A note on poetry, depression, dancing and Alice in Wonderland.

I am writing this whilst sat in the poetry section in Waterstones Piccadilly. I come here a lot to read, write and think; not necessarily in that order, though.

This is my happy place. I love being surrounded by works of written art; words expressing everything I feel or didn’t even know I felt. I adore the tranquillity and the peaceful hours (yes, hours) that I have to myself. I feel inspired and slowed down; I never bring my laptop with me so all notes are handwritten, creating a naturally slower pace.

Writing is one of my deepest passions, as is reading, but the two go hand in hand together, anyway. Words can touch me like nothing else can. They can pierce right through my heart, bringing a wave of emotions over me which I would normally keep well-hidden, buried underneath a fa├žade of smiles and contentment. Emotions that make me ache but at the same time make me feel alive, reassuring me that I’m still here, capable to feel; that I haven’t gone numb yet.

Dancing does the same to me. My dancing self is probably one of the most honest, sincere versions you will ever see of me. I love interpreting different styles; I love showing my passionate side in a Tango, my fun side in a Samba and my raw self in a Contemporary. With the music on and my body moving, there’s nothing to hide.

I suppose it comes as no surprise that I have a degree in English Linguistics and Literature. It wouldn’t be for my A-Levels English teacher, anyway, as she was always fond of my love for Shakespeare. It is equally unsurprising that I was the only person in my class with a love for poetry. I’m a total geek when it comes to linguistics, its history (erm, well, maybe not so much that; I wasn’t a big fan of Medieval Studies), framework and use.

I guess I was always a bit different. I never really fit in but in a more subtle way.
I have always longed for a deeper meaning. Being a firm believer in fate, nothing ever just happens. I think a lot. Too much, perhaps. I could spend hours submerged in words and language. I very rarely say something without having thought it out, and I definitely don’t write anything without having given it some good reconsideration. My words are carefully chosen.

My favourite story of all times is Alice in Wonderland. If you know me at all, you will know this. I have loved it for years, and sometimes I’m still surprised to find quotes scribbled on revision papers from school or uni. I escape to Wonderland a lot; it’s my safe haven, a familiar place which almost feels like home now. Stupid, I know.

I escape to my own Wonderland when I’m spaced out on my way to work. I find myself there when I’m dancing and I let the music and words move my body. It’s when I have a good cuppa and a book, sitting in the sun, that I forget the real world around me. It’s when I have a pen and paper and just write.

Alice in Wonderland contains the most relatable metaphors about being lost and finding yourself, which is something I have always related to/struggled with. I suppose you have to look beyond the White Rabbit to understand it. It’s rumoured that Lewis Carroll was on hallucinating drugs when he wrote the story but maybe he was just communicating beyond what is audible to the common ear. Maybe it’s not meant to be understood by everyone.

Maybe I’m not meant to be understood by everyone.

Writing and dancing are the most liberating things for me. (I hate the word ‘thing’; it makes me feel like I’m not worthy of my degree.) I can voice my thoughts without having to speak; I can reach people without having to be near them and I can empty my otherwise clouded mind all at the same time. It makes me feel connected in an otherwise disconnected existence, whilst, if needed, I am able to dive into my own Wonderland which not everyone can enter. A world of content, happiness and, well, bliss.

With all that in mind, does it really come as a surprise that I have been struggling with mental health problems in the past? For someone who is constantly feeling everything, is it really that unusual to be overwhelmed by it?

I’m 26 years old and I’m only now realising how disconnected I often feel and have felt. I suppose as a teenager, these things (there it is again) get overshadowed; you’re too busy with school and boys and parties. But I think deep down, I’ve known since I was 16.

(Looking at my messy, handwritten notes makes me so happy. As a self-confessed perfectionist – and a really passionate one at that – it’s these instances in which I couldn’t care less.)

So yes, this is me. Lover of written works of art; of poetry and meaning. Often lost in Wonderland, firm believer in destiny and forever wishing for unconditional, can’t-live-without-each-other-love. I’m my most honest self when I’m dancing, writing or reading. I prefer tea over vodka and love over hookups; a night in over a night out and films over dramas.

And I think for the first time in my life, I’m ok with that. Having spent a good decade wanting to be someone else, to fit in; to be everything I’m not, it feels pretty damn good to finally believe. To feel some some sort of self-acceptance.

’til next time x

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