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The Persephone Complex


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Layout by Swoon for the Moon. Copyright of Holly Cassell and The Persephone Complex 2015.

Well I’ve got a thick skin and an elastic heart: part 1

BDSM Art Collage Holly Cassell
Art Collage Holly Cassell

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about strength. About the resilience of our souls, and the punishment they can take before they give out. I’ve been thinking about what defines a strong person, and whether it can ever be measured. Strength is one of those characteristics that means different things to different people. I said to my beloved recently that ‘I could not be broken’. What I meant by this was that I feel there is something in me that can never be destroyed, because it can never be touched. To him, who is nearly twice my size and could break both my arms in about three seconds if he wanted to, this is a rather charming and ridiculous statement. But when I say I cannot be broken, what I’m thinking of is the ability my heart has to heal. And to forget. Even when I don’t want it to. It is an ability that has made many people call me a cold, unfeeling bitch. But I know that isn’t true. I love with all my heart, and I still fear the pain of heartache - perhaps more than is healthy for my mind.

When we fall in love we forget what came before. All most of us want is to have the past no longer matter, and be free from our memories. I am forgetting now, and it lets me sleep better at night; sleep deeper in his love and his arms that hold me down in the peaceful, dreamless sleep of those that have no choices. Of those that have been given a clean slate. I marvel at my heart’s ability to survive, and find happiness after so much despair.

The pages above were made a long time ago, about another man. I saw them and started thinking about this ability I have, to forget. I am going to follow them up with ones made about the man I share my life with now, and maybe more from my past that I’ve never published. To show myself what a beautiful thing it can be, to have a thick skin, and an elastic heart.

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At 7 December 2013 at 17:38 , Blogger Anja said...

This is such a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it, it made me think a lot.
Anja x

At 7 December 2013 at 18:06 , Blogger Am. said...

Love the pages! Your post made me think and I realized I miss a very useful ability...x

At 7 December 2013 at 18:20 , Blogger Rebecca Jane said...

What a lovely post, and I love all of Sia's music, it really does get you thinking!!


At 7 December 2013 at 18:29 , Blogger Laura said...

i wish i had even a little ability to forget, but i really don't seem to! but i can relate to what you say about strength and not being the kind of person that can be broken. and for me it's really important to be like that, having inner strength is something i really do value! (though, inner strength as a phrase kind of sounds strange to me?) lovely post! xx

At 7 December 2013 at 18:53 , Blogger snow said...

I want to forget a lot about the past, but it always creeps it's way back into my mind right when I try to fall asleep. I don't really have the ability to forget (not for long anyway), I've tried to find the ability to cope with it and walk alongside it or forgive myself. I think sometimes I underestimate the elasticity of my heart!

At 7 December 2013 at 19:54 , Blogger Eleanor said...

I love your collages... and your writing! this is a great post.. :)

At 7 December 2013 at 22:18 , Blogger sophiemdubaiphotography said...

OMG YOUR COLLAGES. they are just fantastic! Please more of them.

At 7 December 2013 at 23:21 , Blogger Jenna Opsahl said...

It is strange, that we can forget. I don't think it's because we have erased what has happened from our brains, it's just that we have absorbed it into our skin and bones and dont need to consciously think about the past to know that we have had the strength to get through it. We feel the strength in us.


At 7 December 2013 at 23:36 , Blogger ivette said...

This is pretty profound.. i wish i had that ability, i've been fighting with forgetfulness for 2 years but i haven't fullfilled my task...i still remember, i still care, i still think about him day and night, i still love him and it all still breaks me down...i've become sad, depressed, anxious, tormented... i cannot sleep... how do that? ...forget...?
I cant seem to achieve it, or maybe...could it be that i just don't want to? ...i'll never know
Thanks for.sharing this!

At 8 December 2013 at 01:58 , Blogger Olia said...

You're a gem, you truly are, and I am 100% sure you will never forget that.
"When we fall in love we forget what came before." That's so true, and so well put.

At 8 December 2013 at 03:12 , Blogger London Loafers said...

So beautifully expressed. I think I know what you mean by your ability to forget and I think I'm the same on some level, even though I've never really tried to analyse, or even understand it. All I know is that it never takes me long (or at least, doesn't require me much effort) to get over something. Is that bad? Who knows..


At 8 December 2013 at 04:08 , Blogger bianca lolita said...

inspiring as always! I will be back Monday, love<3
love you.


At 8 December 2013 at 07:04 , Blogger Gail J said...

Very inspiration post again darling! I love reading your blog as always xx

At 8 December 2013 at 07:52 , Blogger Victorique said...

Great post :)
<3 victorique

At 8 December 2013 at 08:58 , Blogger Nora Rebekka said...

love the pages you made :) also love your idea of a thick skin and an elastic heart!

At 8 December 2013 at 10:33 , Blogger Sydney Penrose ॐ said...

This post really moved me, I'm so glad I stumbled upon it. I wish I could relate to you and finally accept the hard facts that it's incredibly possible to move on from such great memories, but as always I'd rather let them linger and I'm always going to lust the feelings I had making them. Lovely greets, darling. Looking forward to reading more from you.

At 8 December 2013 at 15:54 , Blogger Kelly-Ann Maddox said...

I am completely in love with your blog. I spent ages trawling through it the other day and big joyous wave of inspiration came over me. :) I also work with collage and scrap and whatnot. I have so many delicious half-finished books of my thoughts laid down in images and words. You have reminded me to take my time with words, to taste them in my mouth and to consider which ones to put down next, patiently and with passion.

Tea For Two

At 8 December 2013 at 17:11 , Blogger AVY said...

