You Can Have It

Darling, though we’ve never met

You rolled the dice, you placed a bet
That you could win a lawsuit
Born of the heartbreaking news
That your baby died inside you
A horrific experience, true
But of your baby’s death, I had nothing to do
The coroner’s report reveals the truth
Your baby passed away at least a day before you ever walked my way
Darling, I didn’t even lay eyes upon you
I was being a team player, not a baby slayer
In going above and beyond to help another
I didn’t imagine I’d be sued by a mother
You said we dropped the ball
But we were never playing at all
If it is money you are looking for,
Honey you’re knocking on the wrong door
All those years I could have been earning
I spent in medical school learning
about medicine, not about law
Perhaps I wasn’t well trained after all
You want us to take the blame
for your unspeakable pain
Can you imagine what I have given up
just to help you, is it never enough?
For you, I went hungry, I went without sleep
Hard years away from my family, I didn’t see
I got stuck with needles, splashed with blood
Only for you to smear my name like it was mud
On the journey that led me to you,
I gave up love, I gave my life
I turned away from ease and took on strife
Of my own pregnancies, I sacrificed them all
My weeping uterus bled raw
Just to give you my best, I gave up the rest-
My youth, my babies and childbearing years, too many unnumbered tears
I stayed in an abusive relationship throughout medical school
Because the only way to escape my abuser would have been to drop out and forego my education
I stayed in hell for all the women held back from their full potential because of men
Though it was the hardest thing I ever did, and I still have nightmares about him
I don’t feel safe in my skin, but then again I never did
I wonder if I’d do it all again, just to reach out my hand, only to have you bite it
I fought hard to serve you, and serve you I did
Without a word of thanks from you, kid
Then again, we’ve never met
I’m named in your lawsuit, yet
What I’m trying to tell you
Is that my medical degree,
My heart, my mind
My hard work, and all my precious time-
You can have it
It was always yours anyway
Everything I do, dear patient, is for you
I give you my life- you can have my lawsuit too
In trying to hurt me, you only harm yourself
We are all connected in the One True Self
Limitlessness is bliss
Reach out and return the infinite kiss
Available to you at any time
You can have it if you understand this rhyme

Samurai

Before I knew how to love,

I freely offered up my heart

Blind shot in the dark
I was the one who dropped my heart on the floor
From my open hands
Not knowing that I had smashed through a door
Not knowing what I would gain
Not knowing what I could never lose
No one seemed to notice, no one intervened
As I set out on my own
Lifting the veil, stepping through the screen
It wasn’t easy
I made every possible mistake
Burning my fire to fulfill other people’s desires
I was able to do everything and anything,
Because I already felt dead
From the heartbreak which split and throbbed in my head
I flipped circus tricks in the strangest of beds
Unscripted, I drifted
I met so many people
I worshipped under unconventional steeples
Life is my book, my science, my art
It all started when I sacrificed my heart
Everyday I learn how to love more
Love myself, my life, my family
Love even the dregs of humanity
Those who have yet to wander away from themselves
Those who have yet to realize who they really are
Because they cling so tightly to their identity
I’m privileged to live like a Samurai; at once warrior, servant, and free

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

Ask Why

Ask why
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

Asking why
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

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

Pockets of Bliss

Pockets of Bliss

Hard-scrabble
Uphill battle
Stoically strong
All my life long

That was my marching song

Yet if I let myself unwind a bit
I find myself basking in pockets of bliss
Soaking in satisfaction, abundance, gratitude
It feels like the ultimate kiss
As I both receive and radiate
The generous glow of the sun

My mind usually tells myself that I don’t have time
For such indulgent, frivolous nonsense
That I’ve got to push push push
And forever rush rush rush

I fooled myself into believing
That I didn’t deserve the luxury of deep breathing
That rest and relaxation were only for the privileged rich
Such was my justification for prioritizing everything else                                                       Before my own needs

For too long I wrongly bought into the ideology
That my life was not to be enjoyed
That I should run hungry all my days
As if pursued by a ravenous wolf in all kinds of ways

But today I re-realized that I am the wolf
And also the prey
Only I have the power to say,
‘Enough of being tough.
I am ready for ease!’

