Shadow Poetry

watch your will

your heart is a wild creature
ribs it’s cage
hands a wildfire or a home
tongue an out

watch carefully-
your heart’s desires
ashes hang in the balance
carry not a doubt.

Shadow Poetry

vicious cycle

i keep fighting forward
and just when i think i’ve got my feet under me
i realize i’m on my knees
bloodied and hazy

can you create castles out of sand?
a masterpiece from oils and fine brushes?
a whole, walking, talking person
out of a broken, beaten, wraith?
– only to have a sledgehammer taken to it?

and again
and again

do you choose to stand, crawl, scream
rage against the silence
chip away at the race you cannot win
and keep kind against the cruelty?

only to end up back here again
wondering who cried the tears on your cheeks
or left the spire of rage in your chest?
who took the wind from your sails
the breath from your lungs?
left your hands mere shards of bone
with your lips sewn shut?

i get tired of this place
i know you’ve been here too
how can we all feel so alone
when we tread the same footsteps
until the ground is more worn than our spirits

is this it?
an endless loop

a trudging march to the beat of whatever drum happens to hold our reins
a constant gasping above the surface
before we fight not to drown once more

i choose to believe it’s not so
even though…

Stream of Consciousness

time torture


every so often

once in a blue moon

in the back recesses of your mind, when no one is looking

do you ever wonder…

what if you had said yes?

and then i remember

i haven’t answered yet

what if i look back

and wonder…

what if i had said no?

Micro Stories

how many deaths?

Life flashes before your eyes before you die.
They say, whispers turning to smoke in the night’s chill.
Tightening the noose.
It’s a lie.
Every time
Every time I die, they erase a little more of me.
Disaster etched his lips, only the simplest of pains stitching his heart back together. They keep supplying the knives for him to cut it open.
Don’t rock the chair.
Their eyes closed, backs turned to the empty shoes and spilling sobs.

Life flashes before your eyes before you die.
It’s a lie.
Frozen clocks in their hearts, razors for tongues.
They knew all along. Steered him clear of me.
Drowning us both.
Better to leash a sheep than fear a wolf running free.

Don’t rock the chair.
Every time
Every time it breaks me a little more.
He’s running out of stitches.

Life flashes before your eyes before you die.
It’s a lie.
They stuffed their hands with paper mache, pockets with gold.
Didn’t know it would weigh them down, slow their hold.
Step by step, forgetting their fear, dragging their feet.
Someone whispered into the wrong ear, jewels wouldn’t be sold.
Caught up then, in their halls of majesty, they forgot.
They forgot about the slipping leash, their crooked crowns dulling the cuffs.
And he found me, sitting on the edge, feet dangling, holding their noose, rocking the chair.

Stream of Consciousness

i don’t know

i’m turning thirty years old this thanksgiving.

something about this coming birthday has me really thinking. and feeling. which is good, considering my bad habit of checking out instead of living inside myself. I’ve been doing better at getting present but as of late, my house of cards has come crashing down. again. shocker, i know.

i guess life is more cyclical than i would’ve predicted. i climb a bit, get good at simply allowing an awareness to exist within me, take steps to work on it, and WHAM! what do ya know? something new gut punches me.

which is to say, life keeps on keeping on.

to be honest, i thought 8 years of al-anon, therapy, self-help books, getting honest with myself, and really working on my weaknesses and conditioned behaviors and thought patterns…. i thought i’d feel better. i thought i’d be better. hell. i thought i’d be doing better.

and i am. feeling, being, and doing better.

but i let a certain chain sit around my throat, getting tighter and tighter and tighter whilst i continued on, not a bit aware, consciously.


i expected myself to have reached certain milestones by now. milestones people typically reach when they’re healthy, grew up knowing how to have an identity and boundaries, or at the very least had some sense of self. which i did not.

and of course, societal pressures got jostled all over in there, slithering into my operating system so i was running off of unhealthy beliefs about myself and life.

and no, this isn’t a pity party. loads of people figure it out way before me. loads of people get healthy almost immediately, figure out their current selves and desires, and make huge headway, all before hitting twenty-five.

that simply isn’t me.

i’m turning thirty years old this month and i’m only now deciding that BLOODY YES, i want to have dreams. and go after them. i want to want things for myself, good things, and go after them. whether the world cocks an eyebrow and judges or not.

but mostly, i’ve grown to welcome the truth that i don’t know. i don’t know how to go about things perfectly. i don’t know how i will feel tomorrow. i don’t know where i will be in five years. i don’t know, i don’t know, i don’t know.

