Micro Stories

run free

i remember running, running, running, until the only sound that existed was the threading of my breath.
and the heavy thundering of the naked heels of my feet hitting moist earth.

i didn’t remember you.
you looked familiar all the same.

i got lost in you until i found myself sitting in silence, recognizing my own reflection for the first time since…
they never let me see, before
these hues didn’t exist before you.

everything has become awake and alive and dangerous
dangerous, they warned, that’s what running would be
who knew what was out there? in the dark, alone, no guideposts, no railing. no one to hold my hand and remind me my place in this vast, vast world of voices and muted eyes and bound hands

was it wrong?
to learn to speak, to want to feel the grass beneath my fingers, smell the earth where nothingness meets a waterfall, that buzzing, peaceful, oneness.
am i wrong?
to want my hand in yours, even as they look away and condemn.

i used to cry at night, when no one looked, no one to hear.
now i bury myself in you, and suddenly the lashings they offer bear no sting, leave no trace. they can’t touch me. us.
when i cry now, you’re there, warmth to chase away the cold damp chains that threaten to pull me back to them. for they are always pulling, a screeching void, tentacles slithering in to take me in the night.
when you cry, i squeeze so tightly round you i fear i’ll break your skin but you only pull me closer.

maybe that’s all i need to know.
perhaps all their lamenting and screaming and cavorting about isn’t about me at all.
possibly, they’ve never run into their own soul before

Stream of Consciousness

conflict & magick & the scariest thing i’ve ever typed

i used to think a healthy relationship meant zero conflict.

the end.

we all lived happily ever after.

except that’s false.

i watched a YouTube video by a therapist who reacts to movies with his director friend, a year ago. they were speaking on a movie about sisters and how healthy the relationships were. i remember being shocked. you know one of those moments where you’re so taken aback that your brain shuts off and expands to include the entire freaking universe simultaneously? like you were wearing blinders and POOF blinders gone.

the therapist commented on how the sisters and parent argued and fought and did mean things to each other. but what was important wasn’t the rupture. it was the repair. and they repaired their conflicts very well. with real intent.

now, of course, i’m not saying (and neither was the therapist) that this means a green light for abuse and all that. the comments were within the context of the relationship on screen, in which there was no abuse.

but that’s EXACTLY why it confused me. i’d been in therapy and listening to people with much more wisdom and experience than me for seven years when this truth hit me. and it had never occurred to me that conflict did not equal abuse. it was one of those running in the background beliefs that i hadn’t realized was still there.

the truth is, conflict happens. there is no way you can put two people in a room, have them live together in any sort of relationship long term, and have them NOT run into conflict on some scale. we’re all too different for that to be possible. we come from different backgrounds, cultures, upbringings, brainwashing, schooling, etc. we have differing likes, dislikes, tastes, dreams, ideals, and so on. and that’s kinda the beauty of life. so why do we expect that we’ll get along perfectly?

i’m really starting to hate that word: perfect.

it creeps in when i’m not looking and takes over. but it’s a phantom. a creeping thing easily crushed by the reality of life and love and actual hard work and effort. there’s no such thing as perfect. and that goes for relationships too.

my relationships improved IMMENESLY after this really sunk in.

i have my boundaries, my no-go zones, and healthy standards. but i no longer fear or worry over conflicts. i no longer lie awake, terrified that i’m a bad person or simply failing at my relationships because i haven’t “figured out” how to be healthy enough to not have conflict.

yes, the conflicts are, oddly enough, a lot less in quantity and size. yes, they’re worked through with surprising ease. and yes, they still happen.

because i’m human. the wonderful people in my life are human. and i no longer expect anything to be perfect. i simply expect us to focus on repair, honestly, lovingly, because we matter to each other.

and what do you know? life got a lot easier in this area. like i could release, let go of that clenched breath i kept held in, on a daily basis, for… well, ever since i can remember.

it gave me and the people i love the space to be human, make mistakes, learn on the way. it gave a lot of grace.

it amplified my love and trust, as well.

there’s magick in talking with one another. about the darkness, the icky things, the shame, the embarrassment.

