My Lips on Your Lungs

There isn’t black black-enough to cross it out.

Sitting like a king on the horns of doubt.

Does anybody know what I’m talking about?

 

If I set fire to the moon, would you notice?

Could I sacrifice my pain to see truth, to know this?

Misery is the only home I’ve had but it’s one I wouldn’t miss.

 

It’s a little crazy, isn’t it?

Grinning to ensure you fit.

It burns, doesn’t it?

 

Almost like the world wants us to live. But it doesn’t.

Realizing I’ve walked in the skin of someone I wasn’t.

Until I became you to stay away from what I mustn’t.

 

Mustn’t, little miss.

Good girls and boys all know this.

 

Mustn’t be a mess

Pretend you have no stress

Got society to impress

They might ask you to undress

Must always answer yes

And speak a little less

Win this game of chess

Ignore your heart’s abscess

Yes – you can breathe, I guess

(Just not in excess)

Climb to my your success

Must make everyone obsess.

 

I tired your way, discovered something –

I don’t want this life and I’m fighting.

Everyone ready? You might need better lighting.

 

I’ll undress alright, unzip my skin,

Drop it on the floor and let the horror settle in.

Pull up a chair, take a seat, I’m about to begin.

 

I’m a mess, I confess, no doubt about that.

Can’t just pull mental health out of a hat.

And something’s making it worse, let’s talk about that…

 

You want who I am to be the mask you used to see,

But that’s just not me and I’d rather be free.

Instead, I’ve started stepping into me.

 

You’re angry but that’s okay, I expected the worst.

But this shabby glass bubble, I’m going to shoot, it’s going to burst.

I need some space. My soul needs to be nursed.

Sometimes all this compassion makes me feel cursed.

I’m drowning in pain ‘cuz I never put myself first.

I wish all these wasted years could be reimbursed.

When I speak up now, it has to be rehearsed.

Feeling so spineless? Let me tell you, it’s the worst.

 

Have to climb a mountain just to open my mouth.

Always afraid the situation’s going to go south.

 

Then there’s this other part of me that wants everything to burn.

‘Cuz maybe if they hurt too, they’ll have to learn.

With their pretty plastic melting, with nowhere to turn,

Maybe they’ll remember some respect, some human concern.

 

If I’m honest though, sometimes I just want them to hurt.

Yeah, I know, it’s childish. I’m trying to divert.

No, I won’t smile and no, I won’t revert.

I’m thinking it’s time to draw some lines and assert.

 

Let me just slide it down like lace,

I won’t force but you’ll embrace

Or I’ll leave, erase every trace.

I’m using my own two feet if I’m running this race.

You can’t have my voice or my face.

Won’t sell my soul, get off my case.

Think I’ll eat it? You’re off base.

 

Won’t take it for the crowd or sit like a lady,

Won’t wait politely in line for a bowl of misery.

Think you can stop me? Then you never knew me.

 

Sewing my own skin now and it’s Mizz not missy.

You want into my life? Show me!

Think I should go back to pretending? Try me.

Think I’m too messy? I’m so not sorry.

Think I’m too open? Don’t follow me.

 

Throwing husks into the fire so I can see inside myself.

Taking all these voices off the shelf.

Going to work. Shattered mind won’t fix itself.

Watch me stitch them together into one self.

 

Double sided, bipolar, multiple personality,

Jekyll and Hyde. Yes baby, that’s me.

Normal to be more than one thing, you hear me?

 

Not enough whiteout to cover me up now.

You could probably extinguish me, but I’m not sure how.

Kill me but changing me’s not something I’ll allow.

Killing butterflies and making dignity bow –

That’s not for me, I’ll stop you somehow.

Bottom line is, you won’t have any part of me, I disavow.

 

Silly shadow eater, you thought I was done?

I’ve got my ribs to crack open and wars to have won,

Barbed wire to come open, velvet to slide on,

I’ve got my boots to lace up, some hearts to shake, hon.

Walls to break until your fears come undone,

I’ve got heavy nights to bleed through to meet the sun.

Oops – that’s not what you meant by some edible fun?

My lipstick on your lungs, I’ve got a reckoning to run.

 

By Daphne Shadows

 

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Wish Me Luck

I have begun working on ANOTHER work in progress story. I really enjoy this one so far and I feel like it can blossom into a story I will continue to enjoy.

This is the 5th WIP I have begun since I realized I wasn’t writing for me or the stories I wanted to write. Since then I have decided that I am going to simply keep beginning stories until I find one that is truly MY STORY to tell, instead of something I know will be “acceptable”.

I don’t think the purpose of a writer is to tell the safe stories. I think we are meant to poke at what people don’t want to but know they need. To make a safe place to deal with emotions, fears, questions, doubts. To hold a mirror up to the reader, to community, to society as a whole. To create a home where we want to live with characters who treat us with respect, kindness, and dignity while being honest and candid. A story is an escape from all the ugliness this world can throw at us. It’s a way to recharge, reconnect with ourselves, our dreams, and with others.

