Poem(ish): Volatile

 I walk out of my favorite coffee shop and before my eyes walks this beautiful woman–swollen at the belly. I look to the man beside her, and your face rips through the barriers of my mind, emptying out the memories I’d purposefully hid away. And suddenly, the pain and heartbreak of letting you go comes back like cancer. 

 Toxicity is a powerful drug, and your hits made me higher than the atmosphere afforded. You left me a whirlwind of hopes and expectations,  unreasonable. Even now, with your careless and callous care of my heart, I can only pass the blame so far. 

 It’s foolish and selfish to believe you’d change and to believed you’d leave them for me when time after time again, your actions spoke Truth. But stupid little girls tell themselves it’s acceptable to be misused. Like a paddle board, you came and went, beating my heart with every reappearance. Blissfully unaware of my own delusions, I’d rock myself to sleep with the lullabies of, “This is fine. He loves me. He just shows it differently.”

 After all these years, I didn’t think it was possible to still mourn what we had and lost. But I mourn the pieces of me you took away. I mourn the little girl who loved you and the little girl who gave up everything waiting for your love, requited. 

 Only to receive it when you were gone and out of reach. Only to receive it when I moved on and you had a family of your own to love. I waited a lifetime for something so disappointing. “I love you. I always have.”

Liar. 

 You haunted my dreams and every love after yours, waiting for the chaos to fall and the gun to fire. The shape of my heart redefined, full but different–like a size-nine shoe print left from years of you walking all over me.

 It repaired after what I’d later refer to as “us.” But there was no such thing as Us. You were a figment of my desperation, and to you I was the fuel to your wounded soul. And somewhere we lost our humanity in the hopes that we might matter. After we parted, I found mine again. Where’s yours?

 You held my heart at gun point, but I your willing victim. Loving you mere feet away from certain peril, ready to destroy. I trusted you. I kissed that gun and made love to its sweet metal, until the day it fired and engulfed every part of who I was. Its powder still covers my should-be corpse like a blanket I pretend is Comfort. 

 I remember where I stood when I learned you finally planned your future, that you finally got brave and decided what you wanted—Under the presence of God in the church I grew up, in the church I believed I’d be married, and the marriage I believed between you and I.

 I looked over at you from what felt like a lifetime away, but really only separated by green velvet pews and church-goers. Your hand in hers and a ring on her finger. 

 Your mother whispered, “he finally proposed.” I nodded and mumble my congratulations—her only son, finally evolving into the man he long foretold but once refused to become–of course she beamed with pride. Of course she’d excitedly tell the family friend–the girl her son grew up with. She didn’t know, but how could she? She had no idea what she had done.

 I walked away and up to the front of the church and took my place in the choir. In shame, I whispered praises I didn’t deserve to utter. I inhaled at the right moments and I mouthed the right words. 

 But my eyes stung and my heart felt like stone, useless and heavy in my chest. I found you in the crowd and saw her sitting next to you. She glowed, but she didn’t know. How could she? She had no idea what you had done. 

 My mind flashed back to the month before–a warm November night–in my living room with the glow of Avatar on the TV and the soundtrack of my heavy breaths. I kissed your neck and you kissed my mouth. You proclaimed you needed me–couldn’t live without my deepest touch.

 And in December, standing on that stage in front of those worshippers, I knew I didn’t belong. Because where a love of God should have been, your soul filled mine instead. I had no idea, how could I? I had no idea what I had done. 

 Months later, I received the invitation to your wedding with bile in my throat that burned as it spewed from my mouth. My family went to bless your love, but I stayed behind. I couldn’t watch you lie. I couldn’t watch you vow promises I knew you couldn’t keep. Your blissful bride, she had no idea. How could she? She had no idea what we had done. 

 These are the memories that drown me as I watched you stand beside your wife, expecting another child, walking the downtown streets together. So I avert my eyes and rush to my car. Away from the coffee shop and away from the woman I once thought would be me.

  We were the secret you’d take to your grave, but I can’t live with your ghost anymore. It’s been years now since, and here I am writing you another poem. 

Poem: What Has Become of Home—Or Somewhere Only We Can Go

Your Thunderbird shakes us this way and that, but up we go over the dirt and grass that stains your car over faded paint. Your tires straddle paths where water corrodes the hills, cutting it in half as though the earth might open and swallow them whole.

Past the single-story house with a construction truck frozen in the backyard, ready to build dreams and fulfill promises. The peach walls and the clay roof and the wooden front door are enough to make your heart race and your mind whirl, and suddenly the dreams of those homeowners become yours.

Past the house and down the hill into a valley of garbage—home to an old mattress, sofa chair, beer bottles. Home to a dumping ground for some prick who thinks the world is only his oyster.