talking with trusted people is magick. i’ll repeat it twenty thousand times! because how many times are we shamed into silence? threatened into silence?

we shy away from it, vulnerability a hulking neon sign of FEAR, SHAME, REGRET that looms in our hearts when we think about talking. and it makes sense. these are THE THINGS. the scary things. the things that matter most.

that’s why it matters WHO you talk to. but we really do need each other. (that’s scary to say. to think. to type.)

we need each other. in reality. not wearing masks. not hiding behind our neon signs. raw. with the people we know we can trust (because they’ve earned that trust). raw, honest, with ourselves.

neon signs are pretty. but these ones keep us in chains, on the bottom of a cold, hard floor, everything we desire out of reach.

we need each other. because we need the magick hiding inside of love, of trust, and of connection.

Shadow Poetry

(no title)

Is there a hub? A homepage, a link tree, a place to take me to all the branches and pieces and scars of my identity?

A catalogue of all my claw marks, damages done, and gold stars earned throughout the maze between one breath and the next? How do I show you who I am?

I’d love a dropdown menu of some sort. Maybe an “about me” page auto written by the bloodstains left behind by my pen.

Maybe my closet is too full. I accidentally smothered the monster beneath my bed. That made more room, right? Maybe the signal strength in my heart is too slow, too worn, too broken, to connect with another. I repainted, remodeled, but I can’t afford a new one.

Is there a compass I can cling to? The one I fashioned with my own hands, buried in the sand for safe keeping, and moved away. I keep digging up the backyard of my mind, hoping to find the letter I wrote myself. Every night I wake from a nightmare; trembling in the darkness, my thumb on the lighter, envelope shaking in my other hand as flames lick closer.

Shadow Poetry

Candied Love

Ink drops you never expected to fall from my wrists gathered in the darkness. They waited for me to see, hidden, forgotten beneath crumpled outlines of failed escapes and looping memories, blurred from my then doe-eyed line of sight. I’d dropped breadcrumbs without realizing.

Keeping your eyes closed is never safe.
But sometimes.
Sometimes, it is survival. Beneath the bonds of a disease that smiles like sunshine and holds out freedom like a prize inside its embrace. When all you’ve ever known is the dark, any magpie’s prize shines in comparison.

You kept on, spoon feeding me sugar like I wouldn’t taste the poison, waiting for me to trip up so you could punish me for becoming what you forced me to swallow.
My teeth rotted around the same time darkness spilled out from beneath my bed, a deluge of monsters, a messy massacre of pieces of my soul, clamoring out to reclaim my body when you weren’t looking.

I cried into the fogged-up mirror, pretending the heat from the shower could wash me clean, wipe away the stains while I stared down into the crimson pool I held in the palms of my hands for you.
And I remembered.

The darkness in me smiled back, no drugged confection to smother its flames or scar its skin. It took my hands, lead me into the light, and showed me the bruises on my knees from kneeling to the empty gods of whichever dominion you could treat me with. Sugar on my tongue, never made it go down any easier.

And so, I bled, opening vein after vein, until my own words could find me, alone and hidden behind walls I’d stitched together with candied love. Promises you whispered in the dead of night, clinging in the aftermath, breathy and sweet.

So much venom behind your honey and I’d kept both.

Always dangerous, your game. Handing me recipes you stole from a pale horse, blinding me with the glare of decaying gold and putrid smiles, masquerading as warmth, as home, my hand in yours.

Keeping your eyes closed is never safe.

But sometimes.

Sometimes, it is liberation. Your hollow heart, raised in clouds and ease, you never knew the feel of empty hands on cold floors, breathing so hard your lungs burned, anxiety gripping your ribs so hard you had to fight to breathe, the filth of lies eating through your thrift store clothes.

Your closed eyes, they became my salvation.

Closed to the bloody ink, drops of sand in a timer you were doomed to break in me.

Everything comes to an end.

No whimper, no bang, though those words sing my bones to life.

But it comes with a set of eyes, wide open in the shadows, waiting for you to hunger at my hand. For the sweetness you offered bites both ways.

Perhaps you did offer freedom. Not within you. But through you, on the other side of a bittersweet fire.

