Like Fine China (Analysis)

Like Fine China Analysis

I wrote this poem, “Like Fine China“, without fully understanding what my subconscious was trying to tell me. After reading it a couple of times I realized the meaning behind the words. Fine China is the symbol for making art (something beautiful) out of sadness. The sadness is a constant cycle that manifests itself like patterns on fine China, royal “blue” (sad) details that I’ve etched upon the surface (my writing). When I have days that I break down, the porcelain breaks down, and I could use the jagged pieces of sadness to hurt myself but instead I choose to use them to build a display out of the broken pieces in the form of a porcelain vase (art from my mental breakdown) and there I show off pretty flowers (rhymes through poetry). The problem that arises from creating art out of sadness, sometimes sadness that a 3rd party might see as “old news”, is that these emotions I’ve recited are as good as dead to the world, hence why the flowers in the fine China vase I’ve built are decaying. The wonder in this, though, is that those decaying flowers offer me, the writer, solace. The cycle of sadness and creativity continues as the decaying flowers become a beautiful floral tea that I turn to for comfort as a grieve the ongoing pain I’m still in. Other people don’t see the benefit of the flowers (writing about perpetual pain), but I do. The entire process from fine china to a floral tea is cathartic, as is the artistic process, and in the end I feel okay and like I can survive my own mental state. Alas, a new day comes, the sadness inevitably returns as I am overwhelmed with reminders from the real world, and the pretty pain goes back to being “too pretty to comprehend” (commentary on not fully understanding what I was writing in the poem itself “Like Fine China”). Thus the entire breaking down of fine china (delving into an artistic outlet) occurs again.

Isn’t it incredible how art can be completely mindless but reveal something so profound in the mind it spawns from?

– Valerie Parente (10-6-2020)

I’m The Bad Guy

I’m The Bad Guy by Valerie Parente

I’m the bad guy
because I knew how to use my words to paint a picture of how it felt inside.
I’m the bad guy
because I wanted someone I cared about to have a permanent place in my life.
Somehow I’m the bitch and cold-hearted
because I removed myself so you could have the relationship that you wanted.
I’m the bitch and a creep
because losing all the good times devastated me.
I’m the psycho and a trouble-maker
for the tumultuous sadness I’ve put to paper.

I guess it just amazes me that to this day
I’m the one with all the blame
for the hyper-sensitivity I put on display,
the thing about me you once called a strength.
And you might ask “Why is she not over this yet?
Why can’t she shut up and just forget?”
But who cares? This is anonymous.
If its hard to read, that’s your own conscience.

I’m doing better in so many ways
but I think that as the seasons change
it reminds me of the old days
and that brings back a lot of pain
because nothing destroyed me more than when I left
well aware that I was about to lose a good friend
and every now and then I just need to express
the very worst feelings that once felt the best
because it’s still confusing to comprehend.

I want nothing but the ability to cope
with the scars that once marked my hope
and I’m not sure why I even have to explain myself
to the very people who ridiculed my mental health.

– Valerie Parente (10-3-2020)

Sad

Sad by Valerie Parente

I’m sad
about the things that still don’t make sense.
I’m sad
about decisions I try not to regret.
And I’m really sad
but I know that I did what needed to be done.
I guess I’m just sad
that you never tried to stop me once.

– Valerie Parente (9-23-2020)

Black Hole: A State of Mind

Black Hole: A State of Mind by Valerie Parente

This meltdown is not circumstantial
this meltdown is a state of mind
and I believe this one was looming for months now
when everyday life got flipped upside down
and I didn’t have a chance to grieve the everyday life we had to collectively leave.

I’ve been trying to cope by distracting myself with the people who matter most
which is ten times harder when you have to distance yourself to maintain physical health
and I think after two months one little straw broke the camel’s back and I only knew how to overreact.
The circumstances never changed but a heavy darkness infected my mental state.

It doesn’t make sense for me to be as upset as I am about my personal circumstance
because it’s really not the end of the world
but this state of mind made it feel like I was going to die if I didn’t testify
and this heavy mass of pressure in my soul was simply waiting to cave in
like a black hole.

This state of mind will pass with time
but I’m so scared while I try to make it there
because every second in this black hole
feels like an eternity I can’t control
and I just want things to go back to normal.

– Valerie Parente (5-23-2020)

Untouched

Untouched by Valerie Parente

My 25 and a half years of suffering doesn’t come from not feeling good enough.
This is a constant issue of feeling like I am good enough
but like God keeps setting me up
for a million and one lessons
about how there’s absolutely no one
who could ever give a fuck
about the body I managed to save
when I tried to die young.

