A few months ago Paramore released a new album, the first in a long time. Like last time there was a new Paramore album I was in high school and had a halfhearted emo fringe. So I was excited. It’s a good album. It’s different, but I love it. But this post is not a review of After Laughter. This paragraph is really just a feeble attempt to introduce my actual topic.
Anyway, there’s a track on it called Hard Times, it was the first single and therefore the first taste of the whole album I got. I loved it. It resonated with me in the way that Paramore always has, but particularly because at that point I was definitely smack in the middle of my own hard time.
There was one line that stuck out to me the most, like someone had strung fairy lights around each letter and yelled it decibels higher than the lines previous.
And I gotta get to rock bottom.
I hit rock bottom this year. I hit it with such a force I could almost hear the sound of the structures I created for my own safety shatter on impact.
I felt bruised.
Everything within me was aching, this constant dull, throbbing pain. I wanted to get up, but I couldn’t. So lay at rock bottom, too exhausted to even really call for someone to help me out. I wanted to get out but I was so tired at this point that I didn’t believe I had it in me to ever get up again. Every breath required too much effort.
I can’t even begin to explain what it felt like to lie at the bottom of that dark hole. Sitting here today, months after, I can’t comprehend how I ended up in a place like that, but I know I did. It happened. It happened. That was me. That girl was me.
One thing I can tell you about bruises is that they heal.
When I was 18 I went paintballing. Someone hit me point blank and the pellet slammed into my leg before I even really noticed that someone had found my hiding place. For a year and a half my leg was bruised, gradually fading from dark black and purple to pale grey. There was a long time between the moment of impact and when it was finally gone, I got used to it being there, but now it is gone.
I spend a lot of my life falling.
Not even on purpose, but you can feel as things begin to fall to pieces again. I do everything I can to hold it together, and I’m doing miles better than I was as a teenager, but things will still start to slide.
I catch myself slipping, and I started to get scared.
A day spent in bed, even though you had so much planned.
Leaving a meeting to stare yourself down in the mirror while some voice tries to scream abuse at you again. Wash your hands, walk back, all smiles. It still happened. Shake it off.
Doing well all day, only to find yourself depersonalising and unable to actually understand what’s being said to you.
Falling. Technically okay, but not quite.
You can’t put a finger on it.
(All that I want, is to wake up fine. Tell me that I’m alright, that I’m not going to die.)
Generally speaking, this place is a much better place to be than rock bottom. Mostly okay is better than the worst things have ever been. But it’s uncertain. Uncomfortable. A balancing act of sanity versus insanity.
But when things are bad I know they’re bad.
Rock bottom is, if nothing else, solid.
I’ve hit what I thought was rock bottom a lot of times. Each time the floor seems to fall out from under me and I discover a whole new level of rock bottom underneath. Super fun.
But maybe that was my problem. I let rock bottom just be rock bottom. A prison I put myself in, I wrote my own life sentence.
There’s few things you can do to make a prison cell feel comfortable. Try and distract yourself from where you are with whatever you can find to fill your mind, but you can’t move out. Sit in your bell jar, breathe in that stale air for the rest of your life.
I hit rock bottom again this year. I got hurt. I ached and bled and cried and believed that I’d never get up again. I believed that with everything in me.
And then my bruises started to heal. Slowly. Fading. Aching. Healing.
This time I got up sick of my prison cell. Tired of it. Angry with it. Sick of the same grey walls. Tired of no windows. Angry that this was my life.
I’m building myself now, right here at what was my rock bottom.
When I was falling in the months leading up to it all everything was moving too fast. My head was spinning, I felt like Alice heading down the rabbit hole. It wasn’t until I felt as if everything was taken from me that I could slow down. Stop. Breathe. Asses the damage.
I had to reach rock bottom again. I had to. The shaky foundation I was trying to build on wasn’t enough. I had to get to rock bottom. I had to give up control.
I lost everything. Not physically, but mentally. I was empty.
There’s something kind of empowering about losing everything like that though. And I don’t say that with any sort of frivolity because I was screaming in pain for most of those months. When I did finally hit rock bottom I realised I had nothing left to lose. I had a choice: trust or completely give up. Trust my team, trust my friends and mentors, trust in my ability to survive. Trust in my God.
Somehow I chose to trust.
Maybe Paramore’s new album resonates with me so much because it doesn’t shy away from the fact that things are hard.
Choosing to trust and let myself be rebuilt was the hardest decision of my life. It’s not all bad, it’s not without hope, but it’s hard. I’d be straight out lying if I told you that I haven’t regretted it in moments since. But there is hope. It’s just a spark, but it’s enough to keep me going.
So here I am. Hello from rock bottom. I’m being remade.
I will be okay. We will be okay.
We will be okay.
From broken ground, things will bloom.
In all honesty, I don’t know what this post is. I didn’t plan it, the thought fell on me on Tuesday evening when I was doing the dishes. It’s a mess, but I don’t know how else to explain myself. I don’t know.
All my love,