27.12.15

Oops

i saw Brain vs. Heart
  and i laughed helplessly
because Heart got put in a cage
   and i can't help wishing
   i could do that to myself,
but
  let's be realistic
  it was too late
   the first time our eyes met.

21.12.15

Inner Life

i live so much
   in my own head
  having conversations, imagining interactions
it's safer here, pleasanter
  than reality
though i'm entirely aware
  that what lives inside my head
    bears only a passing resemblance
  to reality
   and nothing, no matter what i feel
      means anything

16.12.15

Word porn

If i could paint your body
  with my words
  You would never believe
 you were unattractive.
If i could show you the lines
  of shivering touch
    where your lips and mine met
  The trails your mouth left
   on my skin
 and mine on yours,
  the way my abdomen still clenches
  at the thought of your
       hands buried in my hair
   and how soft your skin,
   if my hands drew my care
     on your chest and arms and ass

If your touch traced
    lines of light across my body
and that feather-soft brush
  across my cheek and forehead
   how can i then claim
   i'm not beautiful?

If we could draw the lines of loving
   on those we've touched
 Would anyone ever think
   they were unattractive?

9.12.15

For David

i miss your face
  and eyes
The way your hands reached
 for me even when
  you weren't looking at me
   And i love you.
 i miss the rambling conversations
  about everything,
   From things in our past
   to Star Wars and whether
  we would ever make it
to other planets
  And i love you.
i miss your smile
  and shoulders
  and how you knew
  every single time
 i was bullshitting
  And i love you.
i miss the random calls
  And i miss the questions about girlfriends
  and the texts that came through
  hours later,
   and i missed every clue
    i should have seen
And i'm so, so sorry
And
i
love
you.

8.12.15

Frustration

There are the days you're fine
  cheerful, even
  capable, able to do everything that needs doing
And then there are the days you're not.
  The days you're so
   fucking
    tired
of fighting yourself.
 So tired of forcing yourself out of bed
 of reminding yourself you're loved
   even when they're not reminding you
 of fighting the urge to just
  let everything go
   and end this damn farce.
Tired of trying
  tired of the replacement
  tired of not smoking
  tired of caring
  tired of not finding refuge in pain.
Tired of telling yourself you're good enough,
   a good girl
  because no one else is.
Tired of the whole goddamn thing.
Utterly finished
  with the foolish hopes
you know will never happen
And exhausted by the voice
  in the back of your brain
That says "you could stop if you wanted.
   You could be fine
       if you wanted."
Because you know it's
   all a damn lie
but you can't help
  feeling that the damn voice
  is right.

3.12.15

Contradictions

i've always described myself
  as a wealth of contradictions -
i hold back
  don't make many connections
 but i see the hidden pains,
   the emotions layered in protective blocks
the things people share with
   almost no one.
i can be logical and adult
   or silly and childish
Eternally hopeful
  and buried in despair and worst-case scenarios.
i've always had the urge
  to reach out to that hidden pain
   peel back the layers
 and apply love and comfort
  to those wounds i see
so when i reach
   it's because i see something
      that needs reaching to
And because i've allowed that person
   to somehow write their name
    on my heart
and often i frighten people
  because i see clearly
 and sometimes say nothing
   because sometimes i feel
 that the best possible response
   is touch, loving closeness
   rather than words.
Ironic, that, considering that words
flowed to me from my mother
  without pause
from the time i was born.
i can be so thorny
  especially when afraid
bratty or bitchy or too demanding
  or i can be quiet and patient and understanding
no matter what happens,
  no matter what walls are temporarily erected.
i overflow with love
   or sometimes rage
and i don't need anyone.
  i need those i care for desperately
and i'm fine alone
  or horribly lonely in a crowd.
i want no touch
  please cuddle me
and i want no contact.
  Please please please
     tell me i'm a good girl.
 Let me know i'm cared for.
Let me know i'm seen clearly
  and loved anyway.
Or because of my cracks and breaks
  and the ugly spots in my soul.
Because i love when i see those cracks
   and not before.
They say love is blind - if it is,
   then i've never truly loved
 because it's in the cracks and breaks
   and ugly spots
i see the most beauty.