And you can go ahead and say I’m insane for being so broken up
but maybe you’d understand my kind of hell if you spent 25 and a half years untouched
while your mind continues to level up
I get better every day
but the night never comes
where I go to bed with someone
and maybe that’s God’s way of saying
I’m not meant to be loved.

– Valerie Parente (5-20-2020)

Broken Speech

Broken Speech by Valerie Parente

I’m emotionally exhausted
and I can’t find the words to speak
I never looked for the words
the words looked for me
but ever since I snapped
I’ve had broken speech
because I’m so broken inside
that I can’t read my own needs
and it’s my own fault
for the hurt I’ve received.
Don’t get me wrong
I love the pain in poetry
but I think I’ve made you out
to be worse than you seemed
and I’m not sure why I did that
but if I rearrange each piece
of all the writing I put down
I’d say it came from an inner need
to feel appreciated and valued
and you were the victim of that greed
because when it comes down to what I care about
you’re towards the top of the hierarchy
and maybe that’s not appropriate
since I’ve been told not to preach
I just hate biting my tongue
especially about the things I see
and I lead my life like I write
with a message and a theme
but I couldn’t understand the meaning
of finally caring about another being
then being withheld from that connection
and told I’m crazy for my feelings
I guess if I had to come up with words
it comes down to my mentality
and the antidote to my selfishness
was feeling happy by someone else being happy
and that’s how I felt about you
that made me feel well-rounded and complete
so many years of mental illness
deadly eating disorders and OCD
they just stopped seeming important.
My relationship with another human being
mattered more than the fear I live with every day
I don’t know if that makes me crazy
but for once I no longer felt sick in the head
and the real world was actually lovely
I had a good time with somebody real
and that time was my favorite relief
from the inner script that is my mind
I think that’s why I took it personally
when you didn’t have the time to spend
and different types of priorities
and I’m sorry if that’s a little scary
I don’t mean to be as intense as I seem
Emotions tend to overpower my behavior
and the words I write get pretty heavy
and I don’t know if I’ll ever know how to express
that I’m so Goddamn sorry
because I took something you were insecure about
and I made it all about me
and I honestly can’t imagine
anything more manipulative and mean
maybe there’s no point to this poem
maybe there’s no lesson or theme
But it’s important for my mental health
to write out the words I didn’t speak
then next time I won’t let it build and lash out
on the the people who mean the most to me
So I guess this is my long-winded explanation
my reasoning, shame, and apology
it’s embarrassing that I let it fester this long
and turn into such broken speech.

– Valerie Parente (1-1-2020)

Emotionally Exhausted

Emotionally Exhausted by Valerie Parente

I’m emotionally exhausted
and I don’t know how to express it
I can only feel so much before I drown in it
and I can only hurt so much before I have to kill it
and I don’t want to walk away
but I don’t know what else to say
because I think I’ve exhausted all of my resources
talk, write, pray…
And all that’s left is just to rest
because I can’t deal with any more of this stress.

Only Human

– Valerie Parente (11-8-2019)

Promise

Promise by Valerie Parente

I know I will see you again
when I am no longer me
and you are no longer the you I knew
but we will be together
in an infinite room.

"I Meant What I Said When I Said We Will Be Together Again" by Valerie Parente

“I Meant What I Said When I Said We Will Be Together Again” by Valerie Parente

– Valerie Parente (9-15-2019)

Investigating the Nostalgia Flood

Investigating the Nostalgia Flood by Valerie Parente

 

Phenomena?

The nostalgia flood.

This is the term I am coining for a recent struggle I have been facing for the past few days. Recently I have been thinking vehemently about the past lately, to a deeply emotive point that my thoughts are beginning to hurt from the very core of my being. I am struggling to come to an emotional understanding as to whether this intense flood of seemingly random and eclectic waves of nostalgia are resurfacing for a specific reason, one which might correlate with my physical circumstances, or if the bittersweet reminiscing is simply a mental product of neurons going haywire in my brain.

 

What Is Going On?

I can’t help but question two key aspects of the nostalgia flood; first, is there an obsessive compulsive component to the reminiscing? If so are these memories purely the OCD playing head games with me, or do these memories hold some sort of objective meaning in the light of a mind that was not plagued with obsessive compulsive disorder? Second, is there something that each of these (seemingly) random memories have in common? If so why now am I revisiting the underlying psychological thesis behind these flashbacks?

Confessional

 

How Does It Feel?

