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7d · 69
Some Days
Kat 7d
I have gotten much better at coping
With anxiety and panic,
But some days
Are more difficult than others.

It is on these days
That trauma disturbs the surface of my calm;
Memories float by as if propelled by currents
And there is no space
Between thought and feeling.

It is on these days
That fear and regret join forces
To form a wave
That only grows larger when looked at,
And the what if’s and if only’s
Reign supreme over the ok’s.

It is on these days
That the past and the present
Feel fastened too close
To untangle
And the desire to reach
For old coping mechanisms
Too close for comfort.

And it is on these days
When I reach for everything I have learned
About calming my mind
And convincing myself
That I am not injured or alone,
That the past is not the present,
That similar situations
Do not always warrant similar feelings,
And similar feelings do not always mean
I am in a similar situation;
When I do the things
That I know help me,
Even if I don’t want to take the time
To try them.

Some days are more difficult than others;
But some days
Are no longer most days
And that is a sweet relief.
Nov 19 · 82
Decisions
Kat Nov 19
Over the years
I have become an expert
At deciding
By not deciding
Definitely not the best way of making decisions... I’ve gotten better but it’s still difficult
Kat Nov 19
She woke one night to visions three:
A ship, a figure, a moon so clear;
They smelled of sand and salty breeze,
Of silver stars and silver seas.

She was drowsy with sleep; a mirage, it seemed;
She crept downstairs, out the door she peered;
A figure stood, eyes filled with glee
For silver stars and silver seas.

He smiled to her, “And so I see
You’ve found me at last, I’ve been waiting, dear;
So come with me, I’ll set you free
With silver stars and silver seas.”

She took his hand — it was just a dream,
She’d wake in time, no need to fear;
Her life was hard, so thoughts she’d need
Of silver stars and silver seas.

Soon time passed out of memory;
She lost the worry, lost the years,
But there she stayed, wanted only to be
By silver stars and silver seas.

So they sail and sail and sail the streams,
To islands warm, to forests they steer;
To deserts wide and golden trees,
To silver stars and silver seas.

She thinks each day, I’ve all I need —
A ship, a lover, a home right here;
How lucky to be somebody
With silver stars and silver seas.

So she stays right there; she does not dream
Of the other life she once held dear;
They sail with smiles — no need to flee
The silver stars and silver seas.

Perhaps one day you too will see
The ship, the figure, the moon so clear;
Only time will tell if you too will be
One of silver stars and silver seas.
Nov 12 · 41
Dichotomies
Kat Nov 12
So often I see myself in dichotomies:

I am a student or I am a patient;

I am a writer of poems about fantasy or a writer of poems about mental illness;

I am healthy or I am sick;

I am depressed or I am happy.

Sometimes I try to separate out these identities, picking and choosing them like files on a shelf.

I try to isolate the daydreamer me from the student me from the patient me, willing myself to commit entirely to one identity until the situation necessitates another.

But I need to remember that my identity is not  JUST, ONLY, OR.

Sometimes student blends with patient —

I approach recovery from illness with similar methods to which I approach school;

I read research papers on my health conditions, and research papers on my field of study;

I write questions for doctors’ appointments and questions for office hours.

Sometimes fantasy blends with mental illness —

The ways in which my fictional characters suffer mimic my struggles;

The words they use to comfort me are the words my friends would have spoken, were they with me in person;

In having my characters work through their pain, I often work through my own.

The list goes on.

I embody all of these identities — the ones I listed above, and many more.

They mix like pebbles into sand, or streams into a river — always there, always combining to make me the multifaceted person that I am.

So on days when I find myself wishing that I weren’t just X or only Y or only Z,

I will try to remind myself that I am not JUST, ONLY, OR;

I am completely, beautifully, wonderfully,

ME.
Nov 7 · 76
Nostalgia
Kat Nov 7
Tonight,
In a country divided,
I long more than ever for times long gone.

I wish I could go back to happy childhood days,
Like summers spent at my grandmother’s house —
How I miss the smells of birch and evergreen;
The sleeping on the porch looking out onto the lake;
The watching the hummingbirds at the feeder;
The cookies and casseroles and cherry pie.

In the afternoon we would play in the sand pile
And sunbathe on towels
And climb on trees;

At night we would play Ghost in the Graveyard
Or lie on the dock,
Listening to the lap of the water
Under too many stars.

Every time I arrived, I would
Smile at the hills on the outskirts of town,
Knowing those hills meant I was back —
And how good it felt to finally be back.

I haven’t been back in a few years.
But last time I was there,
I saw a Confederate flag on one of those hills,
And I wish I could say to whoever it was who put it there —
Don’t you dare try to tell me and my brother and my father,
Who are not white like my grandmother,
That we do not belong in this town
That is my second home,
Was my childhood escape;
In this country
Where those who I love voted for a president
Who hates who I am,
Who spews hate like fire
While millions dance in the smoke;
Who spins lies from truth
And receives cheers, not tears;
Who drinks in the chaos
Like a traveler parched for water —

I am so afraid
And so mad
And so sad
And so hopeful
And so many other things,
And right now I do not know what to say,
And right now I do not know what to do except to write;
So I’ll lose myself in memories and words
And hope for peace and closure for the months ahead.
Oct 23 · 108
Relapse
Kat Oct 23
Recently my chronic illness came back —
A collection of symptoms out of many,
That I had hoped would stay gone for years,
Less severe than before
But disturbing nonetheless —
I cannot do my schoolwork.
I worry how my family will react if it gets worse.
I think back on how hard it was.
I think back on how bad it can get.

I’m in a far better place now —
I see a specialist,
And a physical therapist,
And my counselor,
And I understand this far better than I did
A year and a half ago, when it first started.

And despite all this,
I am still feeling okay.
But I am afraid —
Not just for my physical health
But for the power of my mind;

I worry as my symptoms grow and the fear and anger mount,
And inside me flares the tiniest flame of impulsivity;
I fear that under my skin lurks the fire of self-destruction —
Under my skin is a person who throws her possessions across the room,
Cuts lines into her skin and dreams of tears and blood,
Gets out of a car in the middle of the street,
Fantasizes about taking all of her pills,
Shouts and shakes and sobs, consumed by the blaze inside.

I worry this person is not gone.
I worry she will come back to devour me and those I love,
Just as my physical illness is coming back.
I worry what will happen when I change my medication,
Which I know I will have to do soon —
How frustrating that something that is good for my mind
Could be bad for my body;
What will happen if, when, chaos grows with COVID cases and rage rears its head again?

What will happen if, when, I break?

I know I can be too pessimistic.
I know I can be dark, even when I try to hide the darkness —
I listen to songs about death;
I read memoirs about mental illness;
I create D&D characters with tortured pasts;
I write poems like this.

I have been trying to embrace who I am, all that I am, and
I see what I once saw as proof that I was broken
As proof that I am brave, and
I wear my scars with pride.

But it is still hard
When I worry
Like I’m doing tonight.

I need to know that feeling upset, feeling flickers of impulsivity, are not a sign
That I am falling, or failing, or that I have lost control.
I need to know that a relapse of an illness or depression or anxiety or even self harm
Is not a backslide to square one.
I need to know that I know so much more than I did
Even a year ago.

That no matter what happens,
I will be okay.
I will be okay.

I will be okay.
Oct 19 · 101
To My Body
Kat Oct 19
Body —
I love you but I cannot contain my frustration right now.
I tell you I am fine, and happy, and safe, so why do you shake like a leaf in the wind, make me dizzy when I try to read, weigh me down with heavy exhaustion, make me feel that I will faint or fall —

Body —
You respond to fear to the sensations you create — racing heart, shallow breaths, physical symptoms leading to more physical symptoms;
You do not need to panic, so why do you panic so and set my thoughts racing in turn?

Body —
Why do you hurt when you are not supposed to,
When I walk or bake or speak or type or laugh —Teeth aching, muscles tightening, back burning, making me fear that you have been injured again?
You have taken so much from me — couldn’t you have at least spared my hobbies? My voice?

Body —
Was it not enough to make you whole —
The year and a half I spent out of school,
The visits to the hospital,
The meditations and the PT and the acupuncture and the walking and the resting and the dozens of doctors and all the other things I have tried to make you content,
To make you go back to what you were like before?

And maybe this should be a letter to my mind instead,
For it is not my body but my mind that does not work as it should —
My muscles are not torn,
My bones are not cracked,
My joints do not swell;
It is my mind that creates the pain and the tremors and the dizziness and the fatigue and the migraines and the panic and more —
But I feel that my mind has brought suffering enough,
Years of mental illness that I have written about in dozens of poems,
So I will turn instead and write this letter to my

Body -
You are beautiful, not broken, even though some days it is hard to believe,
Hard to believe that you do not want to hurt me,
Hard to believe that you are not some sort of cruel punishment from the universe,
Hard to believe that I can love you as much as I should —

But see, body, I need to remember that you are so ******* strong —
You have been starved and cut and bruised and poked with needles more times than I can count and yet you still allow me to
Write poetry and walk and breathe and eat and drink and laugh and love and this is a gift —
And by showing me what it is like to feel sick,
You have shown me how grateful I am for the things that I can still do.

Body -
You are not fragile, a twig to be broken under a shoe, a feather to be weighed down in rain —
You are stronger than I could ever imagine,
And as the years go on, I know that I will come to witness even more
The capable wonderful thing
That you are.
Oct 14 · 141
Creature of the Night
Kat Oct 14
You say you are a creature of the night;
You prefer the dark where the shadows hide,
For the shadows speak words you can understand —
But please know, my love, they can’t be your guide.

You say you love winter the best, but I know
When you speak to me I’m reminded of spring;
When you walk the blossoms bloom under your feet;
When you smile, seedlings sprout and birds sing.

You say you would live in a world of frost,
With garments of silver, an icicle crown,
But I know it’s a dream spun from fear, not want—
In a frozen lake you cannot drown.

You say you’re at home under moon and stars,
But never forget, stars are hotter than fire —
You say you are cold but your heart burns bright;
Beneath your facade is warmth and desire

To live, love, be happy, to give and to guide;
You can’t stay in this darkness forever, my dear,
And you say you’re alone but you’re never alone;
Just know, my love, I am always near.

