There is a tight fist forming in my chest. I wish to retreat to my shell. Curl up and disappear. Thoughts pound their way through my head. I wish to rip them out, but all I can get within my clutch is my hair. Something impermanent that can be shed. I wish memories were the same. But we must deal. We must.. heal. I don’t know where to start. I don’t want self pity. All you have to do is start..right? Fuck. I have to try. Because, I’ve tasted the sweetness of life. Felt prana fill up my lungs and a breath slip from my lips along with all my worries. Trust. That is all I need to do. I will always return to who I truly am. There is no finding myself. I already am. Deep within me there is a knowing.
happiness was this butterfly
i would never dare to catch
because it was scary to imagine someone as anxious as me
to hold something so delicate and free
ungrateful, unhappy – g.c.
my mom left
for a while.
she needed to know who she was.
even i was uncertain of who she was.
this woman i watched all my life,
she could do no wrong,
but as i grew older,
i began to see every flaw.
even those at times,
seem to be perfect.
i love her,
but sometimes i worry that she does not know.
we needed some distance.
and although i will always want my mother,
and though she did help me grow,
i do not need my mother.
i did not know before she left what i could do on my own.
i did not know that seeking happiness for others is more fulfilling than seeking it all for yourself.
she put me first,
and i put myself first,
not in a self loving way,
but an egocentric unfulfilling way.
after my mother left,
i learned about my family,
started to really see them.
i was no longer the shy girl that hid behind my mother’s leg.
i could finally see what her protective defense was hiding me from.
i fell in love with disaster,
because i knew there was something better to come.
something better would come,
and it would come from me.
i finally saw the gifts i bare.
i was taught the lesson that pain was always trying to give.
she was away but never too far.
i still could have run to her.
let her comfort and protect me from disaster,
but now i know how to deal with pain.
my mom can not make everything go away.
i love her for her comfort,
but sometimes outside of comfort there is havoc,
and just beyond havoc,
i found the greatest place,
that is freedom and peace.
comfort gave me no clarity,
although i am sure that’s what she had always hoped for.
she always tried and did help heal me,
only i can fix myself.
i am glad i learned this.
i am grateful for all the times my mother would stay and just lie with me,
for all the times i knew safety,
but i am also grateful that she left,
so i could fall without being caught in her net.
i have finally realized that there is no end,
that i will always fall
on my own,
i’ll have more room to learn to fly.
thank you, mom.
– g. c.
The worst period of my life began right around the time I was getting ready to go into high school, so when I was in 8th grade. And, it continued up until the end of my sophomore year.
When you get into 8th grade, this is the time you start to worry about your future. This is the part of life where shit gets real. Let’s say I did not handle that too well. I began to overthink and form negative thinking patterns (I got anxiety, and I got it bad). My mom always called me a worry wart, but I think the amount of anxiety I was getting in 8th grade even made her worry. I began to think that I had reached my peak and that it was all downhill from there. Well, my life did start to go downhill, hence the picture of the rollercoaster. Yeah, I was at that point in my life at the age of fourteen. Good news is, and I didn’t realize this at the time, that after you reach the bottom you go back up to the top, and then you might come down again, but that is just the way life goes, for a while. Eventually though, you will be able to get off the rollercoaster and become grounded. The ride ends, once you realize you are in control. Well, you will still have those highs and lows. They give life balance. Maybe not everything in your life will be in your control, but at least you’ll have control of your mind and be rid of the constant cycle of self sabotaging thoughts and depression.
There is nothing wrong with the choices my parents made, but looking at their lives scared the shit out of me. There was no way I would ever be satisfied continuing on the stressful path of going to school, getting a degree, choosing a career, sticking with it, finding a husband, and raising children to live the same kind of life. I wasn’t certain of what I wanted and felt I lacked purpose. I did not just want to fit in. A part of me knew life had more meaning. Life could be more than this. It should be more. This cycle of living simply and secure had to end. Good thing I had an older brother who deviated from literally everything that was considered normal.When I was only fourteen, his refusal to conform was truly shocking to me. I looked down on him for it, honestly. But, he was two years older. I didn’t understand, yet.