Before I try to make sense of what has been happening to me alongside the guide of the latter questions I would like to note the emotional quality of the mental memorabilia that has been pressing at the forefront of my conscience for a few days now. Every one of these memories are good memories. They are times that I hold near and dear in my heart and consider some of the best moments of my childhood or adolescence. Every time I remember the heartwarming moment my breath is taken away and, as dramatic as it sounds, feel as if I need to cry, initially out of happiness and then the more I think about the memory I feel compelled to cry out of sadness. Never do I get to the point of actually tearing up though. There is just this strange sensation of resounding love that fills up my chest and then a horrible wave of sadness that follows. If I had to categorize it as any psychological state I’d call it grief. Grief not for a life lost, but a time lost. The heavy sadness that festers in my mind, after the joyous flashbacks begin to blur, always feels comparable to mourning. And this odd but powerful experience makes me wonder: why am I mourning? Why do I not stay in that initial happy state when the intrusive OCD mechanism calls up the memory? These are memories of old friends, love interests, family! One particular memory is of a time when I felt very socially accepted, specifically regarding a person I would wind up catching feelings for. Another example of a memory revolves around sleepovers and parties with some long-lost best friends when we would laugh until we cried!  … Oh. Interesting. I am catching something significant as I sort this out in a Word document. “Laugh until we cried”. This phrase unnervingly reflects the exact recent state of mind I have been in as I reminisce. It seems that the very content of these memories, incidents like laughing until I am crying with a best friend (or feeling the ecstasy of social acceptance which would soon melt into fragile infatuation) projects happiness that deteriorates into vulnerability. Of course this could be dismissed as a coincidence, but I personally do not believe the universe works in coincidences. And for that reason I think it is safe to say the metaphorical nature of my nostalgia, much like psychoanalytical dream theory (theories of dreams that accredit dream motifs to the subconscious), actually proves a commonality among my memories. The commonality subsequently causes me to believe that the flood of nostalgia is not random or even eclectic, but that each of these fond moments from the past and people associated with these fond moments are purposely being called up by my brain, an OCD brain that is operating with rhyme and reason.

 

Who Is Involved?

The memories that I have been dwelling on were very prosocial in nature. These were times when I was thriving in my social circle. Now, I think it is fair to acknowledge that in some respect most of us can get sad when thinking back to positive moments because we recognize that they are over. Time moves laterally and irreversibly. This fact is just a discomfort we all have with our temporal confines as we undergo the human experience. Good times will always come to an end. And yes, that is sad if you choose to be sad about it, but I do not feel as though I am making a choice, and for that reason I do not allocate much responsibility to this factual perspective when talking about the nostalgia flood. If anything I am saddened because of the context in which these memories ended. For example, and I hinted at this a little before, but every person that I am reminiscing about is a person that I no longer have a relationship with. In fact if any of these people knew that I was thinking about them recently, let alone getting genuinely upset about the relationship which, to my everlasting dismay, fizzled out, they would probably think I was a complete lunatic (honestly I can’t say I’d disagree). I never quite felt satisfied with how things ended with any of these several people. Each and every relationship, for one reason or another, stands in my mind as a relationship that should have endured. Relationships that are incomplete. Some people I lost communication with a decade ago, some people 5 years ago, some people a few months ago, and each person was somebody that I never truly wanted to lose a friendship with. I always wanted more, more laughs, more memories, more attention, etc. Nevertheless, these are all people that I got close to at one point and wound up losing touch with. I do not think that the selection of people associated with my nostalgia is random. Between the emotional timeline within these individual memories, converting from high-as-a-kite happiness to profound grief, and the correlated social position each person has in my mind, demoting from close companion to complete stranger, I have come to the conclusion that there absolutely is a theme taking place in my psyche.

 

Why Now?

When a theme is taking place in the psyche of somebody with obsessive compulsive disorder, there is always a question of whether or not that theme is relevant to the current circumstances of that person. When it comes to the nostalgia flood and its eerie resemblance to OCD intrusive thinking, what is the theme?

The theme overarching my nostalgia revolve around losing something before I was ready to lose it. There was a sense of incompletion. The memories embody lost relationships and elicit a mourning-esque response. Why now would I be reaching back into my long-term memory and pulling out these snippets of emotional density? Why is my brain reminding me of heavy emotions? Why does my brain want me to feel the high of happiness and the low of loss that follows?

Honestly answering this question after dissecting the qualities of the nostalgia flood is not difficult. The only feat left is to describe how my life has been going in the current day. Without going into too much personal detail, I can modestly say that I am at a paradox in my life. I have never felt more rich with life experience or more proud to be me, but at the same time I have never felt more lost with where I am going or more longing to engage with a (certain) person who shares a similar mindset as me. I do not know how to satiate my mind socially in the way that it wants to be satiated because the person that I would like to spend time with is a person I am having a hard time communicating with due to the trials and tribulations that adulthood presents. This social predicament has been key in my confusion with which direction I should take next. After investigating the nostalgia flood in the past few paragraphs it should come as no surprise that my memories of wonderful yet lost relationships can accurately represent this inner mentality of feeling positive about myself but lost in the social department.

– Valerie Parente (4-25-2018)