Guilt of a Survivor

Someone’s rugged hands translated to the scars on my hips

His words were the poison drowning my lungs

I befriended addiction and thought I had no one else to blame but myself

The thorns at my side didn’t kill me but they sure as hell tried

Spiraling down to a rock bottom lower than I thought I could go

Watching someone I love also struggle, thinking if she was making it out then so could I

She never made it out but I am still surviving with ailments shared between us

The weight of her loss carried with me now, wishing I succumb and she survived

How could someone who once brought light into my dim world have her shine turn to darkness

Every day my heart breaks knowing I will never get to see her recover alongside me

I wanted to take all her pain away and I failed

I failed her



My name is hand-me-down re-purposed by my own hands

My maternal grandmother was born to a family of artists in 1931

Weaving yarn together with needles on the couch is how I remember her through my childhood

I started crocheting 2 years after her death because my hands didn’t know how to sit still

I have been told neither could hers

Painting was one of my first loves in life, always being the one in class to have paint on my face, my clothes, in my hair

Throughout the house her paintings hang like a warm reminder that I’ll carry her not just in my name but in 14 years of memories I try so hard to not let go of

The name I wear as a locket around my neck, paint dotting my clothes as the photograph inside

Some days I wonder if she would be proud of me now

But I am also very much my father’s daughter

Unapologetic in brute honesty, I am not a lady like she was raised to be

I talk with the rhythm of my ancestors, too fast, too loud, too uneducated

Maybe she beams proudly that I fight tooth and nail to get where I need to be and I can’t see through the stubborn eyes my father gave me

I still wear her name proudly, not giving anyone the satisfaction of claiming it doesn’t fit in their mouth, so I should find a new one easier for them to pronounce

It’s been five years since you left and all I can hope is that between books, you see my laughter returning, voice booming, and succeeding


For Ainslie Sr., from Lil’ Ainslie

Fragments of Feelings

“Even if you called 6 months later, at 3am i’d still answer.” – Unknown

Looking at you ignited a fire in my heart that made its way down to my stomach

Your leaving in silence plucked all the flowers from my heart

All the tears were used in extinguishing that flame that wouldn’t go out until months after you leaving

“You’re trying to leave yourself behind, but you can’t. The more you try to run away from yourself, the more you’ll have yourself with you.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

I remember in fragments

Trauma compromised my memory so I would not have to watch over and over feeling the sting of their knuckles on my skin

Photographs capture moments my brain didn’t

Years were flushed away and I struggle to keep moving forward

If they could feel every time I crack back open in the breaking of their heart but ain’t it debatable if any of them have one

Trauma is not the end of the line but I string the memories on a laundry line one by one, running over them again and again so I know I won’t begin erasing them again

Most still leave as soon as they come but I keep those ones safe in a locked box under my bed

“Life went on without you. Of course, it did. Of course, it does. It was just an ending, they tell me, not the end.” – Lang Leav


Surviving means ripping yourself to pieces before someone else has the chance to

I know he won’t stay

I breathe in the smell of his skin so I won’t forget but I know when my heart breaks for him I will erase it from my memory thinking it will protect me

The ghosts of freckles down his back are impossible to count but I still try

His hands will try to remember my skin with another woman

He won’t be able to remember the way I look when I first wake up or how my smile forms but goddamn he will try

He will not win that battle

“Thank you for loving me when I still tasted of heartache and war.” – Nikita Gill

I am happy nor sad

I merely exist to feel the wind on my face and the rain stick to my skin

Each rolling clap of thunder and lightning flash bring you closer to me

Emotions come and go and I cannot force them to make a home out of me

I am waiting here for you to come home to my arms


Someday there will be a light filling the cracks the world put in your smile

You will be granted peace after long years of suffering

There will be happiness in the small moments

The sun shining through the window with shades of orange and pink in the early morning sunrise

The person you love the most still asleep on your shoulder

You deserve what brings you warmth and joy after bloodied lips and panic’s shaking in dark corners to escape the curious eyes

Sometimes the worlds shuts you out when you become consumed by yourself and only until you return from rock bottom will it open its doors for you again

