There is Good. There is Hope.

Recently, in a conversation with someone I love, I realized that I write a lot more of the depressing than the happy or uplifting. It’s not necessarily because there is more depressing than good, but because of my need to write when I’m depressed. I guess you could say it’s a way to “purge” my soul. 

When I was in high school I wrote a lot of poetry. Most of the time I wrote when I was depressed, and the poetry was depressing. But it was like therapy to me. It was something I needed to do. I think there is something about writing what I’m feeling, getting my thoughts on paper (or computer, these days) that help me understand or begin to sort what I’m going through. And that is important for me. It is needed.

Sometimes when I write about the struggles I go through, I try to do so with a question in mind. I hope that it will open a discussion with others who have felt the same way. I hope we can help each other by discussing different perspectives and things that have worked for or helped us. And it really, truly does help to know that we’re not alone, that we’re not the only one feeling a certain way or struggling with a certain thing.

I never want anyone to read my blog and go away feeling totally depressed and discouraged. I will try to write more about the good. I will try to write more about progress and hope. Because there is good, I do make progress–we all make progress–and there is hope.

The Bottomless Pit

Things can change day to day or week to week. I may not feel this way tomorrow. It’s not how I felt a couple of weeks ago. But it is how I feel right now.

The Bottomless Pit

I fall through the bottomless pit.
Down . . . 
Down . . . 
Down . . . 
Deeper I go,
darker it gets.

Sometimes I hit a sharp, rocky bottom
and think it’s finally over,
only to find a false bottom that pulls out.
And I start falling again.

Down . . . 
Down . . . 
Down . . . 
Into darkness I go,
the deeper it gets.
The bottomless pit.

Thoughts for Today – Chainmail

I wrote this poem in my journal this morning.

Chainmail

I reconstruct my suit of chainmail,
a piece I had dismantled long ago.

Needed again.

I knit it together piece by piece,
              clink by clink.

It is heavy and hot and restrictive.
It is not me.

But it is the only protection I know of
that will shield against the poisonous arrows
that rain down on all sides.

It is not impenetrable,
but--for now--it will do.

I then wrote this just after:

Deeper down the rabbit hole of darkness I go. There is no light. There is no warmth. And I can’t find the door out. Maybe there is no door . . .

Some Say

I went for a hike in the mountains a few weeks ago. The leaves were starting to change, the air was cool, but not cold, and I was reminded how much I need to be out in nature. Mountain therapy truly works for me. Fall is my favorite season, my favorite time of year. I wrote this poem while I was hiking and thought I’d share.

Some Say

Some say fall is the time when everything begins to die.
I say it’s the time everything comes alive.

Leaves explode into vibrant reds, yellows and oranges.
Wind dances through the trees, whistling, rustling, then stillness.
Long shadows stretch as far as they can in the dimming moments of dusk.
And the songs within my soul blossom and burst forth.

Some say fall is the time when everything begins to fade and die.
I say it’s the time when everything comes alive and shouts for joy.

Opened Up

Here’s another poem I wrote. Sometimes writing is the only way to get out what I’m feeling. I have no other outlet. So, at times, it is my therapy, and it really does help.

Opened Up

I am a frog,
cold, dead, stiff,
waiting to be opened up
on the science room table.

Dissection,
deflection.
Every cut of the scalpel justified, explained.
Every piece of my soul picked apart.

Somehow,
by strength, by resolve,
I put myself back together,
stitch up the gaping holes,
get ready to leap away.

Then the next student comes,
scalpel in hand.
Dissection,
deflection.
I’m opened up again.

Writing Poetry

I used to write a lot of poetry when I was in high school. It was a form of therapy for me. I think writing is therapeutic for a lot of people. There’s something about getting our demons out on paper that helps to heal.

I went years barely writing anything and never writing poetry. But the last few years my muse has come back, or at least the need to put my feelings in words. Some days are just bad. Some days I lose hope, and I feel worthless. I try not to stay there. I think getting the words out still helps. It helps me process, and it helps me heal and move on.

Shroud and Shadow

I look out the window,
hoping to find you pulling into the driveway.
Every hum of a car engine I hear
makes my heart jump.

