Body

We all live in these vessels that carry us to the grave

Souls occupying until it feels like the right time to leave and start over

Leaving behind mourning of who was once in this now shell

My body has endured me opening it up in attempts to let the unease fly free

The chemicals my brain has been known to produce are out of date

The boards of this ship creak and let water in – only replaced when I am but nearly drowned

My skin is decorated with tattoos for a love I can no longer whisper the name of

His name still feels like a house fire out of control in my chest

I no longer wish for him to recognize my soul as one he once so intimately knew

This vessel I own in this life is littered with stories told and those yet untold wait to emerge through the old, the weary, the hand-me-down

I have not sank yet but dear god I know people are waiting to see the day I no longer exist on the same plane

But this worn out body has not seen its last days yet

Love Notes

My body –

I am still learning ways not to destroy you

You are the vessel that carries me to the end

When you are gone, so am I

I decorate you to forget I once set fire to you so I could feel the warmth in my bones again

Because it was so cold

 

J.D.B. –

Love letters signed by you still litter my floor

All tear stained with the memories I try to block out

You were my worst mistake

I hope she tastes sweeter

 

A.M. –

I am sure I was your worst mistake

I want to plant forgiveness in your heart

But I know it won’t change your mind

 

J.S. –

When I imagine my wedding, you are standing there at the end of the aisle

Come home soon

 

My skin –

Your need to be red all the goddamn time gave people lots to pick apart

I tried to hide your imperfections with no avail

Deciding to be proud of you was my greatest achievement

Collisions of people are mapped out on you

Generations of triumph and hardship are written out on you

I am so sorry I ripped you apart for so long

 

Life –

I regretted being brought into you for years

You made me feel your weight too early

But you handed me laughter when I needed it

I am forever grateful for your gift

Even on the days I want to retreat into the darkness

On Accepting Death

For so long I have been grieving my own death

Feeling uncomfortable with every year passing that I’m still alive

I thought I would have been dead by 6 years ago

And 7 I accepted that I would float into nothing

While my body floated in rivers that were my family’s tears

All left of me dust

Deaths of idols, acquaintances, pets all reopen wounds I thought I healed

My soul aching for the embrace I once knew so close

Mourning the loss of souls in the existence I knew them in

While skipping a beat to mourn moments I nearly let mine go

A familiar voice tugging in the back of mine to let go this time

“You may have a chance to escape this time”

But I don’t

I never do

Five

Five good things that have happened to me, 5 years and a day after the hospitalization date that kept me from committing suicide

1.) Relearning to laugh

By the time I reached my breaking point, I could not muster so much as a smile

Teaching myself to laugh again at even the smallest of things was a hurdle

Now I laugh loud enough, often enough for people to recognize it as me from opposite ends of halls

Laughing at minor inconveniences was one leap I made, knowing it would soon come easier

Yet I acknowledge that there are hard days I cannot let the tiniest of giggles out

2.) Falling in and out of love many times

Teaching myself that a lover doesn’t define you, but how fully you loved

How fully you loved someone who didn’t deserve you, someone who didn’t love you back

Giving too much of myself to the wrong ones

Giving away pieces of my love to people who needed it the most

Recognizing rock bottom in other people, giving them the shoulder when I knew I would have needed one

3.) Learning I was permitted to take up space

Knowing when people were trying to minimize my shine because they were uncomfortable with it

Using my stubborn voice to never back down

Just because I am a woman doesn’t mean I cannot posses the personality traits assigned masculine

Fiery, stubborn, loud mouth throwing sarcastic daggers that I have learned to embrace

4.) Realizing it’s alright to have emotions if they aren’t used to hurt someone else

Crying when I really need to, allowing myself to be angry when need be

I am not a robot and emotions are never as black and white as they seem

5.) Loving myself again, even if milestones are reached slower than someone else

My relationship with food is always tinged with the way my bones felt jutting out of my skin when I thought I didn’t need it

Days where I can look at food and not see the calories, fat content, sugar, etc. are days I count as good days

Days where I don’t calculate how much exercise I have to do with the extra food I take in are also good days

I have been allowed to accept the personality traits handed down to me, even if they are not seen in the brightest of light

Learning to accept myself at face value is a permission I am eagerly awaiting, but until then it is the baby steps that count the most

Mental Illness vs. Education

My high school was a cheesy 80s movie

My friends and I smoked cigarettes under the bleachers and in the dugout

Once even in a girls bathroom, nearly setting the school on fire

Three of us broke a window, forcing the school to bolt them shut the next year

I spent half of my high school career in detention, making it a miracle when I didn’t get any my senior year

Many of my high school teachers saw through it all and knew I actually had a brain smart enough to get into college

