Sleepwalking To Awakening — Aylin Derya Stahl



Writing in general has always been a very confessional act for me. When I sit down to write,

I reveal something about myself I did not know until that very moment. On a day I consider good,

the words flows out of me onto the blank page, giving me a honest self-portrait. On other days, I have to pull out every word with tremendous energy, feeling I have nothing to say at all.

A writing practice for me is like looking into the mirror, having eye contact with myself. Always wondering: Who is there today reflecting back? Who do I consider this person to be?

Which myths are circulating around in my mind, entangling my thoughts and emotions and actions,

and how does this shape the perception of what I consider to be my self?

Artist, daughter, shoplifter, witch, poet, truant, lover, friend, animal activist, sister...

A little bit of everything maybe and many more and at the same time none of these at all.


Almost always the mirror I looked into was dirty, the view blurred, distorted by the things that did not make it through me, but I still held these everyday impressions close. I labeled them. Categorised them.Wondered about them. Avoided them. Owned them. Became them. Confessed them. Discarded them.


There was a time when I was heavily influenced by writers who are considered confessional -

like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell. I found tranquility and hope in

their writings where they contemplated life's more intense situations; in knowing I am not alone in this and this moment too, shall pass. Slowly but surely I came to understand that none of these events happening to me had anything to do with the self I was looking for. And writing through these darker days brought me to a light at the end of the tunnel. It brought me to the understanding that I am the one who is experiencing, the one who is writing, the one who is searching. But I am not the events that had happened nor the ones that will continue to happen to me.


The poems 'Dawn In The Dark' and 'Benzos In June' were written during that time - confessing my insomnia and an addiction to sleeping pills and the effect they had on me, confessing when there seemed to be no threshold of tomorrow. I was convinced that this as well was a part of the self I was constantly looking for - the insomniac, now accompanying all the other labels.


These days are long ago and now it feels a bit like giving the self I believed in away - by sharing these poems with the world, by confessing I've been there - hopeless and sleepless - and at the same time recognising that I am no longer. That life has beautifully emerged into something else again, and it will continue to do so until the day I die.


Untitled (Sylvia Plath - Sheep in Fog)

A visual response to her poem (see below)


Dawn In The Dark


These days it seems

As if the world does not have

A solid base

Thoughts and dreams

Just slip away and I remain

Quiet with a handful of broken sentences

Dissolving between the bald white pages

As if was a ghost unable to move on

Doomed to a half-life between

This white woodchip wallpaper

These bedroom walls are another architecture

Sort of a tranquilizer if a room can be one

Repeating tapestry - I did not loose myself all at once

This black fuzzy ceiling must have cast a spell on me

Dawn in the dark

Doors open inward, they say

But I cannot find

The threshold

Of tomorrow




Benzos In June


Dear Doctor,

What kind of flavour pocket is this?

It leaves a metallic taste

It makes me forget what I wanted to say

It makes me forget how to bring my words

Into the right order, they just stumble out

Of my mouth without any direction

on their mind, it is embarrassing!

I do not remember how to appreciate

The rising sun, these soft hues of absurdity

And the weight of the morning is heavy upon me

I do not write, I just puke on the pages

And the days just pass like swarms of butterflies

And everything around me is alive

While I am gasping for breath

With a sandpaper throat

But this air, it does not taste like life



It tastes like nothing



Instagram: @aylinderya_

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