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

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

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

Salt

My patient had hypovolemic hyponatremia

His serum sodium was low, and we all need salt in our blood to live

Overall, he was dehydrated- dry, though his blood pressure was high

I looked at his moist tongue, and didn’t see the storm clouds amassing in the sky

Until my attending physician came thundering down

Pummeling my eardrums with his voice so loud

Taking lightning strikes at my fledgeling ego

Making me feel scared, small and trapped

How dare I not approach this case the same way he would

How could I take a vast constellation of data points, and see a different image than him?

How dare I not know everything he wants me to know when he thinks I should know it.

The audacity of me!

I went into this job to help people, but who helps me when confronted with an abusive boss, the way I am all day every day?

I have grit, and that’s it.

How can I justify the harm I inflict on myself by trodding this path of not harming others? Am I not also a person worthy of non-harm?

I drag myself through another day of sheer exhaustion, violent levels of stress, junk food scavenging, flooding my veins with the same poison I encourage my patients to avoid.

I practice this art of self-abuse day after day, year after year.

I don’t have the time or personal space to cry, until many hours have passed by, and my work, imperfectly executed, is temporarily done.

Tomorrow, more work will come at a nauseating pace, in unpredictable swells and storms.

Tonight, I cling to the knot I’ve tied at the end of my rope.

At home, my partner speaks to me, but I do not hear him.

He softly reaches out to me, but I do not feel his touch.

He serves me dinner, though I do not feel hunger.

I try to breathe through my shell-shock, remind myself that I am safe, worthy, lovable.

As if concussed, I feel foggy, irritable, and want only to cry.

I close my bedroom door, and I finally let my tears fall, though I don’t know how they will ever stop.

I take stock of the things I am grateful for.

I have energy to release:

I visualize a cord of light between my attending physician and I, solar plexus to solar plexus, and I send his rageful, toxic energy back to him, riddled with his scathing judgement.

I send him back the shame he so generously tried to pile on me.

That is his energy, not mine.

I feel the sting of tears as they dry on my cheek- my personal Sahara.

For a minute there, I lost myself.

I feel raw, delicate.

I cried so much, I have lost volume and salt like my hypovolemic hyponatremic patient.

This time, I know the recommended remedy: fluid.

Keeping myself fluid, I bow in respect and gratitude to the teachers on my journey- those who still trick me into believing that I am lesser-than, who make me temporarily forget that I am a dreamer in this cosmic kaleidoscope.

I bow with respect and gratitude to water, and salt.

Small

You made me feel so small that I didn’t feel like a person at all
You denied my emotions the few times I showed them, brushed them aside
You taught me to ignore my needs and serve yours because my survival depended on it, or at least you terrified me into believing that it did
So I painfully came to know that I was worthless and worth less than every one else on the planet
I came to accept that I existed as a tool to be used by others to try to make them happy
But they were impossibly unhappy
Though I have a lifetime of practice in pleasing others, I always inevitably fail
This was the heavy load I bore
On such a skinny little kid frame
My family ignored me, silenced me
Put me down
Hurt me emotionally and physically
The few times I got attention
It was traumatic, violent, violating
My one wish throughout my childhood was that I could become invisible and fly away
Now I am shaking off the burden of feeling responsible for everyone else
Unlearning the long, hard lesson of suffering
Is the true lesson:
I don’t have to suffer my whole life
I can feel more than only pain and heal beyond my own brain
In sharing, my healing potential becomes limitless
Thank you, dear reader, for you are the key
It turns out that being small is quite a big gift after all

Finding Sukha

Sometimes I feel angry
I could blame my parents for the anger they passed down to me through their nature and their nurture
But they are only survivors of abuse and neglect themselves, victims of inter-generational psychological torture
I like to think that they were doing the best they knew how
With limited resources at the time
It was a different world back then;
There was little awareness and poor preparedness,
Less information and more isolation

Sometimes I feel sloppy
My movements get choppy
I crash, splash and make a mess
I only hope that I don’t take anyone down with me
When I slip and fall
Reminding me that in my haste, I don’t save time at all

Sometimes I feel on edge
I am irritable and my mind carves a ledge
Off of which I can easily slip
Into a hellish well
Of memories echoing back at me
Little things that seem big disproportionately when viewed at close range

Like the time an ex gave me condescending lip
When he proudly pronounced the word ‘dukkha’
Then judged me on how the Sanskrit word (not the concept, mind you) was unfamiliar to my vocabulary at the time

Dukkha is commonly translated as ‘suffering’, which is an important concept in Buddhism because the Buddhist path was designed to liberate people from suffering by helping them first overcome their desires/selfish cravings

I am all for liberation, but his elitist attitude was not resonating with me
That fool tried to school me on suffering like I’d never suffered a day in my life, when I’ve suffered every damn blessed day of my life

So I gave him a lesson in letting go of attachment by leaving him

I thought he could stand to benefit from the lesson and

I don’t need to take shit from a privileged prick about fancy words that I was too busy earning a living through sex work to have the time to learn from a text book

