Lines

Communication lines cut

Like my teenage forearms, in an attempt to let the pain out

Communication lines cut, if they were ever up and running to begin with

The first lesson you taught me was to communicate inauthentically

Communication lines cut

Through the deafening silence I imagine

The antagonizing and agonizing thoughts, words, and actions you are firing at me

In our power play, who will yield first

You make a mess and wait for me to clean it up

Furious that I’ve failed, yet again, to read your mind

I’m done living pathetically

I used to think that my life depended on keeping you content

Now I realize that you need me more than I need you

I don’t want to enable the toxicity of our relationship anymore

Given that our relationship was only me acting to please you, it isn’t much to lose

I don’t know if I will ever drop a line to tell you

May you experience deep healing on your journey

Coping

If I ever have children (if my body can forgive me for a lifetime of multifaceted abuse), I hope to give them a more robust and diverse repertoire of coping skills than the ones my parents left me

Instead of beginning and ending with cheap alcoholism and angst, I hope that my children draw from a complete rainbow of abilities

Mindfulness and movement; may they know the sweet depths of meditation, may they return to the present moment through gentle awareness again and again, and may they bathe in the ecstasy of a daily movement practice such as yoga, qi gong, tai chi, or wild freestyle dance, may they know that peace is always a breath away.

Contact with nature: may they be blessed with the sight of many sunrises and sunsets, may the sky fill their eyes and their lungs; may they have nature in their hearts and in their homes and may they submerge themselves in forests for sanctuary.

Interconnectedness: may my children know that they are loved unconditionally; may they connect with loved ones regularly, may they feel safe and supported in this world. May they draw on ancient wisdom and allow space for new realizations. May they feel both one in a million and a million in one.

Humility: may my children not overburden themselves with pressure; with realistic expectations may they wander more easily through life, may they balance unhelpful thoughts with helpful thoughts, may they rise up for an eagle’s eye view from time to time, especially during trying times.

We are all children at our core. May we know all of these blessings and more.

Win

In the game of life you may find yourself amidst a family feud

Odds stacked against you, destined to lose

The age-old fairy tale from hell of the narcissist and the empath, which one are you

My eyes have grown weary from struggling to see clearly through all this gaslighting

If you show any emotion in response to their explosive commotion

That is how they win

You’ve miraculously kept your boat afloat despite the perfect storm of their rage

The shore is just beyond your view, keep faith and raise your anchor

Starve them of fuel with your lack of reaction, let them sputter to a lonely stop without you

Adult babies cry, assuming you’ll run to their side as you usually do, but will you?

What if you stepped to the side, got off the ride, wasn’t it sickening for you?

What if you put yourself first, tended to your own hurts instead of those around you

Stop playing their game- you had nothing to gain, they drained your sanity and occupied your brain

Energy-vampire mind-game spinners, tangled you in their mess and devoured you for dinner

You care so deeply for their feelings, but they don’t care about yours

Stop playing their game

That is the only way you can finally win

Friend

Sometimes I create to destroy

To show my exes how well I do without them

Not that they see, and not that I want them keeping tabs on me

More often, I create to give

To share with others what I’ve learned from living

New Year’s was a holiday I repeatedly did wrong

Galavanting around town wearing the wrong clothes

Cheap sparkly heels and ripped panty hose

Spent the night with the wrong guys

Couldn’t feel small dicks between my thighs

Drank liquor that was too strong

Stayed out far too long

The morning after felt sober and nauseous

How can I be such a worrywort yet not at all cautious 

Tried to commune with nature in the backyard

The deer snorted at me and stomped their hooves hard

I took a bath and wished it could wash away what can’t be seen

Sexually transmitted disease, loneliness and low self-esteem

Some years I did some things right 

Ate a nourishing meal and went to bed at a reasonable hour last night

Though I am working today instead of napping and brunching like I’m high class

That’s ok- there are worse ways to spend New Years Day. 

I find peace in knowing that I won’t make the same mistakes again, after having made the same mistakes again and again.

Today is an opportunity to treat myself like a friend

The new year stretches before me like an unfurled roll of fresh toilet paper

May I commit every moment to the simple life, instead of my usual wild caper 

Dr. Doormat

In my few years as a resident physician, I’ve denied myself sleep and food for my patients, neglected myself and my loved ones.

