Push

My husband pushes me with prodding questions about my sexual history

It enrages him that I don’t display the intimate details of my past like trinkets at a flea market

He pries with jealous tones in his voice

He has nothing better to do than ‘solve the riddle’ of how many men have slept with me

I tell him the truth; I don’t know

I don’t tell him why there were too many to count. Early abuse trained me to be sex-trafficked, I was overworked and undersold

There are experiences in my life that I didn’t ask for

Uninvited guests who ruined my party

I have been violated more times than I’d care to tell

I don’t want to relive that hell

He is undeserving of such personal and painful information

His prying unlocks in me that deep dark, that suicidality that was once my constant companion

Standing face to face again, it is clear how much I have healed over time, and yet

I understand why ending my life is a natural conclusion

To take back my body, reclaim my flesh as my own

To liberate myself at last from the unbearable physical memories he invokes with his dredging interrogation

He cannot fathom the damage he causes

We end this round shouting

I dread and prepare for the inevitable; the next time he broaches the topic

When he demands out of the blue that I recap the worst moments of my life, I feel energetically destroyed

I start to count the cars on that long train of trauma and feel like a trapped animal, desperate for a way out

My old friend suicidality extends a hand, ‘I am here for you, when you feel pushed.’

Heroine

Be my hero tonight

Make me feel all right

Enter my broken heart, and stop it

I’m tired of crying forever, my tears ran out long ago

I’m miserable, trapped in a game I lose more everyday

Enter me, heroin

My veins are open

I welcome you in

Bring me the peace I’ve yet to know, heroin

Wash my pain away

End my days today

Erase what I can’t unwrite

Make me numb tonight

Drown me and make me disappear

Whisper sweetly in my ear

Be my heroine, heroin

Liberate me, give me wings

Breathe me out, heroin

I want to feel the sun outside my door

Feel what I’ve never felt before

Fulfill my every need

Turn your gaze upon me, faceless friend

I’ve waited long years to meet you, heroin

Cup

This is it, the big one

The debridement of my most primordial wound

Dissection of what my parents did and didn’t do

Releasing us both from the impossible task of fulfilling each other’s expectations

Seeing them for the first time as the narcissists they are

Pretending to love me only when I made them look good

Spitting on me with their words and crushing me under the boots of their ego when I was hurting

When I needed them most they abandoned me

Like childish bullies, they took no responsibility for themselves or others

I’ve turned my face to them time and time again looking for love, searching in vain, coming up short

They refuse to see the parts of me that they don’t want to

My father told me I was flabby and looked like a monster when I was 15 years old

I subsisted on a high-glycemic diet stolen from my workplace because there wasn’t enough food at home, which resulted in weight gain and horrendous acne

I didn’t see my father for what he was; a negligent parent and an asshole.

Instead I wallowed in sorrow for my innate deficiencies, contemplated suicide because I wasn’t beautiful enough

Don’t worry Dad, I was still attractive enough to get raped enough times to lose count

As if you care

I can’t imagine treating my child the way you treat me

Lord, help these wounds heal

I am ready to move on, to break the inter-generational chain of toxic parenting

To write a new song instead of the broken-record of your critical dialogue

You can live your life in crisis mode, but don’t impose your crises on me anymore.

You imprinted your patterns of anxiety on my developing body and brain

I felt the need to gain the gushing approval of everyone around me

To be the smartest, prettiest and most accomplished in the room

I made many men swoon

I don’t need that anymore

Take your booze and do with it what you will

My cup is full

I depend on no man to keep it filled

Artist

I’m an artist without artistic talent

A visionary with no eye-hand coordination

Keeper of vibrant dreams, seen only by my third eye

I’m a wordsmith suffering from silencing anxiety

Collector of hand-me-down ideas

My vocal road rage surprises me

I’m a better driver when I’m alone

I’m a workaholic with a new year’s resolution

To not work next new year’s day, one long year away

I’m a night owl working day shifts

I’m a closet non-binary person missing her gay best friend

One killed himself, the other I dated

Relationships with friends are ill-fated

Not that I recommend dating strangers either

But at least you won’t lose a friend in the end

I’m a newly married polyamorist

I’m currently in the market for amethyst

I fear hurting others so much that I withhold truth

Thank you for letting me share these self-evident truths with you

Whatever your hopes are for the new year, I hope you receive them

Though things often don’t go the way we want them to

Know that you are enough just as you are, and many people are sharing the struggle alongside you

