Tag Archives: Coping

Empty Self

 

Empty self
Empty self
Mantra is to empty self
Pull your feelings off the shelf
And pour them down the drain.

Nobody needs that shit in their life.
Nobody needs the nasty voices
The gut punch of insecurity
The sharp ream of loathing
Nobody needs that mean little chewing creature
In their heads.

Some people don’t have mean little creatures in their heads.
Instead they have burning skyscrapers.
Some people are trapped in a crashing plane,
Or whole self sunk deep under quicksand, waiting for a breath.
Some people have something inside them so damaging,
They can’t even bear to look inward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The river

 

The river
Runs rolls rumbles tumbles tosses
Yesterday it was just a creek
The rains have swelled it
This is why
The banks are so broad
The usual pebbly islands sunk
Redrawn rewritten redrafted
Underneath the water
Unseen
Beneath the roiling muck
The river rewrites itself
With every passing rain cloud
It changes who it is
It carries garbage further away
It carries new garbage in
It fills new puddles
To fill with new frogs
And new adventures
Because it chose
To flow where the water wants.
It allows life
To alter its bones.
It doesn’t resist.
It relaxes into chaos,
Falls in, falls out.
It dries to emptiness,
Floods to new paths.
It bends.
That is why
The river is forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

On Quitting a Bad Coping Mechanism

 

I’m not an expert blah blah blah.

 


 

When you first stop yourself from doing the bad thing
(Disassociation, denial, self-harm, drinking, addiction, etc.)
You think you’re going to explode and scream and have an aneurysm.
You cry and shake and wonder if this is what it’s like, riding it out
And if so, how the fuck do normal people do it every day?
You’ll go through three months to three years of instability
Where you snap at your friends and perplex them with your choices
As you desperately seek an outlet
Trying every possible vent that might give some release
(Art, talking, exercise, diet, therapy, meds, religion)
It doesn’t happen quickly
Not in most cases.
You have to heal
And healing takes time.
Once your bad coping mechanism is, not gone (never gone),
But under control
You find you need to make some major life changes
(New spouse, new job, new gender, new friends, etc).
As your current situation is intolerable
And was only rendered tolerable by your overwhelming self-distraction.

Slowly

The desperation fades.
The world comes into focus.
The people you once despised
Become people you respect.

Every once in a while
You’ll run into remnants of your old self.
You’ll know them through but they’ll look like strangers
And you’ll see right through their bullshit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Mental Health

 

I have tools at my disposal

To keep my house happy

Good for trimming overgrowth that presses against the house

Or repairing damage from the environment.

That one is good for sawing down trees that might work their roots under.

This one helps me patch holes in the walls.

This glue prevents things from falling to pieces.

This paint keeps it cheerful and waterproof.

If I spray the house often, I keep the bugs out.

Moisture is inevitable, but it shouldn’t damage,

And it’s most important to keep the bugs out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Fading

I am an old woman.

I have a history. I have had a beautiful life. It’s made me the strong person that I am today.

We went hungry. For a while my husband and I were eating roadside dandelions and bad cheese from the deli garbage. During this time I got pregnant. When I found out, I cried.

I had four miscarriages and four children. A soul lost for each gained. Our marriage survived it all.

I got a job selling tickets to the movies. Ten cents a pop.

Then my husband got a good company job. I quit working and spent more time taking care of the kids. I watched them grow up. Watched them make mistakes, fall in love, get jobs, fail out of school, neglect their health. I watched them gain scars as I did, earn wrinkles as I did. One of my sons nearly lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. We held his hand in the hospital. My other son got arrested protesting. We bailed him out. My daughter married too early and fought with her husband, until my grandkids had to go through a divorce. They lived with us for a while.

Every day my husband says he loves me. Every day I make him breakfast. He fixes the plumbing. I remember birthdays. We take care of each other.

My scars make me who I am. I have seen so much. I have lived a full, rich life. Everything I’ve been through has given me a bottomless well of strength. My arthritis is painful, but I don’t really mind. My hip is like fire. Some days my hands ache so badly, we just eat store bought muffins for breakfast. But I remember the old days; we are lucky to have this food. It’s an easy life. Pain is part of living, and every day I have left is a blessing.

 

I am an old woman.

My memory isn’t what it used to be. I write down birthdays, but they keep slipping by me. It’s hard to keep track of what day it is anymore. The calendar is always marked up wrong, I get tired of fixing it.

My husband is very patient. Sometimes I forget to make breakfast. Sometimes I am so full I suspect that I made us two breakfasts, but he doesn’t say anything. The kitchen is a little more disorganized than I like it lately.

My children don’t visit very often. They always protest and say they do. Maybe they do. Maybe I’m just complaining. I don’t want to be any trouble so I try not to complain too much, but I can’t help missing them. I want to see their bright little faces. I heard one of them got married? I’m not sure which. I get them mixed up when thinking back, but when I see them it’s alright. I just haven’t seen them in so long.

My husband looks a little worried. I think whatever’s worrying him is aging him too fast. I hate to see him suffer. Maybe I’ll cook him something nice tonight; that always cheers him up.

 

It’s frustrating, living in the house with this old man.

He’s like a warden. Today I was done visiting and went for a walk back to my own house. I know it’s in this neighborhood. He chased me down and brought me back here. Nothing happens, I just get so antsy!

The kitchen is in disarray. He rearranges everything. Nothing is where I put it. It’s like living in someone else’s house and never getting past the house tour stage. What kind of devious person would keep moving the silverware drawer? I want my own house back.

My hands hurt. My hip hurts. Sometimes I forget and move wrong, and then the pain hits me, hard.

I miss my parents. I miss my sister. Sometimes people visit me, people I don’t know, and they claim to be family. I pretend I know them because they seem so sure, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

I cry a lot lately. Nothing makes sense. I yell at the old man. He laughs like it’s nothing to him. What a bastard.

 

Ah…

Who is this holding my hand? An old man… he’s crying? And a few other people.

I am hooked up to machines. It’s hard to breathe…so hard to breathe. I must be sick.

Oh no. Everyone looks so sad. The old man is crying for me.

Don’t cry. I don’t want you to cry. I hate to worry anyone.

But I can’t talk. My breathing is too weak; I’m wearing a mask over my mouth and nose.

I don’t know how to handle this. I can’t take it.