Updated: Feb 26
Some of you may remember this title as a prompt in September's #30dayshmr, the notes from which I try to develop as many as I can, even if that involves reworking multiple days into one poem. For whatever reason, I have struggled to expand upon this day's response in any way past its rough and undeveloped first draft without losing the original sentiment.
Despite this, my ideas have firmly stuck with me; I have tried to liken this prompt to our minds.
In no way here I am trying to wash over the complexities in our thoughts and struggles, but for want of an explanation: my over-arching idea for this prompt is when we are full and happy, versus when we are low and barren, different parts of our mind, personality and thoughts are exposed or covered.
During 'happier' periods, we can push certain things to the backs of our minds, placing less importance on worries and uncertainties, and focus more on the present (when the tide is in, or 'high'). However, when we feel worried, or a certain circumstance brings us pain, we are vulnerable; our issues are exposed - just as when the tide is out, or 'low', everything the sea has been churning and holding washes up on shore.
I'm aware that tide times can be chartered, and therefore expected. So in this sense, any period of distress (which could be referred to as an episode, panic attacks, anxiety or grief to name but a few) cannot be prepared for in the same way a low or high tide can. Often, when experiencing low points in our lives, the circumstances they stem from can be unexpected and sudden. And whilst there are plenty of methods and mechanisms that can help or ease our worries (that would be another post entirely), it's not always possible to remember these during periods where our structures have been taken over by our current state of whatever bad feeling that has 'washed over' our minds (too bad a pun? What about a 'tsunami of emotions'? 'a tidal wave of anxiety'? Alright you get the gist...)
So these worries and issues that we uncover - or these 'objects found' - when our tide is low, are then essentially up for grabs to anyone. Our vulnerabilities are up for scrutiny and observation, just as low tides expose all sorts of 'treasures'. The first time I read this prompt, I pictured rock-pooling in the summer, where my greedy-little hands would grab at whatever looked slightly different or interesting. In this same way, the 'anomalies' in our thoughts - or any negative parts we feel we can't avoid - are easier to pick at and wear down, whether someone else does this or we do it to ourselves.
Whilst I say that these ideas have stuck with me, they were particularly prevalent during a recent walk to the Cuckmere on the dreariest day. By the time I got down to the 'beach' (*small area of stones) however, the sun came out for ten minutes, providing me the perfect excuse to take some pictures and write some notes, essentially giving me all the inspiration I needed to resurrect this idea and try to reinvent it one final time (see picture above).
Sometimes with poems, I get a strong idea or motivation. But it's trying to convey this in a way that relays what I'm trying to say, whilst also remaining nuanced, not trying to glamorise issues or offend by generalising an experience that is the real challenge - particularly with mental health writing.
Just because I have my own experiences, it does not mean that I am in any more of a qualified position to discuss these issues than someone else; it only means I am more qualified to talk about my own experience(s) in relation to myself. So looking outside of that, and talking about conditions and issues that affect not only me (or not me at all) is a tricky and sensitive balance to strive for.
Until next time, H.M.
My future plan is to develop this response for my next collection, and try to better convey the inspiration behind it. I enjoy the structure I used in my original response (see image above), blending the two halves and incorporating song lyrics that act as some second voice. But I also feel in order to work this I may need to free this up in order to properly convey the movement I'm wanting to achieve.
References and Further Reading:
- All images are taken from my personal VSCO here.
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