After the 13th time I sat in my carshaking like a thunder cloud

waiting for the storm to pass

I thought maybe this whole

“being around other people” thing

might be just too overrated

when I can’t even move my mouth

to say hello.

I practice my breathing exercises

inhale

exhale

Calming the voices in my head

the ones that shout insults 

before I step into the crowded room

“Everyone hates you”

“Go home”

“Stay in bed”

I know it doesn’t make any sense

I’ve been performing in front of people

for half of my life

but the performance

and the person on stage

are not one and the same

Acting is something

I live

believe me

The tool box I carry with me

is a purse that is filled with various 

tricks

I carry psychology techniques

the way some girls carry lipstick shades

If you want to know how to “relax”

I’ll start telling you alphabetically

Always

Breathe

Completely.

Feel your lungs expand full

Push the air out

Anxiety causes the body

To panic

Oxygen causes your cells to relax

Social Anxiety

started in my childhood

I was “that kid” no one wanted to play with

And I still think I’m not worthy of taking my turn

on the swing.

A typical adult day 

starts in the morning 

it is a drop

drop

drop

in the quiet

the thought that keeps me awake

at night

too distracted

to sleep.

So often

I am trying to avoid

the feeling.

Avoid the physical sensations

that come with a body.

The sounds and the pain

and the movement

the desire to stay

and run.

I write emails to close friends. Explain why I haven’t talked to them in 8 months. 

Explain it had nothing to do with them. 

Explain how much I miss them.

Re-read what I wrote.

17 more times and dissect every possible way they could interpret the message.

Do I sound too:

Bitchydesperatelonelyhelplesspatheticboringpsychotic?

“No one likes you”

“No one will ever like you”

Erase everything.

Start again

Start again

Move to a new town

Change jobs

Dye my hair

Pretend I am someone worth knowing

Write 3 more drafts of that email then decide not to send it

So stupid.

I sit alone on the couch. In the dark. 

Cover all the windows. 

Watch my favorite movies. Laugh. 

Wonder if my laughter even counts if I’m the only one who hears it.

Drink too much wine at the party

Pretending to be someone else

In the fog 

Give out my phone number

Ignore phone calls. Promise myself to call them back. 

I want to call them back. 

Sit in the back of the classroom.

When someone acknowledges me

I try to be polite as possible

Never knowing if I’m entertaining enough

To keep the conversation going.

Go buy food. Use the robot. Try not to make eye contact. Blend in. Be invisible.

I want to be seen

But not rejected

I want to be loved

But never left

I am waiting to abandon

Or be abandoned

I Regret every word that falls from my mouth like a drunken mistake and second guess everything I say

Make stages the place where I can be honest

When I can’t be honest with myself

Always Breathe Cyclically

Inhale exhale

Let the storm pass

It always does

 

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Updates from my blankets

I haven’t posted a new poem this week because I need to realign and reset myself. I’ve been slowly slipping into a depression/anxiety pattern (moving to another state and starting a business is stressful…who knew?) I’m chilling a bit on my self imposed regimens until I feel more like myself again and once I’ve gotten a regular counseling schedule. I will probably post new poems still, but they might be less frequent than once a week for awhile. 
I’m putting my mental health first now and trying to be unapologetic as possible. This is new for me. Thanks for understanding. 

Accountability

(I think a lot about perspective. Lately it seems like everyone has excuses for what they do or say and learning how to hear the ways we wrong others is an ongoing process of discovering our own humanity. The ego wants us to see ourselves as never have done wrong…I know my ego tries hard to forget the ignorance I’ve embodied, but it was there. It’s still there, and I’m still learning how to stand in truth and accountability)
You are the abuser.

You tie knots

Than complain about rope burns.

You fill the room

With one side of the story

Then talk shit

Get applause

And let others fight the wars for you.

I get it.

We all have to look in the mirror 

Sometime. 

We all have to justify

What we kill.

Have to turn away from accusations 

And rise above our storms

Stick to our stories

Hoping no one else reads between 

The lines.

This is how we keep living

Forgetting the things we do.

Replacing the horrors

With a history

Where we were the victors

And not the Devils we

Are.

Consent 

ConsentShould be the spark

Not the stop

Not the smudge

Not the thing that gets in the way 

The shadow in the dark

That whispers

When the bed

Is on fire.

Consent

Should be the mouth that offers its tongue

And says 

“This is the beginning”

The Palm open

Reaching

The shout across the park

The trampoline afternoon

Jump higher

I want to jump

Higher

Do it with moxie

Do it with memory

With all of your hungry teeth

Intact

thaw

I’ve been told

I’m  a cold ass bitch.

Maybe it’s because

I’ve given away all the warm

Blankets

All the firestorms

All the space heaters

And sat 

In the middle of the night

Shivering

Too scared 

To ask for a jacket.

Maybe

The cold reminds me 

That fire is not something we made

But something we discovered. 

I’m still learning

To smolder the hearth

To keep it burning

To keep myself alive

For one more night.