1.12.15

Words Unspoken

i wanted to say
  i always need you
but how do i say that without terrifying
  i wanted to say
   you reaching out
  feels like a hug,
  like you wrapped me up
and i love that
  i wanted to say
 i was so honored you trusted me
  and you can still trust
 because i'm not walking away
because whatever this is
it belongs
  and i listen to that still, small voice
   way away inside my head
 and it says trust.

Nowhere at all

The part of me
   pessimistic
   inclined to the worst case
   because hope hurts so fucking much
 understands.
   i see all the "nopes," the "can't"s, the never works.
That back part of me
   the unquenchable child
   the hopeful one
    the one who never shuts
   up
no matter what
 no matter how badly things are going
  or what's been said to quench hope
All she sees is the looks
   the touches
  the pet names
the caring.
And all she can feel is hope.

Confusion

You care
  i feel it in your hands
   on my body,
 Your constant finding me
   the way you see any time
    i've gone away mentally.
You don't care
   i feel it in your words
   your refusal to see me
 Your withdrawal
   from the closeness we shared
  for five short months
You care
   i see it in your eyes,
  in the way you reach out
   any time i hurt,
 in your smiles and in the way
 you try to make me laugh.
 So for now
   just for now
    i'm sitting in a corner
covering my confusion up
  trying not to show hurt or anything else
 because gods forbid i have feelings
   and waiting to see.
Waiting
   to hear
to speak
   to feel
because sometimes
   waiting is all i can do.

Examination

i suppose
  one reason i'm healing
is that i was ready for that split
    six months before it happened.
Not consciously
   but part of me knew already
    that the things he said and did
 were at direct odds with each other
   and that same still, small part of me
 that knows you care
knew he gave no shits,
  that his anger at my lack of trust
    was because he was lying
 that this was over
  and it was past time
to take off the collar.
  It just took six months
    for my conscious mind
 to catch up.
Hell, some days i still miss it
  his hand in my hair
   collar on my neck
  "Good girl" on his lips
but what i miss
  isn't what was
but what appeared to be
  before it all came out.

25.11.15

Feelings

"Why do you fear falling in love so much?

           My dear, it is not that I fear falling in love. I am in love with so many things in this world. I love animals, I love my family, I love my friends, I love sunsets, I love a lot of things. What I do fear, however, is falling so deeply in love with someone and investing my life into theirs only to discover that they do not feel the same about me. To me, that is how you die while still breathing and you can never recover from that no matter how hard you try. The scariest part about that is that you're never going to know if you're falling for the wrong person. That's what I'm afraid of."


    Love's always been something of a fascination and a conundrum for me.

    i spent about two years building a shell around myself, blocking out everything but the two relationships i had, developing ways to not care, not connect, not let anyone see into the clusterfuck my personal life had become. It was safer that way - people couldn't tell me i was too much, too painful, too raw or hurt or anything else if i didn't let more people in. They couldn't walk away from me. Just him. i came to believe every bad thing i was told, and parts of me still believe it. i had been so afraid for so long, and here were all the bad things my own depression and anxiety told me, confirmed out of someone else's mouth.

  i'm too crazy. Too emotional. Too much of a victim, pathetic, weak, erratic. i can't control my inner brat, and when i fail at control i get tossed to the side because it's too annoying. i can't even make a decision for myself. Everything that happened was all my fault. Every bad thing that does happen, from people telling me to leave them alone to me not being able to control my fears, is my fault. Always. i have no redeeming qualities.

   But the whole time, there's this love from the other relationship. Constant, strong, reminding me of the best qualities in myself. He tells me i'm never a burden, even when i'm having a breakdown or lose control of myself. He tells me i'm beautiful and whole and kind and compassionate and giving and worth every single minute of all of it. He trusts me completely, lets me make my own choices but expresses his concern, hopes i'll find a Dom one day who will be good for me, who will let me be good for them too.

  So which one's true? i invested my life in both their lives, so how did i get these mirror images, one the best of me and one the worst? The only thing left to do was crack the damn shell, especially once the relationship in which the worst of myself was always in front of his eyes was gone.

