A series of three handcut collages by Lyss Cypher. The left image is a close up of their face with razorbladed detailing. The center collage is a silhouette with razored texturing. The right collage features their hand and forearm, with words cross-stitched into the arm leading thread to a pencil.

I realized recently that I only feel like myself when I’m alone. It’s not that I don’t have people around me with whom I want to connect. I just feel sped up around people; words spill out, ideas that I don’t even agree with come out of my mouth quicker than I can think to correct them. Sometimes it feels like I say what I think people want to hear, but I’m missing the mark on what that “want” is. That perhaps the larger “want” of society is one that I’m not clued in on, and because of that, I’m marked off from others.

I spent a month on the road this past July/August, desperately needing to get away from everything and everyone after months of feeling like I was going to lose it. The feeling of isolation that comes from masking my true self completely fogs up my ability to connect with all the lovely people, experiences, and joys around me on a daily basis. It’s like a 6:45am snowy morning in Pittsburgh, where I’m running late for a meeting, so I try to start driving without adequately defrosting my windshield. Maybe a thin streak of clarity will appear that I can peer out of, but as a whole, it’s not the best time to start driving. Plus, it feels like the actions I take to try and reconnect with the self I abandoned years ago are quick fixes that don’t last. Maybe I’ll use the wiper fluid to clear a temporary window of opportunity that I will soon pay for when it refreezes after a few blocks. I feel lonely. Old patterns repeat. It hurts.

I’ve never been particularly good at keeping a blog or newsletter going (let alone keeping a regular writing practice), so this space will be a challenge for me. My current writing process is chaotic receipt back scribbles, waterproof sticky notes written on shower walls, a pile of ongoing and abandoned notebooks of various sizes, an outdated Trello board, a (newly organized) Google Doc folder, and a bunch of half-formed and forgotten ideas swimming around my head. A lot of the time, the idea of writing something down feels overwhelming. The idea of sharing my work with the expectation that people will read it, look at it, and care - dissociative? Strange shit, to be honest.

So, what is this space? A self-indulgent newsletter for processing self-abandonment? A space for recovery from oversharing in my close friends stories? Some nice poems, collages, and shit? The only likely thread between these posts will be myself as Subject - a mish-mash. Guess we’ll figure it out together. Enjoy! :)

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Musings on self-abandonment and the solitary joys of rediscovery

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Poet | Teacher | Artist | Weightlifter | Wanderer | Maladaptive Daydreamer | in Pittsburgh | (they/them)