I feel the knots you’ve tied within me
Give birth to your best self, America
And eventually you may find
That the universe
Holds mirrors up to itself
Is it lonely, vain, or just curious?
Regardless, a seemingly complex image is actually very simple
Once you realize it is all one, rather than countless separate points
When I ask why
It reveals much about my life
Like ‘Why don’t I remember a lot of my childhood?’
‘That’s your first clue!’ my father replied with stern intensity when I first pondered the question out loud
Leaving the mystery to be solved by me
To figure out what happened to me when I was very small
Why must I go it alone? Such a long, hard road Paved with spiritual gem stones
Revealed that the motivating factors Behind my human interactions
Were either fear or love
Perhaps that is why the universe seems divided
By so much space
Upon closer inspection
Fear and Love
Are one and the same
Although to see that
May melt your eyes into the sun
I find that it is worth it To ask why Though the answer is blinding From asking why I see clearly for the first time
While I was sleeping last night
A baby cried nearby
My dream translated the sound
Into you talking to me
You said, ‘I hate you because I’m shy’
I asked incredulously, ‘You hate me because you’re shy?’
Already in this short dream I had had enough of taking the blame for your issues, so accompanied by a friend, I stormed out
As fast as I could
But in dream-scape
It was like moving through thick gelatin
The next room I entered, with you right behind me,
Had my male cousins in it
I said, loudly enough for you to hear,
‘Hey, it’s my male cousins!’
And they each extended a hand to help pull me forward
I took this to mean that I have protective forces in my life
And I have help, if I just reach out and accept it
After waking, I reflected that I am the one who often resents others
Because I am too shy to express myself to them
So I feel like a victim
But I’m ready for a new role
I awoke to the sound of the baby crying, And prayed that she would continue to express herself freely; A gentle reminder that I once knew how To release my voice Without a filter And let it fly
Letting Go of the Bottle
Have you ever noticed any undesirable effects that alcohol has had on your body, mind, wallet, or relationships?
I didn’t think I had a problem
I only drank as much as the people around me do: my beloved family and friends
I learned it from those I trust and admire most, those I look up to as role models and peers. My peers have a fondness for cocktails and beers.
I learned that alcohol was used as the pinnacle of fun, the ceremony of celebration. I am trying to un-learn that lesson now.
We drink so much, too much for our own good
Without ever stopping to realize or question it
Drinking the recommended daily maximum amount (one drink for females, two drinks for males per day) on only the lightest of nights, but usually much more
Today I remind myself that just because the drink is offered doesn’t mean I have to drink it
If it ‘bothers’ people that I don’t drink, they only bother themselves with their complicated relationship with the substance, and would probably benefit from contemplating these words I write
They would benefit from looking deep into themselves
Visualizing their ideal life
And asking what role alcohol plays in that life
As much as I enjoy how alcohol helps me feel relaxed, I don’t want the side-effects:
The dependency and toxicity
How it makes me feel weak, self-abusive, and magnifies my sadness
Keeps me down in a rut, spiraling emotionally
Each time I use it, it probably gets harder to stop
I don’t know because I’ve yet to stop using it indefinitely
Too much to drink in one night can kill a healthy person.
Taking one sip puts me on the same track towards death as the young men who die while pledging to their college fraternities by binge drinking.
Are you strong enough to say no?
You don’t have to say anything, just stop
I don’t want a life with the bottle; that third wheel that gets unhealthy relationships rolling
That slippery slope that dopes me into apathy
The every-day date-rape drug
The bottle numbs my senses
I deftly let men undress me
And pleasure themselves using my body
My most traumatic relationships began with booze, and ended with booze, as I was horrified to see who my partners were when they were drunk, how undeveloped their capacity for self-control, how lacking in self-awareness and empathy.
Their insecurities would come to the surface, and they were so mean to me then,
Repetitively, because they had forgotten what had just happened, so we had to have the same conversations over and over and over again…
Few things frustrate me more than not being heard
Especially because expressing myself is so damn hard
My family never let me be myself
If I was anything other than ready to serve their needs with an energetic smile on my face, they gave me hell
They still do; ‘Why did you look tired? Why did you have that serious look on your face?’ ‘Uh-oh, you don’t have your happy face on.’
Mother-fuck you! I don’t want to look fucking happy because I’m not fucking happy (I shout in my head as I crumble inside)
I got that grief from my parents today, with the familiar accusing, intolerant tone.
