Awake


In the third grade, I had my first stint with mental illness. My only real friend had just moved away, and no one wanted to play with me at recess. I was depressed, big time, and I was also working through grief at the loss of my friend. The stages were evident (retrospectively) in the narratives that went through my head as I tried to sleep. Some nights I would cry. Some nights I would invent stories in which who had abandoned me continued to wrong me; some nights I would scream my anger at her. At eight years old, I would spend some nights thinking seriously about death. But it wasn’t until the next school year that I started to understand that these thoughts were anything out of the ordinary. lonely-child-1024x678In the fourth grade, after she saw me hitting myself repeatedly during tests, my teacher sent me to weekly group sessions with the school counselor.

It’s gotten worse since then, but it’s also gotten better since then. My depression comes in waves. The stresses of elementary school, junior high, and high school all took their toll on me. So, too, has the unforgiving coldness of winter, as well as the unrelenting loneliness of summer. Depression is not a constant companion, but it is a consistent companion.

My anxiety, on the other hand, does not come in waves. They aren’t as bad as they could be, and I’m always learning to ways to negotiate with them, but they never leave. Ever. In fact, I’m not totally sure where my anxiety stops and my nervous personality begins. Fretting is ingrained into my very aspect.

I was born an anxious person. I was also born a sad person. That’s sort of my point, my raison d’être: to be anxious and sad. It makes me see things that other people ignore, and it allows me to be introspective. In that, mental illness is what makes me a writer. I’m only an artist because I was wired incorrectly at the factory.

Maybe I should be grateful. Continue reading “Awake”

Tether Me Down: A Poem


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Numb my ears and hold me still,

give me purpose to fulfill.

Shout a name out, shout a song–

you always seem to shout it wrong.

When I’m drowning, God forbid,

drowning now in things I did,

as the air escapes my lungs,

hold my body to the rungs.

Tether me, and whisper things,

whisper silence ’till it sings,

whisper with a shouting song,

say I did good all along.

Promise me you’ll never go.

(I know that you will go, though.

It’s only time before we break–

I break–do it for my sake.)

My ashes like snow on the town,

At least you had me tethered down.

 

(click image for credit)

The Desperation: A Poem


Desperation hangs

from the dangling strings of jokes

like spit from her lips.

Every raspy retelling,

well-known to the ears of her companions,

struggles to stand for itself,

grabbing at a hint of a chuckle for stability.

The desperation forces her tongue.

Her jaw moves in a way even she disapproves of.

Blinking hard,

she allows another something surge upwards

from the deep pits of loneliness in her stomach.

It is an offering.

It is rejected.

Desperation turns the cycle again,

and again,

and again.

This is no way to make friends.

You Can.


You can throw a party without me and talk about it every day at lunch.

You can plan another one while I’m siting right there, and

You can deliberately avoid inviting me.

You can tell me I’m a part of the group and then meet up together without telling me.

You can post the pictures online.

You can promise that I can go but never tell me when.

You can do this for a few weeks, until I give up.

You can tell jokes that everyone else gets but me,

You can create jokes about me while I’m away, and

You can act like I am a walking, talking joke.

You can make me feel unwanted.

You can remind me of the times when I sat by myself every day at recess, and

You can let me know that now is not so different from then.

You can.

And you have.

Supercell: A Poem


The clouds envelop the sky

like a gaping mouth seizing prey

and make the world a subtle shade of dinge

that looks like blue

but is grey,

the lightning cackles from

a place miles from here and

turns the darkness back to day for

a fraction of a second.

I drink in the thunder,

and it fills me down into my toes,

and other parts where the sun rarely touches down

even pouring some of its heavy honey

into my eyes and

bringing out the definition

of the shadows on the pavement and on the leaves.

The low winds whistle on

their journey through the awnings,

leaving a hollow noise

to balance out the ripples

of the raindrops splashing in their own puddles

and the glare of the moon

is blanketed by sheets and sheets of cloud

that fold over and around themselves

like a dance

performed by endless numbers.

This is where I feel at home,

with the rustling noises, and the smell

of things becoming damp then

soaked, with the vision of

quilts of clumsy lace and horizontal

pellets, the feeling

of not knowing, of being

alone and afraid and in a cage and other things that are mysteriously pleasant,

the rolls of rumbling

filling and satisfying

to the last drop.

I am not a torment,

I am a misunderstood wave of love and

in a storm I find

that I am not so lonely in

being the way I am

and so I follow it East

kept warm by comfort

until the light filters back in.

I Feel Sort of Lonely: A Poem


drowning

Today,

I feel

sort of

lonely.

I feel sort of like the world

is on

my shoulders,

or

in my head, trying to

burst

out. I feel

sort of depressed,

the temporary kind,

not that

it

doesn’t hurt.

I feel

sort of

lonely,

although I have people

all around;

I feel sort of

lost, like I’m drowning

in a big world

and no one

can see me,

no one can hear

my SOS messages,

not

because they

don’t care, but because they

aren’t

there.

I feel sort of lonely,

not because

I am alone,

but because

I am very

alone.