CW: discussion of mental health disorders and violent imagery

I know you’ll believe me when I say this: it has taken a year of staring at blankness. My time was spent wandering across a canvas, the dark, squishy, hallucinogenic kind. The ugly matter wouldn’t budge beneath my feet, but rather absorbed me into blankness itself. 

To prove it, I had a doctor cut me open (metaphoric and painful). He found the dark squishy stuff to be menacing in my gut. Musing, he then offered me a long process of removal – what he meant was an arrow flying towards the cauldron of morning. The exorcism of it was as necessary as it was cruel, to get rid of the grey was to murder it. I only had bravery when I realised my shadow was light grey – fuck, that made me lose my shit. Before I knew it I had struck my bitten nails so intensely into my chest that I began bleeding the godforsaken shade. The pain was a solid colour. Night unravelled in fevered images, stones aimed at my collar bones and a demon climbing out over my tongue. In the morning, my mirror showed me, with one eye black and one eye white, the grey had split itself in two. 

It is now the page you are reading. 

What I write is a painting of my mental illness because it’s the only way I can communicate anything these days. I am in the realm of dissociation so everything is dipped in magic and madness. 


I once went on a terrible walk; it still haunts me in the drawings of my sleep. The grass had a texture that warned me I would be given fairy wings at Christmas. The more steps I took, the louder the warning under my feet grew, until I thought a fox was drowning. To ignore the feeling I glued my eyes upwards, comforting my soul between the distant roofs of the housing estate. I also found a church and an NHS training centre and then suddenly I saw God: my face turned blue under his shadow. Fuck, why did he have to appear to me as male. I thought I was more of a feminist to be honest. But there he was with a long white beard and hand outstretched to me. The fairy wings shone in all their grey, completely silent in the palm of his hand. 

At that moment I wondered if it would be worth praying under the one apple tree in the field. The urge to be good was overwhelming; it terrified me almost more than the fairy wings. God was looking at me with eyes of rain, he wouldn’t talk, his palm had the pull of a lone flame. I made my way over, I don’t know how I ended up barefoot by this point, but I have given up trying to understand myself. My bare back turned to him and the metamorphosis began. 

Later I walked back home to get a better look in the mirror. The fairy wings are made of bone – a  rib cage it seems. Upon further inspection the grey of them looks a bit second hand, like they have already been used by a person or poet. I think they also have a smell, like the smell of a motorway after a downpour but condensed: concrete and oppressive. Whatever all these observations mean I can conclude that fairy wings certainly haven’t made me feel any lighter. What is worse is that I actually gave God a hug for them, nestled inside his white beard and feeling incredibly grateful. Right now I don’t remember why. I don’t get it anymore. Also, my face in the mirror is not something I want to see, I am so tired and barely recognizable.

There are still numerous loyalty cards to cafes in my pocket. I hope I am still allowed in with these things on my back, I hope the grey doesn’t make people run as fast as I do. Now I am not thinking or breathing and I have been paralysed in front of the mirror for too long and the room starts spelling out panic.  

There is a ghost standing in place of my reflection. 

Pale, incapable of rotting and a thing of transparency. Her eyes are grey, as are her nails, as is her skin. The room is drained of colour and becoming increasingly monotone and God is not available to offer hugs. She still doesn’t fucking move, forgetting that it’s only 5PM and the world isn’t quite over yet. Maybe it’s the thought of Oxford spires or the messed up walk or just her brain, but she won’t do anything. Another woman, malfunctioning, like she’s spotted the first grey hair on her head. 

It is probably good to mention that when I go into third person I am either passively suicidal or a brilliant writer. Obviously the colour came back at some point, I think while I was on my way to the bathroom. The mirror turned out to give me a fun idea about haunting my hometown and how one could write the sensation of floating. 

Maybe, though, it would be more productive to write something every time I see a genuine colour and not just the grey. I could give them aesthetic names and wait–sorry–I realise I have a meeting and need to not be barefoot, and are you feeling okay? We should talk about latte art or boygenius or okay I really need to stop wri–