Day to Day Poetry, Day to Day Writing, poetry, Short Fiction

#15

My new therapist is an ex-tv producer
who used to hold business meetings with reality show directors
and actors, and marketing geniuses
only to curl herself in the washroom and cry.

She would take walks,
a cup of coffee in each trembling hand,
just to get away.

She doesn’t mean to tell me this,
she always asks, “What about you?”
But I’m an expert at misdirection,
this is how I know

how my other therapist loved musicals,
but her husband hated it, so she went alone,
how she pored over two volumes of Persepolis in one night,
because it reminder her of me,
how she fretted over which rug to put in her new office,
how she felt overwhelmed by having a new office,
how she thought the panhandler outside sang too loud
and disturbed her clients,
how she thought the retirement home she brought her mom to
was sad,
how she killed herself shortly after
we stopped seeing each other.

Both of them said I’m always on time with payment.
I don’t want you to listen to me for nothing.

She loves asking me ,”Why,”
And I want her to know,
That it’s not the external that matters –
not the job you can’t have, not the money you don’t have,
not the relationships that broke you.

That’s the easy part.

It’s the living with yourself.
It’s the waking up in the morning and forcing,
with all of your strength,
to get out of bed,
to sludge on to the tasteless coffee,
to slither inside clothes you know doesn’t define you,
to look at the person in the mirror you no longer recognize,
the growing older, the years wasted
trading your soul for the practicality of adulthood,
if you work too much, you get too sick,
if you play too much, you go insane.

In this routine, interpersonal world of
commutes, and plastering smiles while out for drinks with friends,
and sideways glances that tell of wishing I am not here,
it’s the mind, my dear,

it’s the dead, unbeating heart that
performs the final act,
that delivers us to the gods.

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Day to Day Poetry, poetry

#13

Boundless energy
I want to suck it out of her
in sporadic doses of drunken hickeys and forgotten mornings,
comb my fingers through those soft, pure curls of hair
and grab handfuls of it in between my hard, worn fingers
clenched unflinchingly into fists
tearing at her virginal skin,
and scratching with putrid nails
digging out innocence I’ve lost out of her,
dancing with anxiety, the monster I feed
under my bed –
you can have him –
don’t stay with me, darling,
I’ll only drown you
in my intrepid
mistakes.

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Day to Day Poetry, Day to Day Writing, poetry

#11 Lugubrious

I spend my days folding into myself,
shoulders caving in to keep my heart hidden
further and further I go deeper within
so I can disappear
in this chaotic numbness residing
in every inch of my being.

I am no longer whole,
eternally carved;
I can’t stop un-clenching my fists,
I can’t look anybody in the eye.

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Day to Day Writing, Epiphanies

#9 Candid

It’s been two years since I was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder  and I’m not sure what I’ve done with it, except dance through a cacophony of doctor and therapist’s appointments with only various prescription bottles to mark the success of the event. They line the dresser in my bedroom like a parade. On good days I take them religiously and keep them in my pocket. On most days, I throw them away.

If I am doing well, I accept the diagnosis with intense conviction, the same one I held on so firmly to that made me end up in the hospital in the first place. This forces me into self-analysis – reflecting about the flaw inside of me that keeps me from having the confidence to do anything with 100% certainty because I don’t know which side of me is in the driver’s seat: Mania or Depression. Before I absolutely do anything, if I’m well, I have to ask if it’s sustainable in the long run. Can I actually work three jobs whether or not I’m well? Probably not. This seems like a simple answer in moments of lucidity but those moments for me are few and far between. It’s either, Yes, I ABSOLUTELY CAN WORK THREE JOBS, I CAN DO ANYTHING vs. Who are you kidding? You can’t do anything. Finding the mid is a battle I constantly have to fight. Jumping from one extreme to the next is incredibly exhausting.

