The Bear and the Bee
I live alongside a bear and a bee.
It can be terribly inconvenient at times. The bee I find more bearable; it just wants to protect me, aiming sharp stings at my fingertips when I reach for something new, something exposed or exciting. I feel its furry legs as it pads carefully along my collarbone, a sensation as constant as breathing, as the beat of my heart, which races so frantically when the bee approaches. It's a silent warning not to get too close, not to go too far, the stinger always posed over sensitive flesh. Sometimes, when I sit still too long, I feel the prod of the sharp tip against my neck, not deep enough to puncture, to hurt, but enough to force me to my feet and into action. At night, the bee buzzes in my ear, and I have no choice but to stay unblinkingly awake, letting the sound fill me. It doesn't want me to forget, after all. If I forget, I make the same mistakes again and again, so I have to remember. The bee understands that, so it buzzes away.
The bear, on the other hand, I don't understand at all. Some days, I awaken to a pressure on my chest, far heavier than the bee. The bear lies on top of me, its fur pressing me into the bed, smothering me until I'm gasping for breath, unable to move, to escape. Other days, the bear is nowhere to be seen when I wake up, and I stretch, yawn, rise, but I can hear its wet, growling breaths just out of sight. I go about my day cautiously, waiting for the inevitable moment when the bear will spring from the shadows and slam me to the ground, whatever activity I was doing forgotten as I abandon all thought but that of continuing to draw breath. At times the bear is angry, baring sharp teeth at me, at everyone. It frightens me. Other times, it's sad in the way only an animal can be, eyes staring blankly, light gone from them. I want to feel sympathy for it. I do. But all I feel is apathy.
I want to hate the bear and the bee. I want to. I try to hate them, but I can't, because I understand them. I understand the anxiety of new things, of staying still. I understand the depression that weighs heavy upon you like a living thing, that growls when threatened, that bares its fangs at others even as it desperately wishes to be loved. The bear, the bee, and I have become unwilling friends, comrades. Sometimes, when the bear rumbles deep in its chest, I stroke its wiry fur, and its breathing evens out. Sometimes, when the bee buzzes about my head in a panic, I offer it sugar water, and it calms for a bit.
I guess we're in this together, after all.
live in a labyrinth
words and crooks,
hanging in cages
web of lies.
Bundled at the
core of the glossy
web remains a
turn and sigh.
My back is fine.
The River Of Time
turn and sigh.
My back is fine.
despite the gushing clock.
duck and dive the
is dying out.
flip through words
which float above
my pneumatic breath.
cease and let out
a humble puff
upon this masterful
The last honest gasp
it seems I’ll have.
look down at my chest.
My bloody vest!
turn and sigh.
My back is fine!
The Big Sad
Shall I make them laugh, then?
"I said, I AM HUNGRY!"
Alright... I'll start with a smile, that always reels them in. I'll ask them about their day, then tell them it will get worse and not to worry. I'll keep the smile so they know. They will laugh, they always do. They don't expect it. They open up for however short, and tell me about their day. I jest at their expense, or mine. Usually mine, for it is no great loss.
"Choice! Alas, it was just a taste. MORE! So dull, all of this! More Laughter!"
"None for you, though," he whispers in my ear, voice dripping with venom. "It will not reach you. It will never reach you, for I am so... so famished."
His grin permeates my being, and I know he is right. Sometimes I wonder who I am without him?
I don’t like wearing make up. Sometimes I dress like a man. I don’t seek validation or try to be pretty anymore. I know I’m beautiful and that my value extends far beyond that.
I don’t know that. I just act like I do until it feels real again, but sometimes I really don’t know.
Sometimes I remembered my lessons from when I was twelve.
No one wants to fuck a feminist.
No one wants to fuck a girl who isn’t pretty.
No one wants to fuck a smart girl.
No one wants to fuck a girl with an attitude.
No one wants to fuck a girl who hides her body.
And if no one wants to fuck you, girl, then you’re worthless.
Put on a push up bra, put on some make up, show some cleavage, but not too much. Don’t act like a slut, but be the slut you are supposed to be. You’re garbage because you’re a slut. Your only purpose is to be a slut. If you weren’t a slut, then you might as well be dead. Now shut up and dance for me, girl.