A story can not be any of these things if I am playing it safe. If I am afraid to be who I am as a writer.

No, I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. But no one is EVERYONES cup of tea and that’s kind of the point.

So wish me safe travels, will you?

I’m packing my bags, putting on sturdy shoes, and jumping off the cliff, into the unknown.

(A novel is 80,000 to 100,000 words.)

Open Up

Some people will tell you, you’re not enough, not worthy.

They are wrong.

You are beautiful. You are good enough.

Open up. Be vulnerable, even if you get hurt. Don’t sign yourself up for getting hurt. But don’t close yourself off from everything real because it risks the sting of a broken heart.

You have an undeniable boatload of potential.

You are eons of life stuffed into a small carry on that people want to stuff in a box and ignore. They’re afraid you’re brilliant.

Be brilliant. Be you.

My Reality

Is pretty goofy sometimes. Intense other times. But I’m still a whole being. Wholly me, no matter how many contradictory moods I exist within.

We are born to feel a spectrum of emotions, become a spectrum of moods and current motivations and dreams.

Never feel you have to exist within one box. There are no boxes, except the ones societal rules create for us.

But we are infinite flurries of majestic and chaotic energies rushing in and out of the forms we choose.

We are flourishing in madness, we are taming our own sanity, create when the world tries to destroy.

We are not only good enough, we are more. We can be goofy and sexy, serious and humorous, spontaneous and responsible. Interested in animals and racing, dancing and botany, literature and painting. We never have to pick a box.

Be you. And if you is a little weird, so be it.

Because goofy filters are SO much fun. 🤣

Love Letter

Whatever you feel you cannot overcome, you can.

Whatever you feel you can’t survive, you will.

Whatever you feel makes you weak, can make you strong.

Whatever you fear makes you unlovable, makes you human and relatable.

Whatever challenge in your life feels like it will never end, it will.

Whatever or whoever has left you feeling empty and hopeless and broken and incapable of picking yourself back up so that you can keep going… it doesn’t matter what or who it is, they cannot win. Because you are so much more than who you were yesterday, then what you feel in this moment. You are so much more than your fears for tomorrow and the anxieties that you wake up to.

It does matter how afraid you are. How filled with worry you are. How much pressure you feel. It does matter that you feel terrified to fail, to let someone down, to let yourself down. It does matter that you feel alone or empty or broken.

Everything you feel matters.

But what you feel is what you feel. Your emotions are not your identity.

Do you notice yourself thinking, “I am angry”? That’s not accurate. You are who you are. You feel anger. That anger does not define you.

So when you feel broken. You are not broken. You are simply resting and recovering and grieving and preparing. You are growing stronger, gaining new experience, learning what does not work, building an extra layer of skin.

Every time you feel like you cannot keep going, you can.

I am not saying it will be easy. I am not saying there are any magic words that will take all the pain away and make you feel strong and in control and “all together”.

What I’m saying is, stay true to yourself. If you feel exhausted, you have the right to feel exhausted. Allow yourself to feel that. But it doesn’t define who you are. It’s simply defines what you’re in the process of overcoming.

Do you ever take a look at what you’ve already overcome? At the situations and relationships and challenges in life that you thought were impossible or would never end? You’re here now. You overcame them. They ended.

You can do this.

You can fight for the life, the job, the relationships, the identity you want.

But you have to believe you deserve it. I’m here to tell you that you do. You deserve all the beauty this world has to offer you.

But you also deserve all the suffering it has to offer to you. Because there’s no way for us to get strong if there is no pain involved. There is no growth if some part of us does not grow old and stagnant and die.

There is no rebirth if part of us doesn’t die first.

The pain will end. You will continue to get stronger. You can find a way to navigate this life and still enjoy it.

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Have Courage, Little Duckling

Ducks appear to be effortlessly still.

Flawlessly gliding from one end of the pond to the other.

Behind the curtains, past what the common observer can see, beneath the water, those ducks’ feet are moving intensely fast. Webbed feet paddling quicker than would be expected compared to the relatively peaceful vision of the fluffy duck above water, floating on the water’s surface.

Beneath the surface, there is no calm. In order to keep moving forward, ducks are in constant motion, unbeknownst to the casual observer.

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Ducklings imprint on the first thing they see upon hatching. Their imprinting can also be modified by who they spend their childhood with.

And when I say anything, I mean it. They’ve been known to imprint of dogs, humans, and random objects.

First thing they see is fair game, human, animal, vegetable, mineral.

Okay, I have no idea if they actually imprint on vegetables or minerals, but it sounded good.

 

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Ducks look like they’re not expending any energy. As if they are just there, capable of being on top of the water without doing anything. Without action, work, without mess.

