Mental Health, Random

Awake, Part 8

I know why the caged bird sings…

How I long to be free of my self-imposed battle with guilt. All the things I’ve done, all the ways I’ve wronged someone, all the things I’ve said, all the mistakes I’ve made, every embarrassing moment orbits the edge of thought trying to break into my brain’s gravitational field. I try to keep the thoughts at bay. Damn by interminable, long memory. It is like my grandmother’s, who at 100 years old, could spout of details of not only all of her offspring’s long ago mishaps, but her own childhood. I envy those who can easily forget and shake off the little things.

I’m afraid to sleep because I’m afraid to dream.

I’m afraid to wake because I’m afraid to think.

Where is the happy balance? Where is the freedom from this self-inflicted tyranny? Hope do I get out of this vicious cycle that keeps me caged in monotony, vulnerability, fear, and one damnably terrible sleep pattern?

The caged bird sings of freedom.

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Mental Health, Poetry

Little Girl/Awake, Part 5/Collaboration, Part 1

Borrowed this photo from OraforLife for her poem The Locked Up Soul. Posting a poem I wrote that both her poem and photo reminded me of. Thank you, Ora! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

*****

Quite by accident one day
I was sitting on a bench alone
Staring into nothingness
Seemingly content
Then came this little girl
A familiar girl
She sat beside me
Prim and proper
Soft dark skin
Deep brown eyes
An angel almost
And in her presence
My soul felt more tattered
Then the clothes I was wearing
So I tried to ignore her
No
She tugged at my sleeve
I thought it would come off in her tiny hand
She posed her questions
“What is love?” she asked
Didn’t look at her.
“Love is waste,” I said
“Worthless, painful, never love.”
“What is hate?”
“Hate is the only true emotion.
What forces you to soldier on
What keeps you alive.”
“And what is life?”
I cringe.
“Life. Life is a trial.
It is agony.
It is blood outpoured
And never regained.
It is broken hearts and dreams.
Life is being here and dying.
Nothing more.”
When I finished
She was silent
I finally brought myself to look at her
To look deep into her eyes
There was sweetness there
There was hope
There was innocence
Would I destroy her
Wit the bitterness within me?
How could I speak these words?
How could I let her think these things?
And so I took her in my arms
And took her tiny hand
Held it tight
“Let me try this again,” I said
“Love is a splendid feeling
That should be given and felt
And though sometimes it hurts
We never give up on it
Hate is for the lost
Those who gave up on love
And so they choose anger
Life is not just what you see
It is only what you make it
So choose a path
Never look back
Do not be ashamed of it.”
When I finished
Her eyes were shining
She smiled
I looked at this child
This girl I used to be
The one who lives in me
I realized I had forgotten all I told her
I had forgotten what life could be
Forgotten happiness
I had only allowed myself to know
My rancid inner soul
No more
So I took her in my arms
Hugged her
Squeezed her
Until she was no longer there
Until I only held myself
I stood up then
With renewed spirit
A young girl’s hope
And a lust of long ago
I chose a path
A brand new road
I will not look back
I will not find shame

Random

Sunshine Blogger Award Nomination

A huge thank you to DM (@dkmr20), author of Pointless Overthinking, for the nomination! It is certainly an honor.

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and a link back to the blog.
2. Answering 11 questions that the Blogger asked you.
3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the awards and write them 11 questions.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post on your blog.

My Answers:

  1. What phrase would you use to describe your future?

A Hopeful Outlook. I was just recently discharged from a behavioral health facility after six weeks of intensive outpatient therapy. I’ve done therapy for depression and anxiety of and on for about 12 years. While I will continue individual therapy on an as-needed basis, this was the first time I had completed therapy feeling like I had accomplished something and that I had made actual progress in my thoughts and coping skills. For the first time, I am really understanding myself and those around me and look at the future positively. I am hopeful that good things will come.

