Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Same Old Town

Tuesdays Slice of Life













One life, spent in its entirety
in the same old town
where your memories walk beside you
like ghosts, holding you down.

Traveling through the city
you're presented with old film reels.
Black and white images of your past.
Lessons learned nipping at your heels.

Standing where I once stood,
it's as though my memories possess me.
I relive the words and actions
as if I am dreaming.

Maybe I should get out of this town and find a place
where each street corner doesn't call out my name.
But it feels the good and the bad have me chained here
until the monsters I have tamed.

(Written 4.28.15)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Kindness and Love















Let Kindness and Love
fill your every word and action.
When someone pushes you towards hate,
don't give them the satisfaction.

Open your heart and let it find
the goodness that's in everyone.
Never let them change you.
Keep your face to the sun.

When with no agenda
one spreads love and kindness
it will come back to you,
Happiness too. I promise.

(Written 4.27.15)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

#Survivor


When I was nineteen years old, I didn't know that I had Bipolar Disorder, so I didn't recognize what was happening when I came out of a deep depression and went into the most extreme manic state I have ever experienced. I simply thought I was finally "finding my happiness".

It really only lasted a summer but from the beginning I abandoned or simply neglected my relationships with anyone who truly cared about me. I surrounded myself with people who not only did not object to my reckless and dangerous behavior, but who supported it. Looking back, I don't know how I made it out of that summer alive.

My behavior ranged from blowing my paychecks every other week on things I didn't need for no reason to riding in a car with a drunk driver where I had not only no seat belt but no seat. But perhaps the most devastating thing I did was flirt with a handsome co-worker. I had started the job just as the mania started and I was hooked on him by my second day. He made my heart race and he always had the sweetest things to say. On our first date we went to Publix and got what we needed to make dinner at his place. We ate and laughed and watched game shows on TV. Then he drove me home and I remember feeling like I was walking on clouds. I had no idea what was about to hit me.

Our relationship lasted for the summer but the romance died by the end of the first week. Those few months he found ways to hurt me that I didn't know existed. He verbally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abused me and I internalized all of it. I told no one. I was simultaneously making excuses for him in my head and feeling ashamed for what I had let him do to me. He was smart, never left a bruise. He slept with a knife by the side of the bed and he made sure I knew it. He knew what to say to pull me back in when I tried to get away. Some days he would pull the car into oncoming traffic, threatening to kill us both. Death got too many good looks at me that summer.

My memories from that time are fuzzy. I think I blocked a lot of it out and I know that I blocked the end out. I couldn't tell you how I got out if you held a gun to my head. I'm pretty sure Michael had something to do with it. But I do know that when I got out, the harassment continued at work. He would pin me against a wall in the back and whisper threatening things in my ear. He would grope me any chance he got and one time cornered me in the walk-in freezer, turning the light out when my back was turned and attacking me. And when I finally found the courage, through a friend, to bring it to the manager's attention, I was told there was nothing they could do because we had been "in a relationship". I was too weak at the time to fight it and I ended up leaving the job because of a health issue.

He still haunted me. I saw him many times in the time right after I left the job because I still had to go there for unrelated meetings and we lived not far a part and frequented the same grocery stores and restaurants. He always had a snide or threatening comment to make when he saw me. I began to fear he was going to come to my home in the middle of the night and attack me or maybe kill me. Multiple times, when I was alone in the house, a noise would send me into a complete panic, he was in the house and he was coming for me. I locked myself in the bathroom and hid behind the shower curtain until Michael came home. I would sit for hours afraid to breathe. Moving houses didn't ease my fears.

At first, not even Michael knew the extent of the abuse. But slowly I opened up to him and slowly I told others, not the details, but that something happened. I opened up to one close friend and then another and every time it feels like I'm taking a little bit of the control back from him. I'm not going into the gory details but I just want to put it out there so now everybody knows. I am a survivor of an abusive relationship. I'm not ashamed anymore.

My first step that summer was to break up with Michael, who is now my husband. We don't factor that break when we tell people how long we've been together because I know now that Michael stood by my side the entire time, he never left, I just didn't see it. He didn't give up on me and he wasn't just there to catch me, he's the one who pulled me out of the fire.

