Distance and Loss

Distance does something to you. There are moments where you’re filled with a deep-rooted ache, like something irreplaceable is missing from your life and you desperately want it back. There’s always the uncertainty that the distance will change things and it’s agonizing to know that you have no control over that. All you can control is the time you have at present, so far away from the ones you love, but you are forced to learn how to function without seeing them every single day. You realize how often you took the times you had together for granted, and you vow to never let that happen again the next time you see them. You wish for the days to go by faster because you miss them so much. Some days it’s unbearable while other days, life manages to distract you enough to not feel it as strongly. But the ache is always there; it just hits you harder on some days more than others.
Distance really is a test of love and patience, I realize, and I hope I can be one of those fortunate souls who manage to endure it.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it sure makes the rest of you lonely.” —Charles M. Schulz

Loss does something to you. It shakes your whole world in an instant, and without warning, you’re pushed off a cliff. At first, it doesn’t quite hit you yet and you’re just falling. But when it finally does, you crash into the ground and you feel the breath knocked out of you. And for a while, the only thing you can focus on is the pain, surrounding you, drowning you, and eventually, becoming you. It shatters you completely and the only way you can put yourself back together is when you embrace it; like a tree, you grow around it until it becomes something you carry with you for the rest of your life. Time makes things easier but it never erases them. They live forever in your heart and in your mind.
And if you look closely at the night sky, you’ll see a star you never noticed before. It shines brighter than the rest, and it twinkles at you. I’ll let you in on a little secret: that’s them, smiling down at you from the heavens, reminding you that they’re closer than you think and that they’ll always be there.

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” —Edna St. Vincent Millay

© Ashes 2019


artwork unknown

Giving Up

i am tired,
tired of trying.
in the long run,
it probably did me good,
but right now
every breath i take
is agonizing.
these tears pouring,
they sear like hot lava.
this heart is heavy
and is feeling so much:
inadequate; pointless; lousy;
full to the brim with sadness
for the people around me
who have lost so much
but push through life anyway.
i wish to do the same,
and maybe i’ll wake up tomorrow
with the same fire in me as before.
but right now, i’m giving up
and i hope the people who love me
can let me do that,
can see that that’s what i need,
and can understand that
i don’t know what i want to do
tomorrow and every day after
but right now, i give in.
today, i concede to the demons
and invite them in
so i can feel all the pain full-force
and savor every second of it.
i hope that’s okay.

© Ashes 2019


artwork unknown


I am scared. I am tired. I am guilty. I am hurt. I am overwhelmed.
I feel like there’s this constant pain in my heart; sometimes it’s like a dull ache, whereas other times it’s sharp and pointy, like needles pricking into my mind and my heart.

It’s in these moments I feel the most lost. It is then when I wonder why I’m only strong enough on some days and why I concede defeat on others, that when I have incredibly supportive people on both of those days who are always rooting for me, why their words are only a balm on some days while they are a burden on others. It’s on those days where I wish for the inexplicable need to be taken away from everything, held, caressed and spoken soothing words to, but this feeling is rivaled by the incredible need to keep everyone away from me, away from the darkness that was so much worse before but is still there; ugly and all-consuming like a black hole waiting to leech out all the light from inside me and anyone who comes into contact with me.

Today is one of those paradoxical days, one where I don’t know how to get better, or if I even want to.

© Ashes 2019


(Artwork unknown)

A Call to Arms

It’s an unusual combination:
desolation and determination.
You’d think one could not exist
in the presence of the other.
Yet, here they are,
coexisting in relative harmony;
uncommon but still present
in a single entity.
On the one hand,
I feel faint and weary,
too tired to make the efforts needed.
On the other hand,
I feel a tiny spark deep in my bones
urging me to fight just a bit longer;
if not for myself,
then for those who believe in me
when I don’t have the strength to.
It’s like simultaneously
being pulled towards the shore
and being weighed down
by a heaviness in my soul.
It’s like I bear the weight of the sky
on my small, feeble shoulders,
so call me Atlas, why don’t you?
And call for help, someone, anyone,
for it won’t be long
before I collapse
into millions of particles
of ichor-covered pixie dust.
Blow them into the winds, I beg.
For, returning to nature
is all that I wish for tonight.