People are a lot like ducks. Little ducklings, in particular. Regardless of what age.

 

There is an unnumberable amount of character and identity to each person which we cannot see. 

We’re often counseled to treat people kindly because we don’t know what horrible things they’re dealing with in their lives.

I know it sounds trite or cliche. But if you think about it, a lot of the important things in life have become little more than a mockery of its original magnificence. 

You don’t know what’s going on in my life any more than I know what’s going on in your life. And there’s nothing wrong with that. We don’t have to slit our chests open and allow everyone we pass on the street to peer into our everything.

But a little compassion goes a long way. We’d do best not to judge the bigot, the hateful person, the naive child brainwashed and clueless to it.

They all have their stories. They all have their hurts and trials and successes. If they aren’t given a chance to wake up and better themselves, they’ll grow further into blindness and solidify the walls keeping them hard and untouched by others outside their own skin.

 

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We don’t choose how we grow up. As a young child, we can’t choose our nature or nurture, our atmosphere or experiences.

And the parents who “messed us up”? Their parents messed them up. Pain is a family disease, passed on from generation to generation. Ducklings, blind following the blind. No clue that their eyes are duct taped shut.

The only thing we can choose (and this one goes for the young as well as the old) is how we deal with what comes our way. We can choose our temperament. To become open-minded. To listen to others instead of coming up with ways to counter and win over or prove wrong what they’re saying once they’re finished speaking. We can choose to be optimistic, empathetic, courageous, and to never give up. Regardless of what or who life throws at us.

Because believe you me, life is going to throw some nastiness your way, some rock walls slick with the blood of the dead and conquered, that you then have to scale with bare hands. Gun to your head. Do it or die.

Life doesn’t play fair. You can.

That’s what life basically boils down to. A series of small choices every day, feeding each other until they form who we are, who we’re choosing (whether consciously or unconsciously) to become.

 

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We cannot see anything but what’s above water in people’s lives. There is much more happening in the moments and hours and days and years we are not privy to.

If there is a person in your life with a bad attitude or an obvious shrowd of ignorance, keep in mind they’ve probably been raised by someone with similar beliefs. Children are little more than brainwashed at the start. Little ducklings imprinting on whoever they are around and absorbing their beliefs, without realizing they’re doing it.

It takes a while for our brains to fully develop. For nature and nurture, environment and disposition, to allow us to “wake up” and become aware that there are other ways of living, believing, etc.

And if we choose someone unhealthy to be our role model, it becomes even harder to wake up.

This doesn’t have an age limit. Sometimes it takes people well into their fifties to realize that they’ve been living in the same unhealthy cycle of behaviors, habits, conditioned beliefs, and ways of living, that they were brought up in. And often times hated, proclaiming they’d never become their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and so on. Denial is a powerful thing. So is imprinting. 

As children, we want to emulate our parents. We cannot outgrow that urge for their acceptance unless we are aware of what we’re doing.

 

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I’m not saying that people cannot outgrow their childhood. We absolutely can. That’s the whole point! But when did we feel safest? When did we feel it was okay to peel back layers of dead skin from around our throat and examine our behaviors and beliefs, and how we got them?

When do we feel it’s safe to analyze our life?

When we feel accepted, either by ourselves or others.

If someone is throwing stones at a person, they’re in defense mode. They’ve got no time to examine themselves. They’re too busy finding fault with their “attacker”, finding ways to destroy said attackers so they’ll be safe.

If we want to create an environment where people can “wake up”, where people can learn to see a little differently, to feel a little more widely, to open their hearts and minds to a wider picture understanding – then we need to be kind.

No one is going to pause in the middle of the battlefield to check to see what their feet are doing beneath the water they don’t even know they’re swimming in. They’re simply going to get on with it the only ways they know how and move forward. For better or for worse.

 

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We can grow, adapt, change. But not if we are choking on hateful backlash. We need to remember our own mistakes. Remember that we’re all human and we all deserve a chance.

But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying to give people a free pass to treat you like their own personal mean girl assistant or doormat.

Having courage is different from beating someone down and standing on their throat.

By all means, put the powerful arrogant and joyfully cruel in their place. Just remember their place isn’t in a coffin, nailed shut while they’re still breathing. They can’t hang themselves with the scales of justice if we do not hand them the rope to do so. Fully hoping they use it to create a ladder upward and out of the mass grave they’re choosing to throw others into before falling victim to themselves.

 

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We’re all ugly little ducklings. Only, we get to choose who we become.

 

Sources

https://poultrykeeper.com/blog/imprinting-ducks-geese/

https://pethelpful.com/birds/Keeping-Pet-Ducks-and-Geese

 

Persephone Knows

 

My feet

They won’t walk right

My legs

They don’t shift light

My thoughts

So staggered

My sense

It’s shattered

No meter, no rhythm

Guess the lies never mattered

 

by Daphne Shadows

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