I am now honored to know many others who have unfortunately had to survive abuse of all kinds. I'm honored to know them because they are some of the strongest people on earth. When you've been abused, it can sometimes feel like your abuser stole a piece of you. If they aren't in your life anymore they can hide in your nightmares. It sometimes feels like an unending battle to feel safe and secure again. It takes real strength to rise from the ashes of who you were, before the abuse, to thrive.
I know that my recovery is still going on and for all I know it will be a lifelong struggle but I know that I will always keep fighting to take back my life, all of it. And by sharing my story, instead of hiding in shame, I feel like I'm getting another piece back.

My prayers and love are with anyone who has experienced any kind of abuse. I strongly encourage you to find an outlet to tell your story whether it's a friend, a therapist, a support group, or even a blog. Your story is important and you are not alone.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Another Cliché















I know that you are hurting.
I'd do anything to make the pain end.
But all I have are a handful of cliches
for you to hear again.

I know you've traveled for so long
but at the tunnel's end there is a light.
I know there's so much pressure on you
but how else do we get diamonds so bright?

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
And no pain supposedly means no gain.
Maybe it's a blessing in disguise.
You just keep wait for the rainbow after the rain.

I know you're wrapped up in your troubles
like a caterpillar in a cocoon.
But hold on tight, little bug,
you'll be a butterfly soon.


(Written 4.21.15)

Six Words
















It begins with a cloud of anxiety,
a sprinkle of self-doubt,
leading to the panic attack
where my demons and I hash it out.

Chest burns, I'm suffocating.
Sweat coating me, my heart races.
Weak. I fear I will faint.
A crowded street of all places.

My fingertips go numb.
I know they're talking, trying to reassure me
but I'm too far gone for words.
Feeling like I'm going to end up on a gurney.

Tears running down my cheeks.
It feels like centuries have passed.
Six words triggered my torture.
Six words, a hurricane for me but to you overcast.

I cannot stop every oncoming storm.
I can only promise that I will try.
Maybe someday I will conquer this.
Have coping skills ever made pigs fly?

(Written 4.14.15)

The End

Tuesdays Slice of Life













My heart is heavy
with grief for something fake.
A friendship that wasn't real.
Still this heartache I can't shake.

You pulled at the seams of my life,
breaking it down to rags.
You played the victim so well
but I've never known a victim to brag.

I could cry for days
over what you've done.
But why give you that power
and let you have all the fun?

I'm trying to do what you can't:
have a little empathy,
say a prayer for you,
and hope for recovery.

I won't call you my friend.
Not making that mistake again.
But I won't call you an enemy either.
Just somebody I used to know. The end.

(Written 4.21.15)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Burned















You burned so bright.
Something in your smile
seemed warm like the sun
and it fooled me for a while.

You had me believing
that the smile was just for me.
Didn't see the flames from your mouth.
I was gullible and naive.

I was drawn to you
like a pyro to fire.
You led me on
as you and my innocence conspired.

Maybe you got what you wanted
but I'll call it a lesson learned.
I played with matches
and I got burned.

(Written 4.15.15)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Paint and Ink

Tuesdays Slice of Life













Another night lost.
I slept not a wink.
But maybe it was a night won
for all I did in paint and ink.

A dozen works of art.
A sketch, a paint, a poem.
My thoughts refused to be silenced.
Into the deepest corners did they roam.

Until under the afternoon sun,
as my sweet child in her crib slept.
My war torn body could take no more.
Speckled in paint, tears an artist wept.

For once I did not dream,
as if all my thoughts were spent.
I cannot describe the glory of that emptiness.
Those moments of silence were heaven sent.


(Written 4.14.15)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Missing Pieces


Each
a maze.
A puzzle
missing pieces
for which we all look.

Some
searching
their whole life
in the wrong place.
Inside another.

No
other
completes us.
But they can help
pick up the pieces.

(Written 4.13.15)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Storm























I never thought
I'd fall under your shadow.
Never dreamed you'd rain down on me
your ill intent
from the sky above.
But I have my umbrella
and I will weather this storm.
I will exorcise you from my soul.
I will regain control.
And someday you will only be remembered
as a breeze
which once lifted my hair.


(Written 4.12.15)

Forgive But Not Forget

I have literally been beaten.
I've been slapped across the face.
I've been inches from death.
I'm only here by God's grace.