2. Which movie had the biggest impact on you?

Interstellar, directed by the incomparable Christopher Nolan. I love all of his movies, in general, because they delve past the action and into the human psyche. I am a bit of a sc-fi nerd – love Star Trek. Interstellar combined sci-fi and human psyche to teach lessons about human relationships, thinking, and actions. It teaches us that no matter what the world is like, love transcends everything. I was very emotional at the end. Plus, it brought us another great soundtrack from Hans Zimmer.

3. From all the things you do on a daily basis, which ones do you love the most and why?

Listening to music. I’m listening to it as I type. It’s great as background noise while working or driving. It helps me focus. It  helps me wake up. It helps me sleep. Or, sometimes, it’s useful to fit individual moods. There is music for every feeling, with or without words. It is a secondary form of expression.

4. What are you addicted of?

I’d have to go with music again. My mom says I would move in the womb when music was played, which was probably prophetic of my love for it. Music is a constant and I love all varieties. If someone told me I couldn’t have it, I do not know how I would function on a daily basis. My playlist is a surprise; I have everything from Enya to Eminem.

5. What would you change about yourself?

I went through a weight loss effort where I managed to shed 93 of 130 pounds that I had gained after college. Then, the scale started going in the wrong direction. I’d like to reach my weight loss goal.

6. What do you do to relax?

You guessed it! I listen to music! I also will read a book or watch a movie. Typically, my movie selection for relaxing will be something DC/Marvel/Star Trek/sci-fi related, but I love movies in general.

7. If you have unlimited money, what would you buy and why?

A small, but tasteful home in a semi-secluded area, with a vintage/antique decor. In it, I would also buy devices that could hold my large collection of music because I am constantly running out of space/memory. Then, I would buy every song I’ve ever heard and loved and/or that has touched my soul.

8. If you could make a movie about anything, what would that movie be about and why?

I enjoy movies that get into the mind. Likely, I’d like to do something semi-autobiographical about how debilitating mental illness can be and what the internal and external contributing factors can be. I would also get into how recovery is possible. Might be a tear-jerker.

9. What’s your biggest fear?

Failure.

10. What’s your biggest wish?

That I continue on the journey to self-acceptance and recognition of my own self-worth. This would help me understand that failure IS an option; mistakes are inevitable. But, we learn from our failures and mistakes and become better people for them.

11. What word would you use to describe yourself?

Sunshine. In part, it is because a lot of people call me that, both strangers and friends, because they say that’s what they feel and see in my aura. I also love the color yellow, which is pure sunshine in of itself. My nickname is Summer, so maybe I was fated to be  sunshine in people’s eyes. I also just feel better, physically and mentally, when the sun is out. I feel excited about the day.

My Nominations:

  1. Dread Poets Sobriety
  2. Caliath
  3. Almandyne
  4. alygeorges
  5. The Bipolar Writer
  6. joypassiondesire
  7. Utsav Raj
  8. Frank Solanki
  9. Hemendra Dibaakor
  10. Shiny Objects
  11. At the Intersection

My Questions:

  1. What is your favorite song and why?
  2. What made you start blogging?
  3. What emotions fuel your writing?
  4. What was an instance in which writing was therapeutic for you?
  5. If you had one wish, what would it be?
  6. What is your favorite movie and why?
  7. Star Trek or Star Wars and why?
  8. What are your hobbies/interests?
  9. What makes you tic, lights a fire under you?
  10. What is one thing you could not live without?
  11. Who makes up your support system?
Mental Health, Poetry

Loss

Processing the finality of loss
Not in the usual way
Not by happy or accidental death
Rather, by emotional void
Unable to recognize the face
Of someone I used to know
Of someone that used to love me
Everyone says, “life changes”
It seems a petulant excuse
A way to give up, save face
A perpetual belief you’ve instilled
That you hold the halo
When it comes to being friend,
Father, mother, sister, brother
When was the last time
You looked in the mirror
Tried to understand the reflection
Of someone that you used to know
Of someone that had not walked away
Give an ear to the angels and devils
That whisper to you
The things you do not want to hear
But, need to know
Loss was avoidable once
So stuck on the potential of it were you
That you made it inevitable
Realizing this, I see
Though I feel pain
The loss is not my burden
It is yours to bear
Your self-imposed finality