 Open myself up again. In a lot of ways i feel like i've regressed to when i was a teenager, before i had any kind of controls in place for letting people in or keeping myself at an emotional distance. i miss people. i actively want and even crave attention, but not just from anyone. Specific people only. Others i block out still, because i don't want to know them. A couple got space so deep in my heart i didn't see it coming, and i'm still not entirely sure how to handle that. i'm flailing still; i don't feel fragile or broken the way i did, but small things still hurt or heal so much. Phrases. Specific words. Being told to go away; being told i'm too much. Being told i'm good, a good girl.

i feel like i'm walking a tightrope, some days. Good on the surface, okay, put together, functional; underneath all i want is a pair of arms holding me down, someone who understands i need to let go and not be in charge, not be an adult, not have to think, just do what they want me to do. The big thing i'm not sure i'll ever find.

  So how do i find my way back to balance, without reconstructing that shell and assuming that no one except him cares or ever will, so i may as well kill what connections i have made and shut myself off again? i'm not sure, but i suspect the answer may be love. Being unafraid to love. Being unafraid to open myself up to other people and taking the risk that they may not recognize or want or appreciate who and what i am. Being honest and unapologetic and admitting that yes, i'm more than half in love with you and with you, in addition to him. And i'm okay with that, even if the feelings are one-sided and never returned. Hoping that if i do lose control, it will be met with understanding, because i have issues too. i can behave myself, i swear; it isn't always easy and i don't always see or catch myself in time, but i am trying. i'm not a fantasy, i'm a living breathing struggling every day person.

Balancing the urge to simply say "this is how i feel, please let's see if this will go anywhere, let's be brave enough" with the knowledge that i'm still healing and the uncertainty about whether i can actually handle anything other than a restricted friendship with anyone but my sole relationship at this point is an interesting walk. i'm still afraid of rebounding, afraid i'll put someone else through pain trying to heal myself; at the same time, there's this certainty in the back of my mind that only shows up once in a very long while, and i have not put enough trust in my instincts for too long. i want to trust that small, still certainty.

The most interesting part is that in spite of being petrified by so much, in spite of the depression and anxiety which lead to me assuming worst-case scenario instead of best, love is the one thing that has never scared me. When i love, when i let a person in, it isn't scary to love. The only scary thing is reactions, good or bad, and the consequences of interactions. And to me, love has always been worth the risk; always will be. Pain sucks; it's horrible and debilitating and overwhelming and breath-stealing, but love comforts and heals and forms new bonds and often brings out the best possible qualities we have. We take a risk any time we reach out to anyone, friend or lover or person we find ourselves falling in love with, and sometimes we're dropped, disappointed, hurt, crushed. Sometimes we fly.

18.11.15

Why not shut down?

“later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere
everywhere
everywhere.”


-- Warsan Shire

Because
i want to stop the pain in that refugee child's eyes
and because
i see yours, and yours, and yours as well, and want to cradle it
not because i think
that i can fix a damn thing
but because people willing to cradle your pain
are one of the most comforting things i've ever felt
Because
i can be so prickly when i'm uncertain
or afraid
Because
sometimes the best you can do is reach out
and the worst you can do
is shut down
Because sometimes my best is silent presence
while you walk through pain and fear.
Because shared pain is lessened
and shared joy is increased
Because if you get past the prickles -
and there may be many, depending on our interactions -
i am tender and fierce and loving and will
pull myself asunder
for those i care about.
Because i want to wrap my arms
around the entire world,
even though i know it isn't possible
Because if i love, i love with no regret
and no hesitation
Be it friend, lover, or falling in love
Because i cannot comprehend
fear of love
Because i see the pain and the darkness
and i know i cannot fix it
But i can comfort
and cherish
and support as much as i'm allowed
That's why i can't shut off my heart.

CD/GAD edit

Submission for Literaturesexual Wednesday: this is one i've been working on for years. It's a bit muddled, i feel, but also a peek into the weirdness that's my brain on a daily basis.

CD/GAD

Clinical depression: depression severe and persistent enough to be measured on the clinical scale. Marked by a depressed mood most of the day, particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships -- symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks. In addition, according to the DSM-5 -- a manual used to diagnose mental health conditions -- you may have other symptoms with major depression. Also called Major Depressive Disorder.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder: n. a psychological disorder characterized by excessive or disproportionate anxiety about several aspects of life, such as work, social relationships, or financial matters. Symptoms must persist for six months prior to diagnosis.


