Poem – Shift

8 Sep

I’ve been fretting over these hallway caves, the dark and dank
Been worried about making a sound or a wave
My throat, my lungs, my gut fills up
I have a destroyed agenda and you don’t give a fuck
I’ve been hanging upside down, a nocturnal animal
Dreaming up your demise is overly graspable
Walking these walls, I’m a star actress, a mime
On the other side, a narcissistic parasite achieving his crime
I’ve become ragged and tired of overdosing on trauma
Now I’m navigating neurons
a plane of damning evidence, a swampy sauna
The powers can shift
I’ve pulled from my feet your needles and pins
You aren’t in control when my head is holding your sins

 

 

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Alternate Reality: trauma’s keeper

11 Aug

Yesterday during trauma therapy, I worked on looking at my child self. We began with my first memory of being fearful.  What was sticking out for me was myself sitting in the backseat of my dad’s car, going to take my mom to work.  I could reach far enough to recall how it felt as I looked out of  the car window onto the highway. My mom’s old workplace. The white building with a blue ‘Uniway’ sign. On the rare occasion when I went inside, it smelled of cigarette smoke and women’s Avon perfume.

Looking out the window led to me thinking about gazing out of my childhood house window, dreadfully awaiting my dad coming home from work.  I can remember the smell of the wooden, dusty windowpane and my nose against the glass.

Seeing myself as a child is a difficult task for me. It is easier for me to imagine being her. I came to the conclusion that she feels buried and out of reach. I have to really “work” at looking at her. If I imagine a picture that is familiar, it aids me. Imagining looking at her feels  like looking into an alternate reality. I can see my current self leaning against a wall —  hearing and vaguely seeing another world on the other side.

I also imagine a painting where there are two levels and a little girl on the lower level that I can’t pull through the floor to myself.

I give up easily, because this is all too much work. I can give up, because I know she’s down there anyway. And I’m above her, and that’s how it has always been.

We talked about the deep hatred I had for my dad at such a young age and what I did with that. It felt very conflicting, because while I was a sweet, smart, well-kept, well-behaved, smiling girl externally, inside I was gathering all of this hate. I buried all of that inside myself because I couldn’t tell anyone. No one would understand or I would be criticized for the awful thoughts I was having.

I am the adult who is safe and in control now and I truly believe and know this, logically. But back then I felt I wasn’t in control and that I wasn’t safe. So, my child self doesn’t know that it’s over and that I’m safe. I can’t connect with her, so I haven’t been able to tell her.

What I would like to work on is being able to see her better and tell her things that I know now about her. I feel like I have something tangible to work with right now and that I could actually write out questions for her or facts and statements that I know about her and about me.

During eye movement, I realized that my child self was the part of me who hated my mom the most. She didn’t help me, she allowed me to feel so terrible and to relive the same fearful day over and over again.  So now when she hurts me, that is the trauma that I feel as a knee jerk reaction.. A mixture of rage, hate, and sadness. My child self has been living in this “alternate reality”, covered up under a cesspool of fear, confusion, hurt. Disconnect.

Fear lives in the basement.

Trauma polarized my ‘selves’ in a way that boggles my mind and intrigues me all the same. Our brains protect us in strange ways, and sometimes that disconnect that worked as a protector gets stuck in a loop that can take 36 years to undo.

Something else I started to ponder on the car ride home– where do your demons begin? Do they start growing when you’re a helpless child unable to do anything about terrible circumstances beyond your control? Or do they fester after all of that bullshit finally comes to a head and your heart, mind and spirit have had enough already?

The chicken or the egg? The small dark places buried in your child self or the full-grown demons that came to deal with the aftermath? Of course, they became my aftermath.

 

My friend, Chris.

27 Jun

On Monday, I learned that one of my best friends from high school passed away suddenly. I’ve been reminiscing ever since, with a deep sadness in my gut, trying to wrap my head around it.

I just adored the photos he posted of he and his son on Father’s Day only a week ago. How is Chris not living now, nine days later?

I met Chris Smith at Northside High School somewhere between 9th and 10th grade. He lived with his mom in a small house on Sarah Drive.

Chris and I met in an English class, started speaking and immediately hit it off and collected a bunch of inside jokes. He was always such an upbeat guy and wanted everybody else to be upbeat with him.

I knew that Chris had his own issues going on, but he never got deep into them. He was always making a joke, or doing some crazy walk or funny face.. making me laugh.