Books are hella expensive anyway

That’s why I gladly share my writing freely

Cuz I want it to reach people like me

People who were born into economic or emotional poverty

Through these simple words I string together

I humbly hope to help alleviate suffering in others

Perhaps it only helps alleviate my own suffering, but even that would be enough

I am a person, too

Also, writing feels like free therapy to me

I’ve still never been to actual therapy

I hear the prices are crazy

But I digress…I don’t have the energy to deal with fits of vanity

from spoiled boys who get off on looking down on me and the rest of the world

I think that instead of judging anyone who hasn’t heard the word ‘dukkha’
It would’ve served him better to find sukha
Sukha means ‘ease’

My point is this:
Everybody experiences dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness or stress) and hopefully sukha (happiness, ease, pleasure or bliss) in their lives
Everyone around the world attends the school of life; we are born, live and die in that classroom
But not everybody has access to the luxury of learning outside of their immediate human interactions
However that makes them no less educated than those who have the resources for recreational reading
At least in my book

So I’d tell that ex (if I could stomach the thought of communicating with him, which I presently don’t)
That if he thinks he is superior to others
Because he’s so well-read
Then maybe he should know
How to fit his ego back inside his head

With compassion, I recognize that fear of inadequacy lies at the root of his speaking boastfully

Here are some lessons that I’ve learned, and they aren’t in Sanskrit:
The ego inflates easily but deflates again eventually, and when the ego balloon gets stabbed by a needle it can be a long, hard fall down to the ground                                                                                                    Liberation from our egos and freedom from our desires is the ultimate gift
Money can buy a book but it can’t buy wisdom
Material wealth will get you inside the ivory tower but it won’t shelter you from suffering

Just look at my ex; he was rich in his wallet but impoverished in his heart-mind
Leaving him so that I could be poor but happy
Was a decision that put me at ease,
At ease like sukha

Sometimes I need a lesson in letting go too

Sometimes I find sukha

Love and Ice Cream

Love and ice cream
Are my slippery slopes,
My legal dope
I use them in plain sight
To abuse my body day and night

Too many years
I’ve caught myself in the cycle
Of getting high every time I start to withdraw;
I let into my life another bowl,
another boo, even worse than the one before
The novelty wore off long ago
And I’ve seen the pattern;
I know where it is gonna go
It always ends in regret

Today I was hot and thirsty
For that cool creamy sweet treat
With chocolate chunks for me to eat
It was on sale and high in quality
So I loaded up my shopping cart,
imagining the pleasure awaiting me

Then I remembered
How bad I always feel afterward
How out of control, how unwise
I’ve given in to temptation too many times
And paid too heavy a price

So I put the four pints back on the shelf
Let them go home with somebody else
Victory was mine at last
At least for today

Then I got home and considered writing to an ex
An ex who is still sort of a friend                                                                                                             I love them dearly
But slow down, it’s a dangerous bend
They treated me unhealthily
Why would I expect anything different this time?

Feeding my addiction
Would bring me a quick, cheap high
Although I desire them so
Like ice cream on a hot summer’s day
If I over-indulged, the disappointment in myself
Would be here to stay

I’m only human
I have to eat and to love
But knowing how easily
I fall hard where others only stumble
It is worth it for me to mindfully look where I’m walking on the rocky road
So that I can stand tall when it rumbles

The Emotions of Objects

The Emotions of Objects

I’ve heard it said that you should give away
Any object you possess
Which does not bring you joy
I agree with that, however

I have some objects which do not bring me joy
But the feelings they bring
Are worth learning from

For example,
I have pajamas which remind me of my mother
She was my first pimp, my original smotherer
I look at the faded yellow cotton and have flashbacks of the guilt-trips she would send me on, furious that I was never good enough
She still terrorizes me, even when we are far apart
To counter-balance the emotional storm stirred up by my unassuming nightwear,
I practice compassion and understanding
Adults are only hurt children themselves, but larger-sized

I also have a stained mug which reminds me that I was second-best
Allowing me an opportunity to practice humility

And a cracked bowl which resulted from an escapade of breaking the law
It reminds me to make wiser decisions now

I have some clothing
Which reminds me of letting down those most deserving of my attention
I breathe deep and remember
That it is OK to let people down
I accept that I cannot please everyone all of the time
Try desperately as I might

In my closet hangs a thread-bare scarf that I wore on many adventures
With an ex-partner who treated me, I realize now, like my mother:
Mandating, controlling, throwing fits if I hesitated to grant their every wish, spoken or unspoken
I practice self-forgiveness when I see that scarf
Because I was doing the best I could at the time

Now I do better
I practice compassion, understanding, humility, wisdom, acceptance of my limitations and self-forgiveness
The objects I own remind me
How far I’ve come
And encourage me
To continue on
My healing journey
Appreciating joy
Among many other colors
Of the emotional rainbow

Don’t get me wrong,
I’m still going to donate those items…eventually
Give them a new life
Throw them back in the sea
There is plenty of buoyant joy available
For you, me and everybody