Tag Archives: Repression

Journal – On Overcoming Fears

 

When I was a kid

I was afraid of the dark.

I used to make myself walk down the hallways in the dead of night

With the lights off

Just to prove … I don’t remember what

Maybe it was pride.

Maybe I despised my own cowardice.

So I just looked at the light switch

Then stared down the demons in the dark.

 

I hadn’t gone to the dentist in eight years

A lost filling finally drove me to the waiting room

Where I sat, my stomach knotty with fear.

After that I kept up with my dentist visits

Through crowns and drills and fillings lost and gained

And stainless steel needles the size of Montana

Culminating in my most recent visit

A small filling restored with,

By my own request,

No numbing agent.

I found it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

Now when I go, I marvel

At my lack of fear.

 

I never allowed myself the luxury of feelings

Afraid that they would hurt others.

This has been the worst fear to overcome.

I have progressed from exploring my emotions,

To writing them out,

To showing them to the world

My family

And hardest of all, my dad.

Because I loved him the most

I hid the most from him.

Protecting him from my unhappiness

Afraid he would blame himself

Or worry about me.

Today he called me

Asked if I was feeling okay

He’d read my bleak poem

And worried.

I reassured him, the poem was old.

When I hung up the phone

I wondered

At my stability in the face

Of what had just happened.

Dad had seen one of my darkest pieces.

And he had worried.

But things are different now.

I can be honest with him.

His humanity doesn’t break me.

My own humanity doesn’t break me.

The self-loathing spiral

Never came.

 

Now I have to keep posting

As if I didn’t know he was keeping up on the blog.

Or rather, I know that he is,

But I am able to be honest now.

Sometimes I want to die

Sometimes I want to stab something

But mostly I love my life

And although I still cherish my family,

I no longer idolize them,

Or feel the need to protect them.

 

I have always considered myself uncommonly lucky

In family and friends.

Today I can feel lucky

And not feel guilty too.

I can feel grief and pain

Just as easily as I can feel love.

 

But most of all,

I can feel.

 

And I feel grateful.

And I feel free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Bleakness

 

When there’s something you can’t hold

When what you are is not allowed

When the people you know best aren’t real

While the real people don’t know you at all

When your soul has gone off

Like a brown avocado

And the only thing in this world that feels right

Is the knife in your hand

Breaking the rules

Unleashing hell

Blade scrapes bone.

By another’s death

You acknowledge your own existence

You are alive

For a moment.

But what is left to fill

The countless minutes between stabbings

Except bleakness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

We Affect Each Other

 

We affect each other

push and pull on each other’s emotions

if we drown we drag people down with us

if we fly others draft in our wake.

 

vent your frustrations into somebody’s ear

watch their smile disappear

or

laugh until they can’t help laughing too

love until they are loving you

 

It gets bigger.

Sometimes you are part of something beyond yourself

sometimes you are angry for no reason

and the people on the street match your mood

sometimes you overhear conversations

or see a trend on social media

which inexplicably echo your private feelings.

 

Is it the moon?

Herd instinct?

Illusion?

 

When I didn’t have feelings

I watched it happen

distantly curious.

Now that I’ve found my heart

I am swayed with the populace

flowing where they flow.

Ardently curious

and still no answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

You take my hand in yours

 

You take my hand in yours

But I’m too cold to feel it.

When I was younger

You were what I always wanted

This moment

The culmination of my childhood dreams.

But life takes bites

With every swim past.

This hand, that eye, this leg

This heart

All lost

All replaced

With perfectly functioning

Automatics.

Now I have you.

You who were once so precious to me

But I can’t

For all that I am

Remember why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

On the Death of a Mouse

 

Molly caught a mouse in the garage.

Don and I watch her poke at it.

She is proud.

She sprawls happily on her side

The picture of feline contentment

Stretches one sharp little paw and give it a lazy push.

It twitches a little.

How do you think she killed it, Don asks.

It doesn’t have any visible wounds.

And although she is a fine mouser

She never learned to eat them.

Maybe she scared it to death, I say.

Maybe it had a heart attack.

Prey can sometimes panic themselves to death.

They are so close to panic already

Their nervous systems strung tight as harp wire.

How could he not break under the weight

Of the persistent cat’s killing intent?

 

I go into the garage and get the shovel

Scoop the mouse up

And take it outside.

It still twitches.

So I drop it onto a shady spot beneath the maple

And bash its brains out with the shovel.

 

I remember when killing was hard.

My first mouse in a mouse trap haunted me for three days

And intermittently again

For two more years.

My first roadkill made me nauseous with empathy

For about five minutes.

 

After a while

Killing didn’t bother me anymore.

What bothered me more than anything

Was the fact that I wasn’t bothered.

 

I butchered a rooster

To see if I really was what I suspected I might be.

It was easy.

My only regret

Was that the knife wasn’t sharp enough.

With this act

Came the dizzying knowledge

That I was capable of worse.

Of much, much worse.

Is it this way for farmer housewives

For butchers

For hunters

For soldiers?

 

How do you come to terms

With your own capacity for good or evil?

I thought a lot about it

(I did a lot of thinking then)

I decided that it was like driving.

At first, when driving, I was afraid

Of the weapon I controlled.

One impulsive wrench of the wheel into oncoming traffic

And how many people would die?

What was stopping me?

I waited for myself to do it

But I never did.

So it is with murder.

Knowing that I am capable

Does not change anything.

I trust myself not to do something awful for no reason.

Coming to terms with one’s own power

Is a test of ethics.

I haven’t hurt anybody.

I don’t plan on it.

But knowing that seed is in me

And embracing it

As part of myself

Means it has no need to grow.

 

I wipe off the shovel and go inside

With only a slight and transient wonder

At my lack of feeling.

I forget all about it

Until recounting my day in my journal.

What feelings did I have today? I write.

And I come up with seven other notable events in my day

Before I remember killing the mouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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