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Beauty from Pain - a slam poem



Sometimes I hear people talk about creating beauty from pain. About how art, and music, and poetry are best when they come from a place of hurting because there’s something so beautiful about suffering. I think these people have never experienced pain for themselves.

There is nothing beautiful about wanting to tear your own flesh apart. I think that’s why we do it in secret. In places we can hide the pain because the beautiful kind of pain is pain that is tolerable in the minds of other people. Pain that is relatable and not too dark because if you talk about wanting to kill yourself, you’re no longer beautiful, you’re sick and scary and no one wants to be around you anymore because it’s like you’re this black hole sucking in everything around you and destroying it and no one can stand to be around someone that is wrestling with the idea of continuing to breathe. That’s too much for anyone.

Depression and suicidality are not things that I equate with beauty. But the thing about girls that kill themselves is that we want our struggle to be seen as pretty so when we die, we don’t pull triggers or tie knots, we make tally marks or eat the forbidden candy so we still look beautiful at our funeral and people will not look away in disgust but will mourn the once “beautiful” life we lived. The hardest thing is trying to be beautiful while crying out for help because no one really understands the tricks that your own mind is playing on you every day. That piece of you that is constantly criticizing yourself and reminding you that you are not thin enough or pretty enough or loved enough or talented enough and your life is just not enough and will never be enough so what’s the point in trying to become enough?

Laying in your bathroom floor with mascara streaming down your face and in so much pain that your body can’t hold onto it anymore and you don’t see how this hurt will ever stop is not beautiful. You can’t create beauty from that because no one wants to hear of those heavy times. Sometimes I think the darkness is just too dark for some people. There are people that claim to love darkness but really, they love darkness when they can see the moon and fireflies and the streetlights and stars. I don’t hold their kind of darkness. My darkness is like stormy days where you don’t want to leave your bed and when you do you regret it because you can’t stay dry and your hair doesn’t stay pretty and your clothes get ruined and your makeup runs and children hide because the thunder is too loud and others don’t go outside because they are afraid of being struck by lightning, but I am not afraid of lightning.

I am more afraid of the constant judgements of others. I am afraid of failure and abandonment, and I am afraid that everyone will see the real me and that will be enough to make them leave because I am too broken and too dark and I don’t breathe life, I breathe despair. I am afraid that I am wasting too much time in this never-ending cycle of overthinking and pain and sadness that I will wake up tomorrow and realize that my entire life was wasted because I was too depressed to ever enjoy the good things in life and as hard as I try, I cannot bring myself out of this pit that I have fallen into. I am afraid that no matter how much I scream or how much I plead that no one will be able to help me. But I’m too broken to help myself.

We came up with a plan – something to help me start gluing all the broken pieces of me back together. But it’s hard. Trying to fix me is like pouring salt on an open wound. My skin feels raw. Sharing my thoughts out loud feels like my bones are snapping one by one and my stomach is filled with poison that is eating away at my insides. Talking about it makes me want to hide under my bed until the monsters are gone. There is no easy way to fix me. I don’t know if there’s a way to fix me at all.

So, I don’t think that beauty comes from pain. I don’t see the beauty in the struggles of depression and anxiety so bad that I forget how to function. I don’t see the beauty in the parts of me that are so disgusting and repulsive. Everyone wants the badge of honor from going through a trauma, but no one wants to survive the hard part. And that badge of honor is nothing to idolize. That badge of honor comes as a package deal along with shame and sadness and low self-esteem, and brokenness. I’m not proud of myself – I am embarrassed. I am not beautiful, I am ugly.

There is no beauty in this level of pain. This pain is beyond comprehension until you’ve endured it yourself. There’s no way out. It’s just a lifetime of playing hide and seek with your sanity but you never find it.

Edited by Poppy_


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