All these people who have hurt me,
not a one has said "I'm sorry," yet.
But I've prayed and I've wept
and I choose to forgive but not forget.

You somehow stand above the crowd
because your lies didn't just threaten me.
Your manipulation and your lying tongue
endangered my whole little family.

We do not speak these days
but I fight a constant battle for control.
My anger burns like a bonfire,
lighting the absence of the security you stole.

You keep on crying wolf,
calling it your "powerful story".
But one day the wolf will come
and no one will hear your screaming plea.

(Written 4.12.15)

Wake Up

I woke up one dark day
intending to change the world.
You woke up to tear me down,
frightened by a little girl.

I was young and green.
The devil's whispers are sweet.
It wasn't hard to turn them.
My friends became your armored fleet.

You tore me down.
I almost lost the sparkle in my eye.
But I rose from the grave you dug for me
and I walked right on by.

Many years I labored,
watching the scars heal in the sunrises.
Helping others along the way,
treasuring life's true prizes.

Wake up, little boy!
See my life written in the stars.
I'm changing the world
and you're still picking at scars.



(Written 4.11.15)

Three

Three faces,
one vow.
Forever and always...
somehow.

i want to end it
give you peace at last
who would want this
a bag of cement with a past

I want to run away.
My spirit can't be contained!
Your love is lovely
but I feel so restrained...

Please! Find a way
look past my mind's crowd.
I'm in here with dreams and only love for you
though my voice isn't quite as loud.

Three voices
fighting for my tongue.
Slowly killing your patience,
you, the victim unsung.

(Written 4.11.15)  

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sleepless

What goes through your mind
when you can't sleep at night?
What memories play out like movies?
Whose faces do you see?

Who is haunting those late hours?
What monster whispers in your ear?
Wrapped up tight in your covers
do your lips smile or quiver with fear?

Do poems yet to be written
dance across your closed eyelids?
Do you keep a night light on
like when you were a kid?

Do you stay up past dawn?
Tears on your lashes fresh like dew.
Do you catch a glimpse in the mirror
and realize that the monster is you?

(Written 4.11.15)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Fall


Tuesdays Slice of Life













My heart is shattering.
I'll save you a shard.
I'm falling fast again
and I'm gonna land hard.

I wish you could save me
but I have to deal the final blow
to defeat this disease
before its power can grow.

It is killing me creatively.
Its weapon of choice is no gun.
The tears I cry will drown me slowly
but my mascara will not run.

The music stirs up the dust
off memories we tried to burn.
But the wind blows the ash back.
And still we never learn.

I am down and feeling weak
but I know I've been lower.
I have to believe I'll rise again
even if the ascent is slower

then the fall.

(Written 4.7.15)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Me Against my Mind

I have been relieved of my skin.
All is visible which was once within.

Sensory overload. I could feel a whisper.
Spare me the pain, don't come any closer.

Trying to hide in the middle of a crowd.
I didn't realize I was screaming so loud.

I hear the songbird and my vision fades.
My mind knows how to hurt me even without blades.

Without our minds and thoughts we are nothing.
But sometimes mine wants to end me and it's not bluffing.


(Written 4.3.15)


Endless Night

Please,
Nightmare,
let me sleep.
I need the peace.
You need to leave me.

Dreams,
my friends,
fill my mind.
I need to hope.
You need to come true.

Bed.
Sleepless.
Endless night.
I need my rest.
You need to hold me.

Mind.
Weary.
Playing tricks.
I need calm thoughts.
You need to cease fire.

Sun.
Morning
come too soon.
I need to hide.
You need to darken.


(Written 4.3.15)

#I Still Matter


This weekend I have been honored to play a small part in this amazing project called I Still Matter. I got to be a guest blogger!

You know that I am all about fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness and they are too. I Still Matter uses art to help shed light on this important and helps those fighting a mental illness find an outlet that helps them cope and express their feelings.
Please visit  istillmatter.com to read my introduction to my poems they selected and learn more about this amazing project.

You can also show your support by visiting them at One Spark next week. Meet the people behind the cause, see the artwork, and donate. They are #21767.



However you do it, I hope you take a moment to support this amazing project. Jacksonville, and the world, needs more projects like this one.