These lessons are hard to forget when they’re ingrained in you from childhood by grown men. Men who were proved right everywhere I looked.
I worked hard to free myself from that. I don’t believe them anymore, but sometimes when my partner and I haven’t had sex in a while, I panic and briefly wonder if I should dance or die.
Dear Dipshit Depression,
Dear Dipshit Depression,
We have been together for a long time. I can’t tell you how long because I’m not sure when you first arrived. I remember when you came to stay, but you had been hanging around the perimeter of my life since my first memories. I managed to ignore you until the day you moved in when I was eleven. The reason you were able to move in at that time is simply that I chose to leave my home. I only meant it to be temporary and tried coming back home a few times, but you completely filled up my house with your stuff I was never comfortable again. I lived with you at my house until your things became my stuff. I was forced to remove everything I collected and only have vague memories of a few of my most prized possession. Those I hid in a tiny hidden closet, so you were never able to destroy them. I would go to my wardrobe from time to time looking for “the me” you thought you shattered. I left my closet with just enough strength to survive your abuse, but I was never able to stand up to you.
You wanted my life so desperately, and there were a couple of times I almost handed me to you. Among my prized possessions was a formidable little slight of a person named Survivor. She never entirely defeated you, but she was strong enough to drag me away at the last minute. I would leave home again so I could be safe from your violence. Each time I fled Survivor found safe places for me to hide and regain my strength. The years of working with Survivor have been many and challenging. My tiny closet became filled with more prized possessions until one day, I could not fit in another item.
I noticed you became complacent to the point you ignored me. The only time you became aware of my presence were the times I tried to reason with you to clean out your clutter in my house. You became so enraged I had to leave or hide. I eventually realized my pleas for you to change fell on deaf ears, and it was up to me to begin to clean house. I had to find another room to continue to store my new possessions. From my tiny hidden closet, I found a space on the other side of the closet door. It wasn’t a large room but once I discarded the clutter, there was room enough for me to grow my life. With Survivor’s help, I learned to disguise the room. You never noticed my gradual infiltration.
Memories of your abuse overwhelmed. I fled my home to escape the pain until my friend talked me back home. I was a yoyo for years, but I claimed additional rooms for myself. Survivor and I found other friends. Slippery came. The three of us together learned to slip away anytime you got close. Soon, Runner came. Runner convinced me to take back more of my home. She taught me to outrun you when you caught me in a room with your stuff. Your space became smaller, and you became enraged more often. You bullied me more and I was compelled to leave home more... I was afraid for Survivor, Slippery and Runner and instructed them to stay hidden. I abandoned home to avoid the hurt.
Survivor, Slippery, and Runner found me in my exile to introduce me to a new friend. I did not desire another person to protect. My protestations fell on deaf ears. The day I met fighter was a pivotal point in my relationship with you. Fighter took control of my dire situation and instilled new energy into my life. I accomplished more than I had ever dared hope. As I recovered more rooms, you reacted with more anger and violence. My friends stayed right by my side even when I ran away, encouraged me to get back into my home and stand up to you. Fear reared his ugly head more often. I resisted my friends; I demanded they leave. I lashed out and yelled about how difficult and conflicted my life became after they arrived. In the past, I knew the safe places. I kept chaos away and you quiet. Now, I daily experienced something different and uncomfortable. I told them I was tired of fighting this war.
Alone, defeated, dejected, and abandoned. There was darkness all around, but it was quiet. I faded into nothingness until I felt the gentle touch of strong arms as I l was lifted from the cold dark pit called my life. So great was the warmth and comfort I did not think to resist. We were joined by my old familiar friends, Survivor, Slippery, Runner and Fighter. No one spoke but the warmth and strength of their presence were palpable. I became engulfed in it.
My surroundings became brighter, and I had clarity for the first time in a long time. My rescuer stopped as did my four friends. I looked into His eyes and the kindness and love electrified energy into my soul. To my dismay, He moved to put me on my own feet. I began to struggle but one more look into His empathetic eyes calmed me and I relaxed and let Him place me on my own feet.