You say you are a creature of the night,
But I see through that lie, please don’t try to pretend;
As you walk on this path through your pain and despair,
I will walk with you to the very end.
Oct 2 · 187
Perfect Life - Part 2
Kat Oct 2
Lately I have been daydreaming about a perfect life;
I have spent nights listening to music for hours on end and smiling at the memory of former wishes,
And I can’t help thinking, as I attend a club presentation about grad school and take classes and talk to my friends about careers,
How happy I am to be here;

See I spent months avoiding thinking about the future,
Cause it was far too painful to envision what my life could have been
And what it could not be so
I focused on the present moment, away from the metaphorical mountains that I once wanted to climb —
But now I have convinced myself that my suffering has made me who I am,
Has allowed me to have this dream of a beautiful life, and
I can finally see the top of these mountain peaks;
They gleam white with snow, the sun shines bright,
And I think,
How wonderful it is to dream of concerts and travel and cafes and cobblestone streets and campfire songs and kisses in the dark;

But it is hard to see the pathway to my dreams;
They are beautiful but also distant like a mirage and I spend much of my time dreaming but much of my time
Pouring over medical notes and watching medical dramas and reading all about my health conditions,
Cause it’s wonderful to dream and say, “I’ve come so far. I can be patient. It will get better,” and believe it,
Until I am confronted once again with muscles that feel weak and shake and ache,
With the fear of what could happen if I push through it again,
And I am reminded of the days spent in bed unable to stand or walk,
Of typing because it hurt too much to talk,
Of dizziness and sleep and sweat on my skin,
Of hospital rooms and medication and IVs,
Of kind doctors who apologized when they caused me pain and
Kind nurses who helped when I could not stifle my cries —
And most of all, of all the mental pain —
The panic attacks and the suicidal thoughts and the mood swings and the crying spells and the despair that I just wished would end;

And as I listen to my music and dream my dreams I feel the familiar ache of longing mixed with loss,
I think, what is my life but this?
Who am I but a patient, someone who is sick?
I am so happy I am finally sort of happy,
But sometimes I feel I am walking on a ridge that has no end,
Constantly balancing with every step,
But knowing every day I could slip again;
And the snow will numb my hands and the rock will scrape my knees and my stomach will once again feel the fear of falling,
And how hard will it be to climb back up?

So I spend some of my time dreaming of the far future and some of my time stuck in the present and the past,
And I pray that I will look back on this moment,
Years and years from now,
And read my poems and hear my songs and think,
Look at my life.
I am proud.
I am happy.
I am grateful.
And I would not change a thing.
Just some recent thoughts and emotions I needed to get off my chest.
Sep 25 · 260
Perfect Life
Kat Sep 25
Sometimes I think
Over the past few years
If I had not gone through what I did
I could have been creating my perfect life
But then I think
I would have had no chance at that perfect life
If I had not gone through what I did
I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that I can make meaning out of everything that happens, and that belief has been so important in helping me deal with physical and mental pain.
Sep 19 · 80
Pain - a Villanelle
Kat Sep 19
It gets better and worse, I try not to complain
But my world’s far removed from life not long ago;
I now fear that my life is dictated by pain.

Every day I awake to the same old refrain:
The ache grows with the hours, waxes, wanes, lays me low;
It gets better and worse, I try not to complain.

Feels like war between want and the will to abstain
From so much; try to work, but my body says “no;”
I now fear that my life is dictated by pain.

I’ve tried drugs, massage, pacing, so much more; it’s plain
It takes more than some pills to control this new foe;
It gets better and worse, I try not to complain.

And I’ve seen it improve from results I obtain —
I know this can get better with time — even so,
I now fear that my life is dictated by pain.

So I suffer each day, and so often I feign
A bright smile — no tears for the fight I don’t show.
It gets better and worse, I try not to complain;
I now fear that my life is dictated by pain.
If you are also dealing with chronic pain (especially during this pandemic when some treatments are no longer available, at least where I live), I’m thinking of you and wish you well! Living with chronic pain is tough, but I have learned so much from it and try to stay hopeful, as I know that life can be wonderful even with pain, and that there are many treatments I have yet to try.
Kat Sep 17
To the girl who thought life had no meaning
And that life was not worth living;
Who thought that society was made to suffer,
That the human race was condemned to self-destruction,
That all the bad would outweigh the good,
And she would never be able to tolerate the pain,
That there was no use in surviving if she did not feel like she was living;
Who on her darkest days would play the same refrain over and over and over in her head:
“Soceity is evil and the future is filled with pain and we’re all going to die anyway so nothing matters” -

To this girl
Who suffered and suffered and begged for reprieve
She thought she would not find,
Know this:

Know that there will come a time when
This girl will come to change
Her worldview.

That one day
She will not have to ask her friends to hide her pills
Because she is afraid of her mind every night she wakes up,
Thoughts racing in the dark.

That one day,
Despite the the pandemic and the injustice and the fires and the suffering around her
She will smile at the mystery and the beauty of life -
Of the euphoria of hearing her favorite songs on a shuffled playlist,
Of the fading summer light and the softly blowing breeze,
Of the laughter that doubles her over and makes her cheeks ache,
Of the wonder that is movies and art and symphonies and science,
Of the glimmering gleam that is hope.

That one day that girl will look at her old poems and be so grateful that she is no longer in so much pain
That she thinks that jumping in front of a moving train
Or swallowing a bottle of pills
Are her only option.

That one day that girl will look at her old diary entries and wish
That she could erase years and years of suffering,
While knowing still that the suffering has made her who she is today;
And she will say,
Things are hard but I can do this,
Because I am so ******* resilient,
Because people are so ******* resilient,
Because there is bad in the world but there is also good,
Because there is a chance that I can help people be happy,
Because I don’t want to miss out on the songs and softly blowing breezes and laughter with friends and all the other things that bring wonder to life.

That one day she will write a document called “Making Meaning”
Where she writes out all the reasons why
Life is worth living;
And she will brainstorm for this more often than she brainstorms
Her suicide note,
And she will plan to share this document with the friends
Who need it the most,
Just as she will share
The wisdom she has learned from her darkest days.

That one day
She will come to no longer believe that
Soceity is evil and the future is filled with pain and we’re all going to die anyway so nothing matters,
Becaues if everyone thought this,
The world would not be
What it is today;
Because if you think that life has no meaning,
Life will have no meaning to you.
But it is possible to change your worldview,
To be like all of theose poeple who think
That life is worth living.
It is possible to see light when you thought it was gone,
And then grasp at it again when you fall back down into darkness.
It is possible to be more resilient
Than you ever imagined you could be.
And indeed,
It is possible to be happy.
While my life is not sunshine and rainbows by any means, it is still much better than before, thanks to a combination of factors (medication, therapy, communication with friends and family, etc.). However, I know I am very lucky to be in the financial/living/social situation I’m in and I definitely don’t want to minimize the feelings of anyone who is depressed or suicidal, or all of the suffering that this year’s events have brought — I just want to show that it is possible for someone to change their worldview and to not always feel the emotional pain they might be experiencing at a certain point in time.
Sep 14 · 579
Year of Suffering
Kat Sep 14
Some nights I lie awake not knowing what to feel
About this year that has brought so much ******* pain,
And I know I am so lucky
In so many ways,
Yet still I am afraid —

See I awoke yesterday to skies raining ash
And smoke-choked clouds,
And I cannot shake the worry that one day soon I will be woken in the dark,
Five minutes from a death by fire;
That I will return days later to find
The charred remains of my childhood possessions,
My family’s photos, the physical manifestation of the things I hold dear,
Knowing this has happened to so many others,
That it’s happening even as I write;

See I live in a country
Where to wear a mask is seen by many as an attack on personal liberty,
Where science has become political
And facts are constantly up for debate;
Where people are dying by the tens of thousands and we fear it will keep getting worse,
And this all could have been prevented before it happened
But now it is happening and being denied every day;
Where people with health issues like me can be considered worthless to society,
And it costs thousands of dollars to get care that should be free;
Where innocent people are gunned down for the color of their skin
And denied medication and healthcare and jobs and housing and help and so so much more
And people think their deaths do not matter because they think they do not matter
And suffering is blamed only on those who are suffering.

And believe me, I count my blessings everyday,
But I think, what can I do but help and hope and pray;
And every day I keep expecting to wake up
Depressed again, finally felled by the weight of the world
But miraculously I am not —

See I have friends and family and money and medication and I am safe and so so lucky,
But some nights I lie awake listening to songs about death and darkness and despair that bring tears to my eyes,
Waiting, wondering, wanting to cry;
And I feel the tightness in my chest and the ache in my heart yet the sobs will not come —
No tears flow down my cheeks,
No sound leaves my throat,
No shivers rack my body;
But I worry that one day the dam will burst and I will once again go back to that place of hurting too much and not caring at all,
To the sobbing for hours, the thoughts of self harm, the feeling my heart is being ripped in two
And that my fear the world is ****** is certain and true;
And I curse my broken body and the chronic pain that will no longer allow me to
Dance away my worries
Or take all the classes that I want
Or protest in streets or parks
Or write poems long into the dark —

I hold them in my heart —
The sick, the injured, the disabled, the dying, the depressed, the homeless, the hungry, the jobless, the grieving, the suffering —
The ones struggling with the things that I am and
The ones struggling with the things that I am not —
I think of them and I donate and I write and I do what I can and hope and hope that we will come together and create something from the ashes of these fires;
That the weaknesses of the world will be mended like cracks on a vase in kintsugi,
Moulded together with something more beautiful and good.

But I worry this will not happen, and I worry about the pandemic and the racism and the climate change and the inequity and all of the things I want to change;
And every day I pray for everyone,
And steel my heart for the suffering that’s to come
Stay strong and stay hopeful, we will all get through this together
Sep 6 · 208
Emotions
Kat Sep 6
Sometimes I fear
I cannot tell the difference
Between feeling emotionally numb
And emotionally stable
Sep 6 · 198
Distraction - Part 2
Kat Sep 6
I know I cannot run from reality forever,
But sometimes I have to escape my fears,
The sickness, inequity, suffering, tears.