Mental Health, Random

You are the Company You Keep

Lately, I feel lonelier than I’ve ever felt before. I feel like there’s no one that I can put absolute trust in. My list of friends grows shorter everyday. Everyone is living their lives, but I’m still trying to find my place. Almost everyone…

Why is my friend list growing shorter? Last night, in group, we discussed the realization many of us often have that your “friends” are not always friends. Some of them might be. They might be close friends or just everyday friends. Some people are relegated to the acquaintance category. Then there are others, you realize at the risk of emotional devastation, are just people you know.

A few months ago, I was at a Halloween party drinking with some friends. I admit it. I blacked out. In all my 32 years, this had never happened to me before. I felt guilty, embarrassed, wondered what I did wrong that day. What about my so-called friends? One wanted to send me off in an Uber, half conscious, because he didn’t want me to get sick in the room. I could here him telling about getting evicted from the party. Later he asked me if I was ok, but it was clear I was no longer welcome. I arrived with two other friends. When I was ready to leave later (and completely had all my wits about me, mind you), I discovered they had left me. Another asked if he could leave me in car. I couldn’t stay with him because he was online looking for late night lay. One person was kind enough to let me stay with them and take me to my car in the morning. One person was my friend. Later, I learned that all those people are still fighting amongst themselves about how the situation was handled. But, you know, no one thought to make sure Lauren was ok.

I take personal responsibility for my actions, of course. But, just a few days prior, I had attended a “celebration of life” event for one of those friend’s mother, who had just died. All these “friends” were there. I had felt this sense of camaraderie. Some I had known several years. Some I was really just getting to know and trust. Others I’d just met and saw a future with. It made me happy.

In one night, that notion fell apart. I realized these people that I spent all my time with were just people I knew, but there was no depth, no substance to the relationships. I also realized that I had turned myself into a party animal of sorts, so that I could remain in there company, though I’d rather a simple activity in intimate company. They were not friends and I was not myself.

In group, we talked about what I’ll call the “friend selection process.” The therapist refers to it as our “picker.” Are you a good picker? A bad one? You know what I realized? My picker is totally broken. It loves to move past the glowing fruit and foliage, to find the old, putrid, low-hanging ones, the ones that are the easiest to get to, but that cause you grief in the end. The ones that cannot sustain you.

Why are some of us gluttons for punishment? Probably because it’s safe and easy. We’ll never really have to trust and be close to anyone, so we find these broken people that we think we can fix. We know they will disappoint us, but we’ve come to accept this as normalcy. We stop looking for the fruit that would be good for us. I mean, it must all be gone right? When we see the potential of something not only organically substantial, but also REAL, with depth, we sabatoge it. We put up our walls and find the first opportunity to push those people away. If we didn’t, we would be vulnerable. We would lose control.

I find it odd and terrifying that I was do ready to be a part of the whole life of a man I recently dated. I wanted to give all of my heart to him, which I guess I got pretty close to. I wanted to meet his children and be friend and maybe even another mother to them. I wanted us to support each other in our mental health and internal exploration. But, it was bad from the start and I knew it. So why do I want him back? Why do I continue trying to maintain a friendship when, for him, the moment is gone? Why do I do that with anyone, be it friend, love interest, or otherwise. It’s because I’ve become accustomed to deception and I’ve convinced myself I don’t deserve more than that.

Well, that’s the cowardly out… And it’s bullshit!

I am worth it. I am deserving of decent, respectful people who will love and care for me as much as I do them. Ever love and care for someone that you realized you didn’t like that much? Why keep that company?

Here are the goals. I intend to maintain my identity. I will not change for anyone just to keep them in my life because if I have to do that, I don’t need or want them in my life. I will care for myself instead of spending all of my time caring for others. I will be vulnerable. I may get hurt, but I may also organically find relationships of depth and substance. In short, I’m going to select better company that will keep me on the forward path in my mental and emotional health journey.

How is your picker?