Someday may be tomorrow, someday may be years from now

But you will find yourself smiling at the little things

via Daily Prompt: Someday

Daily Prompt: Year

2016 Wrapped Up

I saw my dreams get bigger and paint themselves different colors

Adding wishes I didn’t know where inside me

Death decided not to touch me this time around

Laughter came easy and I welcomed thousands of smiles

I didn’t let the weight of the year drown me

Beauty touched me in every moment, the good and bad

I loved and let go of good things knowing one closed door will open another

I rebuilt and reinvented myself in the shadows of heartbreak

Positivity reigned even in the darkest corners of the year

But mostly I am glad I lived

Death did not take me this time

via Daily Prompt: Year

Daily Prompt: Bespoke

Fragments of things that once were but no longer are but in what they left behind:

1.) My bare hips are only known to a lover’s hand

Mangled by ghostly remnants of a hurting that only stings anymore, but some weeks burns to remind me it is still living here

2.) The person you loved is no longer living in this body

I was my own savior picking up the pieces of me you crushed in the gentle cupping of my face

I am still damaged goods to some but treasure to others who have the patience to handle me gently

I still can’t say your name

3.) It’s been nearly 5 years and you only live in photographs and memories

My name is a testament to your impact on 3 generations while you were still here

4.) I burned all the notes

Goodbye notes would do nothing to console a grieving family if I did walk away from this life

5.) Within the confine of the forest I am home, with the licking of the ocean on my bare feet I am home

I know that where I am from may change drastically and this is how I keep the memory of the peace the trees bring me, the console the freezing salt water still brings me

6.) Moody blue grey eyes, freckled skin, and stubborn passed along in folded notes so we wouldn’t forget where we came from

Diaspora has not been kind to the Irish like us but we are making it now

Accents still hide until we are comforatably together just in case


via Daily Prompt: Bespoke


I wish I had cracked myself open for someone else

Love is an invitation to see the depths of someone you care for

He wasn’t suppose to leave me hollow

He buried his words so deep as if I was given in a casket

Stone marked “Here lies someone who loved the wrong person too much”

Your body was a language I was fluent in

But you didn’t bother learning a word of mine

The best revenge is said to be living well without

But I also want the best for you

You spoke a honey I drank from your collarbones

Leaving love notes hidden on your neck

I knew when you folded yourself away from me

Capturing those green eyes and tousled blond hair of yours

To be filed away as the last moment before we became strangers again


Recently people have been telling me I seem much happier

Along with this I get people asking for advice on how to be happy

Because I haven’t always been “happy”

I have a lot to say to them

Many days you won’t want to  get out of bed

Yet something in the back of your head pushes you out from under the covers

A lot of days you end up feeling neutral

Thankful you’re not as lethargic as you use to be

You’re not happy every moment of the day

There are moments you feel rain pouring behind your eyes

Most of the time I feel content

Friends of mine watch my eyes wander and observe the world around me

Because I missed everything for so long I want to soak in every little detail

Like the way clouds absorb colors of a sunset

Content is the only way to describe this neutral feeling – a feeling of neither the lowest of lows or highest of highs

As if I’m floating through life

Taking the space I was promised the day I was born

You know the scenes in the Bugs Bunny cartoons where a character would run off a cliff and keep running in mid-air for a second before falling? That’s how depression left me feeling. After I fell, I didn’t know if I was actually real. I didn’t know if I was still alive. I wanted be dreaming in some strange afterlife. Time kept warping itself, even when doctors told me the medication was working and I was doing just fine.

No one would believe me when I told them I was depressed. They always told me I acted happy and seemed perfectly fine. I guess I felt a lot of pressure to keep up the demeanor or facade. When I would admit to people I self-harmed, they would demand I show them because the cuts weren’t up and down my arms, they were on my hips. I would refuse because I didn’t want to strip in front of a stranger to prove I was sick enough. Just because a scar fades doesn’t mean it isn’t there. People who aren’t affected by mental illnesses want it to be in their face so they have proof but at the same time they don’t want to see it. They don’t want to see the negative symptoms.

There are plenty of days I can convince everyone, including myself, that I’m fine. There are other days I look in the mirror disappointed that I didn’t wake up someone else. In the end, you have to live with yourself. No matter where you move to, what color you dye your hair, or who you date, you are still yourself. You can’t run away from yourself.