I loved the way he spoke, because he was from New Jersey and he definitely carried that vibe here with him. He missed New Jersey a lot and would talk about it to me. He would tell me about the sub sandwiches there, that Subway was a joke (of course it is- he was way ahead of me). We went to Baldino’s a couple of times together after he moved on to Belmont Avenue, I believe it was. He told me that Baldino’s was the closest match to New Jersey subs in the south. I believed him.

Chris and I were together a lot after school in the afternoons. His mom worked a lot, so she wasn’t home much. He didn’t have a car, so I would help by taking him to the store or to get food. He was always so considerate when he asked for a favor, always insisting on giving me a few dollars for gas even if I told him not to. If I said no, he’d sit the money in the seat of my car anyway.

I had an ‘84 Reliant that used to run hot all the time. When it did, I remember me and Chris pulling into the American Pride car wash (now closed and disheveled) on Watson Boulevard and spraying my car down with water until it cooled off. We probably did that five or six times.

Chris introduced me to Wu-Tang Clan and … feta cheese. I’d never heard of feta cheese and he always talked about how awesome it was, but I  thought it was strange and stinky. He would eat it whole, taking huge bites. Finally, one day he convinced me to try it and to my surprise, I liked it. Every time I eat feta cheese, I think of Chris devouring jars of it from his fridge.

Chris loved the Wu-Tang Clan and Sublime. We would hang out and listen to this music for hours. I experimented with “shrooms” for the first time with Chris one summer. We sat on his bed and we laughed and laughed until we ached as we listened to Wu-Tang Clan. In time, I’d bought all of their CD’s. I could rap right along with Method Man and ODB. So could Chris.

Chris loved Sheryl Crow, he thought she was the hottest woman on Earth.  He also loved Faygo fruit flavored sodas. I would drink them too, because they were cheap and delicious.

He was like the brother that I never had. He was quirky and fun, he was kind and he was warm. He was tall and lanky, my same height. I was goofy and he was goofy.

It was a good friendship,

He helped me smile when my home life was depressing as hell. Our hangouts distracted me from all that.

Chris loved his mother very much. He lost her several years ago. I remember feeling so sad for him when I heard that she passed because she was all that he really had for many years of his life. His dad wasn’t in the picture, but he only touched on it a few times.

I know that Chris loved his son immensely and I’m very sad that his baby doesn’t get to have his dad around anymore. It is surely devastating.

I keep thinking that I wish I had known exactly what Chris was going through and I wish that I’d had a better intuition that things weren’t okay with him.

I’m still kind of in a state of shock that his passing is real. Mostly, I hope that he knew that I always thought a whole lot of him.

Untitled

14 Apr

keeping this mouth shut never came easy
zipped lips pressing against blades perched on my tongue
cracking a false smile, I swallowed them whole
messy eggshells, sharp and scraping

the secrets kept in there
could throw a villain in jail
they’re gruesome secrets a reality television president keeps

only
I don’t think his are hurting the back of his throat
not the way mine did

oozing through his dragon breath nostrils
coursing towards his smug smile
invisible and recycled bullshit
incriminating dollars and stories as phlegm

savage viral infection

tell us what you’ve done, Mr. Trump
tell me why I gulped down assault charges
throat still sore
as you guys parade the street, my supermarket, the office

with tongues tied

freely guarding your shitty deeds

seems no one demands much
from your kind
not the way your kind demanded of me

 

The fight for women’s rights is still a thing, and I still despise Donald Trump.

23 Jan

I’m going to begin this with a link to a moving, brilliant blog post concerning women in general and women who “don’t need the women’s march”, because it finally lit a fire under my ass to start writing about my feelings on this whole scary Presidency and why I support what I do and am more than proud to be a feminist myself.

I won’t reiterate her valid, factual points– but PLEASE, no matter your views on the march, read them yourself. To Christy on Facebook, who doesn’t need the women’s march.
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On Saturday, I was tending to a sick child and trying to respond to multiple tornado warnings, half panic-half autopilot.

Of course, this on the coattails of inauguration day.  It was a weird, hazy weekend of wanting to block everything on Facebook and the internet as a whole and  and also wanting to see every damn thing women were doing in DC and across this country to stand up together and for one another. Women in Antarctica, for all things holy!

I texted friends, we shared in the equal disgust for the massive blinders that Americans so easily slip on now and during election year.