Mind you, both comments were made after they watched me without my knowing that I was being watched
Rather than attempting to listen to or talk with me, they only mandate commands so that I fit their picture of what they want me to be.
Is it wrong for me to ever let my true feelings be seen, even when I think I am alone?
No, it is not a crime to be myself, and I will not live my whole life hiding my feelings, although at this moment I don’t yet know how to feel safe enough to share my feelings with anyone else, even myself.
I only know how to be what my family trained me to be: a loyal servant to everyone but myself.
After decades of this mental conditioning, my mother once commanded, ‘Respect yourself!’, as if self-respect is something that one can suddenly do after never having done it before. She commanded self-respect after learning that I was a sex-worker, which did not fit her pre-determined vision of what my life should look like. I realize now how much her own vanity, rather than sincerely caring for me, lead her to tell me to respect myself. She only wanted to keep up with the Joneses, which is probably why she only yelled at me that I was ‘fine’ after I told a friend that I wanted to kill myself in seventh grade. I’d like to think that if my daughter ever did that, I would meet her with concern, empathy, and get her the help she needs.
That same mother killed my self-respect when she pimped me out to play with abusive children throughout my childhood, and discouraged any sort of truth telling through her emotional explosions anytime I showed signs of how I really felt.
I learned to act cheerful in order to keep the peace at home. I still do.
Obediently, I did whatever was desired of me.
What has been ‘wrong’ throughout my life was that everything was wrong and I had no safe place to express that. No safe place to go to when I felt unsafe, which was all of the time, and still is.
I’ve spent my life in fear of displeasing others.
That fear makes it so easy to enjoy alcohol
Because it lets me taste something similar to relaxation
I’m so tired of having sex in the name of ‘keeping the peace’. It wages war within me. Oftentimes men cease to communicate with me once I withdraw the possibility of sex from them. Was I merely a potential place to put their penis? I guess so. Perhaps their ego is all wrapped in that one small piece of their anatomy.
I want a life where I am able to relax by relying on my innate ability to calm my body and mind
I want a life where I start and end each day lucid, ready to welcome each moment with all my senses,
Instead of desperately dulling my senses in order to ‘get through’ or ‘deal with’ situations
Drinking does not deal with anything
I want to feel safe to express my golden truth, to look tired or serious when I feel tired or serious
I want to feel safe to have sex when my partner and I want to, instead of every time only they want to
I want to process the past, present and future experiences of my life in mature, conscious ways, instead of throwing a substance, legal or not, into my body
I want to surround myself with people who feel the same way
Knowing how our ancestors, through their genetics and parenting techniques (inflicting childhood trauma) have predisposed us to develop dependency on alcohol and other drugs, I say:
Let us beat the odds, let it stop with us
Let us rise up to meet ourselves with open eyes, fully aware, and break the multi-generational habit of abusing substances, ourselves and each other
Let us care for ourselves using our inner resources
Instead of weakening our innate power by dulling it with drugs
Let’s raise children who don’t die of overdoses or drunk driving accidents, who don’t abuse substances, their partners or their children
Let’s let go of the bottle and ask ourselves, what have we got to lose?
Let’s look beyond the bottle and envision everything we have to gain: our ideal life, our real life, our best life
I have been terrified of people my whole life
Never felt safe to express myself to anyone
I took a chance with you
And you replied
Without acceptance, without compassion
But with bold, CAPITOL FUCKING LETTERS
Barking condescending commands at me
Drowning me in my own cortisol
As a reflexive response,
I served you up the sweet lies you desired
All the while feeling so damn bitter inside
I reacted out of my unmet need to feel safe
So I soothed you with words that came to me easily
Because the skill of pleasing others
Is one that I’ve practiced everyday of my life
Although I hate this invisible prison
And I’d give anything to break free of it
The simple salty truth
Is that I don’t enjoy spending time with you
But your ego refuses to accept that
Why is it unbelievable that I could not want you?
What do you think is so damn great about you?
At the end of the day, you are just another damn dick in my face
I understand that I probably contort the message
As I try to spoon-feed it to you in a palatable package
But your certainty that we have a wonderful connection
Is just you falling for my deception
You are my most recent catch
I try to throw you back in the ocean
But you willingly stay hooked
Stubbornly clinging to your ideas
Attached to the illusion I gave you
Why waste my breath trying to tell you this?
You are deafened by your own loud voice
Please learn how to talk to traumatized people
I’ll give you some advice: start by listening
Listening is a choice