Sometimes I just have to leave it all behind
And turn to the world inside my mind.

Now, I need a distraction from the pain —
How then should I spend my days?

Give me time and adventures in places one can’t claim,
Where ice can heal wounds
And horses turn to flame;

Give me worlds where humans speak to beings unseen,
Wander through lands with no name
Where day is but a dream;

Give me libraries and leather-bound books and lore,
Wax seals on parchment paper,
Myths and memories and more.

Give me a world where spells banish fire and fear,
Disease and madness have a cure,
The dead, revived, live out their years.

Give me a world far from the one
Where people die alone
From a virus with no vaccine,
From violence we can’t condone;

Where we can barely go out
So we all just stay inside,
Where on doubts, despair, we choke;
From our sadness we can’t hide.

Where the homeless lie and shiver
From the never-ending cold,
Houses broken, loved ones wounded,
Too much loss and hurt to hold.

I know the power of imagination;
It’s not always good, but see —
When I need an escape from everything,
It’s exactly what I need.
This is sort of a twin poem to my poem “Distraction - P1.” I know the rhythm/rhyme scheme is weird...but life is pretty weird right now so it’s ok. Some of my favorite ways to escape into fantasy worlds are by playing D&D and reading novels (I reference the Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden, which I recently finished, in a few stanzas).
Kat Sep 6
Yesterday the question “who loves you?” came up in conversation.

I could think of so many people, but when I answered my words felt cumbersome and strange in my mouth and I only spoke briefly.

It’s not that I am not loved. Or do not love.

I am incredibly lucky. I have so many people who love me, whom I love in return.

I value my relationships over many aspects of my life.

I am an empath, I have always been, and I sometimes feel like I have too much love to give. Even though I know that isn’t possible.

Yet I rarely say “I love you” to these people. And they rarely do to me.

I know people who say these words to their parents whenever they call, whenever they leave for a trip, whenever they come back.

But I have only said “I love you” to my parents a handful of times in the last several years. And not during phone calls home; mostly after arguments.

I can’t remember the last time I said them to my brother.

I am loved and supported and I am so grateful for all of the people in my life. But we share our love in other ways —

Through gifts. Through actions. Through compliments. But not through those three words.

I love these people back with a strength I sometimes marvel at, but when I think of saying “I love you” something holds me back.

Maybe that is what made it so awkward for me to respond to the question the other day.

Maybe I just need more practice, and that’s ok.
Wrote this some weeks ago. Not my best poem, just a musing about how we communicate with the people we love
Jul 26 · 156
Standing on the Bridge
Kat Jul 26
When I try to describe you now,
I always picture the memory of you
Standing on the bridge at dusk,
Gazing out over the water
Like a sailor searching for land.

Cold wind chilled my nose
As I walked to meet you.

Beyond the river
The city glowed with light
So bright it burned.

I could be trite and say that when you turned to look at me,
You eyes sparkled like diamonds or jewels or stars;
That I lost myself in their depths like I was drowning in a well;
That your skin was smooth as velvet and your lips were soft as silk.

But cliches do not capture
Your mystery
Or your beauty
Or your power.

When I try to describe you now,
I turn instead to memories of
Mornings at the bakery,
Powdered sugar dusting your lips like snow;
Dewdrops on your eyelashes when we kissed in the rain;
Your breath against my neck as you whispered my name;
The strengh of your hands around my arms.

I turn to memories of
The way you stood half leaning on walls, face in shadow;
The way you proposed plan after plan, afraid of nothing;
They way you promised you would move the stars to keep me happy;
The way you always told me everything and yet nothing.

I walk past the places we liked,
But the cobblestone paths remind me of your footsteps,
And the churches remind me of your prayers,
And the smiles of strangers remind me of your smile,
And I turn and hurry home.

I listen to the songs we loved,
But the drums remind me of your heartbeat,
And the piano reminds me of your fingertips on my skin,
And the lyrics remind me of the poems you used to write,
And I cannot get through them without crying.

That day above the water,
When your hair blew in the wind,
I felt the ground sway under my feet
And smelled the sea.

When nightfall came
I held onto you
Like I was afraid of the dark.

I have never been afraid of the dark.

Every night I relive memories of us,
But more and more I cannot remember
Which ones are real and which ones are lies
I have made up to convince myself
I enjoyed it all.

I have convinced myself
Nothing could have been better
Than what we lived.

I have convinced myself
The pain was worth the fun.

I have convinced myself
It was worth losing myself
To find you.

But now I am alone,
And every morning,
After the image of you standing on that bridge
Has dominated my dreams once again,
I wake up shivering.
Another poem based on a story of mine. Seems I will never tire of daydreaming fictional romances...
Kat Jul 11
If you read my poetry you are not necessarily my friend.

My friends do not necessarily read my poetry,
Because I do not show it to them all.

If you read my poetry you know my worst memories, my history with mental illness, my health issues, my shame.

You know the things I keep hidden from so many, even the people I love;
The things I kept hidden even from myself.

If you looked at my social media you would see my hobbies, my friends, my school;
You would see the desserts I bake and my favorite books and my vacation memories,
But you would not see my secrets that I do not dare reveal
To anyone but mental health professionals,
Strangers on the Internet, and a handful of the people I trust.

If you read my poetry you have probably never met me,
And never will,
But I hope that my story will touch you
In some way.

I hope that reading about the things
I once thought I would never share
Will bring you strength and solace;
Will allow you to say “I am not alone” and believe it;
Will take away some of the secrecy and stigma
That surrounds mental health and chronic illness.
And I hope that my other poems will take you, for a moment,
Out of emotions you do not want to feel,
And show you the beauty I see in the world.

I once never thought I’d show my poetry to anyone.
But I’m so glad I changed my mind.

Because in the end I share my poems
In the hope that reading my poetry will help you,
Just as reading yours has helped me.
Kat Jul 11
To my friends

I can't take it forever
I feel so bad when I cry in front of you
When I rant for hours, speak hours of truths
Cause I ask myself again and again
"Who are you to ask for help
And give none in return?
Who are you to burden them with your cries
When everyone has burdens of their own"
Why can't I ******* figure this out myself?
And my thoughts spiral down and down and down
Leaving me trapped in the maze of my own ******* mind

But in the middle of this pain
I tell myself
That maybe it's ok to not be ok
To ask for help every day cause I can't help myself
Cause I'm trying but it's so ******* hard
And I need you to carry me through
Need you to make me realize
That I want to be alive
That I will get through this even if I feel
Like the world is caving way and crumbling under my feet
And my heart is splintering with every labored beat

Cause swallowing sips of the water you bring me
Is better than swallowing dozens of pills
Cause laughing with you
Is better than never laughing at all
Cause sitting on the floor sobbing to you
Is better than sobbing by myself
And slicing my arms till they bleed rivers of red
I would rather cry rivers of tears
In your embrace

You tell me I am strong
You tell me I am not a burden
And even though I don't believe you
It is far better than hearing the voices in my head
Telling me I am unworthy,
Burdened with a broken body, broken mind
Born to hurt others and to hurt herself
Telling me, if you were dead, couldn't hurt them anymore
Wouldn't have to feel the pain that lies in store
I would rather believe you than my distorted thoughts
Warped like trees in a summer storm
Consuming my mind like summer fire
I would rather turn to you for help
Than give up on help entirely
Cause you give me hope where hope doesn't exist
Make me realize that I am not alone
I know what it is like to feel alone
And I never want to go there again

I hate myself for hurting you
But maybe it is not me who is hurting you
But me who is hurting myself
And if I can break this cycle of pain
I will realize that help is willingly given
That help and hope are plentiful and pure
And I once heard an actor say
"You only cry for help when there is help to cry for"
Well I have help to cry for
And even in my darkest hours
I give to you like you give to me
I give to you by being a friend
I give to you by sharing jokes and stories
I give to you by listening when I can
I give to you by being alive
I give to you by not giving up
I wrote this slam poem about a year and a half ago, and I am very glad to say that after a lot of therapy, talks with friends and family, and finding a good medication combo (among other things), I no longer feel like a burden on those I love or feel bad for reaching out for help when I need it. If you have ever felt this way, you are not a burden, even if mental illness tells you that you are. Never give up hope; it can get better, and you are giving to the world just by being alive. Also, I am incredibly grateful for my friends for being there for me when I need it the most. The quote in the poem is from actor Wentworth Miller.
Jul 8 · 92
Silence
Kat Jul 8
Can we sit in silence
As I look into your eyes  
Wells of cold fear and fickle flame  
Of hurt and hate and hope
Of lust and lies  

Can we sit in silence
As I stare at the lines of your face
The arch of your eyebrows
The curve of your cheekbones
The creases of pleasure and pain
That furrow your forehead

Can we sit in silence
As I listen to you breathe
Hear promises of love in every exhale
Hear the ticking of the clock
As time turns our deeds to dreams
Hear the murmur of the winds
That call your name

Can we sit in silence
Let the minutes pass as we
Learn to love
Without making a sound
As I write your name in my mind
So that I will never forget you
So that even when you are gone
You will never really be gone

Can we sit in silence
So that I can know you truly
My
Enemy
Lover
Hater
Traitor
Friend
Written about the love story between Pascal and Micheletto from the TV series The Borgias
Jul 7 · 81
Monster in My Mind
Kat Jul 7
I hate your frozen breath
Turning my trees to somber shadows
Braches brittle and laden with snow
Snap and crackle at the slightest touch
Lying dormant under a blanket of silver stars
No birds sing now – the silence surrounds them
Like a ghost
My bones ache with cold
Why would you care
If they want me to be happy?
I am hiding under a blanket of apathy
Numb, tired, eyes rimmed with tears
I know I cry too much
But on top of that I cry for you
And your frost

