Expanding my perspective.
I remember the day I finally realized how much I am loved.
It was the day I realized all those oceans of tears were shed for my sake
and they stood with me in my pain when I only wanted to break
I cut under the lie that my skin is only mine,
that it’s only my body I hurt each time after time,
that my moments of over-medicated sleep
would bring my life a little closer to numbed and incomplete,
but I stand among a family that ceases to support me when
all I ever thought about was
My scars don’t hurt half as much but I assure you,
they still hurt. Because I see them written across the face
of every community whose presence I grace
and I regret the pain I never meant to cause
because the only one I ever meant to hurt was
I know how much I am loved
because I know how much they hurt.
I know how much I am loved.
Because I know how much they hurt.
Broken homes and my sins to atone.
I fight the words that rattle my bones,
that creep through my cartilage and in blood build their homes.
What shall I call in my body my own?
Fear and its ink claim my flesh;
Do you hear me?
It’s kind of like a commercial, more than anything. It gets replayed in my mind again and again, a preview to the show I put off seeing. It dances in my mind, right behind my eyes where my thoughts fuel the film and my irises close the curtain.
My therapist tells me “we’ll know when we’re ready to know what we need to know.” Or something like that. And I tell her I’ll never be ready.
But there’s something to be said about the way the mind works. And though I suffer commercial after commercial, previews of the past I have yet to meet, I am alive and well and I am overcome with the feeling that if I can survive a memory such as this, I can survive the rest of what my mind has hidden.
There is one thing I don’t think I could survive though. There is one thing that I know would send me spiraling downwards, regressing back into the small world of depression where my thoughts are consumed with a means to the end.
In my memory, I don’t look around much. It is short. It is dark. I can’t tell where I am or how old I am. Neither of those matter much to me. I mean, I must have been freaking terrified. When I enter this memory, I feel too scared to even breathe. But the one thing I never want to find out is who did it, unless it’s to find out it’s someone I don’t know.
The thing is, I don’t know. And I’ll never know unless I dig for it, but I don’t want to dig for it in fear of finding something I don’t want to find.
Do you understand? No, you don’t. I’ve only met one person who actually understands what I mean, and that is because she has been through the same process. Of remembering. I have met many survivors of abuse. I am friends with many. But none who understand what it is like to go your entire life telling therapists and psychologists and psychiatrists, no, I have never been through any trauma, only to find out I have and it has controlled most of my life. Only to find out that I don’t know nearly as much as my mind knows and that is a scary thought.
I am getting better. I am happier. I am more social. I don’t engage in suicidal or parasuicidal behaviors anymore.
But I am wary. I am skeptical. I am tired feeling alone in this.
To take advice.
I’ll package my words
with a bow and curl the ribbon,
cut loose my emotions
with a few deep breaths
and a shiny red balloon;
I don’t have the words to
speak or the means to leave
my burdens, but I can
let myself let go
and trust they’ll find
Anonymous asked: Write the poem on an actual balloon and take a picture! Then set it freeeeeeeeeee
I kind of love you.
I hold my fist at my side when
friends comfort me with soft words
that try to cushion the hurting but can’t
even come close. I crave some quick fix
but understanding is in short supply and pain
comes in multitudes. Circumstance feeds hope
and breaks it again; when I seek, empathy only hides.
100,000 steps to what some call “recovery.”
I am an addict in recovery, holding my hands away from my face, washing. Always washing. I close my eyes when I face the mirror, ashamed of how my skin keeps tallies of every moment of regression, forgetting myself in a fit of impulsive depression. And I try to escape the remembering, but my legs have inscribed every step I took backwards and tell me to walk in the wrong direction.
I am an addict in recovery, trying to escape the urge to cover pain with pain, to numb feelings with sharp edges and too many pills. When I lose control of my inhibitions, my mind escapes to trains and bridges and how high would I need to fall. I’ve been taught to breathe, to deconstruct lies, to identify feelings that remain foreign to me. I’ve been taught to grab the phone instead of the razor, to take a single pill instead of twenty. And I follow these rules to the letter until the singular scar down my right wrist reminds me that I am only going through the motions of being “better.”
