Wednesday, June 24, 2009

3,650 days

almost every day i write a new post for this blog in my head.

i talk about sad things, mostly. the sentences are short. and i try to make them poetic.

the very act of writing-but-not-writing-it-down perfectly illustrates my current state of crisis:

i am stuck between being and doing.

it's excruciating.

i turned twenty-four recently, which means it's been a full ten years of dealing with untreated depression and anxiety.

a decade of silent, fearful things.

many years of living a life that i found [still find] almost physically unbearable to live.

i am holding on to the promise of help-soon even as i cry and cry internally for all of the help-then that i never got.

i keep picturing myself reflecting back on this summer, these past few agonizing weeks. i keep preparing my words for the feeling-better-days. i will marvel with awe at how i survived such a thing. i will sweep all of this pain into piles. i will laugh and shake my head and think, i barely remember all of that, it was so blindingly bad, it's- there's really no words. and then i'll do something. and i'll do another thing. and i will be part of life again. and so thankful.

i'm waiting to say it. still waiting.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

the things a mental illness means are

being stronger than yourself catching
dozens of falls splitting into two people one
who gets it and implores the other to calm down

breathing air when breathing air is hard to do 

when something and something inside your brain or
your mind or your bloodstream, those two somethings,
can't connect can't work it out give up and so you have 
to be the one who doesn't give up it's all up
to you to clench through dishes and showers,
meals, weeks. long, drawn out things. to try hard with your brain and your mind
and your bloodstream to push
through sleep and sheets to swing your feet over the bed in the morning
and tell yourself to shut up to stop that to threaten
to never listen to yourself again whatever it takes
to chew through time, so that you'll be successful,
and congratulated for survival and achievement 
and contribution to society

very few understand

the thing i'm most proud of 
is not those things, but
this fierce decision to nod weakly yes self yes world i am not 
up to the challenge but
goddamnit i'll give it my best shot which will not seem
like a best shot or a best anything but will in fact be
the most beautiful straining hurling throw you'll
ever witness.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bronze bright

The sky breathes lightly in the labor of snow;
an added silence from concentration on the task-
lit with the circling energy of an unknowable 
number of flakes, now falling under the street lamp 
outside my window. Now the spitting gold 
of welding sparks.

Friday, February 27, 2009

parents are just two of the things that make us

So I have rolled my tongue up snug
beneath my teeth. Like crepes. Like campers
curled in sleeping bags, children getting grass stains
down a hill.  Pattern of this cork that has just fallen
from the counter, wobbling, half stained with wine--
Uneven escape.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

the first thing i see when i open my eyes

my plant, undeterred by being dead, is bent and brittle 
reaching with its broken guitar string branches
to rest a caring touch on the typewriter,
who suffers from dust and rusted keys, and has
been lately needing frequent reassurance 
that everything will be ok.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

inserting oneself into history

The Inauguration was cold. 

There was a slight echo after each phrase was unfurled across the mall. I stared at everyone's winterjacketed backs, and brushed the flakes of dirt off of my mittens. When I was there, in my hurting clenched body and skin-below-the-nose-stinging face, I kept thinking about the moment of another future day, a warm curled body and a soft, slightly smiling face. In connecting myself to this absolutely guaranteed future moment, I collapsed time like a cardboard box: flattened, something to travel back and forth across. I listened to our President's voice and focused on it while trampling between present and future selves. I knew that this now-self would have her moment of glory, days later, when fatigued muscles had gained back strength, when mittens were not involved. I knew I would think of that self and enjoy it, try to learn something. I knew I would picture a bird's-eye view of the crowd we were in - the crowd we are in - at this exact second, voices making statements all around us. Heavy, gloved clapping, solemn and slow for our President, letting his words pelt down to the small spaces of ground in between us, take root.

Monday, December 29, 2008

and all of their heads engulfed in circles of gold

Dear Baby Jesus,

I remember when we were both children. My thumb fit nicely in the space between your ceramic fingers reaching and your ceramic legs kicking. You were the same shape every year when we lifted you from the crackling tissue paper. Unchanging and immovable God. 

Now I am an adult, taking these things in slowly. Poinsettias towering over the altar, and the paper doors of advent calendars - some days never able to fit neatly back in, hinges over-creased from years of expectant opening, the slow turning of surprise into reminder, The Christmas Story now mostly a collection of words that I know by heart forced together only at this time of year: hark, manger, census.

Yesterday I watched a small boy - one of those little boys with the skinny arms and the fly-away hair - he picked up his dad's coffee cup as soon as he was left alone at the table for a moment at Starbucks. With two hands, he lifted the cup to his eye, trying to see inside through the sipping hole. Debating whether or not to have a rebellious gulp.

Treasure. Ponder. The unique taste of cookies overexposed to other cookies under a tent of saran wrap on creased paper plates. Remember to tip the unlit candle into the lit candle. Peace, be still. Good news. Old news. Christ was born for this. My fingers reach and my feet kick when I wake from bad dreams, return from places worse than the world already is. May Christmas cut through the darkness, said the words printed in the liturgy. I picture a slicing joy, creating ragged edges. I picture you, still and ceramic. I watch. I wait.