© Ashes 2019


Artwork by Roswita Szyszka

Rest in Peace, Khala

It just takes the loss of someone you know to remember that death is inevitable, and is in fact, very real.

I lost my aunt yesterday. I’m not really okay. And if that’s my state, I can’t imagine what must be the state of her children.

This now, is me directly speaking to you, Khala.

I wonder what it feels like to die. Where does the soul go? Are you all alone? Is there someone there to hold your hand and guide you through the process of dying, if there even is a process; or is it something you have to go through all by yourself?

I hope to God it’s not the latter. I don’t want you to have to go through this all alone, Khala. Your children have each other and their father, but what about you?

Most of us have lost someone so we have some notion of what loss feels like: pain. Inexplicable pain. Loss is never easy, but to lose a mother is an unimaginable pain. You probably remember it from when your mother passed away, Khala. And I’m sure you’d never wish that sort of pain on anyone, let alone your own children, but here it is happening right now and I imagine, if you’re watching, that you’re really really sad. Let me tell you though, you have amazing and very strong children. And I’ll try my hardest to do what I can to support them and help them get through this.

Right now though what’s making me cry is the fact that you’re going through all of it alone. I don’t know how the afterlife works but I’m imagining you watching everything happening with a heavy heart, or well a heavy feeling in your soul. It hurts to lose someone but it hurts even more to see what effect that loss has on the people you love most.

I don’t know if you see me right now, sitting in C2, alternating between crying my eyes out and typing this. I miss you Khala. I wish I had gotten to know you better. It’s sad how you realize things you could have done more only after it’s too late. I love you. And I’m so sorry and so sad that you’re gone. The world has lost not just an amazing mother, daughter, aunt, and grandmother but also one of the kindest, warmest and altogether amazing souls to ever exist.

In time, we will all start to heal, little by little. Not move on, never move on, but heal. I hope the same goes for you. I hope you find happiness somehow, wherever you are right now.

Rest in peace, Khala.

© Ashes 2018


Artwork by Yochai Matos

Glory of the Feels

I’ve been told I no longer have any outward visible traces of clinical depression that I once had and to hear that was the most unexpected but welcome thing ever.

But it’s days like today where I wonder if maybe they made a mistake when they said that. Because life today just seems to drag me down and is taking along with me the people who are around me, something I desperately do not want and even strangely fear.

And so I suppress it. They can see on my face that I’m not okay, and they ask me what’s wrong. I say I’m fine, even when we both know I’m not. Goddamnit, why do I do that? Why can’t I just ask for help?

Maybe it’s because:

  1. I don’t want to burden them.
  2. I want specific people to ask me and open up to, but at the same time, I don’t want to rely on them lest I become dependent on them. I do not want to go down that road again.

Something I’m learning though is that it’s okay to depend on people. I keep comparing the people in my life at present to my experiences from the past and I keep pushing them away, when in my heart I know that there is so much more to them and I should give them a chance. But I am afraid.

To all those who I do this to, I am so very sorry. I’m trying. It’ll take a while and I know that there is only so much support and patience one can give me, so I do not expect you to stay with me throughout the journey, or any part of it really.

Just know that I am grateful. So very grateful.

I guess that’s going to be the end to this weird, capricious day full of self-doubt and mild heartache. I have no strength to actively try to make it better. So tonight I’ll just bask in the glory of the feels.

© Ashes 2018


Artwork unknown

Inexplicably Tired

One would think that after more than a year of therapy, I would have gotten over most of my issues. Although many of them I have successfully resolved, sadly, some are still very much prevalent.

Like how there are some days where my anxiety and overthinking cause me to work myself up into a frenzied state. It happened again this morning in class and after a series of minor mishaps, I ended up with a fever, a drained mind and body, and extreme disappointment in myself.

Like how my anxiety manages to convince me that I’m a huge bother to the ones I call friends so I try not to talk to them about my problems because they don’t seem very valid or serious, and I usually end up just internalizing everything and feeling very lonely.