what i DO know, is that it’s not my job to have it all figured out.

it’s my job to live.

genuinely, truly, mundanely, magically, in the present, in my passion, contributing, with joy, lovingly, live.

i’m grateful that so much pain has left. and that i know the remaining pain doesn’t have to destroy me.
i’m grateful for the beauty. and that i know it never has to leave me.
i’m grateful that i can honestly say i like myself, i like the changes i’ve chosen to make. i’m proud of the work i’ve put into building myself up. i’m no longer ashamed of where i’m at in life. i’m genuinely at peace and excited for my future.

the oddest thing of all – and best – is that THIS peace & excitement for a future i can’t yet name (though i dare to desire a certain direction now), is immeasurably better than any expectations my younger self had based on those milestone markers and societal norms. that future me would’ve still lived in misery. instead, here i sit. okay with the discomfort. hopeful for more. feeling, whole.


*a note on positive affirmations

we can edit them.
that’s it.
that’s the secret. at least, it is for me.

you see, when i first heard about positive affirmations, i could’ve caused an earthquake across the universe with as hard as i rolled my eyes.
uh, no. i cannot think myself into a different reality.
and no, no i cannot. neither can you. i can tell myself the sky is yellow every day, all day. and guess what? it’s still blue.

so what’s the point of affirmations?
why have i begun using them (at the suggestion of my therapist)?
what does editing an affirmation mean?

when i first poked at affirmations – they felt like a lie.
if you know me, honesty is a HUGE importance. in everything. always. intent, trust… these things make or break a relationship for me. including my relationship with myself.

so when it was suggested i use the affirmation, “i am kind to myself”, i balked at it.
it felt dishonest. because it was. i was just lying to myself. which is why i never used it. or any other popular affirmation.

but once i started looking into neuroscience and listening to growth podcasts and listening to high performance coaches, i realized there was absolute, obvious truth to self talk.
and what is self talk? either negative or positive affirmations.
(if you don’t feel comfortable with the term “positive affirmation”, you can simply say “positive self-talk”. same thing)

after coming to the conclusion that my therapist knew what she was talking about (i already believed that, i just didn’t know how to healthily wrap my mind around this subject), i decided to do what i always do, with everything.
i edited it.

something doesn’t work for me but science/behavioral studies/common sense backs it up?
i pick it apart and put it back to together in different ways until i find one that resonates with me.
and i did.

i found a way to say positive affirmations without them being a lie.

instead of repeating, “i am kind to myself”, i said, “i am working toward being kind to myself”. or “i am a kind person based on facts, even though my emotions are confused. that is okay, i am still learning”.
things like that.

i would turn the affirmations, or self-talk, around until it was both positive and honest.
and it’s working.

what are some affirmations you’d like help re-writing or subjects you’d like turned into positive self-talk?

Micro Stories · Shadow Poetry


i’m not sure i have a voice

you see, there’s a slumbering trembling that takes a step into something warm and inviting, like the sun, but with training wheels

and every time the light of day hits it, someone comes along with a sledgehammer and takes it all away

i keep lying there, catching my breath. before sitting back up, playing with my fingers in the sand, writing maps no one understands but me

it’s lonely

but i can still feel the pulse of it in me, thrumming into a hurricane of neediness, ready to explode and take everything in its path with it. down into this dessert of warmth and cool breezes and nothing that really belongs in these flat lands

do you remember the first time you felt the sun’s heat on your flesh? i think i must’ve had a hand over my mouth, but it wasn’t mine. i think i must’ve had some words fall out, but they came from another tongue

so i grab my shoes and shake the dust out and, what do you know? i’m still entirely ready to get the wind knocked out of me by hope.


💚affirmation for love💚

we brainwash ourselves.
(true story)
our parents/caregivers brainwash us.
(also a true story)

whatever we think – our brain takes it as fact. and begins searching for proof to back it up. and guess what?
our brain is bloody EXPERT at finding what it’s searching for.

so why not actively feed your brain what YOU want it running on?
this is where positive talk *ahem* positive affirmations come in.

we are simply programming or feeding our brain nutritious food. instead of self-hate, re-abuse (based on the abuse we’ve experienced, then copied and pasted into our blueprint for living), unhealthy beliefs, and negative social and familial pressures.

so, here’s an affirmation (a dose of positive thoughts for you to administer to your brain) for love.

“I am worthy of receiving love from within and without. I am now open to attracting the successful love I desire.”

**this affirmation is brought to you by yours truly (me, Daphne Shadows) and a lot of therapy.