That's what they do tell you.


What they don't: how many times
others will tell you that you are "too much"
too angry
too upset
too emotional
too something
too anything for them to handle.
That your gentle, loving, kind, understanding
partner
who goes out of his way to reassure you
that you are never a burden
will tell you in the middle of a meltdown
that you need to learn to "detach."
Which you know
only
that was the worst moment to say it.


What they do tell you:
that you may experience heightened anxiety
that you may become stuck in a rut
that you may be randomly irritable or cranky or that
you might get frantic sometimes -
and that depression and anxiety both produce these symptoms,
so you're extra-screwed.


What they don't:
how you will obsess over moments small and large
you will fight to train your brain
to let go of ANYTHING
how 2 am will be your worst enemy
how much it will hurt
to have others push away
how your go-to defense mechanism
will be brattiness
and at the same time
you will probably cause your own worst fears
if you get bratty.
How one reprimand will snap you back
to behaving yourself,
  to seeing that you shouldn't brat out of fear,
 but it might
  not
matter
if you can behave by then.


What they do tell you:
you may be oversensitive
you may assume that one bad moment
is the end of everything ever


What they don't:
that the anxiety and depression
will create a dichotomy between adult
and child
in your brain, and how hope will be
the most painful thing you experience
and one pet name, one word, one phrase
will be the most reassuring thing
another person can possibly give you
but you cannot expect anything.


What they do tell you:
perhaps you should be on drugs


What they don't:
the drugs will help with the sadness
by putting a cloud around your brain
and you won't feel sad anymore
you won't be anxious
you won't
feel
shit.
And you will try five different types
and they will all be the same
so finally you will decide
that you are going to try to do this sans drugs,
because you'd rather feel pain than nothing.


What they do tell you:
sometimes you will be out of control.


What they don't:
That you will see and recognize that out of control moment
or day
or month
But you will not be able to FUCKING STOP IT
and you will want to reach out and say
"This was my fear
and yours
intersecting in the worst way possible,
and i am so so so so
sorry
and please, please understand -
please see ME under this cloud
please believe i'm NOT this bad
please don't shove me away"
But you'll be afraid to reach out, afraid
you're just making everything
so
much
worse.


What they do tell you:
That you will probably be pessimistic.


What they don't:
That you will mentally prepare yourself
for everything EXCEPT the best-case
and that when you are met with unexpected
caring, when that switch
flips in your brain that tells you
"you're safe"
the next moment of bad
will fracture you emotionally,
because you were prepared for anything bad
but you got temporary good instead, and you
don't know how
to reconcile the two.

CD/GAD



Clinical depression: marked by a depressed mood most of the day, particularly in the morning, and a loss of interest in normal activities and relationships -- symptoms that are present every day for at least 2 weeks. In addition, according to the DSM-5 -- a manual used to diagnose mental health conditions -- you may have other symptoms with major depression. Also called Major Depressive Disorder.


Generalized Anxiety Disorder: noun a psychological disorder characterized by excessive or disproportionate anxiety about several aspects of life, such as work, social relationships, or financial matters. Symptoms must persist for six months prior to diagnosis.


That's what they do tell you.


What they don't: how many times
others will tell you that you are "too much"
too angry
too upset
too emotional
too something
too anything for them to handle.
That your gentle, loving, kind, understanding
partner
who goes out of his way to reassure you
that you are never a burden
will tell you in the middle of a meltdown
that you need to learn to "detach."
Which you know
only
that was the worst moment to say it.


What they do tell you:
that you may experience heightened anxiety
that you may become stuck in a rut 
that you may be randomly irritable or cranky or that 
you might get frantic sometimes - 
and that depression and anxiety both produce these symptoms, 
so you're extra-screwed.


