A confession: this week has been hard on me. My mental health is spiralling downwards; depression seems to infiltrate every translation of happiness I might put into words. Everywhere I see tales of hatred, of sadness, of blindness to others' hurting. It cuts me deep.
And so, I sat down to write a poem tonight expecting something jagged, some sharp-edged metaphor to hide from my own mind in. And... I came away with something different. Something not wholly expected, not fully understood. But a good thing, I think.
Sometimes a depressive episode hits and the only things I can create are rough and screaming. It is as if my mind only understands darkness, cannot fathom what light could possibly be. It is good, though, to write something tender. Even if it is couched in sadness, I think it helps with the healing.
I thought perhaps I might share it with you, this poem of blooming & sunsets & clean sheets. It is no cure for this week that has taken great, malicious pleasure in turning me inside out, leaving me alone & shivering in the wind. But it is something soft to hold onto, at the very least. Poetry is not everything, but it is enough.
I hope you enjoy this piece. Thank you so much for your support.
Today I am trying to understand how to be more
than the hatred that surrounds me. How to fight
with love. How to be furious yet still remain tender.
What I’m trying to say is every part of me aches
& I don’t know how to turn that into something
beautiful. What I’m trying to say is every method
of survival is too sharp for me to grasp. So I ask
for something blooming through the storm. If
nothing else, I ask to grow roots in this place though
weeds may choke the air around me. Plant me here,
in this world I am learning, despite everything, to
forgive. Let the only burning here be the sun rising,
& let it be a reminder for us to rise again too. This
is the only way I know how to heal: be kind to each
other. Pick up trash in the street. Listen to battle
anthems, but also to songs with too much acoustic
guitar. Text each other when you get home safe.
In this life, a girl I might be in love with sends me
photographs of her dogs & her lipstick. My best
friend says I love you even when I don’t need to
hear it, which is to say, I always need to hear it.
This is the kind of softness I am learning to trust.
Let every form of hurting be another cat that we
feed & then shoo out of the house. They will not
stay in the rain forever, but at least we may scrub
the house to sparkling before they track the mud
back in. We cannot do much, but we can take
ourselves out to dinner on the weekends. We
can grow into people that our children are proud
of. We can break in the way of waves instead of
porcelain. We can do our best understand each
other’s realities & know that even when others
tell us the sky is orange, perhaps they have only
ever seen sunsets. I think it is time to let ourselves
be grateful for the horizon, even if it is not the
colour we first expected. So when the hate tries
its best to bury me, I am learning to be a seed.
Even in winter, I am learning to grow towards
the sun. If nothing else, remember this: hope is
your birthright. Joy is your lullaby. Years older,
years sober, we can make a space out of the light
that remains. We can prove over & over again
that we can be bigger than this. Here is a world
with hatred, but also with clean sheets &
compasses, with bubble wrap & bumblebees,
with hope & with homecoming. I must believe
it is enough.