There Might Be More To Me Than The Emotions I Keep

There Might Be More To Me Than The Emotions I Keep by Valerie Parente

My feelings aren’t as complicated as my mind is making them
with this dissonant narration.
I’ve been caught in a loop
about a story I wanted to be true.

You see my brain does this thing where it prioritizes my feelings
over logic and reason.
Making a stable personality
the most dominant part of me.

Meanwhile I have these thoughts, irrational obsessions that haunt.
For years they were caught
associating you with my name
but now my emotions have changed.

Now my ego is anxious, though it’s really quite simplistic.
No matter how much I resist it
I know I’m moving on
whether I like it or not.

The truth is, I think it’s scary that there might be more to me
than the emotions I keep.
If I get over how I felt
then how do I define myself?

But then I think of how happy I can be now that I’ve set myself free
from that same old story.

Valerie The Doll

– Valerie Parente (1-31-2018)

Inquiries

Inquiries by Valerie Parente

What do you want when you are the only one in charge?
Who are you when nobody else tells you what to want?
How long will it take you to let go of your flaws?
Do you even think before you talk?
Where are you in your thoughts?

Vyne

– Valerie Parente (11-27-2017)

Idu Ego

germs

Idu Ego by Valerie Parente

I am attached to the past as a means of identity
Meanwhile I identify a germ as an attachment on me
A material representation of the past contaminating me
But if I can animate the past as a representation of me
Then why am I trying so hard to be clean?

– Valerie Parente (10-5-16)

Novelty

quantum queen

Novelty by Valerie Parente

I always felt like an ongoing stream of my former self, like a passing current from the past through the current.
But lately I feel disconnected from the old moments and more connected with the sole moment.

I always felt like a blurry memory, like an irrelevant event trying to relive my intent.
But lately my memories are fleeting like separate entities separated from my identity.

I always felt like I had the right words racing in my mind, like I had to be the first person to write words in the first person.
But lately I cannot remember the word I was looking for, and I am quite content with the quiet content.

And though these new feelings leave me unsure of myself, I somehow feel more like me.
Because I might not know what I am all about, but I finally stand a fair chance at finding that out.

– Valerie Parente (8-11-16)

Shy of Me

Shy of Me by Valerie Parente

shy

“I’m shy” is not the statement it seems to be.
When I shy away from showing my personality
I masquerade myself purposely out of anxiety
so that I won’t feel disappointed by my inadequacies.
Feigning to be responsible without feeling responsibility.
It’s not about you seeing me for me and not liking what you see,
it’s about me being me before I’m sure what I mean.
Oh the horror of representing myself insufficiently!
Falling short of the ineffable me I dream.
Me being me without calculated routine
or me being me without addressing my needs.
It’s not about you judging me unfairly,
it’s about me feeling like I am incomplete.
Oh the horror of trying my best having yet to succeed
in being the most perfectly perfect version of me.
So I’ll state “I’m shy” and succumb to anxiety.
Too afraid to be imperfect, I fall shy of me.

– Valerie Parente (7-15-16)

Quest

“You don’t want to get better.”
I was extremely offended.
“You don’t want to get better.”
I was extremely offended again.
“You don’t want to get better.”
…and again. It is difficult to get over an emotion when your glitching mind replays conversations… sentences… phrases… words… sounds… again, and again.
“You don’t want to get better.”
The sting of the comment was starting to subdue into a vapid memory, naturally losing its caustic power with every mental replay.
With a clearer mind I tried to understand why I was so offended by the comment.
“You don’t want to get better.”
That can’t be true. I know I want to get better. I know OCD is not my friend. But to entertain the idea that living with OCD is living carefree would be foolishly wrong. There is no serum to permanently reverse this mental illness in its totality, but even if there was, the idea of simply ousting obsessive compulsive disorder is not a matter of “getting better” to me. But why do I view “getting better” with such a cringe-worthy connotation?
It’s not that I want OCD… it’s that… I would feel lost without OCD.
At those critical ages when a kid becomes an adult, when virtues are established, and when identity is found, the development of my personality coincided with the development of my mental illness in a symbiotic relationship.
Obsessive, compulsive, and disordered have fused themselves with the evolution of my personality, so it makes perfect sense that I would feel lost without the anxiety disorder that has pervaded my growth into adulthood.
I do want to feel better. I do not want OCD to rule my life. But I understand that to embark on a life without this mental disorder (if I were somehow endowed with OCD’s cure) would be to face a whole new challenge in itself, a challenge of feeling totally lost and having to find myself. I would need to be ready to take on that challenge. But you know what? I don’t think I get to consciously choose when I’ll be ready for that challenge. And I know this to be true because I already unintentionally started to face that challenge of self-discovery. Because to realize there is a challenge that needs to be addressed is to already begin to address that challenge. I might be lost, but I will find my way.