Even though I know you’re not coming,
I still wait for a knock on the door,
still imagine opening it to see you standing there,
surprising me like you have before.

They say, “All good things must come to an end.”
I didn’t believe them.
You made me believe anything was possible.

But as day turns to night,
casting its shroud of darkness,
I wonder if I, too, must fall
and remain in shadow—
alone forever.

Looking for Spring

I wrote a poem today. I think I did it, trying to convince myself, but not actually feeling it. I want spring to come. I want light and warmth back. But right now all I can see . . . all I can feel . . . is coldness and darkness.

Looking for Spring

Pairs of sandhill cranes,
flocks of red-winged blackbirds,
signal spring is around the corner.

The freezing days and the long nights
suggest otherwise.

The cold and darkness of winter
clutches me in its claws,
attempting to squeeze the hope out of me.

But I try to take courage in the song of blackbirds,
the sight of cranes,
the belief that the needed warmth and light of spring
will soon be upon us.

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Just a Sappy Love Poem I Wrote

Two Hearts Beat as One

I reach up into the dimming dusk sky,
pluck out the nearly full moon,
pull it down and place it in my chest.
It replaces my heart—
a heart I give to you.
I hope you will be gentle with it,
set it next to yours,
let them beat and pulse in time together.
When you return it
I will put the moon back,
feel the warmth of your heart against my chest
and hope our hearts find each other again,
beat together forever.

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Glove

Here’s another poem from my young friend, Kelsey Gibbons.

Glove

A glove is seen as a piece of clothing;
The piece that protects one’s hand from harm.
As hard as the outside tries,
It is unable to influence the hand.
Rain, come pour down but you will be
Unable to wet the hand.
Snow, come flutter down, but you will be
Unable to freeze the hand.
Thorns, come prick and poke, but you will be
Unable to pierce the hand.
Come chemicals, come bullets, come fire,
All will be unable to hurt the hand.
Everyone wishes to have a glove,
A glove to protect them.
Protect them from hurt, from pain,
But they don’t know—
They don’t know about the consequence.
You see, if one wears a glove for too long,
If one wears a glove through everything,
The glove will stick to the hand.
No matter what is done,
No matter what attacks,
It will not come off of the hand.
All things are protected from the hand.
The bad, yes,
But also the good.
The glove feels the wet of rain,
The soft of dog fur.
The glove feels the cold of winter,
The warmth of another’s hands.
The glove feels the prick of thorns,
The softness of a baby’s skin.
The glove protects, the glove covers.
The glove stops the pain
The pain of cutting the hand,
The pain of heartbreak,
The pain of divorce,
The pain of repeatedly broken trust,
The pain of constant stress,
The pain of being alone,
The pain of helplessly watching a loved one suffer,
The pain of parental affection denied,
The pain of never being enough,
But the glove also stops the joy.
The joy of good food, music
And romantic love.
The joy of exciting trips, playing with children
And platonic love.
The joy of trying new things, feeling happiness,
And familial love.
It stops the happiness and the pain from reaching the hand,
It stops the happiness and the pain from reaching my soul.

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I’m impressed that a seventeen-year-old has already learned this valuable lesson. It’s true—without the bad, we’d never know the good. The bad, the hard things, the pain help me appreciate the good things in life more.

Sometimes we want protection, and there are some things we do need protection from, but always having that glove on prevents us from experiencing life at its fullest. More than that, when we go through hard things, when we feel pain at its strongest, it gives us the opportunity to grow and to possibly help others as well.

Marionette

I wrote a poem this morning. It’s how I’ve been feeling.

Marionette

I am a marionette
with chipped paint and scarred wood.

I come to life like Pinocchio,
but strings are still attached.

So many strings.

One string my own choices,
one my obsessive thoughts,
one my anxiety,
one my depression,
one or two—or a million—other people—
their words,
their expectations,
their choices.

Pulled, yanked, shoved, beaten,
doing a dance I don’t know how to stop
until I’m a tangled, mangled mess . . .

of chipped paint . . .

and scarred wood . . .

and strings I just want to cut.

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