cowritten by my middle school self

Despair cloaked in irony,

layers of deep seeded anguish

behind a joke, a one-liner

designed to fool anyone who listens.

I smile while I lie to their faces.

With the laughter,

the one form of acceptance I know,

it’s like you want me to lie more.

What am I if not a joke and a grin?

When the jokes stop, so do your invitations,

when I can’t bring myself to keep up the facade,

you’ll leave just like they all have.

It’s not pretty, it’s an art

the way it’s all so goddamn predictable.

They ask questions that fuel their own self doubt

because they need to do better than me,

but all I ask is

what does that achieve?

Lonely Owl

Late at night, darkened room,

windows down, a single owl outside.

It has no nest, perches on a branch beside my window.

I don’t sleep when he’s out there,

but I never bring myself to shut the window.

Because who will listen if not me?

He’s got a lot to say, this homeless bird,

and he’s always alone,

Maybe I feel connected to it-

projecting my own loneliness

onto this brown nocturnal owl,

hoping maybe if I let this bird speak

someone will let me, too.

On depression and motivation

I travelled across the states

searching for a feeling.

A feeling I knew I could feel

because I’d felt it once before

years before it all went downhill.

I knew the feeling in dreams,

in books, in shows, in movies,

but I’d be lying if I said I felt it anymore.

I know I’m not miserable,

I’m not hopeless or destined for failure,

but when the sun sets, what’s left?

I remember motivation like a childhood memory,

it’s a foggy feeling I can vaguely comprehend,

so I go on walks, I go on road trips,

I try new things in an effort to bring the feeling back.

Sometimes I wonder if the world wants me.

where did the sun go

Sitting in a dimly lit room,

the light went out a week ago

and it’s rainy and foggy today.

The rain carries from outside

to deep within my soul,

creating puddles in my chest,

a type of flooding only possible

when it’s rained relentlessly for weeks.

Doctors and meteorologists 

don’t know when the rain will stop,

but they assure us it will.

It’s a strange comfort when

you know the rain will end,

but you have no idea when.

It’ll come unexpected,

you won’t be sure at first.

“Is that the sun

peering through the clouds?”

And it is. 

And it is beautiful.

When it’s warm outside and life is good again (besides the bugs, the bees, and the humidity)

It’s warm now for the first time

in a long time.

I wasn’t sure winter would ever end,

but it did now.

Now it’s warm nights and sunny mornings,

sipping coffee

as the trees bloom all around me.

I’ve never known joy,

at least not like I know it now,

but I know it now.

hey, maybe that’s too harsh.

I catch myself before it’s too late. It’s probably a talent. I catch myself thinking, “stupid, stupid, stupid” because I forgot to do that one thing I said I would do. Mid self deprecating thought I stop and go, “hey, maybe that’s too harsh.”

I find myself doing this all too often, and it usually is a sign that I’m falling into a pit of depression yet again. If I catch myself soon enough, I can manage to escape that deep, dark pit of emotional turmoil that is a depressive episode and continue on as a normal human. Sometimes, more often than I’d like to admit, I don’t realize it until I’m a month deep, surrounded by isolation and self-destructive tendencies.

I find myself laying on my floor at 1 am, lights off, listening to a playlist of mopey songs singing about how terrible everything in their lives are. It’s usually in a moment like this that I come to the realization of, “oh, right. I’m depressed again.”

I’ve been down so many times, I know how to deal with it. When you’ve been depressed for nearly a decade, coming out of a depressive episode becomes a regular practice. Everyone’s brain works differently, but for me that’s usually taking a day or two for myself. I’ll do whatever it is I want to do that day and not feel guilty for it. Because once you’re that deep in it, you should not feel guilty for taking a day to just watch your favorite feel-good show on Netflix or sit outside with a cup of tea and watch the wind blow through the trees.

Coming out of it isn’t always a pretty sight, either. It takes time, just like it took time to fall into it. I’ll catch myself along the way isolating or overreacting and I just take a step back and rewire my brain into Positivity Mode again.

Down again

It’s not that I have no one who cares,

it’s not that no one would comfort me in a moment of despair,

it’s the overwhelming feeling of not being able to reach out

in fear of being too much or an inconvenience.

I don’t want to burden anyone with my depressive episode;

when I’m sad, no one should have to deal with me than me.

They tell me I’m not a burden, that they really do love me,

but when I’m so deep in a pit of self-loathing depression,

it’s hard to believe anyone could ever care enough.

These fits of depression come out of the blue full force sometimes,

it’s not always easy to catch before I’m lying on the floor at 2 am,

headphones in, lights off, self-deprecating thoughts accumulating rapidly.

I want to believe I’ve gotten better at catching myself before it’s too late.

Some days are harder than others,

but I know I’ll pick myself up again.

I’ll survive this no matter how hard it gets,

I won’t let this sadness swallow me whole.

When the sun shines, I’ll let it

and when the rain comes, I’ll bring an umbrella.

Relief

The warm evening summer sun

interrupted by gentle breezes,

flowing through the trees

and through your hair.

The breeze is a relief,

the sun, though setting, burns bright.

When the wind blows,

it takes with it any sense of doubt

and any negative feelings we once had.

 

We stand in the forest,

surrounded by trees and bushes,

a plethora of greens and browns and yellows.

We’re barefoot, but only for a moment,

just to sink our feet deep into the soil,

root ourselves in the same dirt these trees use,

and maybe understand how they can stand so tall

in a world that doesn’t seem to want them.

 

I feel connected to the forest,

in the summer at dusk.

I feel as though I, too, will soon become cold and restless,

mischievous creatures will stir within me.

But there’s a beauty in the silent forest nights,

though most fear to approach the darkened woods,

those who do will find it’s calm and eternal;

it’s not out to get you, it just wants to survive.

It just wants to grow, to thrive

and as far as I’m concerned,

that’s all anyone else wants.

Simpler Times

There’s something about nostalgia

I obsess over it.

Most of my tattoos are tied to it,

half of my wardrobe is related to it.

I attach myself to the past,

it’s difficult to let it go,

it’s too easy to reflect on,

to reminisce about the Simpler Times.

I find myself playing old games from my childhood,

going for walks where I spent so much time as a child,

but why?

I’m often let down,

the games aren’t what they used to be,

the walks cluttered with litter and nosy people,

but I find myself drawn to it all.

Maybe it’s something to do with the simplicity of it

and how nothing ever seems as simple as back then.

It’s beautiful in the saddest fashion,

how I will never again relive those memories,

and every day they’ll fade more

until I hardly remember them at all.

(not) rock bottom

I exhaled and found myself

twelve feet deep,

surrounded by seaweed and crabs.

They say not to sink too low,

but if means I can breathe again,

I’d find Atlantis in the abyss.

I’m sitting on the ocean floor,

not too deep that I’ll drown

just enough to feel the waves pull me around.

I’d kill to feel anything these days,

a little clarity is all I ask.

They told me I need to cleanse my soul

so, I sank to the sandy floor.

Now I can’t breathe or think,

and time is running out.

This isn’t where I wanted to be at 21,

drowning in stress and loneliness.

I feel the seaweed wrap around my legs,

tighter every second

until I accept defeat.

This isn’t rock bottom,

but I can’t sink any lower.