Explaining My Depression to My Mother by Sabrina Benaim

Explaining My Depression to My Mother: A Conversation

Mom, my depression is a shape shifter.
One day it is as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear,
The next, it’s the bear.
On those days I play dead until the bear leaves me alone.
I call the bad days: “the Dark Days.”
Mom says, “Try lighting candles.”
When I see a candle, I see the flesh of a church, the flicker of a flame,
Sparks of a memory younger than noon.
I am standing beside her open casket.
It is the moment I learn every person I ever come to know will someday die.
Besides Mom, I’m not afraid of the dark.
Perhaps, that’s part of the problem.
Mom says, “I thought the problem was that you can’t get out of bed.”
I can’t.
Anxiety holds me a hostage inside of my house, inside of my head.
Mom says, “Where did anxiety come from?”
Anxiety is the cousin visiting from out-of-town depression felt obligated to bring to the party.
Mom, I am the party.
Only I am a party I don’t want to be at.
Mom says, “Why don’t you try going to actual parties, see your friends?”
Sure, I make plans. I make plans but I don’t want to go.
I make plans because I know I should want to go. I know sometimes I would have wanted to go.
It’s just not that fun having fun when you don’t want to have fun, Mom.
You see, Mom, each night insomnia sweeps me up in his arms dips me in the kitchen in the small glow of the stove-light.
Insomnia has this romantic way of making the moon feel like perfect company.
Mom says, “Try counting sheep.”
But my mind can only count reasons to stay awake;
So I go for walks; but my stuttering kneecaps clank like silver spoons held in strong arms with loose wrists.
They ring in my ears like clumsy church bells reminding me I am sleepwalking on an ocean of happiness I cannot baptize myself in.
Mom says, “Happy is a decision.”
But my happy is as hollow as a pin pricked egg.
My happy is a high fever that will break.
Mom says I am so good at making something out of nothing and then flat-out asks me if I am afraid of dying.
No.
I am afraid of living.
Mom, I am lonely.
I think I learned that when Dad left how to turn the anger into lonely —
The lonely into busy;
So when I tell you, “I’ve been super busy lately,” I mean I’ve been falling asleep watching Sports Center on the couch
To avoid confronting the empty side of my bed.
But my depression always drags me back to my bed
Until my bones are the forgotten fossils of a skeleton sunken city,
My mouth a bone yard of teeth broken from biting down on themselves.
The hollow auditorium of my chest swoons with echoes of a heartbeat,
But I am a careless tourist here.
I will never truly know everywhere I have been.
Mom still doesn’t understand.
Mom! Can’t you see that neither can I?

誰在舉旗?Who’s Holding Up a Banner?

沈菲比看Yaya Sung 展覽   Phebea Shen on Yaya Sung’s Exhibition

故事一:本地人在本地舉旗

一名本地人在本地舉旗,他似乎極欲表明他的主張,因為心理有些急,所以動作比較大。越想讓人看清,反而招致誤會,人們誤解他在反對,但他只是太贊同自己的理念。

Story 1: Local person holding up local banner

A local person is holding up a local banner, seemingly eager to express his position. Feeling quite anxious, his movements appear quite exaggerated. The more he wants others to see him, the more misunderstanding is caused. People have misunderstood that he is taking an opposing stance, but in actuality, his mind is just filled with his own strong belief; he is in a very strong agreement with himself.

 攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

故事二:外地人在非其本地舉旗

一名外地人在非其本地舉旗,小旗隨風飄揚,他一邊輕輕搖旗,一邊熱切提點「這裡是台灣,舊稱福爾摩沙,是個四季如春的寶島」。貌似熟識的外地領航者,一週前才背下這段導覽話術。他的言說動機沒有欺瞞,只是全然接收一段非親身經驗的故事,由眼至口直接輸出。

Story 2: Outsider holding up non-local banner

An outsider is holding up a non-local banner. The small banner flutters as he gently shakes it. All the while he is enthusiastically reminding everyone that, “This is Taiwan, and it was known as Formosa. It is an island with spring-like weather year round.” The person appears like an experienced foreign guide, but he has only just memorized those lines for the guided tour a week ago. There is no deceit in the motive behind his words, as he is only taking in a story that he has not personally experienced, with the content perceived by his eyes and then directly transmitted out of his mouth.

 攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

印尼籍華裔藝術家,Yaya Sung,因為駐村計畫來到台北寶藏巖,在這短居的七十二天中,被安排進駐(住)4-4號房。在多年「新制序」禁用華語的統治下,不敢也不會使用華語的Yaya,來到了使用華語的台灣,突然意識到自己就像無法言說的鬼魂。她就在現場,但因為語言,所以他們不理解她,也看不清她,彷彿四(死)房內住著的正是人所不解的鬼魅(作品House of Ghost without a tongue)。

Indonesian artist of Chinese descent, Yaya Sung, came to Treasure Hill in Taipei for a residency project. Throughout her short-stay of 72 days, she was assigned to stay in Room 4-4. The Chinese language was banned for years under the regime of the New Order, which is why Yaya Sung holds a sense of fear for and is also unable to speak Chinese; however, as she arrived in Taiwan where Mandarin Chinese is spoken, Sung then realized she’s like a ghost that is unable to speak. Although present on site, because of the language barrier, people were not able to understand her nor could they see her. It felt like Room 4-4 or Room “Death” was a House of Ghost without a Tongue (the pronunciation of the number 4 in Mandarin is nearly homophonous to the word “death").

 攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

在印尼,Yaya因為華裔的身份而不安,這次她試圖以異鄉人回鄉的心情來到寶藏巖,遇見了另一群以此地為家的異鄉人。眼睛靜靜看,內心砰砰動,Yaya是寶藏巖故事的旁觀者,卻也是類同經歷的當事者,身在台灣所進行的駐地創作,不是為要為任何人發言,因為人人都沒有為故事親歷者發言與詮釋的立場與權力,我們能做的只是分享所見、所想的這個片刻。

Because of her Chinese descent, Yaya Sung has felt uneasy in Indonesia. She has attempted to come to Treasure Hill with feelings of a foreigner returning home, where she has met another group of foreigners calling the place home. She has observed quietly there while her heart pounded vigorously. As a spectator of the stories in Treasure Hill, Yaya Sung is also someone who has been through similar experience. The site-specific artwork she has created in Taiwan is not intended to speak on behalf of anyone else, because others don’t have the position or power to speak or interpret for those that have personally experienced those stories. All that we can do is to share our observations and our thoughts.

 攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

Yaya 問:「你最喜歡的花是什麼?」印尼語中花(Kembang)的詞意是有力量的,好奇的,是生長的生命,以及一段過程。這個問題或許正是送給身歷其境的你我,那些生命中難以回答的可能解答。

誰在舉旗?誰在那裡舉旗?誰又在這裡舉旗?

“What is your favorite flower?” asks Yaya Sung. The word for flower in Indonesian, Kembang, is a word that signifies something that is of power and embodies curiosity; it indicates the process of life, a journey. The question is perhaps dedicated to anyone who is going through the process, with possible answers for things in life that are difficult to respond to.

Who’s holding up a banner? Who’s holding up a banner there? Who’s also holding up a banner here?

 攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖
Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

 攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖
Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

 攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖 Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

攝影:陸家敏 / 圖片提供:台北國際藝術村—寶藏巖
Photography by Karmen Luk / Courtesy of THAV

Source: https://flipermag.com/2017/01/30/whos-hold...