Things tend to look up until they’re looking down. I smile until something insignificant triggers nervous hands that snap rubber bands against my wrists until they swell with anger - is this what they teach you in therapy? It starts with rubber bands and ends with bandaids; sometimes I confess, sometimes I fall into lies of omission I like to call “truth.”
I am an addict in recovery. Pain is my temporary fix. When life starts looking happier, I fall into withdrawal, missing the depression that brought me down, firmly secured to a miserable ground. When I start laughing, I start doubting; the years have jaded me into wondering what price I will pay for my happiness.
I want to think that everything they say about recovery is a lie, but my therapist tells me to stay away from black and white. Eight steps, twenty seven steps, how many steps are there?
When you make up your mind, come live it. There are no steps. Recovery is a lifetime.
Painting dried roses.
Sometimes I sit and grieve for myself;
I am in the eighth stage.
Grapes and dates and ever too late.
I know a boy who told me that one day,
he will be sitting on the edge of the fountain,
drinking cheap wine with a pretty girl.
I don’t know why he had to specify “cheap”
because expensive seems more romantic to me,
but I wished him well, told him
“You let me know if that ever happens.”
Even though I knew he was talking about me.
It was the first time a boy let me know he liked me,
be it cheap wine on a sunny day,
and I thought about what it would feel like
to be that girl.
But I went back to my room and found the razor,
broke skin and didn’t put the pieces together until now:
I am scared of being loved so I masked it with pain,
told myself it hurts to trust - look, I have scars to prove it.
And these scars continue to remind me
how far I am from deserving -
they whisper in my ear,
this is what happens when you love.
I am probably your average, broken New Yorker. Not only is it weird to make physical contact with other people, but it scares me too. I don’t like making myself vulnerable enough to get close to strangers.
But of course, Jon asks the crowd to put an arm around the person to either side, to be connected. And although I was hesitant to, I did and it was okay. Because I knew we were all there for the same purpose and we all shared one thing - we were all broken. But a lot of broken people coming together like a family make a whole.
I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. That’s what it felt like. I wasn’t just a scared New Yorker. I was the whole crowd, singing along…
“Our love is a puzzle that can’t be solved.”
Musings of a scattered mind.
The moon holds the man in a crescent smile and I am jealous.
Revelations hit me like happiness and there is nothing worse
than being wary of being.
There has never been a today like today, but yesterday suits me better.
I don’t know where expression ends and the ocean shore begins,
where the horizon touches sky - I am too simple for their affections.
Water poured out of the rock. Water poured out of the rock.
first dances and second chances.
do you rest your head on your father’s lap
and pretend to be young again
while he is asleep and you are dreaming
with your eyes open?
his breaths are clouds and you match
your lungs to his because you will never
be too old to dance on your father’s feet
and take dips on the kitchen dance floor.
there is nothing magical about holding
his hand, but there is a certain safety
about the lack of magic and abundance
you fall into the rhythm of his breathing
and there is nothing more true
than being a child in the arms of a father,
listening to the rise and fall of his dreaming
and feeling safe enough to fall asleep.
“Look up, child.”
And I looked up and I looked out
into an interminable abyss, drowning a thousand leagues below doubt
and knowing the state of my afflictions, of my physical needs
and emotional affix-ions, the dis-ease swallowed my pride which
swallowed my mind which swallowed me whole — I cried
inside the whale which swallowed my body which swallowed control.
I belong on cold benches, watching men walk quickly with their heads straight ahead, students walking quicker with their eyes to the sidewalk, children walking in circles with their face to the sky. I belong braving the wind with a cup of tea or hot apple cider on a winter’s day as flurries fall from the sky, filling the stale fountain until the sun makes the waters run again. I belong as a part of Washington Square Park, both a participant and an observer, wondering when my sitting will land me a permanent home amongst the piano man and the pigeon man and the band of old banjo players. I belong because no one belongs. We are a city of misfits, fitting where we can find ourselves space.