I hate your fire
Scorching my forest
Tree trunks blackened and crumbling and bare
Flames lick at their edges with glee —
Whispering fears with flickering tongues
Like a corpse
My bones burn to ash
Charred remains all that’s left of my soul
Why would you care
If they want me to calm down?  
This fire is burning too quickly for quiet
Too chaotic for calm
I know I fear the world
Every word, every sight, every hurt
But on top of that I fear you
And your fire

I hate your steps
Heavy with hate, bent on destruction
Squishing the flowers
I nurtured for years, showered with love and care
Until you came with your thumps and your stomps ---
They killed my dreams
Like a coward
My bones bend and break
Why would you care
If they want me to be confident?
I am too broken for confidence
Too filled with shame and self-hatred to hope
I know I berate myself
But on top of that I berate you
And your steps

I hate you
This monster in my mind
Determined to destroy my sanity, my soul,
My joy, my quiet, my hope, my love
You’ve twisted my trees into a mangled mess
Warped the branches into snarling snakes
That leer and leer and leave no room for reason
And I know
That my trees will regrow and mend in time
And the plants and shrubs will sprout anew
And the frost will melt and the fire will die
But in time you will come again
You always come
To freeze my laughter
Burn my calm
Squish my self-love
I once thought I was the master of my mind
But you proved me wrong

I hate you
And I want to hurt you like you hurt me
But this battle that I rage in my mind
Leaves me bloodied and burdened and begging for peace
I want to vanquish you
And I fight and I fight
But I am exhausted
Please let me be
Let my birds sing carols to the crimson air
Let my trees grow tall and straight to the sky
Let my flowers bloom, let them show me how
I’m beautiful and brave and glad to be alive
Please just let me be
Monster of my mind
It’s been too long
An old poem of mine I found, partly inspired by South African singer Joshua na die Reën’s song “Die Wêreld Binne My (“The World Within Me”). Luckily I am currently in a better place mental-health-wise but it is a reminder of how difficult dealing with mental illness can be.
Jul 7 · 110
Smiles
Kat Jul 7
You smile once and I forget,
Forget the downsides of my day,
Forget the times I didn’t laugh,
Forget it all and wish you’d stay.

You smile twice and I forget,
Forget the memories buried deep,
Forget the pain these sorrows bring,
Forget to frown, forget to weep.

You smile thrice and I forget,
Forget to drown in hurt and blame,
Forget to wallow in my fears,
Forget the self-doubt and the shame.

You smile again, I smile back,
My secrets shared in one small smirk,
My love for all your mysteries,
My love for all your flaws and quirks.

My love for you, which will not end,
I promise what I feel is true;
We’re perfect just the way we are —
I hope that you can see this too.
Not written about anyone in particular, just an old poem I found that I liked :)
Jul 6 · 138
Fernweh
Kat Jul 6
Fernweh - the longing
For far-away places.
I always wanted to leave this town
Of crumbling brick and fading grass,
Of heroes and hypocrites,
Of a place too familiar to be fun;
I wanted to go away forever,
Hop on a train
To Amsterdam
Or Paris
Or Brazil
And leave it all behind.

But then I met you,
My love,
And I forgot why I wanted
To leave.
Cause your gaze is the sky
Above the Sahara desert;
Your touch is the cool breeze
On a Baltic beach;
Your cologne is the smell
Of freshly-baked bread
From a Parisian oven;
Your laugh is the lull
Of white waves,
And every kiss
Is time-travel.
Never mind traveling the world —
When your lips meet mine
I am traveling through space.

You captivate me
With your siren’s song,
And I can’t help but follow you —  
Here or there,
Home or away,
It doesn’t matter.
You are both
And neither
And all.

Now,
Years later,
I still long to travel.
Fernweh has not left,
But now I don’t feel
Quite so strongly
The need to leave;
Because I have you,
My love,
And that is enough
For me.
Not written from my perpsective but from one of a character in my daydreams. Fernweh is a German word that is said to be untranslatable to English but roughly means “wanderlust.”
Jul 6 · 95
Close Enough
Kat Jul 6
I wish you’d let me close enough, my love

Enough to hear the pit pat of your heart
Enough to hear the murmur of your dreams
Enough to read your smile and your art
I know, my love, your heart rips at the seams  

Enough to sing your sorrow to the wind
Enough to kiss away the loss and lies
Enough to undo every truth he’d spin
They hurt you still and fuel all your cries

Enough to learn when learning seems so hard
Enough to melt the shell you’ve hid within
Enough to vanish every single shard
Of glass that pokes and pierces at your skin

Enough to live in peace when peace seems gone
Enough to silence every somber sigh
Enough to show you how to carry on
I love you, you don’t know how much I try
Written from the perspective of a character from one of my fantasy stories I daydream about
Kat Jun 24
Sometimes I long
For the memory of things I have not lived.

I long for nights
When I stand on cliffs above salty seas;
Waves lap slowly on the shore,
Moonlight glows on cracked earth,
A breeze kisses my lips, and
Far away a lone wolf howls -
A tribute my solitude,
A song that stirs my soul,
A long-lost lullaby.

I long for nights
When I stand frozen in place,
Looking up at silver stars;
Pine trees rustle softly in the breeze,
And my awe for the moment cannot be contained;
It fills me up - a vessel with no lid and I breathe in
the beauty and the wonder and the mystery of life;
I am drunk on it, yet I am lonely too,
And my loneliness mixes with the awe until
I long for warmth and light.

I long for nights
Spent huddled by a fire with long-lost friends;
Tongues of flame dance like shimmering spirits,
Smoke breathes clouds of grey;
As we warm our hands against the chill,
In the silence we are frozen in time,
On the verge of revelation and realization,
Caught between love and the loss of memories past;
Someone lets out a long, slow sigh.

I long for nights
When a stranger sings me to sleep with melodies
Too beautiful for tears and too lonely for smiles;
Longing pulls at my heart, and our love
Suddenly seems much more than lust -
They put their arm around me, and I lean back softly
Against the warmth.

I do not know when it will come to pass that I
Stand on a tall sea cliff,
Or hear the pine trees sing,
Or huddle by a campfire with friends,
Or lie warm in a stranger’s arms;
I long for the moments when I do not know what I feel,
And I do not know what I want, only that
I have not found it and I may never find it
As long as I live.

But tonight,
The melody of things I have not lived
Will lull me to sleep once again.
This poem was inspired in part by Blanco White’s songs (especially those from his new album “On the Other Side”) and the music videos that accompany them, as well as the concept of the German word Sehnsucht (untranslatable to English).
Jun 15 · 1.3k
The Wind - Part 3
Kat Jun 15
I am the wind.

Every day I blow through a country suffused with sickness and hurting from hate.

I watch while faces dream of smiles and minds dream of loved ones lost.

I watch while thousands die and thousands cry for justice where there is none.

I watch while countless shiver under tin roofs and bridges, burning from fever.

I listen while instead of lullabies, cries of “I can’t breathe” sound as children sleep.

I smell the scent of sorrow; taste hot rage; feel the fear for safety, for life, for love.

Will there ever be enough love in this land?

I dance around doorways and howl into the farthest crevices of homes.

As I blow some stop mid-step;

They wait, eyebrows furrowed, and listen as they think they hear my cries for change;

But soon they shake their heads and shut the windows from the draft.

After all, what could they do to help?

It was nothing, just the wind.
My heart goes out to those suffering under police brutality and COVID and I want to do what I can to help. So many turn a blind eye to injustice and I hope that the movements going on will help bring about change.
Feb 29 · 195
Distraction
Kat Feb 29
I know
I cannot run from my problems forever.
But sometimes I have to escape my fears,
The anxiety, depression, the arguments, the tears.
Sometimes I just have to leave it all behind
And turn to the world inside my mind.
I need a distraction -
How then should I spend my days?

Give me D&D campaigns
Where blood is spilled but not for real,
And people die to rise again
And monsters can be vanquished if you only try hard enough;
There is always a happy ending-
Here, not everybody gets a happy ending.

Give me novels that take me to far away lands
Where good is white and evil is black
And I can be anything I want to be;
If only it were that easy.

Give me sun-soaked vineyards
And freshly picked berries and honey wine;
Give me walks in the woods and swimming in crystal lakes
And breathing in wood smoke from a fire.

Give me languages and laughter and the elation that comes from
Feeling like you will never grow old because the moment is so perfect,
And how could you ever leave behind perfection?

Give me clubs filled with the glimmer of a disco *****
And rooms ripe with desire, see
It does not matter if I cannot dance right now;
I do not want to think about where I am now,
Only about where I will be,
About who I will be,
Because every second spent inside my head
It’s another I spend away from my life,
From the life I did not want, did not foresee.

Give me the chance to live inside my head forever
And I will never live there for hours and hours,
Until the hours meld into days
And the days into weeks and weeks into years
And I never come back.

But I know I have to come back.
And I will come back.
I know too well the power of imagination;
It is not always a good thing.

But right now,
When I want a break from my pain,
It is exactly what I need.
Feb 22 · 99
Wednesday Night
Kat Feb 22
Wednesday night and my roommates are gone
But here I am lying in my bed and wondering how
The world works - like how
I can feel so happy one minute and so down the next
And the happiness is great but
But i guess euphoria cannot cure loneliness
The kind of loneliness that creeps up on a weekday night when
My roommates are gone but i can’t work to fill the time cause if i work I’ll be in pain and **** -
Why am I writing this poem if I don’t wanna be in pain?