I saw gorgeous photos popping up as I laid in my bed, sleep-deprived.  I saw men, women, children, marching in solidarity for themselves, or for someone they love and want to see be treated equally and fairly.

Someone I know showed me a photo taken during the women’s march in Pensacola, FL of  a man holding a sign that read “You deserve rape.” If you wanted just one tiny example, that’s why we needed the women’s march.

The women’s march reminds me that there are people who can see outside the frightening boxes, who aren’t capable of wearing the Donald Trump deluxe blinders. I sort of want to coin that term. These are the women and men who are outward thinkers, empathetic souls, fighters, doers, passionate citizens who remember that little thing called humanity.

I kept seeing smart-ass remarks about those participating in the march and inauguration protests “needing a job”, or “must be nice to not have responsibility”. This makes me laugh at ignorance and also cringe at that same ignorance.

Out of the women who I know who participated in marches, wished to have marched, or had craved a spot in a protest group, exactly ALL of those women are highly intelligent, educated, successful, responsible, headstrong citizens with passionate beliefs and actual responsibilities at home, who can handle their shit through planning.  How about the crazy and wild notion that these protesters/marchers took paid or even unpaid time off so that they could participate in something deeply relevant and important to them? Real serious possibility there.

I guess I could go around casting similar judgement upon the vast majority of Trump supporters I’ve come across (trust me, not all Trump supporters are hardworking intelligent folks who aren’t or have never used government assistance).

But, I don’t. Okay, I don’t ALL the time. I do sometimes, because I’m a flawed-ass human being.

I’ve had to unfollow news sites via Facebook or even people, because of vile or poisonous bullshit being spewed. As my friend J says, their posts make me “warm in the neck”. I need less, not more of those moments in my life. This is actually part of my self-care plan.

Instead, about half the time, I have to remind myself that I know, love and think highly of a handful of the people in my daily life who voted for this narcissistic reality TV star who thinks it’s okay to take advantage of women because he’s fucking rich and he can. A man who talks in circles and finds difficulty in explaining himself (I’m curious if there’s anything up there he wants to explain?) and instead just insists he’s “good and can do the things because he just knows he can and it’s gonna be great, he can promise ya that”. A man who perpetuates the notion that women shouldn’t hold control of their reproductive rights by playing the anti-abortion card on religious, guilt-fueled voters.

The same way in which a man shouldn’t expect to walk into a church to be Pastor if he’s a known drug-abusing, adulterer with a sexual assault charge and expect to be highly regarded… this Donald Trump shouldn’t expect to walk into the White House on inauguration day expecting not to sweat and to be highly regarded.

I’m sure this analogy can be proven with both logic, common damn sense, and perhaps even Science.

But I digress. I’m an army of me and I must find comfort where I can.  I find solace in speaking with like-minded women  and men. I find solace through art, writing. I find peace in teaching my two young boys what respect looks like and why kindness and openness is paramount.  I find comfort in my husband, who wants to know what I have to say and supports my passion.

I’m sad that the President of this country represents all of the shitty, sleazeball male cliches that exist.  I’m sad that he’s so minuscule-minded that he mocked a disabled man in front of cameras and a huge group of people.

I’m glad that my children will know that they should represent acceptance and love and that in four years or so, the leader of our nation shall hopefully be a more respectable human being, because this is a great country we live in.

I don’t need a perfect President, but I’d most definitely like a less disgraceful one.

 

 

Image

#endthestigma because it is important.

16 Jan

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2017 Intentions

1 Jan

This year, I would like to take the advice that I give to my friends.

I’d like to rid myself of the shame shield and hesitation when choosing not to censor myself.

I’d like to remain vulnerable and brave, as the two are one in the same. We are only capable of true human connection when our walls are down and our truth is free. A simple phrase has made me feel less alone on many occasions.

I will not underestimate the power of my story.

I’d like to respect myself enough to accept support and love and to be open to asking for these things when I need them, not when I’m crippled with anxiety and depression and have reached the “too late now” phase.

I hope I can cope with difficulty by nurturing myself rather than numbing myself through any means.

I hope that when I have my surgery, that I am able to remember things I am capable of.

I’d like to rid myself of panic and anxiety over things I’m unable to control.

I hope that I can look back at this when I’m feeling lost, defective and scared and that reading it will bring me hope, insight and peace.