What they don't tell you:
how you will obsess over moments small and large
you will fight to train your brain 
to let go of ANYTHING
how 2 am will be your worst enemy
how much it will hurt
to have others push away
how sometimes your fears
will transmute themselves into
bitchiness
brattiness and being flip about that brattiness
being so fucking persistent in your need for attention
that you get reprimanded
and after that reprimand you can behave again, really you can
but it might 
not 
matter -
and even if it does, your brain
will still tell you it doesn't.


What they do tell you:
you may be oversensitive
you may assume that one bad moment 
is the end of everything


What they don't:
that the anxiety and depression
will create a dichotomy between adult
and child
in your brain, and how hope will be 
the most painful thing you experience
and one pet name, one word, one phrase
could be the most reassuring thing 
another person can possibly give you
but you cannot expect anything.


What they do tell you: 
perhaps you should be on drugs


What they don't:
the drugs will help with the sadness
by putting a cloud around your brain
and you won't feel sad anymore
you won't be anxious
you won't
feel
shit.
And you will try five different types
and they will all be the same
so finally you will decide
that you are going to try to do this sans drugs, 
because you'd rather feel pain than nothing.


What they do tell you: 
sometimes you will be out of control.


What they don't: 
That you will see and recognize that out of control moment
or day
or month
But you will not be able to FUCKING STOP IT
and you will want to reach out and say 
"This was my fear 
and yours
intersecting in the worst way possible,
and i am so so so so
sorry
and please, please understand - 
please see ME under this cloud
please believe i'm NOT this bad
please don't shove me away"
But you'll be afraid to reach out, afraid
you're just making everything
so
much
worse.


What they do tell you:
That you will probably be pessimistic.


What they don't: 
That you will mentally prepare yourself
for everything EXCEPT the best-case
and that when you are met with unexpected 
closeness
kindness
loving touch and words
Part of you will freeze 
and you will be hesitant
and fearful
and if you are reassured,
a switch will flip in your brain
that says "i'm safe with this -
this lovingkindness
this closeness"
and
The next push away
will fracture you emotionally,
because you were prepared for anything bad
but you got good instead, and you
don't know how
to reconcile the two.

16.11.15

can't

i don't understand
    i came prepared
for coldness
  withdrawal
con-friends-only
  i was prepared
for anything but what actually happened
i deliberately created space
    because i didn't want to push
but you
  reached for me
 played with me
marked me up and called me pretty and kissed and touched and loved on me
and let me kiss and touch and love on you
   and i cannot comprehend
how you are able to look me in the eye
and say "whenever"
how i went from you reaching out to me
  to shut into a corner again
and i'm afraid to even ask
   because i'm terrified
you will shut down again
  close off
slam the door in my face
  i trusted completely
and with your marks still on my body
  you let me know
i'm so unimportant
  that you're fine going months
 with no contact.

9.11.15

Written Word

my emotions
   spill so much more brightly
in the written word than in speech.
  i let out things
i've never given voice to
on white pages
    empty mouth
full brain and heart
      there's always been
that dichotomy
  between speech and text.

6.11.15

Why

Patience has never been my strong suit
and i took your ability to handle me
too much for granted
i'm still flailing
Trying to see how this went
from mutual care to annoyance
From "happy to talk" and opening up
to each other
to "hate talking"
i'm sorry
for the intersection of my fear
and yours
for my need for contact
and yours for silence
   (and isn't it ironic
   that the introvert needs contact
        and the extrovert needs silence?)
slamming into each other
For not being able
to keep from poking
For the fear of abandonment that kept
me reaching
Beyond your ability to tolerate conversation
For bratting
until you shoved that hard
And i have nothing that qualifies
as important enough
so i'm silent
i fucked up
And you found the cruelest way
to tell me my unimportance in your life
without actually saying
"Fuck off."