Staring at the simple white walls
Like they’re a mirror for my suffering
But how can they be a mirror if they’re so opaque?
Is this a metaphor for my life?
**** that made absolutely no sense and i don’t care cause
Tonight I’m not trying to make sense
Rather, I’m trying to make sense of it all

Staring at my stuffed animals
Lined up on my bed like sentinels
I am twenty two why do i even have stuffed animals?
Because they’re cute, my friends say but
Sometimes cute things make me cry
Make me wish for the times i was younger
And sweeter and happier and so ******* naive
When i didn’t feel the pain of the world
Pressing on my chest
When i didn’t
Write poetry on a Wednesday night when my roommates are gone
And all I wanna do is go out to a club and dance
Or go out to the gym and run but
I cannot go to the gym or to the club and I cannot dance so instead I
Write poetry instead of sitting here with the thoughts in my head

When I’m alone they float through my head like
Ghosts and i wonder why I’ve chosen this overused metaphor but I’m so ******* haunted
Even if i do not realize it —
I don’t want to stir up the worries
Stagnant as mud but they claw their way out
Dripping and smelly and drenched with the slime of my fears
My doubts my distress my desires my dreams
Sometimes thinking about dreams can be bad

Why do i feel so empty
Like I’m a vase but i am only whole
When i am filled with flowers and right now all the flowers are dead
Like if i cry I’ll start to crack but if i sit here and do nothing I’ll explode

Why do i feel so empty
Like i do on a camping trip when i lie alone in the dark and
Stare at the sky and the only thing between me and the wild is
The fact that i do not want to be truly wild
Or i might never find myself again

But this isn’t like that cause this loneliness is bad, heavy, painful
Not beautiful and ephemeral and wondrous
And i am not filled with awe for the world
But with despair and disdain -
And i try to hide my cynicism but on nights like this it leaks out
And seeps onto the wooden floors
And careful, be careful of water of it’ll warp the floorboards of this house
Careful you have to be happy now but no that is not the same as being whole

Nobody knows me when I feel like this
Cause i only feel like this when I’m alone
Like tonight when my roommates are gone and I’m in too much pain
To finish a poem that doesn’t even make sense -
So i guess I’ll have to be satisfied with where it’s at -
And maybe that’s the advise I’ve been looking for at last
I’m not sure what I think of this poem but writing it helped me feel a bit better and I’m happy with that :P
Feb 22 · 118
Why I Write
Kat Feb 22
Sometimes I ask myself why
I write poems
Even if no one is there
To read them
Even if I will never read them
Again

I write
So that I can show people
They are never ever alone

I write when I am in too much pain
To talk and I fear the isolation that comes from feeling like
I have no voice

I write when I am too scared
Or cynical or sorry
To sleep

I write when I am searching for the
Light at the end of the tunnel
While thinking how
I have been through the tunnel so many times it
Feels more like an abyss
That wants to swallow me whole

My friends tell me to write happy poems
It shouldn’t be so hard, and I try but
I am almost always motivated to write
When I am unhappy,
And my “happy” poems are always
Mingled with melancholy;
I cannot untangle my poetry from my pain

But I take that pain  
And when I am crying so hard I can’t stop shaking and
I cannot find meaning in my own fractured life
I take the pieces and I craft them into
A purpose as I craft my words into poems
I weave together words that become weapons and
Use them to ward off the voices
That tell me nothing matters
Nothing is worth living for
Nothing is worth the suffering we all feel

I write because poetry is proof that from that sorrow
We can create beauty and every
Overused metaphor I spin feels like an overture
To the wonderful mystery of life

My poems are not a cry for help
My poems are my weapon and my war cry and my will to
Never stop fighting

Because I will never stop fighting
And I will never stop writing
And I will never stop hoping
That through even one small poem
I can help one of you
Sorry for the unoriginal metaphors, I know they’re not the most creative but I’ve wanted to write another meta poem about writing for a while now and this is what I came up with :) I drew inspiration from the song “Weapon (Bastille vs. Angel Haze,” which uses the metaphor of voice as a weapon.
Feb 1 · 142
Don’t Give Up on Me
Kat Feb 1
Dear
Friend lover mother daughter sister brother father:
Know that I have fought for so long I no longer feel whole -
This broken shard that once knew how to whisper “save me”
Now whispers “stay away,”
Now cuts lines into your honeyed skin
Until they run bright red;
Now knows the words hurt and hate
Better than help and hope.
I feel like a wreck
Not even a ****** can salvage,
So know this -

Know this -
I cannot hide my pain so I will become a tornado
That destroys me and all I care about,
My hate a mouth that feeds on all my fears,
My heart a hole of hurt that will not fill;
Know that if I hurt you
It is only so that I hurt myself,
Drink in the suffering like parched ground
Until you slip in the sewage of my soils and we
Scatter our sobs in my seas.

Know this -
I will wallow in the quicksands of my doubts,
In the nightmares that are my dreams,
In the blackest sky devoid of stars
Where I hope you cannot find me,
Even if you call my name and  
You will try to toss me a lifeline
But I will not try to grab it because to me my hands are
Flames and my bones are jelly and I burn all that I touch
And leave ashes in my wake.

But know this -
If you care about me
Enough to love me after all this,
Then love me enough to never let me go,
Even when I tell you to please just let me go;
Toss me a lifeline and then another and another
Even if I do not grasp onto the first,
Because maybe one day I will realize
That I have not drowned yet,
And that my hands are whole;
Call me again and again,
Even if I have not responded for days
Because I mistakenly believe
I am lost and can never be found.

Know that if you never give up on me,
Then maybe I will find a way
To never give up on me;
Maybe I will find a way to fly past
My fires and let my pain blow away with the wind
Until my skies are blue and my words are kind
And I speak of love instead of pain.
And know that the roots of my love
Run deep and even in my darkest hours
It is never ever gone.
And when I begin feel whole again
I will be forever grateful
For all that you have done, so
Know this,
Father brother sister daughter mother lover friend:
I will never stop loving you.
Written from the perspective of my teenage self. I still struggle with some of these feelings, but over the past couple years I have learned how to ask for and accept help, and it’s made so much of a difference in my life.
Feb 1 · 175
She Says
Kat Feb 1
She says, I’m sorry.

She says, I never asked for this -
What have I done wrong?

She says, is anybody out there?
I want help
But sometimes it feels  
Like no one knows my name.

She says, I am broken.
Please, can somebody show me
How to fix me?

She says, they can take my body
And my hope and my heart,
But they can never take my words.

She says, I want to break my body
Until my skin runs red and my bones bleed black  
And I no longer feel the pain.

She says, sometimes I stand for hours in my shower
And wish it were a tsunami
That would swallow me whole.

She says, give me a reason to live
And laugh and love and I will not daydream of lying
A cold corpse in the frozen ground.

She says, I want to live and I want to die
Cause this world is too hard, too broken, too cracked
At the seams,
And  sometimes I think life is just a ruse,
And we are all puppets in the end.

She says, can you be an idealist and a pessimist?
Cause sometimes I think
I am both - I strive for what cannot be
And I scorn what can.

She says, is anybody out there?
I need help,
But to them I am a ghost.

She says, I never wanted this
And I don’t know how
To change it.

She says, I’m sorry.
Just to clarify - I don’t mean for this poem to come across as saying people should apologize for dealing with mental illness or pain, which is definitely not true. I just wanted to provide insight into how someone dealing with these things might be thinking.
Dec 2019 · 122
The City: Alone
Kat Dec 2019
Sometimes in the evenings she’ll drive
Through winding roads, past skyscrapers
Under bright city lights and smoke-smeared clouds
Under street lamps that glow and street lights that shine
Red and green and gold in the night
She’ll drive and she’ll watch
The speedometer numbers in a ring of white
The dial moving left and right
As she stops and starts and stops again

She’ll watch
Lovers holding hands as they walk
Hands stuffed in mittens and hoods pulled up
Looking up to the sky even though there are no stars
Whispering truths and untruths into open ears
Smiling and singing and sighing with the wind

She’ll watch
Families crossing the bridge
Looking with wonder out over the sea
Admiring the lights of the cityscape
It is dark and cold and few stop for long
But there are always a few silent solitary souls
Who stand for hours with hands on the railings
And stare and stare at the darkness below

She’ll watch
Skyscrapers speckled with yellow windows
Where workers hunch drowsy behind desks
Type furiously behind fluorescent screens
Peer out over potted plants to the winding streets
Why they all still there?
It is dark and cold and they should be home
With their families and their friends, not here
In this place where no one gives a crap
Will trade hours of sleep for a fatter paycheck

She’ll watch
People streaming from flashing club doors
Girls in miniskirts and guys in polos
Huddled like penguins next to concrete walls
Splashed with graffiti and half-chewed gum
Smoking cigarettes and shivering in the breeze

She’ll watch
Men scurry through seedy alleys
In tattered coats with tattered beards
They lie in doors or on trash-covered floors
Sleep in tents that have been beaten and torn
While blocks away crowds form a queue
Admire the latest dinner menu
And ignore everyone less fortunate than them
And laugh and shake hands and talk of the views

She’ll watch and drive and watch
Until suddenly it is all too much
The red and green and gold the glow
The couples the families the workers the wealthy
And the throngs of people snaking like
Monsters with their make-up plastered faces
And their warm winter coats and their laughs
While they ignore the homeless and the destitute and
The forgotten but they are
Alone oh so alone but they’d never admit it
Smiling at each other while they’re sinking inside
Trying to run from everything they hide
So they work and dance and flirt and **
Away their fear their fury their fantasies all fake
All fake ALL FAKE - and here she is
Driving a faded worn-out car
Hands too cold for comfort and face too hard for tears
In a place she has always watched but never known
All alone because she’s never asked for help
Hating her city because she’s hating herself
This is one of two poems I wrote about a woman living in the city. The other, “The City: Alive” presents the same city in a happier light.
Dec 2019 · 199
The City: Alive
Kat Dec 2019
In the evenings when she feels
The world’s energy like an elixir
Slowly filling her with energy
She can’t help but wander to the city
Where the lights are bright and the people
Flock like birds to a wire
And the clubs blast music into the soft cool night
Can’t help but pick the nearest bar
Neon signs buzzing
Blinding behind her eyelids
Offering the promise of pure sweet release
Can’t help but wander through the door
The smell of alcohol flooding her nostrils
A fog of hot air and cigarette smoke hitting her face
Then ordering the fanciest cocktail
And scouring the room for strangers
Can’t help but start up a conversation with a handsome man
With dark hair and dark eyes
Exchanging smirks and smiles
Long into the night
Can’t help but follow him
Down the street at 2am, fingertips brushing in the breeze
Electricity flowing through their bodies
Until they get to a line of mini skirts and polo shirts
Bow ties and flats and smiling faces and eager eyes
Can’t help but enter the club
Pulling him into the hub of bodies
Moving beneath a thousand tiny specks of light
And pressing his lips to hers
Tasting bliss as the energy of a hundred happy souls
Fills her like a cup that can never overflow
And she drinks in the elation
That comes from dancing under
Blaring music and flashing lights,
All strangers but all connected
In this wonderful beautiful hectic place
When they are done dancing
They will drive down the street
Past the lights and the crowds and the noise
Strangers turned friends
Filled with desire
For what the night holds
They will stare out the windows
Smiling as scenery replaces skyscrapers
In love with the city
Where they go to feel truly alive
A more positive view of a city, compared to my poem “The City: Alone”
Kat Dec 2019
I thought I had my life
Planned out;
But as my friend once told me,
“Life rarely goes as planned.”
See,
I used to be healthy,
But now I am not.
I used to go to university,
And now I go to doctor’s appointments.
I used to look forward to the future,
And now I often dread it.