I've been called that too but what I really hate is when someone calls me emotional. I'm not, but what I've learned is that the people that seem the strongest are often the really weak ones. The emotional ones.


At 8 December 2013 at 18:35 , Blogger Katie said...

I've missed your beautiful scrapbook.

At 8 December 2013 at 18:47 , Blogger helen said...

i wish i had that ability. i'm too sensitive, though i try not to show that to those around me, i think i feel everything too much, y'know? x

At 8 December 2013 at 22:08 , Blogger Elif Onay said...

You have an extraordinary mind Holly. I love these scrapbooks you create and your choices of words and the content of it is always amazing. I always leave your blog in deeper thoughts :)

At 8 December 2013 at 22:37 , Blogger Adela said...

Lovely words. Nice post Holly.
Adela x

At 9 December 2013 at 06:30 , Blogger angelaremondi said...

I really love your blog. This was a beautiful post and I can definitely relate to the feeling. Thanks so much for sharing


At 10 December 2013 at 01:31 , OpenID tapeparade said...

Such a beautiful post. Also Holly, I wrote the lyric "I love the little noises you make" in one of my songs and there it is in your scrapbook!!!! What a fucking weird coincidence. Remind me to send you one of my songs sometime - they are nearly all about relationships (and lots about sex…) I feel like you might like them. Stunning post as always XXX

At 10 December 2013 at 14:27 , Blogger Holly said...

Thank you. No I don't think it's bad that it doesn't take you long to forget, all people are different in that respect. I do not believe that forgetting denotes shallow feelings. I love very deeply, and then when the time comes, I can forget if I have to. That ability allows us to overcome heartbreak, and find hope again.

At 10 December 2013 at 14:46 , Blogger Sharon said...

This made me think a lot

At 10 December 2013 at 17:03 , Blogger Emma Jane said...

Good god I love this. That top collage is perfect, and so is that second paragraph. It is amazing how much we can bend and stretch and break our hearts and then watch them recover and thaw and begin again. It reminds me of a quote from my favorite book Looking for Alaska: "We need never be hopeless for we can never be irreparably broken."

Tightrope to the Sun

At 10 December 2013 at 18:50 , Blogger Ru B said...

"When we fall in love we forget what came before" This!
I love your scrapbook! :)
Glitter And Blush

At 11 December 2013 at 04:23 , Blogger Alana roy said...

Ive been working with for a couple of days now.
jeux de gratuits

At 11 December 2013 at 20:35 , Blogger Georgia Nicolaou said...

this is amazing!!!

check out my blog?

At 11 December 2013 at 21:07 , Blogger Kayla Lynn said...

ugh. this is so beautiful. every single word was pure magic to me.

At 12 December 2013 at 16:36 , Blogger sophiemdubaiphotography said...

Please post more from before!


At 12 December 2013 at 22:29 , Blogger Niki said...

cold, unfeeling bitch? I've heard that too many times in my life.
this is so beautiful.xx

dreaming is believing

At 13 December 2013 at 18:52 , Blogger Irene ~Melodies In The Sand~ said...

It takes me a long time to forget. The person needs to be out of my life for me to do so. That's how emotionally frail I am. Beautiful collage. ♡

At 14 December 2013 at 11:36 , Blogger bianca lolita said...

babygirl, I finally updated! go looook! :)

love youuuu

At 15 December 2013 at 00:09 , Blogger Corinne said...

That first one is amazing, Holly! I love it, so perfect in it's raw, painful, straight forward and harsh way. Lovely.

To sleep deeper in his love is such a wonderful way of putting things.


At 15 December 2013 at 19:08 , Blogger Plami said...

Your writing is so beautiful! you're so talented and interesting <3 Thank you so much for sharing your world!


At 15 December 2013 at 23:47 , Blogger LETICIA said...

This is so beautiful! This time of the year i think a lot about strength, too. Sometimes i doubt if my heart has the ability to heal as much as yours, it´s always so hungry, i fear for it.

At 16 December 2013 at 23:58 , Blogger Sonia De Macedo said...

Wow these are just amazing, such beautiful collages. Strength does have different meanings for us since we're all strong in different ways. I wish I had the strength to truly forgive people, and by that I mean not to suffer in silence. I let things go past me, sometimes bottle it in until it all boils over and I explode with emotion. When someone hurts me I am quick to forgive though on the inside I stew, no matter how much I want to let it go. Luckily I don't do it with fickle things, like that b*** stole my sweater. It's more so hurtful words that people say to me since words have always been used as a weapon on me since forever. At the same time my strengths would be from those very words which I've built a shield to protect, but after a while it gets damaged too and needs repairing!


At 18 December 2013 at 13:37 , Blogger Lady Vintage said...

wOW such amazing collages !! "Love as you never been hurt" I think is a good way of life but it's safer to deal with an locked heard in case of lol... Great post as always ! Ginger flavoured M-C

At 19 December 2013 at 17:07 , Blogger Grunge Smoothie said...

Wooah your pictures are amazing! Your so artistically talented! I sadly do not spring back well, I can be broken, my heart tears in two after a break up and even when i think im recovered i don't feel entirely recovered. Always loose, easily torn apart again.

At 19 December 2013 at 20:49 , Blogger Hannahs Heels said...

I might be all the opposite.

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Of course we can follow each other! Id love to keep in touch! Let me know if you follow me and I will follow you right back :D

And what about other social media? That way I won't miss a thing!

Facebook / Instagram /Twitter / Chicisimo

 - Hannah's Heels

At 16 January 2014 at 17:40 , Blogger Zhanna Kessel said...

amazing post!!!!!!
I followed your blog, it would be great if you do the same <3


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