4.11.15

In the Garden



“Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the rose is blown.”
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Imagine, if you will, a cottage. The thatch is weathered but still sturdy; the walls are made of stone, and there is an exterior wall, built tall and strong, surrounding the property. Moss creeps over the stones of the wall and grows in the shadows of the cottage and the wall itself. In the center of the exterior wall is a gate. Hanging on the gate is a hand-carved sign that reads “NO SOLICITORS. No trespassing. Tours by appointment only.”
As you stand outside the gate, a woman comes out the front door of the cottage. She’s approaching middle years, but somehow looks both young and old. A simple brown dress sweeps the ground, with a white pocketed apron over it; if you look closely you can see kittens’ ears peeking out of the top pockets. She’s wiping her hands on a rag tucked into her apron band, and swipes one arm across her forehead, dislodging some flour smeared there. Her eyes are older than the rest of her face, upon which laugh and worry lines have begun to carve themselves, but when she sees you and smiles her eyes brighten, a happy welcome spreading across her countenance.
“Hello!” she calls, setting down one of the kittens and coming to the other side of the gate. “Do you have your key?”
You stare, confused, and she smiles again. “Try your right-hand pocket; the owner gives them out quietly sometimes.”
To your vast surprise, your hand encounters metal; you pull out an old-fashioned key that fits one of the many locks festooning the front gate.  When the key turns, the gate vanishes. You step in hesitantly, looking around: the front is an old-fashioned cottage garden, herbs in one bed, vegetables in another, with a central rose garden surrounding a sundial. You begin to approach the roses, drawn by their heavy scents, but the woman stops you gently. “Not that way,” she smiles, taking your hand. “Come through the cottage; the part you’re looking for is out back.”

She leads you through a comfortable clutter of books, afghans, and overstuffed furniture and out a mudroom into the back of the property. As you proceed deeper into the gardens, you see vast differences in the different garden beds laid out back here; one is blossoming wildly, overgrown with flowers, fruits, and lovely in its design. Several others are neatly laid out, well-tended gardens with names laid into rocks in the center; yet others are obviously neglected, overgrown with weeds and with the intended plants laid out haphazardly. Some still grow in pots, others are dying, still others have dead trees or bushes in the centers. The woman looks at your face and smiles again. “The owner allows certain gardeners in; the well-tended ones are memorials to those who came and went, but left their plots neatly tended and beautiful. She treasures all of those. That one – “ leading you past the beautiful, overflowing bed – “that one, the gardener has been visiting for many years. He comes every day to tend the flowers, prune where it’s needed, and weed out all the things that could strangle the beautiful plants the owner grows. The beds out front are her parents’ especial care.”

“And the dead beds?” you ask, oddly fascinated by the unkempt, dreary beds in among all the life.
Her smile fades a bit; eyes down, she says, “Those were planted by gardeners who chose to stop visiting; the owner is very selective with those she gives keys to, but she doesn’t always choose wisely. Some see the scope of the work and are put off by the idea of having to work for a result; others become afraid. There are often odd creatures to be found in this garden, and not everyone is comfortable being around them. Some even leave simply because she loves cats,” as she speaks, she lifts the kitten out of her apron and offers it to you. Your hands curve around the soft, silky body and you cradle it to your chest, confused but willing to comfort it.  The woman’s smile grows again, and her eyes meet yours. “Come this way,” and she takes your hand again. Leading you through the profusion of blossoms, fruit trees, and dead bushes, she brings you to a corner with a bed that looks brand new; it has neatly laid out rows marked in the bare dirt and a few seedlings have begun poking their heads above the ground. You stop, setting the kitten down, and put your hand on the bed; it feels familiar, though you’ve never been here before. As your hand rests on the bed, a few more seedlings reach through the soil, and one of the ones already coming up puts out a few leaves.
“This one is yours,” the woman says, the smile on her face growing brighter. “The owner trusted you enough to give you a key, and a bed; she only chooses a few people, though. And of course, it is always your choice as to what you plant and how you tend it. So far, you’ve begun a few azaleas; there are gardenias and irises starting to come up, and I believe that’s an orange tree in the middle. You can add or remove plants as you like; keep in mind, though, that the owner’s wishes will influence what thrives and what dies. Your own will too; if you choose, you can stop coming now, or you can walk away later. She hopes you’ll continue choosing to come and care for the bed, however, since she’s already welcomed you. She knows you have other responsibilities, especially to yourself, but she’s chosen to include you in this place, and she - I hope you’ll be kind enough to choose to keep the bed here as beautiful as it is in its infancy.”
With that, the woman scoops the kitten up, places it back in her pocket, and draws you off the ground, embracing you. She turns and goes back into the cottage, leaving you alone in the wilderness of life.