A year ago,
I wrote a poem called “The Uncertainty of Not Knowing”
About my unexplained health symptoms,
And I guess I am more certain now
Than I was before —
After hundreds of doctor’s appointments
And three hospitalizations
And countless phone calls to insurance,
I have found a name for the conditions I have.
And I enjoy having diagnoses -
Enjoy having a name
For the pain, the fear, the isolation,
For the lack of my life as it was before.

But with these labels comes also the fear of uncertainty
That continues to plague me every day —
The uncertainty of not knowing
When and how and if
I will get better;
Of not knowing  
How I will manage school or a career;
Of not knowing
If I will develop more symptoms,
More illnesses
More pain;
Of not knowing
If I will know how to proceed
If I do;
The list goes on and on.

And the worst part is,
It’s so **ing hard to talk about it;
I don’t know anyone with my health conditions;
Don’t know how to convey
My fear, my frustration, my isolation, my regret  
To my acquaintances, my family, my friends.
I read narratives of people going through similar things,
But many are far older and far sicker
Than I am, and when I see their stories
I fear for what I might experience in the future.
My friends post about their sports injuries
On social media,
And I think it’s great -
Great that they feel comfortable
Sharing the parts of their lives
That are not just food and fun times with family
And travels around the world;
Great that they can get support
And inspiration from others.
But I do not post about my illnesses
Because I do not feel comfortable telling the people
Who knew me when I was completely healthy
How I have changed;
Worry that future employers
Will discriminate against someone
With conditions that may never be fully cured;
Do not want to be “the sick girl,”
The girl with mental illness,
The girl with chronic pain;
Do not want my illnesses or my disabilities to define me,
Even though sometimes I feel defined by them.

Life with multiple chronic conditions
Is hard.
But I know I am strong,
And I need to keep fighting -
To keep self-advocating
When doctors tell me different things
Or minimize my pain;
To reach out
Even if people might not truly understand,
And continue to find a community
Of those who do;
To search for answers in appointments
And comfort in company
And purpose in pain -
Purpose that drives me
To help others
Going through the same thing.

There is so much uncertainty
In my life,
But part of life
Is to exist in a state of not knowing.
And I must take solace in the realization
That however hard it gets,
I am not just “the sick girl.”
I am not the sum of my suffering.
I am not locked into a life of pain.
I am not living a life without purpose.
And I am not going to give up.
Dealing with  unexplained symptoms and multiple physical and mental health conditions is rough, but I am very lucky to have a great support system of family and friends, and to live near excellent medical care. If you are going though something similar, I feel for you and wish you all the best.
Dec 2019 · 128
Gratitude
Kat Dec 2019
I am grateful
For so many

For my friends
Who laugh with me
And learn with me
And live with me
Who form my family
Away from family
Who come with me
To shopping malls
To story slams
To concerts
To all the places
I don’t want to go
By myself
Who tell me
I can call them anytime
Who answer my texts
When I ask if I can talk
Because I’m feeling down
Who set boundaries
When they can’t be there
Who tell me it’s ok
To ask for help
Who tell me
I am not alone
Who distract me
When I am tired
Of worrying

For my family
Who enveloped me in love
Who raised me to be kind
And considerate
And caring
Who came with me
To sports practices
To competitions
To my graduation
To the hospital
Who listened
When I thought I had no one else
Even when I did
Who fueled my curiosity
Encouraged my interests
Encouraged me
To never stop learning
Who supported me
And consider to support me
In my goals

For my coworkers
Who asked me how I was doing
Months after my accident
Who filled in the countless
Shifts I had to miss
When I got sick
Who fill the room
With their strength and talent
And motivation to live
Who fill the slow hours
With laughter and stories
And the wisdom of adults
Who make me feel
So very young

For my classmates
Who bond over midnight study sessions
And midnight boba runs
Who want to change the world
Because here it seems possible
If you only work hard enough
Who travel to France
And Russia
And Scotland
And Spain
And come back
Singing praises of a place
So much larger than our bubble
Who gather with me
To speak in foreign languages
Spend hours studying
Climb mountains
Complain about classes
Who sometimes seem to me
So accomplished
Yet so humble
And still so capable
Of having fun

For them all
I am grateful
They bring me hope
And happiness
And healing
They give me a reason
To live
And love
And laugh
And be happy
For everything
I have
They leave me with the wish
That maybe the world
Isn’t so bad
As I like to believe
And believe me -
This means everything
I wrote this poem a while ago and rediscovered it just now. A lot of things in my life have changed since then, but I will never stop being grateful for all these people.
Dec 2019 · 84
Introspection
Kat Dec 2019
Sometimes I wander
The streets of my mind.

I walk past alpine lakes
With soft lapping waves
And beaches of alabaster sand
Flecked with gold
And forests with trees
That stretch to the sky.
Laughing children
With glittering eyes
Line the way
And smiling parents
Call out to me
To join them.
“Don’t worry,” they say;
“You can stay here
As long as you like.”

I walk past cobblestones old and ruined,
Corners crumbling into dust.
The buildings skulk in the dusk,
Row upon row of battered houses
And fading factories.
Smoke drifts from rusted chimneys,
Spewing chemicals into the orange sky.
Music hangs in the air
Like a siren’s call -
Wisps of a melody that whispers to me,
“Never forget.”

I walk past skies
Blacker than the blackest night,
Black as the darkness in a cave
Where the air presses dank and musty
Around my clammy skin,
Smelling of earth and death;
Where cold presses out any comfort
Or kindness.
It leaves me bitter,
Squashes me into a single dimension
Of everything I promised
I would not be;
It worms its way insidiously into my heart,
Sighing,
“Remember your sins.”

I walk past a market
Bustling with the sounds of a new day.
An old woman stands at a loom,
Long hair falling into wrinkled skin.
Her face turns to mine
And our eyes meet.
Then she smiles
And turns away,
But as her gaze leaves me
I feel it will finally
Be okay.

Happiness,
Melancholy,
Despair,
Hope -  
I walk through these places
And I wonder,
What are these voices,
These landscapes,
These people,
Variable as a summer storm,
Who make me want to stay
As much as I want to leave?

But I know them -
They are me.
They are all me -
The beautiful and the ugly,
The splendid and the faded,
The hated and the loved.
They are me,
And maybe if I walk them more often
I will see them for what they are.
I will play with the smiling children;
I will sit in the crumbling city;
I will shiver in the cold wind;
I will heed the old woman’s word;
But in the end I will leave them
And return to the world
Of my life.
Dec 2019 · 135
The Girl I Used to Be
Kat Dec 2019
Where did she go,
The girl I used to be?

Where did she go,
The girl who climbed out of the darkest pit
She had ever known
To soar into the sky;
Who suddenly saw life
As infinite possibility
Rather than infinite doubt?

Where did she go,
The girl who traveled just because she could,
Who got lost in foreign countries with no cell service
And relished in the freedom of being alone;
Who hiked through the most beautiful places she had ever seen
And danced with friends in a German basement club
And sang to metal long into the night;
Who listened to foreign pop songs
On repeat for hours because she had just discovered
A passion, and in this music she could capture memories
She would never forget?

Where did she go,
The girl who went to so many clubs at university
Because she couldn’t decide which to choose;
Who smiled at every stranger,
Saw in every face the potential for a friend,
Looked forward to knowing all there was about them;
Who made more friends
Than she had ever had before
In her life?

Where did she go,
The girl who googled scholarships and study abroad programs for hours
Because she was so excited about where her studies would take her,
So excited for the wonder that life could bring
And so excited to help others find joy
Like she had?

Where did she go,
The girl who sung under stars and smiled at the moon,
Who stared up at the skies and wondered at the beauty of it all,
Wondered at how life is so small and yet so great
And wondered at her part?

Now mournful alt rock has replaced foreign pop;
Instead of organizing luggage,
She organizes medical records;
Instead of fantasizing about the future,
She avoids thinking about it,
For on her darkest days she can see only
Pain and tears and death.
She sees in stangers not the faces of friends
But the possibility of enemies.
She stares not at the starry sky
But at the white ceiling of her flat,
Lost in pain,
And dreams not of new beginnings
But of her worst fears.
She fantasizes about finding a lover,
But her lovers can only be found in fiction and fantasy,
In the stories that she spins in her head,
For she doesn’t believe she will ever find someone
In real life.
She listens to the playlists she made,
To the songs she once loved,
And cries.

I want her back.
I want her back so **ing badly.
But yet I don’t,
For that girl was not perfect;
That girl was ignorant,
Pretended her traumas did not exist,
Buried her past under the beautiful wonderful present
And processed nothing.
That girl was innocent,
And with her innocence came a naïveté -
A lack of realization that the world was not done hurting her,
Would never be done hurting her;
And she was strong but also fragile,
Fragile so that when life didn’t go exactly as planned,
When something went wrong,
She fell apart,
Slowly,
Piece by piece.

But she is building herself back together.
She is becoming stronger,
And with that strength she is trying to capture
A bit of the person she once was,
A bit of that pure innocent joy that came with discovering
The beauty of the world
For what seemed like the first time.
She is trying to blend together
Her past and her present
To become the person she is meant to be.
She is trying not to forget
The lessons life has taught her,
And the lessons she has taught herself.
She is trying to find purpose
In things she cannot find a reason for.
She is not the carefree teenager she once was,
But she is not new to suffering,
And she knows that if she can get through this -
If she can pick up the pieces of her life like she did years ago,
When she thought she had no hope -
Then she can still chase those dreams
She dreamt then,
And she will be stronger and wiser and better
Than ever before.