Past the graveyard and up, up, up through a labyrinth of hills and roads oft’ traveled. Up, up, up your little bird crawls. Each bald tire spins, screeching rubber digs, pushing toward the top.

Past the fields of dead grass up to our knees, searching for someplace to lay our weary heads when finally, the car stops, jilting me forward. Cut the engine. I step into the dry, cold February air, breathing for the first time, with you—blankets in tow. The dying grass becomes our mattress and old comforters our fortress.

The midnight sky transforms—a ceiling. The constellations become our dearest friends when Columba coos our names, and Auriga watches wary as we tell each other secrets never heard before. Gemini watches two souls become one when love became our deliverer.

We shiver in the cold, clinging close and hiding in the shelter of our covers, where you held the fragmented parts of me together, so I, in turn, could behold your weighty depths and awe at the parts of you once hidden out of sight. I swam your murky waters, and it sewed the many pieces of me together.

That dirt became our foundation and those mountains our shields. The cities below, our entertainment, and we the hosts of the parties in heaven.

Of course, we fell in love there.

Of course, we made it Home.

No matter how far apart we drift, Home beckons me back to it, for my heart has become those hills and those mountains and that golden earth and the cold air and the shimmering friends, and the man who made that valley magic.

Poem: My Life

My life is an unmade bed, empty and still warm.
Sitting on the floor, waiting for the soft footsteps on brown 70’s carpet,
Hoping he’d come back to me.

My life is the silence, save the VHS player, clicking clicking clicking, in the other room.
“Be Kind Rewind” says the tape.
But there’s no reverse button for my story.

My life is somewhere at the top of my closet next to the varsity letter for a sport I made up
and academic letters for grades I realized were irrelevant,
but still I cling to them like old lovers and friends.

My life is a hallway, lit in fluorescent decay with endless doors,
And a burnt out lightbulb at the end, never replaced,
And stains from a bad glass of wine.

My life is a table that sits alone in the corner of the room with
a half eaten sandwich, a backpack, and two chairs.
The second blue, plastic chair is empty.

My life is a razor blade taped to the inside of a bathroom cabinet drawer,
barely out of sight, but quickly accessed, and hours talking to a stranger,
paid to fix all my problems, and paid to care.

My life is a carryon suitcase with clothes I would later throw away,
And souvenirs I would give away, and the sanity I left somewhere in
Bangladesh, or maybe Malawi, or Peru. Maybe all three.

My life is the empty shot glass that would make the taste of tequila
churn in my stomach, and the back of a yellow mustang and
lying about an emergency that wasn’t real, so I could get away.

My life is a long list of people who walked away and an even longer
list of “what if’s” and “should haves”
and what could I have done to change their minds?

My life is a love affair with a porcelain toilet bowl and the fresh taste of stomach acid
And lucky charms and pants that are too small
then too big and then too small again.

My life is being “too much” and too depressed, too touchy,
too happy, too sad, too needy, too emotional and too hard to love.
And deciding that I am too fucking tired to care what anyone else believes.

My life is a blank page, untouched, un-smudged,
and a white so bright it illuminates the room, and a pen,
poised at the ready, about to write the most fantastic story.

The Creature

A lot of people don’t understand Depression. Maybe they’ve felt it before but mistook it for Sadness, or maybe they thought they were depressed but really just sad.

Here, I want to offer my own definition. I guess that’s kind of what I want this blog to be about. For those who understand, I’m here to be your sounding board. If you don’t understand but you know or love someone who suffers, let me offer a new perspective. (I’m not a doctor, so I’m only speaking for myself)

When you’re depressed, it’s hard not to always feel like the poison in the water hole. It’s hard to ignore that ever present voice in your head that says, “You did it again: you ruined everything.” The Voice even ruins the good things people do or say, by reminding you how terrible you are and how undeserving.

I’d say that’s the difference between Depression and Sadness: Sadness grips you and brings you to your knees, but once you relish in all that makes you feel, Sadness lets go. On the other hand, Depression is the lover that grips you tight and waltzes you away into a flurry of unwanted thoughts and uncontrollable feelings. It’s like a bird squawking in your ear every few minutes. It’s this presence that clutches your soul and makes everything feel difficult. Everything sounds exhausting when you’re depressed and everything is work, even the things you love and sometimes even the people. Depression is like this monster that kind of just eats you from the inside out until you become the monster and don’t even recognize yourself.

When I say uncontrollable feelings, I mean completely unwarranted and unwanted waves of anger, bitterness, jealousy, hatred, fear, worry, and sadness. Everything that happens in the day elicits these responses that leave me feeling helpless, like a prisoner to my own mind and emotions. And then there are the waves of numbness. Those are the worst because the apathy and lack of feeling comes from nowhere. Sometimes, I feel this apathy towards things or people that I once felt so deeply for and about. I think it’s from this fear of all the work and energy it takes to feel and be passionate about anything, so even my deepest passions turn to dust in the face of Depression.