When feeling trapped and overwhelmed, open the door to liberation

Remember that you are not your thoughts

When in doubt, take a breath

Even while standing, sit and pause

Soar

This body is my prison

Everybody has a body
Everybody is somebody’s son or daughter or both
Everybody is somebody
I’m tired of trying to be somebody and failing and flailing
When I could shed the skin I’m in
Crack open my ribcage and fly free
I’d let go of my eyes that once gazed into yours and kiss goodbye my lips that once kissed yours
I’d let go of my strength and my softness, my curves and my curls
I’d give up my form, vanities and imperfections
I’ve flirted with suicide my whole life
And spoken of it to no one except the one who pulled it off
I heard his rib cage crack open on the concrete below our college dorm
I understood
Afterward, we sad survivors put on a show- a tragedy!
But he just did what he wanted to
What many of us want to
Those who want to be free from their body know
The temptation to empty the lead from their pockets
And soar

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

Off My Chest

I need to get you off my chest

I’ve never felt relaxed in my life because you raised me in the war zone of your wrath
Bombs of panic explode in my mind all day every day
Choking me with your smoke and mirrors even though you are far away
My ears ring with your shouting
You were the biggest little tyrant
Not even two years my senior
Yet always more needy
Mandating, yet begging
I didn’t realize the power I had over you, and still do
You were the one dependent on me for affirmation, not the other way around
I didn’t have a choice then, but I do now-
To live a life without your storms brewing on my horizon
I’ve never slept well in my life because I thought you were going to murder me in my sleep throughout our childhood and adolescence
I used lie in bed wearing a cross around my neck with a note attached to it asking you to think before acting, waiting for dawn to break, dreading another day with you, feeling trapped and hopeless with no end in sight
I never felt protected, respected, seen or heard by our parents
In moments of desperation, I wish you had killed me
Instead you continue to torture me passive aggressively, and I am passive passive aggressive
Silenced, as if buried alive
I toss and turn, tormented between insomnia and nightmares
I’m trying to think before I act
I am upset that I’m even thinking about you now
I am upset about how you get upset ‘at’ me: you throw your rage at me and have me clean up the mess, time and time again, left to calm your ass down as if your reactions were justifiable or somehow my fault
It was never my fault
I am not responsible for how you feel
Leave me alone you evil bitch
I want to scream at you with the force of 35 years of repressed anger and tears
At the same time, I am trying to let go of the hot coal which burns my palm
I am trying to let the rippling waters of my pond be still
I am trying to not be irritated, for only then will you no longer be irritating
I am trying to take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings
I am tired of trying so damn hard
I am ready for ease
I am ready for peace
I am ready to breathe
Please, get off my chest
I don’t need to ask- I am responsible for how I feel
I’m not sure what to do next
I’ll probably meditate and self-medicate with raw emo poetry
Like the note pinned to my cross-necklace, you will probably never read this
But maybe those who matter will
Those who feel they are suffering alone
May find healing in this onion peel
And breathe just one breath more freely
For this I humbly pray
Namaste

What I Learned in College

What I learned in college:

I learned that suicide hurts forever in the hearts of those left behind.

I learned the sweetness of Spring after the darkest Winter night.

I learned, too late, not to drink too much alcohol on a date.

I learned, too late, that not using condoms can lead to more than AIDS.

I learned, the hard way, that HPV can cause cancer.

I learned that I am too generous to make a living as an exotic dancer.

I learned that even the finest meal doesn’t taste good when my body pays the bill.

I learned that slow and steady is my pace.

I learned that life is not a race.

I learned, through time, what friendship looks like.

I learned that self/spiritual love is the most important relationship in my life.

Letting Go of the Bottle

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