Where did she go,
The girl I used to be?
I know in my heart
She was never truly gone.
Dec 2019 · 119
Don’t Give Up
Kat Dec 2019
I thought I’d be forever sad,
That hopelessness would never fade,
That all the happiness I had
Had been eclipsed by darkened shade.

I thought that every feeling felt
Would tug at me until I broke;
I hated all that I’d been dealt,
I cried and cried at life’s cruel jokes.

I thought that suffering was the name
For life, and joy a cruel facade.
I bottled up the hurt and shame,
I scoffed at all I heard and saw.

I thought that death would bring me peace,
That never more would I feel pain,
Although the pain would never cease
For those I loved who still remained.

But I was wrong, I didn’t see
That hope is never fully dead;
That I was strong, would find reprieve,
That I could learn to cope instead.

I found a tiny shred of light,
Took risks, made changes till it grew.
I met new people, saw new sights,
Made time for things I loved to do.

I learned to live and laugh and sing,
To smile at flowers all in bloom,
To find the joy that work can bring,
To dance with friends in crowded rooms.

Then learned years later, when my life
Brought challenges I’d not foreseen
To talk to others, ask for help,
To dwell less on what could have been.

And it’s been hard, and things have changed
For better and for worse it seems,
But seeing all the progress made,
I know I can’t give up my dreams.

I still have dark thoughts, live with pain
But know now what I didn’t then:
Despite the demons that remain,
I fought them once, I can again.

Cause even in the darkest days,
The times when hope seems truly gone,
It’s here, and you will find a way
To find your purpose, find your song.

There’s medication, therapy;
There’s family, friends and much much more;
There’s each small pleasure: ways to see
Life is in fact worth living for.

So don’t give up, I care for you;
To anyone who feels this pain -
Reach out, get help, and know this too:
That life is hard, but there’s much to gain.
Nov 2019 · 97
The Wind - Part 2
Kat Nov 2019
Oh winter wind
Bring me back to the nights
When we walked hand in hand
My friends and I
Smiling at the world from cold hard paths
Kicking at the gravel under our feet
Our laughter echoing off the clouds
Resonant proof that the world is good
And life is fair and fun

Bring me back to the nights
When we called the woods our home
Stone below our backs
Eyes watering and noses freezing
Seeing the cosmos
As if for the first time
It unraveled us
Turned us from person to being
From creator to created
Showed us that the world is far more complicated
Than we can comprehend

Bring me back to the nights
When I walked alone under cold hard stars
Breathing in rain and wonder
Parked cars skulked in darkened driveways
Dog-walkers passed with hoods pulled up
And the dogs’ barks sounded more
Like children’s wails
And I marveled
At the mystery of life

Bring me back to the nights
When I sat at my computer
Lines overflowing onto the screen
Nothing deleted
Because it was all too great
And how could I capture the nights
When the breeze stirred at my mind
Plucking at my conscience
Like a guitarist plucks at strings
And I arrived home with too many words
To make into melody

Oh winter wind
Bring me back
To the history mystery monstrosity
Of it all
Make me feel
As great and as small and as in awe
As I did then
Fly with me
Across the world and back
And show me
What it means to be
Alive
Nov 2019 · 98
The Wind - Part 1
Kat Nov 2019
I sit by my window
And watch the wind howl

Outside
Leaves shriek and whistle
While branches twist and turn
Like tortured banshees
And the moon shines
A silver crescent
In the blackness
Of night

Around me
Shadows dance like moths
On cold white walls
The real moths
Must be hiding - in tree holes
Or houses
Afraid to be tossed like leaves
Lost in the night
They look only for shelter
And light

I have both — and I know
I should crawl back into bed
Between cotton covers
And thank God I am not out there
In this hour
Where windows are closed
And dreamers dream in the dark
But I do not
For my dreams are restless
Songs play and children pray
And I have no respite
From my thoughts

Instead
I stare out the window  
And watch the wind howl
And wish I were
Swept up in this gale
Flying free
Every particle alive
Touching the cosmos
Through my fingertips
Thoughts mingling with the million voices
Of the world
Chaos would be my home
And the whistle of the wind my music
And I would not spend my days
Locked in my mind
Wishing for an escape

But I am not one of them
I cannot live on howling wind
Or raging water
Or flickering fire
I cannot be only part
Of something this great
For I am a part
Of something great
But I am so small
Just a fragile being
Looking for shelter and light
In an ever-changing world

So I crawl back into bed
And I pray
And I go back to sleep
Lulled by the wind’s restless fury
Free from doubts and dreams
Nov 2019 · 94
Camping Trip
Kat Nov 2019
Come away, my friends, come, for I have many plans
We will all take a trip to a far away land
Where the woods and the beach and the stars will all show
The great beauty of life that we’ll all come to know

First we’ll hike through the woods over sun-dappled ground
Where the branches will creak and the songbirds will sound
We will walk along tree trunks far older than we
Count as many green things as our bright eyes can see

Then we’ll camp on the beach, hunt for shells in the sand
Pitch a tent, skip some stones, run with glee hand in hand
We will gossip and grin while we’re chasing the tide
Sing and smile and laugh with each wave that we ride

When the sun casts a glow in the darkening sky
And the flickers of fireflies glint from up high
We will wander away, lie with backs to the ground
Melting into the earth without making a sound

We will stare at the sky, at the pinpricks of light
Shining silent and sharp, sentinels in the night
At the moon, with its soft somber silvery glow
Casting beams of pure white at the earth down below

We will marvel how happiness comes in this place
In this vast gleaming landscape beneath outer space
But not only in nature can we feel this way
So content and so confident every day

In the love we receive and the love that we give
In the knowledge we learn, in the joy that we live
In the softness of smiles and kindness of friends
We will find a contentment that never will end

Life is beautiful, just like this time we will spend
On this trip into nature we’ll wish will not end
We will live and we’ll love and hope life’s not too fast
So let’s savor each moment as long as it lasts
My friends challenged me to write a happy poem and this is what I came up with :) Hope you enjoy
Nov 2019 · 95
Oh Sweet Music
Kat Nov 2019
Oh sweet music
Be my medicine now
Let your melody flow through me
Like my fears
Follow the current of my thoughts
Like a flood unbarred by stones
Until they all but disappear
Let your rhythm fill my feet
With the desire to dance
So I can tap out my frustrations
Sway out my sorrows
Swing out my sighs
Let your lyrics spout from my lips
Like sweet water from a well
I drink so much
I can’t help but let it out
And I have drunk too deeply now
Oh sweet music
Be my drug
Let your harmony
Flood my brain with dopamine
Until there is no room
For anything like pain
Why fill my body with pills
When I can fill it with this
This euphoria
This all-encompassing joy
This feeling that there is only you
You have ensnared my senses
With each drumbeat I become more alive
Veins vibrating with static
Elation pounding from my heart
Eyes and ears wide awake
Ecstasy making me electric
Let me bask in this
Until I feel I am a conduit
To something greater
Than a human’s simple pain
Your words speak of loss
And love
But your melody harmony rhythm
Speak of something more
So let me ride your waves
Until I come crashing down
Until I lie exhausted in bed
In my moonlit flat
Ghosts of a feeling fading inside
Ghosts of a melody playing in my brain
Ghosts of a dance leaving my legs
Remembering once more
What I was trying to escape
Let me do this
Over and over and over again:
Lose myself    
In a few hours of bliss
Knowing that in you
I have found solace from it all
If only for a night
This poem was inspired by the song “The Waves” by Bastille.
May 2019 · 728
Regret
Kat May 2019
Regret is a question - why?
Regret is the absence of an answer
Regret is a statement -
Should have would have could have
Words whispered past tight throats and
Twisted tears
Regret is frustration brimming out of a body
Like wax from a candle burned to the wick
Burning every happiness
Every hope
Every “everything happens for a reason”
Because if everything happens for a reason
I haven’t found it yet
And how could I ever think
I am better off now than I was before?
Regret is anger
Anger at the world
Anger at my bad luck
Anger at the ones who say “focus on the positives”
At the ones who stole my seeds of joy
And sowed sorrow instead
Regret is crying over what could have been
Grieving for goals, now misguided memories
Of what I wanted but can never have
And no, not everything goes as planned
But suddenly nothing has gone as planned
And I wonder
What the purpose of planning is
At all
Regret is pain
Physical mental and so ******* personal
Hidden behind subtle smiles and subtler sighs
Singing songs of surrender and silence
Setting limits I thought I’d never see
Regret is a realization
This is my new normal
There is no going back
I have to live with all the things
That regret is
And they will hurt me
They will make me cry
And curse
And tear silent screams from my lips
Yet I will survive
Because the world is too wonderful
To give into the
Should have’s would have’s could have’s why’s
Because every moment spent regretting
Is one less spent living
Because in the end
Regret is just another word
In the poem
Of life
May 2019 · 106
Escape into Imagination
Kat May 2019
You’ve had too much despair in your life, you know now
You need rest, you need hope, you need happiness, how?
I’ll describe here a place where I choose to unwind-
The fantastical world that has captured my mind

Choose your plane, choose your town, choose your world in this place
Want a castle that’s suited to your very taste?
A nice nature-filled landscape, the city instead?
That’s alright, all’s fair game when you live in your head

Here you’ll find silver blimps that sail over the sea
Sunken swamps, farm-filled fields, raging rivers, trust me
Once you find your way here you will not want to leave
You’ll be lost in the stories you come to believe

Here you choose every character you want to play
What’s your past, what’s your place, what gets you through the day?
What has driven your actions in this ancient land?
What will drive you insane, and for what do you stand?