I aborted my pregnancies to be fully present for my patients and not hampered by fatigue beyond words, nausea with endless vomiting, or dangerous depression interfering with my daily 12 to 24 hour shifts. I ended my pregnancies to not miss work for prenatal appointments, labor, or delivering my baby to someone who had time to take care of them.

Many patients repaid me with a ‘thank you’, however some repaid me with lies and manipulation, threatening suicide if I didn’t prescribe them controlled substances for inappropriate reasons like ‘it’s the holidays’ or ‘I only ask this one favor’.

My patients have shaken fists at me, shouted and sworn at me, told me it would be my fault if their electricity went out because they didn’t pay the bill and it was my job to write a letter of medical necessity and fax it to the electric company ASAP, despite no explanation for the delinquent bill other than their slovenliness. They addressed me by my first name only, insulted me directly and indirectly. I write in the past tense in hopes that this will end, but it is ongoing.

I received a malpractice lawsuit from a patient I never met but on whose chart I placed an essential order while my colleague delivered news of intrauterine demise at bedside, as I hoped to be helpful during a time of need.

I’ve heard it said that no good deed goes unpunished.

Some patients feigned crises or falls in protest of not getting exactly what they wanted when they wanted it, regardless of what their physician knew was in their best interest; knowledge garnered through long years of hard knock training.

Despite all the sacrifice and ongoing mistreatment, I care for my patients deeply. We are a sort of surrogate family for each other, and as dysfunctional and volatile as my nuclear family. My patients are the people I call when I should be having lunch or dinner, when I might otherwise have had an opportunity to contact friends or family, when I could have nursed my baby if I had had the courage to prioritize my pregnancy over the expectations of my patients, colleagues and bosses.

I’m a good team player to everyone but myself.

I have learned to realize when my emotions are mucking up my mental waters, learned to work around the ways that patients interfere with their own care by not showing up for appointments, not answering their phone, and talking so much blaming their doctors for their poor health that they are incapable of hearing information that may allow them to heal.

I’ve heart it said that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

Some days I consider trying to set a gentle boundary when my patient shouts ‘WHAT THE FUCK!?’ at me repeatedly and takes personal jabs at me, as they recreate the dynamic of my childhood where I learned to stay calm and quiet amidst the storm because my life depended on it. My stunted ego whimpers under their blows.

My body still believes that my safety depends on a lack of reactivity.

How hard to unlearn my sole understanding of how I can survive in the world. How difficult to rebuild the foundation on which I stand.

I’m still too scared to act in any way but a doormat.

I focus my energy not on teaching these adult children how to be respectful, but on being their physician. I share my diagnosis, give an explanation of their ailment with pathophysiology, and form a plan for their healing.

I too am healing, though it is not yet outwardly visible.

I am both strong and weak. Strong in my ability to tolerate other people’s bullshit. Weak in my ability to speak up for myself. I am afraid to make matters worse, to fan the fire and get burned with even more shouting, swearing, insults and potential violence.

In vain, I try to avoid getting chewed out, which despite my best efforts still occurs too frequently. I long to somehow eliminate toxic people from my life.

They trample on me, leave their muddy stains across my face, but I stay in place.

I have endured worse.

I hope it is true, about blessed are the meek. It is thankless sharing the Earth with ingrates.

Green Room

In the green room of life

We all sit down, take off our masks and laugh

We congratulate each other on another a good show

Seated on the other side of the curtain where duality dissipates

We debrief, recount, replay, tallying up the sacred lessons learned at the end of the day

In the green room, the oppressor and the oppressed embrace

Realizing that we are one, smiling at the absurdity that we ever thought otherwise

Recounting blows, former harsh words melt into knowing smiles 

Disbelieving that we ever forgot that life is a dream, a game with infinite lives, a simulator in which to act out our drama

In the green room, there is nothing to fight about

Life’s perfection is seen clearly and we remember that we are whole, that there is nothing wrong with us, that we are playing

