Shattering Stigmas: Healing Still

Today marks the end of the second annual Shattering Stigmas mental health event. I hope that it has been inspiring. I hope that you have learned something. I hope, mostly, that you have found hope in the stories that I & my co-hosts have shared.

I am a long way from feeling okay. My journey with mental illness is not over yet; it is a demon I will be battling for a long time to come. But events like these are, I think, the first step in showing them to the light of the world.

(And all of us know that light will conquer darkness in the end. Always, always, always.)

I wanted to end this event by sharing a poem with you. It is entitled Story & it is, I would venture to say, an accurate view of where I am now on the road to healing.

Enjoy, my loves. Thank you for joining us on this beautiful ride.



That’s what I do.
I tell stories. Here’s one.

Starts like this:
tears are exit wounds.
Rebellion. Aftermath.
Life when it looks
so much like dying.

Starts with the girl
talking in third person
because she does not
know where else
to put all the hurting.
The girl as in me, as in
losing the war.
The girl as in
this story sucks. As in
let’s tell a different one.

Starts like this:

I promise you
that if I can’t feel my
hands when they
are not trembling,
I will relearn
their motions
in earthquake language.
In tornado tongue.

In the way of sky,
which will scream and rage
and fight and thunder.
Which will turn
sweet-swollen blue
the very next day.

I promise you
that if I can’t hear
my voice when it is
not apologising, then
I will turn sorry into
profanity. Into grace.
Fearless downpour.
Open mouth. Picked lock.

Story starts like this:
I will be anything
that you want me to be,
except for tragic.

I have to believe that
there is more to this life
than: girl is sad
for no goddamn reason.
There is more than
helpless. Deathless.

Fuck that story. Instead,
look how much I
can hurt. Look how
much I can heal.
Look how my
bones are screaming
for mercy. Look
how hard I fight
my sadness because

nobody else knows
how to. I will not
close the door
behind me. I will
not leave what is
already left behind.

Here is a new story.
There’s more to it than:
girl stays sad.
I will not let that
be enough.

Look. Look. Look. Look
at the girl who does not
want to get out of bed.

Look how she does
anyway, just to spite
the whole goddamn
universe. Just to say
I told you so. Look
at how every single
morning I wake up
and gaze at myself
in the mirror. How
I do not flinch. How
I will not turn away.

Look at how much
courage I have found
in existing. Look at
how every single
atom in my body
is a warrior.

I will tell a story
where the princess
saves herself. It
starts like this:

Look me. Look at how
every breath I take
is an act of defiance.
Look at that. Look
at that. Look at that.
Look at that. Just
look at that.