Here you’ll battle with demons, you’ll wander, you’ll steal
You’ll be cursed, you’ll be cured, you’ll perhaps learn to heal
You’ll make enemies, friends, allies, some in between
You’ll find portals and planes, some unseen and some seen

When you’re tired of pain, when you don’t want to think
Of reality you’ve been confronted with, sink
Into this — and imagine away all your fears
Spend some time in this world, you’ll find solace for years
Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time lost in my imagination, dreaming of a world inspired by D&D campaigns, TV shows, music and novels. However, escaping to this place has helped me get through some rough times, and I continue to turn here to help me relax and thrive in the “real world."
Apr 2019 · 253
Cynic
Kat Apr 2019
They think
I am so kind
They see my
Awkward apologies
Offers to help
Smiles at strangers
Kind words to people
Who are not kind back
They call me cheerful
Optimistic
Opportunistic
They think I’m motivated
Not melancholy
But they’d never know
That inside me lies the ice
Of apathy
Of cynicism
Cold in my stomach
Cold in my soul
They'd never know
That sometimes
When I can’t take it anymore
The chill spreads
Creeps into my bones
Wraps its ghostly fingers
Around my heart
My gut
My lungs
And I can no longer hold in
My thoughts:
Nothing matters
We’re all going to die
People are evil
Want an example?
Just listen to the news
Just listen to my story
Friendships fade
People pass away
The world is filled
With so much ******* pain

They don’t know
And when I explode
They are surprised
Shouldn’t have been surprised
This is how I deal with the world
Hide behind a facade
No one wants to be friends
With a cynic
But one day this cynicism
This apathy
Will freeze me solid
See
I have walked through fire
Fought embers of anger
And I like to say
I am a phoenix
Who can rise again
From the ashes
But I know
I was not made
To withstand the cold

They think
They know me
But they don’t know this thing
That lies in wait
Waiting to envelop me
Entirely
To kiss my lips
Until they crack
To freeze my brittle bones
Till they break in two
To destroy my skin
Till it turns black and dead
To distort my pretty face
Into a twisted grimace
To leave me a frozen corpse
To lie forever
In the eternity
Of this cruel world
I wrote this poem about one of my D&D characters, but it draws upon some of my experiences with feeling apathetic and cynical when depressed/anxious.
Apr 2019 · 140
Pain
Kat Apr 2019
I am so tired of this pain

Sometimes it’s physical -
The dull ache of muscles permanently tight
The sharpness of a joint flared up
The stinging and burning of an injection
The constant throb of a perpetual headache
This pain
Contorts my face into grimaces
Clenches my hands into white-knuckles fists
Arches my back when I want to stay still
Tears cries from my lips when I want to stay silent

Sometimes it’s emotional —
Anger settling in my gut like a slow-burning fire
Fear turning my stomach to a bottomless pit
Sorrow ripping my heart and squeezing my chest tight
This pain
Makes tears flow down my cheeks like drops of rain
Leaves me languishing in lethargy till I have nothing left
Leaves me shaking in a ball, too scared for comfort

Parasitic pain
Burying into my calm
Eroding at my resolve
Until it crumbles like a building in a quake
Until I explode
And the glass of my windows shatters
And the fire in my stomach flares up
And consumes me whole
Until I scream at the ones I love
Until I tell them how nothing matters
Until I break free of my facade
Of calm and kindness and concern
Exposing the raw cynic beneath
Until I keep doing it
Until it breaks me
Until I lose anything and everything
I have ever loved
Until I tell myself to stop
And I don't  
Because hurting others
Hurts me
And although I have already
Hurt so much
I still feel like
I need to hurt more
Mar 2019 · 65
Angsty Meta Poem
Kat Mar 2019
Can you write your sorrow into a lyrical flood,
Ink staining the page instead of tears,
Words dripping from your hand like drops of blood,
Lines so potent they bring back memories, fears?

You say, **** this poem, you’re not yearning for release,
But sometimes letters are better than spoken words.
The memory of what’s said once will never cease,
But a piece of paper is so easily burned.

If humans were stoic like the cliffs by the sea
Or the jagged crags below a mountainside,
You wouldn’t have the need to etch out your pleas
For escape from the dreams of all the times you cried.

You wouldn’t have to relive your relentless pain
When it flares up like ashes smoldering in sand,
And despair comes to drown you like poison rain
As a pencil shakes at the end of your hand.

But you know that we cannot hope for reprieve
From the torrent of emotions that flows and abates.
We live in a world where we suffer and we grieve;
There is nothing we can do but talk and write and wait.

So write your ****** poem, fill it with joy and rage,
Embrace the catharsis, let the embers slowly die.
Pour your heart out onto an open, empty page,
Knowing it’s what makes you feel truly alive.
Feb 2019 · 143
Phoenix
Kat Feb 2019
Like a phoenix I'll rise from the ashes of fire 
The more I endure the more strong I'll become 
Cause I won't live with burns without learning to tend them 
I'll walk through the flames, I won't stop till I'm done 

Like a phoenix I'll make a new life from the cinders 
A heat that no mortal should ever survive 
Some are scorched by abuse, violence, hatred; all struggle,
My enemy lies in the thoughts in my mind 

Like a phoenix I'll show all my brilliant beauty 
Although I know I don't quite resemble the rest 
I'll combat all the hatred, cause people don't know me 
I'm stronger than them when I'm feeling my best 

Like a phoenix I'll fly above all that will hurt me 
I've suffered, I know I'll keep suffering with time 
So I'll take all my memories and use them to make me 
A person I love, who can finally shine
This poem was inspired by a line from the song "Phoenix" by Stratovarius: Like the phoenix I rise / From the ashes of life
Feb 2019 · 1.7k
Recovery
Kat Feb 2019
Sometimes I wonder
What people mean by "recovery"
From mental illness. 
For example, 
I've heard it said 
That you never fully recover
From an eating disorder.
I thought I did; 
Was I wrong? 
I don't know whether or not to say 
I am in recovery now 
Cause I still have anxiety 
But I'm in school 
And I'm not crying every day 
Or having five panic attacks a week 
So at least that's something. 

I thought I had recovered
From my previous mental illnesses,
From the lessons they'd taught me -- 
Lessons that I still remember
Clear as day. 

For instance,
My eating disorder taught me
That how little I ate
Determined how strong I was ;
That my attempts to recover
Made me lazy;
That I would never get better  
Because recovery was going so slow,
And I was so weak,
Both on the outside
And on the inside.  

 My depression taught me
That I was worthless, helpless, useless; 
That I deserved to hurt 
For the hurt I caused others; 
That no one would like me 
Because there was nothing to like;
That life was pointless 
Because people are cruel
And the world unkind; 
That it would be better to die now
Than to suffer a life full of pain.

My anxiety taught me 
That people couldn't be trusted; 
That everything is to be feared; 
That the worst that could happen
Was bound to happen; 
That I was a burden
To everyone who loved me;
That uncertainty would hurt me
More than my anxiety would. 

I thought I had recovered. 
And maybe I did, 
Cause recovery is different for everyone. 
For me it was learning to separate
Food from fortitude; 
Learning to eat normally again; 
Learning to be happy again; 
Learning to appreciate
The good in every day; 
Learning to reach for my safety box
Instead of reaching for a tool 
To hurt myself; 
Learning to meditate again; 
Learning not to let my thoughts 
Run unending circles in my head. 

And I still haven't unlearned 
All the lessons
My mental illnesses have taught me. 
I still haven't stopped panicking;
I just know how to control it better.
I still haven't stopped worrying; 
I just haven't let it 
Stop me from living
A little more.
I still haven't stopped 
Comparing myself to others; 
I've just trained my thoughts
To be kinder. 
I still haven't stopped 
Falling into hopelessness and despair 
When things get bad; 
I just know what to do 
To stop from falling too far. 

And I have learned 
That recovery is not linear; 
That it might get worse 
Before it gets better, 
And that it could get 
worse again. 
And I no longer measure my life 
By how happy I am 
But by how unhappy I am not -- 
Maybe not the best measure, 
But one that makes me grateful 
For what I have. 

I still don't know
The definition of recovery, 
But I know this -- 
I've come so far 
From where I once was, 
And I can go so much farther 
Still.
Feb 2019 · 164
Dear Future Lover
Kat Feb 2019
Dear Future Lover:

I know you may see me as stable
Happy
High-achieving
Hopeful
But the truth is
I am not solely what I seem
The truth is
Inside of me hides a monster
Sometimes I can ignore it
Long enough to pretend I'm ok
Until it comes back
To haunt me

See, I may seem fine now
But what happens
When I relapse
When my depression and anxiety
Return to lock me in my mind
And hide the key

What happens
When I call you because I can't stop sobbing
Beg you not to leave me
Because I'm afraid of crying alone

What happens
When I tear up at the slightest provocation
Lose my breath on the middle of the hallway floor
Lost in the throws of yet another panic attack

What happens
When I rant to you for hours
Because talking is the only thing that makes me feel
Like I am no longer drowning

What happens
When I apologize again and again for hurting you
Beg you to tell me that I am not a burden
Even when you insist I am not

What happens
When I feel your pain so much
That I cannot escape my own
That I have to calm myself down
Before I can calm you

What happens
When I become numb to the world
When I can no longer care
About the things that make me whole
When I can no longer contain
My cynicism and my despair
When I can no longer feel
Because I have spent so long
Feeling too much

When you see this part of me
Will you still see me as
Happy
High-achieving
Hopeful
Or will you see a person
Who can't handle life
A person
Who lied to you
By feigning normalcy
When she was far from normal
Will you still love me
Want to spend your life
With someone who can spiral
From calm to chaotic
In a matter of days
Will you still want to deal
With me
With all of my baggage
When I know you have baggage
Of your own?

If you stay
I will love you intensely
For all that you are
I will share with you
All of the things I love
I will comfort you
In all the ways that I can
I will marvel with you
At the fun we can have

But know
That in choosing me
You are choosing both the light
And the dark
You cannot have one
Without the other
You cannot have me
Without my mental illness
And if you choose to leave
I'll understand
I'll be sorry to see you go
I'll be sorry to realize
Relationships end
I'll be sorry to miss out
On what could have been
But I'll never be sorry
For who I am

--Kat
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