If only in pockets to start
Because old habits are hard to break,
Just ask my heart

So it is with patience and persistence,
Guided by gentle wisdom
That I fill my pockets to overflowing
With bliss bliss bliss

Weapons Trade

If cortisol was currency
I’d have already paid enough you see
Cut open my veins
Behold my riches
See that I’m debt-free

For any wrong you think I’ve committed
I’ve paid far more in physiology;
My over-achieving stress response that over-taxes me

My innermost body is ragged
From being invisibly ravaged
I try to hide from the naked eye
How much I am falling apart inside
Although I feel like I am unraveling in plain sight

I’ve never spoken my mind freely, not once in my whole life
Can you imagine what that does to a body?
Maybe you don’t have to imagine
Maybe you know

My teeth are ground down to the nubs
My tongue is a caged panther imprisoned by my jaw
Aching with atrophy and unrealized potential
I try to open my rusted jaw but it clamps down bitterly on my tongue
I have to remind myself to breathe at least once every few minutes
I consciously try to rearrange the puzzle pieces of my face
To form an expression other than my overly nervous smile

When I am not in service to others
I struggle to hold myself together
I am only comfortable in the giving role
Perhaps because everything was taken from me before I received it

Child abuse robs the child of their whole life
I am fighting to reclaim myself
My weapons are inner peace, hope and understanding

Waking Up

Last night I had two dreams
In the first
I dreamt that I was sleeping
My mom came into my bedroom and molested me
The way she did
As usual I felt horrified, humiliated, furious, violated, suffocated
I tried to shake her off but she was still bigger than me
Even after all these years

In my struggle to escape
I woke up
In my own house at last
At least I didn’t wake up to the living nightmare
Of my childhood

Eventually I fell back asleep
And dreamt of an angry man
He thought that I was the cause of his anger
Though I knew that his anger went far beyond me
I tried to hide
To make myself smaller and more silent than I already am

But I was not small or silent enough
He found me and shot me with a gun
Many times in my body and my head
But I kept right on breathing
And felt once again relieved
To wake up alone                                                                                                                           Instead of wake up to the living nightmare                                                                                         Of my adult relationships with men

When I wake up alone                                                                                                                          I wake up to peace                                                                                                                                 I wake up to infinite potential                                                                                                                  I wake up free to be myself                                                                                                                  I am just now learning                                                                                                                  Who I am

American Abortion

America, America
Do you feel free?
I’ll tell you what freedom means to me
Freedom is the choice to do what I want with my body

America, America
I know you can relate
You too have suffered
Violations of late

America, you know the trauma of violence
Violence like my childhood
I survived it the best that I could
It wasn’t easy, America

Loud explosions of anger
Showered down upon my head

Hidden within the deep silence of neglect
I wished that I was dead

America, that upbringing
Taught me just one thing;
How to feel afraid
Long after the violence ceases to sting

America, I am still too afraid to say ‘no’
You can imagine how this created problems as I started to grow
I knew only how to please                                                      

So I had unwanted sex
That lead to unwanted pregnancy
That’s how that goes
When you don’t have birth control

America, you gave me hope
When I received health insurance even though I was poor
Insurance that would have covered my whole pregnancy and the birth of my baby
Who could ask for anything more?

But America, I didn’t want to be pregnant or have a child
After all, my own life is still quite wild
It seems an ill choice to bring a baby into this world
When my own ability to make ends meet has yet to unfurl

I thought that since my health insurance would’ve covered the pregnancy
Asking it to pay for an abortion would be a relief
A relief for my body, my future and a relief for the insurance company
Because an abortion costs a tiny fraction of the price of having a baby, and at a much smaller health risk than childbirth, America

But my insurance refused to cover even one penny of the fee
and the ‘Powers That Be’ maliciously made me suffer through bureaucracy;         waiting and watching a ridiculous video that delayed for more than a week
the medical treatment of which I was in desperate need

America, have you ever been pregnant when you didn’t want to be?
Have you ever felt so exhausted that you were incapacitated from doing anything?
Have you ever been nauseous all day and all night?
Have you ever had your sense of smell so heightened that you felt suffocated by the stink of misogynistic bullshit?

America, I begged and scraped to pay for my abortion
The abortion was painful and bloody and rushed
Just another American day

America, I think we need to have a heart-to-heart talk
Abortion saved my life
Thanks to my abortion, I am now free
I am free from an abusive relationship
I am free from a pregnancy that I didn’t want to keep
I am free from having a baby when I wasn’t ready

America, how could I not feel hurt by your bias?
You would have given me full support if I kept my pregnancy,
yet no support at all when I chose to end it                                     This made me feel like you did not respect my life, my body or my autonomy
It put me in dire financial straits                                             For which I am still washing the dishes
But I’m grateful that the choice was mine to make

America, I too have a dream
That one day
Women will have abortion services
Covered by their health insurance
As much as any other reproductive health care
America, we can do better

America, I want every woman to have
The right to decide what she wants to do with her body
Women are more than baby-growing machines to be controlled by others
Women are people too
And we have something to tell you:

Keep abortion legal
Keep abortion safe
Let women choose what to do with their bodies
Let Freedom Ring