I was surprised at how good it felt to stand on my own. The lead, the exhaustion, all the fight was gone, and I became exhilarated. Fear became a figment of a long-ago memory. I learned my new friend’s name, Overcomer. Overcomer began our conversation by re-introducing me to my four steadfast friends. He reminded me how faithful they had been, and no matter how far I ran, they continued to seek me out. I could not doubt their determination to keep me from being isolated and alone.
I wasn’t sure how to get you out of my house, but Overcomer showed me the way. I’ve always had the ability; I just didn’t realize I had the power. With Overcomer by my side and Survivor, Slider, Runner, and Fighter behind me, I demand you leave my home. You are not welcome anymore. Take everything you have and get the hell out. You can take the keys if you want but they won’t work. Overcomer has changed the locks on my door and injected a force field on my windows. You will never be able to sneak back into this place. You are not strong, and loud can’t hurt me. Go, gone, desist, and cease from my life!
each twist and turn,
laid bare —
I shed my sin,
to ashes’ urn —
She is a perfect reflection of me. Her hazel eyes stare back at mine from the other side of the mirror, and she mimics my every move. Most of the time, I can't tell that she's there. Other times, something seems...off. I see a dark gleam in her eye, or a touch of wickedness behind her smile. The uncanny valley consumes me, and I try to trick her into showing herself, but she is far more clever than I. Even when I turn my back to the glass, I know that she remains.
Every night, once I've slipped deeply into a hard-earned slumber, the doppelganger creeps from within the frame. First an arm, then a head. Her torso and legs follow closely behind and finally, cold bare feet take their place upon the hardwood. She hovers over me, tangled hair mere inches from my face and sees that I am far away, much too far to interfere with her plans. Pleased, the apparition moves throughout my home to see what seeds of chaos she can sow before the sunlight comes creeping in.
She comes across my journals, and scrawls half thoughts and untruths. She rips pages from the spines of my favorite books and throws the carcasses to the wind, amused by my struggle for linear thought. She sends whispers out into the night air, inviting the ghosts of my past to join in her deviancy. They gleefully accept, and together they rampage through the house, knocking every trinket from its shelf and every picture from the wall.
As daylight approaches, the imposter loses fervor. The new rays of the rising sun are likely to engulf her, and she must make haste toward her reflective encasing, lest she be wiped from this realm altogether. Before she departs, she leans into my ear and softly speaks of her actions. She tells me that I am powerless to stop her, and promises a swift return. She leaves my side and walks toward the mirror, footsteps dragging across the floor. First she inserts her arm, then her head. Her torso follows and finally, a cold bare foot slips into the glass surface.
I awake to find the wreckage around me. I am dismayed, but unsurprised and dutifully begin to clean up the mess that has been made. I do all I can to prevent these nightly attacks, but no amount of prayer or protection stops her from entering. She is part of me, and goes wherever I go. Everything that is mine, she claims as her own. Even my lovers are not safe from her wicked deeds.
Every morning, as I pick up the torn books and broken keepsakes, I try to think of ways to rid her from my life. An answer never comes, at least not in the way that I want it to.
Try and stop me
I am a tick, sucking, sucking, sucking on you,
my chosen host, gorging myself with your sweet blood,
increasing my body size tenfold,
hoping to be noticed as anyone else but me.
Do you think you can stop me with poison?
Do you contemplate flushing me down the toilet,
or lighting me on fire to spontaneously combust,
exploding into 10,000 tiny little pieces of dust,
never to be seen or heard from again?
Put me out of my misery NOW, or be prepared to die.
Deep inside I want to see
To help you set your demons free
Closed up tight and guarded heart
Give me the map on where to start
The pain you hide with your laughter
You can’t hide the pain I see after
Your eyes can’t hide
The pain inside
The window to your soul will always reveal
The scars you have yet to heal
The Worst of Me
They look just like me.
They have my face, voice, and body.
You would think it was me if you didn't look closer.
Just look at their eyes.
You'll see the ugly, broken lies I see.
Their eyes are dark with judgement that I had made.
Just look at their mouth.
You'll hear the awful words I hear.
Words that bite and pick at what little skin I have.
Just look at their hands.
You'll feel the heavy pain that I feel.
Their hands are on my neck, digging and choking.
I rarely ever fight back.
Their presence is familiar, like home.
I let their entire being take me, because they are mine.