Shadow Poetry


can i force it
if i need it?
or am i held hostage
by my own heart?

i think about this a lot
sitting on the stone, empty floor of a cage i don’t remember entering.
there’s this voice,
rattling around inside my head, bouncing off the walls.

i keep thinking it’s you.
i guess i’m wrong.

i used to believe
i could find the key to let myself out.
if only i fought hard enough, kept my head down, paid my dues.

i used to believe in a lot of things.
a lot of people.

i used to look in the mirror
and see hope.
i didn’t notice the hard, shiny collar, slicing into my oxygen supply.
do i hold the leash? does anyone?
or am i hallucinating, crumpled in the corner on the bathroom floor, trying to soak up the cold from the tiles like it’ll cure all my ills?
i don’t know anymore.

i’m knocking on my ribs, calling out for help,
“can you hear me?”
i guess not.
maybe my heart decided it would hurt less if i didn’t feel as much.
you can’t break what you can’t find, right?
boy was that fairy tale wrong.

i am a broken mask,
crumpled and muddied by others’ boots.
i am a forgotten newspaper ad,
empty rooms never viewed.
i am the only cry you cannot hear
in the dead of night.
a howl so lonely
you’d almost prefer fear.

because nothing hurts more
nothing soothes less
than lonely love letters from death.

by Daphne Shadows

Shadow Poetry

with me

who else lives daily with the feeling of defeat?
if your heart is heavy, come sit it at my feet.
I understand you, I know you all too well,
tell me when life broke you, how hard you fell.

you can find solace, here with me
I promise to truly hear you, to really see.
I know this world is ugly, believe you me
sometimes all we do is ache, exist, be.

you don’t have to smile for me, no pretending
I know how much energy you’re expending.
every day, just trying to smile, keep it all together
fearing a breakdown under the weight of one last feather.

but here it is quiet and here you are free
here you can lay your burden down with me.
we can sit safely together in the darkness of life
and you can spill all your secrets, your shame, your strife.

we’ll stare at the sky until something beautiful shines
even as our light, our fire, sputters and whines.
I know you have merit, sometimes you have joy
and I know this world treats your heart like a toy.

come sit with me, and take a moment to breathe
remove your mask, this fake, suffocating sleeve.
unzip your skin, for what we need is each other
so come with me this night so we can make it through another.

by Daphne Shadows

Stream of Consciousness

stop trying to find your purpose

instead, find yourSELF
then find the purpose you have currently

purpose, purpose, purpose
it’s bloody EVERYWHERE

and believe you me, i get it!
i have bipolar depression. not having purpose can kick up some scary questions, mind states, and thought processes.
but how can you find what you’re meant to do if you’re actively ignoring and/or out of touch with YOU?

one of my favorite phrases of all time is, “know thyself”.

many people dislike this phrase because it expects us to know ourselves in and out, they reason. which, if you’re a human being, you know is impossible. but i think that sort of thinking is akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water.
knowing yourself is a GOOD IDEA.
what triggers you? what pisses you off? what do you enjoy? love? hate? what brings a smile to your face? when do you know you’ll get impulsive? what are your weaknesses? strengths? desires? values? goals? plans? consistent behaviors and decisions?
when we’re upset, we tend to want to change or fix someone else. but often times, changing ourselves to grow into who we want to become, will give us a far richer life. one where we’re not so focused on, and magnifying, all of the things and emotions which upset us. those never go away, of course. but knowing yourself allows you to live from a more stable foundation. to actively reach for what you want with clarity of mind, body, and feeling.

but its fluid.
we are, after all, human.
who we are today will not be who we are next year. we are not who we were last january. we just aren’t.
change is a constant. whether we’re growing in a direction we want or not, is up to us.

so before you get caught up in feeling like a terrible person, a loser, an idiot, someone without ambition or know-how or a reason for existing… poke at who you are. poke at who you’re becoming. at what angers you. what fills you with joy. how you want to impact the world. how you want to better yourself and help others.

a funny thing happens.
it gets easier to choose what you want your purpose to be, or to recognize it.
and never forget, your purpose changes. just like you.