It’s also guilt. A lot of guilt and a lot shame—a never ending cycle that usually ends with me paralyzed in my bed, afraid to move or speak because it might lead to something else I’ll regret or hurting someone else I love.

There are two schools of thought when it comes to Depression:

ONE. Selfishness is the cause of Depression. It’s a constant looking in that causes people to become this hopeless blob. While I warrant this has merit, it sure as hell doesn’t suggest a cure either. It’s hard to be selfless when you can’t even get out of bed. Sometimes, this sentiment just leads to more guilt.

TWO. You’ve got to be selfish. If you’re constantly “pouring from an empty cup,” you’ll never get better. Be selfish, so you can be selfless later.

I think both are right to a certain extent, but in moderation and balance. The hardest part is learning the healthy balance between self-love and doing things to help you get better, and actually falling deeper into the all-consuming world view of poor me. 

I’m not really sure what causes Depression. I wish there was a clear answer: like make sure to eat your vegetables and don’t drink blue Kool-Aid and have lots of friends and good family, then you won’t catch Depression. God, I wish it were that easy. All I know is that when I was twelve, I woke up one day with this weight over me, like wearing a heavy cloak I couldn’t take off. I remember that first bout so clearly. In a jewelry box in the closet of my apartment, there are twelve letters written to God. It was 2004. How guilty I felt then, and now. As a little girl, I shouldn’t have had a reason to be depressed, not really. I had a family that loved me and food and shelter and clothes (though no sense of style sadly). I didn’t know why I was so tired. I didn’t know why I was so sad. I didn’t know why dying sounded so sweet. I didn’t understand. I was only a kid.

There are things I didn’t know then and still don’t know why now. Why Depression chose me, I’ll never know. If you’ve suffered through Depression for any length of time, you’ll sympathize.

I am often told: “It gets better.” It’s such a sweet thought. If you’re anything like me though, this sentiment will frustrate the hell out of you (as most supposedly reassuring clichés are prone to do. I’ll write a lot about how much I hate these types of sayings). Try feeling the same way for ten or more years. That little flicker of hope snuffs out quickly, and when the light at the end of the tunnel goes black, being told to hope for the sake of hoping doesn’t seem good enough anymore.

I’m not trying to offer excuses for my behavior; I know there are parts I am responsible for. I just want to help people understand where I’m coming from, and the why to the questions I still cannot answer. I know that I am difficult, and not from a self-pitying stand point but from self-awareness. I want so badly to love the people in my life the way they deserve. I want to be there for them. I want to laugh and have fun and be present wherever I am. I dearly love the people in my life, but I will be the first to admit that I cannot always communicate and show my love for them. I require a lot of patience and comfort. For now, I think that’s okay. But my hope this year is that the tides will change.

This year I want to be better. I want to love others in return better. I want to live better. I want to work better. I want better.

In the meantime, this is how I keep myself going, how I keep fighting for the life I want to have. On the bad days, I remind myself:

This feeling will pass.

I can do this because I am brave. I am brilliant. I am beautiful.

I will get better, because “it” might not. But I can, and that’s all I want anyway.

 

Joy and happiness friends,
With love,

Kariana

 

 

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2016: Leaving Neverland

After an unfortunate tea spill, my computer has been out of commission for the last month, so I apologize for the absence of writing. I assure you: it was terrible (as a writer, not having a computer for a month equates with being on an all juice diet for a month. I survived, but I wasn’t satisfied or happy about it). However, thanks to a superb and brilliant boyfriend, my computer is up and running again.

I’m aware that New Year’s Resolutions might be overrated and possibly unhelpful, but I love them, these ideas and little promises of “fresh starts.” I use every month as a fresh start as well, which keeps me on my toes. I haven’t actually put too much thought into it this year, mostly because I want my resolutions to be different than they have in past years (thanks in part to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin).

By different, I mean I want them to stick.

My theme last year was mourning (not that I intentionally chose that at the beginning of the year. It just sort of developed). This year, I have a few themes in mind. Over all, though, I want to grow up–or at least accept that I’m no longer a child.

I want to pursue happiness and creativity. I want to be engaged in community and school. I want to try new things that are also terrifying to me. This year, I’m avoiding any resolutions related to weight loss because I’ve come to the realization that I’m tired of talking about the things that make me unhappy.

This year is going to be full of actions or acceptance, meaning I will either do something about the things in my life that I dislike or I will accept what is and be done with it. More than anything, this year will be about self-love and hope.

Happy New Year! Good luck with your resolutions. Let me know yours, and tell me your tricks for keeping them!

Joy and happiness friends,
With love,

Kariana