I was trying to figure out who I was, which is hard, when everything you do is to fit in and gain popularity. I had no idea of what I wanted to become. I feared what would happen if I didn’t get into a good college.I feared mediocrity. I hated the idea of going to college to be more stressed and getting a 9 to 5 job to be even more stressed.
At this time, I also had family issues that I avoided. One of the most important bonds I have now is with my brother, but at this time he was my enemy. There was a lot of chaos and basically, I couldn’t handle it. So I drowned it all out and “went to sleep” or “shut off”, whatever you want to call it. I was depressed. “Sick” was the term I liked to use. I never felt good enough to go to school. Either my head or my stomach was always bothering me. My family liked to say that I was sick as well, but I don’t think any of them truly believed it. But, it’s better than admitting someone is lost and empty, and you don’t know how to fix them. The only person that could fix me was me, and I did, kind of. There will always be room for improvement, but I love the idea that I am constantly growing, changing, learning. There is always some way I can live my life better today, than the way I lived it yesterday.
I still have my days. I occasionally fall into negative thinking patterns, but instead of resisting this aspect of myself, I accept it. I am human. I feel. One thing I learned coming out from that period of my life was that it is important to let yourself feel. Feelings are there for a reason. They tell you about who you are, what you need, and what you desire. They give life purpose. Our emotions are an important source of inspiration. They connect us to our creativity and connect us to one another. We should be encouraged to express our emotions freely, not suppress them to the point where we don’t feel, we don’t desire, and there is no emotion to ignite a passion for life.
i must learn to love you,
for i do not know how
you take away the day,
make my bones shiver,
then constrict my body in so many layers of clothing,
that i lack the freedom of movement
you keep me hidden inside,
you steal the ability for my feet to dance across the bare primitive earth,
for two old souls to say hello
i must say,
on the rare occasion that i do say hello to you,
i am in awe of your beauty and wish to meet again
when i was a child,
we used to meet so often in the layers of the pristine white blanket that you lay,
you’d nourish my soul,
when you’d land on my begging tongue,
watching pearly flakes melt from their crystal shapes
i hide from the colorless confetti,
because i have lost my taste,
and only crave warmth
wishy washy – g.c.
He pours a store bought frozen meal out of its tray, onto a clean plate. The plate isn’t necessary. It is there to remind him of a home cooked meal, to remind him of a time when someone thought of him enough to make him one, and he did not bare all the burdens. There was a time, when life was a little more than a microwaved meal. It was more than a moment’s rest on a worn couch, awaiting responsibility to call his name. There was a time, when he got kisses and laughter in return for his labor, when he got to delve into his imagination and pretend to be the wondrous tickle monster. The giggles his love stole are now stored away as distant memories. All that is remaining is the memory of a happier life, these memories, buried under the consumption of practicality, responsibility, and hopelessness. He was dragged into a cycle that seemingly begins from nowhere and awaits a seemingly unknowable uncontrollable end.
I, with wondering eyes, watch this creature of habit. My brain is entwined with maybes and whys, and I sense the end is the goal for far too many men.
Teacher: “Grace. Grace? What did I just say?”
Me to myself: Shit, I did it again.
Most teachers would ask me this on a regular basis in school. This was their favorite way to embarrass the shy little girl that was always in her imagination. Okay, maybe, it wasn’t their aim to embarrass me (but I am pretty sure some of my teachers got a kick out of it), but it really did embarrass me. I never had an answer, because I of course was not paying attention. You see, when a teacher calls you out in class, the whole damn class just likes to turn around and shoot a quick look at whoever’s name the teacher called. When I was younger, having a bunch of my classmates stare at me was the equivalent to the ending of the world, at least my world. My face would turn hot, my stomach would drop, and there would be a deep sinking feeling in my chest.