Like how the littlest of things set me off as of late and I’m a bouquet of emotions and turmoil.

Like how I’m constantly worrying about making sure I don’t offend or hurt any of my friends, and it just exhausts me so much but I don’t know how to stop.

Like how I can’t help but feel very inadequate and useless at times lately.

Like how I’m terrified I’ll hurt someone who seems to really care about me, how I’m afraid of being another name on his list of people that have broken him, how I’m never able to figure out how I feel about him because when I’m around him, I’m a plethora of emotions: anxiety, the fluttering-butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling and the usual bouts of numbness. I’m afraid of what we are and where we’re headed because everything is so uncertain and I want to avoid the potential chaos that is to unfold soon and want to run away into the woods where no one could find me. I’m afraid of making decisions and taking action.

I’m afraid.

And tired.

Just inexplicably tired.

© Ashes 2018


Artwork by Saisona


For a long time, what I’ve tried to teach myself is to never expect the same level of sympathy and empathy that I give to people, because I realized then that I have a heightened sense of empathy and that can be both a blessing and a curse.

It’s a blessing: I am very sensitive to people’s mood changes and can easily tell if they’re sad or not. And if they do happen to be sad, then I always try to uplift their spirits, even when I feel dead on the inside. At the back of my mind, I’m always thinking about every person in the group and if they’re having a good time or not.

It’s a curse: quite frankly, it’s exhausting. I often have times where I’m lonely because people don’t sense changes like that in me very often, if at all. Sometimes I even manage to cry in a corner in the presence of my friends but they never even notice, or if they do, then they don’t have anything to say. I wish they’d realize I don’t need any words, and that just a comforting presence is more than enough sometimes. It would have been a huge comfort today as well, when my emotions got the best of me and I broke down a little. But alas, it was not meant to be.

I’ll be okay, though. I always am in the end.

I guess it just sucks to feel invisible sometimes.

And it’s a lonely feeling, knowing that at the end of the day, there’s no one who’ll always be there to pick you back up except for your own self.

© Ashes 2018


Artwork by orange-magik


Things had been so good lately and I think I jinxed myself because here I am today, it’s week two of freshmen year, and I broke down at uni a few hours ago.

I know how awful it feels to be abandoned and I wouldn’t want to make anyone experience that ever. But things happened today and I ended up crying in my little bubble of solitude at an otherwise crowded space because I realized a few things.

I have two friends but I prefer person A over person B as a friend, but B relies on me and cares for me and it feels like a betrayal to him. If I had to choose one, it wouldn’t be B, and I feel my heart breaking for him.

Meanwhile, in trying to protect both of their feelings, I did something which I wasn’t entirely comfortable doing and I ended up being dishonest, even if all I did was tell a white lie. I think B might not be a good influence on me and I feel like I may need to let him go. And that makes me feel awful, because in his eyes I’ll just be another person who let go of him and hurt him.

I hope he doesn’t hate me and forgives me.

As for my friend A, I would like to get closer to him.

I hope we make memories together, and I hope neither one of us loses ourselves along that way.

© Ashes 2018

Break Her Spirit

An age-old tiredness

resides inside her,

like the weight of the world

alone she must shoulder.

The demons screech

and claw and howl.

They’ve wreaked their havoc:

her mind befouled.

For, now she pretends

to be happy and calm,

which is just a cover

for the raging storm.

Inside, she yells

and begs for help.

“But dear, lonely girl.

Only you help yourself”,

The demons cried.

They shook with laughter

as they saw  her spirit break;

it was just what they sought after.

© Ashes 2018


Artwork by Miles Johnston

Originally published on The Literati Mafia


My bones feel weary, my mind feels heavy and I just want to shut myself off from the rest of the world.
Today was an exceptionally hard day for me. So it was my first day of uni, and for someone who took a gap year and hasn’t interacted much with strangers in months, it was borderline traumatic today. I love so much about this uni though and I hope it becomes a sort of home for me. But right now I’m having a hard time adapting.
I left early because everything overwhelmed me, and now I feel like a failure and a coward for backing out.
Tomorrow marks another day at my new life and I hope fervently that it goes better and smoother than today.