"Rose Quest"

“Rose Quest” by Valerie Parente

– Valerie Parente (7-9-16)

Her Bright Pink Shoes

Her Bright Pink Shoes by Valerie Parente

He kept his hood on and hands lodged in the cotton confines of his pockets while maintaining a catatonic stare on the young woman’s feet. Her bright pink shoes were glaringly vibrant against the damp asphalt of the parking lot.
Sick and tired of his optical deviation away from her emotive eyes and onto her pointed toes, the impassioned girl crouched to the pavement and forced herself into his vision. “You,” his good friend affirmed, and the boy didn’t look away, “You are constantly shuffling between pain and fear. When you’re depressed, you don’t care about yourself at all. And when you’re anxious, you care so damn much about your own well-being that you worry yourself sick.”
“Why are you telling me this?” he retaliated through clenched teeth, hoping the aggression in his tone would hide his true desperation for an answer.
“Because!” having captured his full attention she leaped up and stood tall at five feet, “At some point you are going to realize that there is more to you than pain and fear,” she declared, “And you know what? That’s going to confuse the crap outta you. Because you’re not gonna know what to do with yourself.”
And in a fraction of a second, her bright pink shoes scurried away and she was gone.
And he… he didn’t know what to do with himself.

her bright pink shoes

– Valerie Parente (6-22-16)

 

Delusions from Obsessions

When you’re young and you start experiencing obsessions you don’t realize the delusional depth of what’s happening to you.

You naturally assume that the reason you keep uncontrollably thinking of a certain boy is because you’re falling in love with him, not because you have an intrusive image generator mounted inside your brain which has been programmed to stutter on a motif. The particular motif of a nice kid who smiled at your vulnerable teenage heart in the hallway resonated strongly, and as OCD does so well, it latched onto that strong experience and spit out recollection after recollection. But recalling the same smile in a hallway gets duller with each replay, so you have to improvise, and you start imagining perfect scenarios, eventually conjuring up a delusional perception of a person you idealized, not who that person really was in reality… and a whole bunch of kids look at you as “that psycho girl”.

You not only delude your idea of other people, but yourself as well. You cognitively isolate yourself, thinking you understand reality on a deeper level than most people because your cycling mind has convinced you, through the illusory power of repetition, that your perceptions of particular experiences were more meaningful or intense than they really were. And, of course, you are a young teenager and “nobody understands” you.

Pyscho Girl

It has taken me a good eight years of hindsight, since my “outburst” of obsessive compulsive symptoms, to realize that a lot of my more confusing and painful experiences were not based on reality, but were side effects of an OCD I had not yet gotten the diagnosis for. I would be lying if I said I had zero level of resentment whatsoever over how things played out during the teenage years of my life (which are already inherently difficult for everybody), but I am not lying when I say that I have zero level of resentment towards myself for not initially realizing how delusional my perceptions of reality was. I wasn’t getting treated for OCD at the time, and I was keeping it to myself. So obviously I was bound to construct some pretty delusional heuristics for perceiving the world.

It is perfectly okay not to realize, until hindsight, that you did not see a situation or yourself in a realistic sense. Nobody questions the validity of their own thoughts without some kind of third party intervention. This is why keeping your pain to yourself is so detrimental. You are bound to be deluded by pain seen through no perspective but your own (and I’d advocate that this goes for people in general, with or without mental illness). Viewing your perceptions of a situation or yourself from an outside perspective- whether that means physically addressing somebody else for their opinion, taking a step back and trying to see your situation in the big picture, or simply talking out loud about your situation to another human being- can eliminate any potential delusions that might contribute to a whole lot of unreasonable pain which will have to be decoded eventually.

– Valerie Parente (6-2-16)

Susceptible to Growth

I’m not scared of relationships, I’m scared of making a shift from friends to more than friends.
I’m not scared of going out to eat, I’m scared of breaking my streak of home cooked meals.
I’m not scared of moving on, I’m scared of re-establishing myself on new ground.

When trying to dissect exactly what it is about change that is so scary I’ve come to a couple of conclusions (all idiosyncratic to my own personality and emotional history- so, as usual, I cannot speak on behalf everyone suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder); but if I had to pinpoint the sole problem I have with change that I think would most resonate with other OCD sufferers then it would be how in a ritualistic mind change can imitate an intrinsic kind of susceptibility.
To physically change my placement or what I surround myself with, to literally and figuratively put myself out there in an unfamiliar situation with unfamiliar factors is to open myself to a universe of possibilities I have no practice in handling. I cannot guarantee I know how my personality will handle new and different experiences and to somebody who is constantly trying to decode the intermingling of their identity with their mental illness this is nothing short of terrifying.

Equating susceptibility on an identity level is developmentally crippling. Any kind of milestone, an experience or event that should be cherished, could easily be seen with a negative connotation (hence the examples of misconception that I’m simply afraid of being in a relationship, eating at a restaurant, or moving out into a new environment). This kind of mindset is not fulfilling and that’s not fair.

In my OCD fight I’m going to consciously equate change with a more positive connotation- one of growth and blooming. One where getting to the next level, transitioning, and graduating into new milestones will be viewed like pouring water on a blooming identity, to further discover what kind of beautiful flower it will be rather than suppressing it to a bud or a stem without its floral crown.

nourishing a blooming identity

Change will nourish you, not hurt you. And unfamiliarity forces you to become more familiar with your identity by shedding light on how you handle certain experiences. Growth helps you become a more complete you. Making your identity susceptible to growth should be seen as making yourself available to a new level of beauty that only life experience can elicit.

Change welcomes susceptibility, but susceptibility welcomes growth.

– Valerie Parente (5-24-16)

Relevance

Finding your identity is not a process of elimination. You do not look at everything outside of yourself and say “not me” then look at what is left and label it “me”. You and everything in the universe are relevant to each other. And you will never truly discover who you are by isolation. You will discover who you are by recognizing yourself as a part of the whole that is the world.we are all relative

– Valerie Parente (5-11-16)