My inability to pay attention in school, did not hold me back in anyway, although many adults thought it would. I still learned. I liked to read. I could pay attention, at times, but for the most part, I was good at figuring things out on my own. I mean sometimes, I would have an anxiety attack over schoolwork, and make a big pointless fuss just to find out, that I was capable of doing the work. I wasted a ton of time getting anxious about schoolwork. I always got it done, so I don’t know what I was necessarily worried about. I think, I was really just in resistance to most of the work. I would find myself questioning it. I felt I did not need most of the information being given to me. The homework assignments and projects, were silly and useless. I just saw little point in most of what was done in school, and felt my time was being wasted. This led me to live a very unhappy life, because I was in resistance to everything I was doing.
I felt my time was being wasted in school, but I would be told I was wasting time, when I was tumbling (I was a cheerleader), or just jumping and dancing around. Basically, anything fun, could not take up too much of my time. School always needed to come first, not personal fulfillment and happiness. I was told I was wasting time dreaming. I needed to be realistic. All these things people would tell me about the “real world” and how I needed to focus on reality, pushed me to the point where I decided I would rather die than to live the life they told me I was supposed to live. I had no other options. I was not told by anyone that my dreams were an option, that my imagination was important, that this could be utilized. I was not told to pursue happiness. I was told to pursue safety. I was told to pursue stability.
I must give my mother credit. When I was younger, she of course told me I could be anything and only wanted my happiness. She was by my side, always there to calm me down, when I had anxiety. She herself lived a life of conforming, and as I got older I realized, that she never felt satisfied with the life she was living. She understood me completely and it was clear, that she only wanted her children to be happy. This should be everybody’s goal, to make themselves and others happy, and not to compete with everybody over silly things such as social status.
The point I am trying to make is ,that kids should not be told they are limited, because they have ADD or ADHD, nor should they believe they can not utilize their imagination. A child’s inability to pay attention for a long period of time or do things perfect and accordingly to how they are told does not limit their potential. A child could have the potential to be an absolute genius, become a talented painter, make new scientific discoveries, invent something, do or be anything they want, but they will not, if they do not believe in themselves. Telling a child that there is something wrong with their curiosity, imagination, and the way they do things in general, will cause them to doubt themselves and they will never see their true potential. Albert Einstein had ADHD. It did not limit him. It does not have to limit anyone else. It can be utilized and this should be recognized by more people.
awake mind and aching bones
empty stomach groans
memories fall on me like heavy stones
picking skin off my lips until they bleed
as words dance across my mind so fast i can hardly read
just to feel the frustration of tired so deep
just to feel at all
in the numbing coldness that ends fall
depressed winter rest – g.c
the essence of all my fears
not even the past can amount to the future
not even the countless tears in my tattered heart
i fear what the past will bring to the future
to dissolve the illusory
to make art
that can calm an old yet restless heart
but the difficulty sometimes
i fight in my mind
feels so real
feel it breathing on your achilles heel
you feel it twisting in your stomach
so heavy it makes the rest of you feel light
your mind reeks of it
the future doesn’t give you something to hold onto
refuses your desire for strength
whispers to you that you have reached your peak
now you are on your way down
the hand that shoves you down the mountain of all your hopes and dreams
pushing you away from the present moment
away from progress
won’t allow you time to work on yourself
completely and ironically obsessed with the future
thinking of the possibility that those dreams are all that they seem
a simple silly dream
the future wears you down to the bone
steals you with its slumber
not allowing you to see that it is but a dream
those seemingly catastrophic possibilities only occur in your restless mind
your aspirations could be thriving and becoming in the present
but the future has a grip that seemingly won’t slip
but i grabbed onto it
fed it power
maybe it’d be easier
to ease its grip
if i stopped holding onto it
after all i reached for the future
held its hand
nurtured that demon
the nightmare that is the future
the darkness shading the light that is the present
so i guess instead
when the present gets too heated
i will find my comfort and shade under the presence of a tree
not in my mind
or by allowing a dark illusory future to block out the beautiful truth that is the present
the future – g.c.