Some of my closest friends romanticize my mania, and it’s disheartening. I only hang out with most of the people I know when I’m manic. Mania is a fickle mistress; it is the burst of energy I need to survive my day to day. It keeps me employed, keeps me social. When I’m manic, parties become so easy; I just sit back and she does the talking for me. My creativity flows out of me in a deluge of half-finished stories and beginnings to novels that never end. A sprinkle of uncontrollable brilliance that keeps me painting and writing until the early morning. My boyfriend sleeps while I write, read, paint and repeat. When he wakes, I show him what I’ve created, and he says he’s proud of me.

But one step over the edge and I lose all control. The mask slips and she completely takes over me. I start forgetting. I don’t remember what I did last night, the week before – I start to miss days until days become months I can’t recall no matter how hard I try to piece it together, gaps in my memory I have no control over. My friendships end with that look on their face that I have come to know so well. I can pinpoint the exact second that look takes over – that moment of sudden, dawning realization that even after x amount of time, there is a side of me that up until that moment, they have not seen. One that is unforgivable – as if all of who I was before up until that moment was just pretense. And inside, I’m fuming. An insurmountable amount of rage tripled by my manic heart and a voice screaming inside me – I told you, I told you this is who I am, you JUST didn’t listen.

One time, in group, I asked,”How can we seek new relationships without feeling like we’re scamming them? Do I just say, hey, before we get to know each other, you should know that I’m crazy, insane, neurotic? How much time is an acceptable amount of time where admitting that you’re insane isn’t a social faux pas anymore?  For every person that you meet, if I don’t say I’m insane, does that mean I’m lying?”

The answer they gave me was that we are all trying our best, every single time.

That seems like a lie.

I can’t exactly tell that to the person/friend/lover I pounced on because I couldn’t control my rage, because I hadn’t slept for a month, because I woke up standing in the middle of my job not knowing who I was, or where I had been for the past couple of hours. Seems like, to any other person outside looking in, seems like I’m not trying at all.

I still have not been able to develop the language I need when people tell me the things we did that I can’t remember. People I don’t know come up to me like we’re old friends except I don’t know what name I gave them, or when we met.

At the hospital, I spent most of my time walking other patients down Spadina avenue, especially those who weren’t allowed to walk by themselves, or those who were just afraid. I learn about their lives, listen to the story of how they ended up here with me. One beautiful girl whose sole mission in life was to look like Mariah Carey and spent hours upon hours in front of the computer looking at her pictures, once told me that she had long accepted she would never be married. I asked why.

She looked at me, and as if breaking some terrible news to a child for the first time, said, “I think you’ll find – people like us – we’re never going to have normal relationships. People will either pretend to understand, or won’t even try. Sooner or later, they’ll get tired.” Then, as if it was an afterthought, continued with forced optimism –  “But maybe you’ll get lucky – maybe you’ll find someone normal, and they’ll still get it… you know?”

Accepting your diagnosis is accepting the terror that your mind can betray you, any minute, any second. That every day you are in control is a race against time – build as much as you can now so that you don’t lose everything when it happens. It’s all about timing. And damage control.

But most of the time, it feels like my life is an old, beaten book I am desperately clinging to with furiously clenched fists.

I know the story, it’s so familiar to me, but it’s written in a language I can no longer understand.

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Day to Day Poetry, Flash Fiction, poetry

#3 Lens

I see through a lens that distorts my view;
everything feels magnified and overwhelming at once.

You came into my life relentlessly and hard,
fought for it tooth and nail,
and pushed me into letting you join me in my distorted perception of the world,
and insisted you saw the same things,
and I believed you.

And for a while my isolation was split in half,
and we were lugubrious together.

It made things easier.
Sharing my despair with someone who could tame lions,
who could un-clutch the owl’s talons piercing my heart,
whose voice split the clouds with the ferocity and fearfulness of thunder
against a clear, blue sky.

It’s back to the shadows without you,
kneeling over pieces of a broken floor you tried to repair one afternoon,
to prevent me from literally sinking to the ground —
prescription bottles and doctor’s appointments lined up in front of me in orderly fashion,
calendar days crossed off one by one, hour per hour,
a body of meaningless actions, no adjectives,
just going through the motions
mindlessly –
excruciatingly –

blinded by the lens that had always owned me,
bound to a past I cannot destroy.

 

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