Hunger

I used to not have enough food

So I stole food

Foraging through the trash for stale, cold food

I pushed through

Now I shop at Whole Foods

Actually I pay someone else to do it for me, because my time is worth more than when I worked as a whore

I dredged myself up from the bottom, headed to the top even when I didn’t know it

Sometimes it seemed I was going backwards, yet I kept moving forward

When the High Wears Off

You can drink and smoke and swallow

Sniff and huff and wallow
Burn it up, inject it in
But no amount of noise will silence the din
I hear the roar of your pain
I see the fire in your brain
Anxiety and depression rage
Fueling the words on this page
I’ve tried it all
I’ve had a ball
I’ve lived through hell
Just to tell
What I have learned
What I have earned
Highs are temporary
Where will I be
When my next high wears off
Highs always wear off…
After chasing many a transient high
Which only left me feeling low
I’m building upward toward the sky
Growing that inner glow
I’m creating a sense of safe space to come home to
After another long day of battling anxiety monsters and depression demons
My mental sanctuary is invisible, yet indispensable
It is my daily practice, my intention, my breath
My practice is to remind myself that I belong here
Even if I don’t believe it at first
I am worthy
Even if I don’t allow myself to receive at first
I am a person
Even though I’ve spent a lifetime of feeling lesser-than
Of feeling like I owed my life to strangers
I’ve survived so many dangers
I’m lucky
I’m ready
To start living
To feel beyond high
Cultivating a sustainable solution without bodily pollution
Emotional storms are best weathered while wearing a life vest
So I envelope my chest with positive visualizations
Letting my heart garden blossom and thrive
With this breath, I am alive
I am beyond high

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.

My Secrets

Here are some of my secrets:

I was abused as a child in every way                                                                                      Though my family is easily mistaken as near-perfect to this day                                                The worst repercussion is that the abuse robbed me of my voice                                              Left me without a sense of power or choice

After puberty I found that sex work fit seamlessly with my skill-set                                         It was the most livable wage I’ve earned yet                                                                                   But I didn’t feel like I was living when I only lived for money
As an adult I entered and survived a series of unhealthy relationships                                    Though it took abortions to help cut the ties                                                                                    I still fear that my exes will come after me                                                                                     And have nightmares about them at night

I feel like I’ve dodged a whole battle-field of bullets
Because I am happy at the moment and not pregnant
I am grateful that I don’t have any kids
Because I am just now learning how to take care of myself
I am stunned that I’ve never had an STD
At least that I know of, although the jury is still out after my latest round of poor decisions (unprotected sex: what is wrong with me? Oh yeah, I’m recovering from a brutal upbringing that trained me to please others in order to survive; I shut-down in silence although I want to scream ‘NO!’).

Insert compassion here, and self-observation without judgement.

I remember thinking, ‘there must be angels in my vagina’ when I tested negative for HIV
After half of America had had sex with me without condoms
I was a staunch atheist at the time
But the miracle awoke in me a sense of the divine
I feel like I swam through miles of sewage and came out clean on the other side

The secret that I am searching for
Is how to heal my mind
I wish I could forget all the traumatic memories from my life
Because they get in the way
Resurfacing at inconvenient times when I am trying to get through the day
There are so many traumas

All I can do is breathe into them when they arise
Observe them for what they are
Listen to them, and learn from them

But damn, that’s a lot of trauma for one life
Remembering it is the worst part
Because the pain perpetuates without an end in sight
And my heart goes to the races every night
I try to tell it, ‘Whoa, slow down’
But the gun goes off and there is no turning back,
thundering around the track

The secret is, there is no secret that I know of to recover from trauma
I only hope that the amount of rape I’ve endured in my life means that I’ve taken a hit for the team, so that other women experience it less, as it no secret that, ‘one out of four women will be raped in her lifetime.’  Which I believe is an under-estimate.
In my case, most of the rapes involved unspoken non-consent
Or lack of ‘enthusiastic consent’, which is a term I recently learned and want to share.

Evening is falling now
And calling me with
Smoke and fire crackers and divine secrets

Now I know that whenever I have a PTSD flashback, I must remind myself that I am safe, loved, and worthy.

My sense of being loved by the universe will outlast all my doubts and panic attacks.

Take what you no longer need and offer it to the divine.

Give back the toxic energy that people poured onto you, and take back your own beautiful, sacred energy.

Cut the ties which bind you to that which you never wanted, so that you may more fully feel that which you desire, which is within you, which has always been within you and always will be.