And we play again, vowing that we will remember our true selves this time around

Swallowing Fire

My unspoken sadness and madness

Burn like hot coal in my throat
My sore neck holds the tension of another night’s nightmares
Running from persecutors with unknown motives
Even in my waking life, I don’t know why some people get so mad at me
How tempting to cut them off like a gangrenous limb
I hesitate when my persecutors are my family
Stubborn old fashioned tradition of gritty endurance
Ancient dynamics, drama on loop
My sister, abusive and oppressive
My parents either didn’t notice or didn’t care
I used to want to be saved, wanted my parents to protect me, to show my sister that I mattered. That will never happen because it hasn’t happened yet
My rescuing is entirely my responsibility
We are grown as hell
I notice and care about the years of mistreatment and terror
I will protect myself
Though I’m not sure how
Though my throat is scalded with all the fire I’ve swallowed
Fire I’m getting ready spit when I tell you what you are

Strong

Let’s start where we are

At the end of my rope again
Wanting to kill my body to liberate my spirit
Free myself from the grips of your jealousy
Your hands can’t grasp the air, can’t contain that which is intangible
Only the heart can do that
I want to throw a wrench and stop the drama-go-round with a screeching halt
Would it shake you awake from the illusion of reality?
Would it finally lift your veil?
I have felt hunted by you my whole life
How refreshing to be the one to hold the knife
I want to get out of my own way
I balance a negative thought with a positive one
Remind myself that I create my life each moment through perception, attention, intention
Even now, you are another a poppy in the field, trying to keep me knocked out instead of awake, empowered, enlightened
Wrapped up in visions of destruction, I remind myself that I have a choice every moment
I turn my mind’s eye to that which uplifts me, and give a wink
How much more energy would I have for that which I love if I let go of that which I loathe?
I don’t have to prove that I am strong anymore
I don’t have to take your shit anymore
You are the one who needs strength
At my best, I pray for you and the healing of our relationship
At my worst, I fantasize about taking a shit on your grave

Take it Back

I feel the knots you’ve tied within me

Stains on my energy
Pains in my body
I observe the damage
Tension, nausea, sensation of suffocation
Insomnia, dizziness, diarrheal defecation
You made me feel powerless for too damn long
You beat me up but my spirit is strong
This shit isn’t mine
This was never mine
This is yours
Take it back
Take it all the fuck back
The trauma and the drama
The hurt and the dirt
Keep your hands and your mind out of my skirt
Don’t tell me what to do
Your mind games were never fun for me
Were they fun for you?
You can win the prize, I offer it freely to you
I won’t play anymore
Your ego will have to deal with the fact that I’m letting my sanity heal
I’m learning to put myself first
Through radical acts of self care to restore my happiness and health
Your energy is yours
Take it back

Sleep Talking

Long ago and far away
On a bus grinding through the night
The air thick with sweat and grime
All we had was time
Beer and ice cream on my lips
Bitterness and liquor on his
The man next to me said that I was afraid of talking in my sleep
He overstepped the boundary that I failed to establish between us
Sometimes when I wake up alone, I wonder if my lover heard me sleep-talking and left me to wallow in my past
I want to tell him the truth about my life, but I fear that he would stop loving me,
or worse- rehash it endless times and tell his religious family who would judge me as a hell-bound, lying, baby-killing whore
They’d be right, in a sense
I have exchanged sex for money and I’ve had 3 abortions, each one horrible in its own way, but not as bad as being stuck in an abusive, disempowering situation
Judge not, motherfuckers
I don’t want any man to judge the decisions I’ve made about my body
Least of all a man who is financially dependent on my career: a profession which swallowed my fetuses whole
My past is nobody’s business but my own
I don’t want to be given a hard time for the hard times I’ve already been through
I’m trying to heal and move on
I’m trying to meet myself with compassion for the trauma I’ve endured
I am strong and tough and vulnerable and delicate
My dark secrets are at once more innocent and scandalous than my jealous partners imagine
I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore so I stopped being pregnant
You weren’t supporting me by being broke and leaving me shamefully unmarried
I didn’t want to spend the weekend with you so I didn’t
I regret the weekend away because the other men treated me both better and worse than you, but I love you- painfully clear now that the hormonal storm of pregnancy has simmered down
Why do I set myself up for drama and disaster? I’m trying to heal but your rehashing of the past dredges up emotional detritus, dragging me back
My old stress addiction dies hard
I clamp my jaw
My teeth grind like a bus in the night
I pray that I didn’t sleep talk last night