moments like this:

i'm scared of this resolution a little.  ringing in the true means living in a world that i haven't known for ever.  it means that i need to abandon my strategy to keep self hate close to my heart (so i can hate myself before you hate me, so your hate can't hurt me).  so that's what my new year's resolution is: ring in the true.  to know that you love me.  to trust in the world i can't always see.  this isn't an easy one.    i'm really, really scared.  but cheers to everything and everyone here.  i love you.  people have been saving my life on a daily basis and that is an astonishing life to get to live.  so i am going to try as hard as i can to not get stuck in my false world, and to celebrate the truth.  ring in the true.  and that is the gift to people who love me: to keep trusting them.  to keep them in my world.

ring in the true. :)

post-script: also, here's to nessie.  obviously.  just look at her.

the six things i have learned from unbearable sadness

there are things that come from sadness. one of them is knowledge. people spend a lot of time talking about the benefits of depressio...