Many panic attacks in bathrooms, hospital visits, days spent in the guidance office, therapy sessions, psychiatrist appointments, and hallucinations in hallways later, I got to a university I never thought I had the chance of going to

College enjoys trying to break me down

The counseling center cannot take people like myself

Those who require “extended care” are referred to a center a town and a bus ride away, a place I cannot squeeze into my ever busy schedule

Friends have needed police aid to not end it due to inadequate care here for people like us

Getting out of bed is one thing but falling into the pit of despair is another

I cannot count how many times I thought of leaving this world since arrival, having to pull myself out of the darkness enough to know my problems will not be solved by ceasing to exist

I have not seen the world yet, no matter how many lovers leaving make me think that I have

No combination of booze and drugs can fix you but damn does it feel so when you are laying on your floor out of your mind

I thought it would all go away but some days it feels worse than years spent being a fly on the wall

I am lucky enough to still be in the world I built myself

Daily Prompt: Fortune

The fortune left in my inheritance includes the ability to act as though everything is perfect when the world is crumbling in our fingers

With each generation we break until there is nothing left of us but the wind whispering our secrets to the world

We are weaved into epidemics no one wants to talk about until they are personally affected

Pretending families like mine aren’t completely killed off by these silent killers

The world faded to nothing in my father’s hands and all he has to show for it are the ghosts living behind his blue-grey eyes

In my fingers the world melted and I have yet to rebuild it

Nights I spend awake mania keeps me company, her energy driving me to do what I normally would steer clear of

Days I spend in a haze, depression turns my body into a winter wonderland with her arctic freeze occupying my bones

Tears stopped flowing down my cheeks the first months trying to solve this puzzle, scars are the only remnants of what I once was able to manage

Epiphanies come when I’m floating above the clouds but once my feet meet the gravel again I forget those discoveries I thought would be waiting for me

I still have yet to make sense of the fortune gifted between generations of hushed conversations

via Daily Prompt: Fortune

13 Year Old Walls

Grief is one hell of a drug

We learned that in 8th grade health

But I had nothing to grieve

My pride was hanging from the ceiling fan in the living room when I left for school this morning

Knowing I was no longer my own but property of her violence

Those years no one knew I existed but in the tales breathed through locker doors

I was one more light fading

Do you know what it’s like knowing you’re dying but not from what?

I am no longer that 13 year old

Wondering when they’re going to teach you about the hell you shouldn’t be feeling, but was gifted in a pretty purple box between her fist colliding with your skin and the whispered worthless it communicated to you

They never will teach you about it

Years later I hope they recite those lessons to the walls of 8th graders like myself

Wishing there is something to stop the burning

8 Years Old

When I was 8 years old I wanted to live forever

Five years later I no longer wished to exist

Carving my skin as if it was Thanksgiving dinner

Painting the constellations in your eyes

Desperate to map every mountain, every forest making a home of your body

I wanted you drawn in the beauty I saw you before you left

Before I snapped, letting myself no longer be

At 8 we would swing high enough to see our feet touching the clouds

Hoping to get a taste of heaven for a moment

Five years later I wanted the whirlwind of pain to stop haunting me

Heaven or hell, didn’t matter to me as long as each piece of me agreed to no longer function

My brain no longer consented to being alive

Everyone thought I was a monster for an illness I didn’t put on my Christmas list, though they thought I did

I didn’t ask for my mind to quit on me so soon

I was a job it no longer wanted to work

None of me works like its suppose to anymore

I tried so hard to memorize you before you left but these days I can barely remember where I am

When I was 8 years old I wanted to live forever

Five years later I no longer wished to exist

Anti Hallucinogen

Zoloft acts for me as a crutch that allows my moods to stay on the ground

Recently I was off for a couple weeks for the first time in 3 years

See I don’t really know how long it was because I lose all understanding of the concept of time

And usually the voices are dull and whispering like the quiet hum of FM static on the car radio

But they were turned up to the sound of thunder cracking, crackling, colliding

Just as I remembered

I had to act like I didn’t have knives twisting my heart out

I had no idea if I even existed

Maybe I was a phantom

Or in purgatory

The first week without I didn’t want to leave my bed

My feet were bricks that I could not carry

The next couple weeks

Insurance was fighting me

Presumably trying to kill me

Paranoia was seducing me with ideas that everyone was trying to kill me

My father said I sounded so far gone that it scared him

Because maybe this time the voices would actually convince me to fill my lungs with concrete

Emptying the roadmap of veins running through my body

Watching a loved one go through this is like watching a horror movie over and over

Thinking the ending will be something different

Over the phone my father asked about the hallucinations

Trying not to tell him that part of me was convinced his voice was one

I told him they were old friends visiting

I couldn’t bring myself to joke that I should name them

Eventually I got my lifeline back

Stopping the world from spinning 20 different ways while collapsing in on itself