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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when you get lost

when you get lost, pick up a pen, a pencil, your phone, keyboard, paintbrush, chisel, hammer, loudspeaker, break open your chest and rip your heart out.

whisper to it scream why you’re still here why you will not give up how you are too stubborn to just die you are too glorious to accept this misery this lack of life.

force your heart back in refuse it’s radio silence, sew yourself back up, one foot in front of the other into the garage, hook yourself up to the jumper cables and step behind the curtain, take control of the command center hijack the speaker system, scream like you mean it until your neighbors believe it.

dig up all your broken bones, peel off your empty dead skin, collect the blood and hours of secret tears, chew it up spit it out, push the pads on remove all the metal, stand

CLEAR!

bring it to life, fashion it into rope, make an incision, tie it to your gut find your way home, crawl back into who you knew you were always meant to be who you want need to be, because this drowning in a walking flatline only ends one way.

you don’t need advice until you know where you’re headed.

the man on the moon doesn’t know, put a glass to your ribs and listen, you do.

pick up an ax, stalk the brokenness out back to the post you’ve been chained to, throw the strongest link on the chopping block and SAY CHEESE annihilate them.

take a flamethrower to your slave masters, use their ashes to create your own garden because you can feed yourself.

this is about you, sit in the fire and when you open your eyes push magic through your veins like electricity, a closed door cannot stop your flames.

and if you’re feeling cold, warm yourself with the licking of lashings scarring your insides where no one can touch you, make it all better.

make it all better.

you’re going to burn. burn true. heat cities. grow multitudes. create mammoth atoms to spin within your own sphere, always pulling you, holding you home.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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I’m Not Waiting Any Longer

And I sit there on the floor

Legs not crossed like a lady

But crossed like I’m four again

Sitting at school on the carpet

Waiting for the teacher to explain.

 

Okay, I’m ready.

For you to let down your wisdom

Breathe the secret into my ear

Pull back the curtain

Ignite the barren emptiness

Of not knowing

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Waiting

Rubbernecking like nobody’s business

Wholeheartedly believing

Now I’ll understand

Now it’ll all make sense

I’ll get it

Understand

I’ll know what this life is all about

What I’ve been missing

 

I’ve lived into my how-to manual

People will come rushing through the terminals

Hard earned years of enlightenment

They’ll bustle in their hurried fever

Of needing to get on with their lives

Because they have so much to live

What, with all that understanding

Due to age…

 

Only

I sit there, on the floor

Realizing the room is empty

It’s a stage with polished floors

And vaulted ceilings

Rows and rows of chairs

The nice cushy ones you might’ve fought your grandpa for

When you were four years old

 

I look around and see

The lights are off

I’m the only one on the stage

The crowd is empty

Those nice soft seats, void of any life

Any know-how to impart

 

That’s the first lesson I really learned

About everyone else,

Outside of my skin.

It didn’t knock off any innocence

I wasn’t shiny or brand new by then

That got rubbed off before I could speak

But I’d kept some silly hope that when you said

“When you’re older you’ll understand”

…that you spoke the truth.

 

You did not.

The truth is

No one knows.

 

I found this out, sitting cross-legged

Like a child

Vibrating with enthusiasm

And excitement

Ready to warm my hands

At the fire of everyone’s experience

 

With the heat of age

That’d crept into my body

That everyone told me, made me

Better, somehow

Like numbers of lived life

Ups your worth in some cosmic game

And so you earn more lives

And redeemable information to trade

For a bunch of useless tasks, you performed…because….

 

Still sitting on an empty floor

Holding a ticket that leads nowhere.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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Photo is property of Daphne Shadows

4 Things I Know to be True

 

Take a vacation in depression. Don’t move in and live there.

 

Life doesn’t have a one size fits all path.

 

Adulting comes with instructions that don’t work.

 

Parenting is like putting together a puzzle with one piece missing.

 

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These Moments of Grace

I sat in the support group, glanced down at my health food store protein bar made of plant protein and zero dairy.

There was a third of it left in the wrapper.

I typically eat a large breakfast, filled with healthy fats and fiber, in a soup. It’s ultra healthy because of my digestive disease. I eat it without thinking.

This morning all I’d eaten was a small pouch of applesauce. And now two-thirds of my protein bar.

 

Sitting there, reaching out for my next bite of the protein bar… I realized I wasn’t hungry.

I was full.

I felt full.

 

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It stunned me.

I am an emotional eater.

I overeat (which, having a digestive disease, is unhealthily easy to do) and I eat the wrong (read: unhealthy) foods.

I sat there, realizing what I consistently thought of as “hunger” was an urge to fill myself up because I was so empty.

 

I already knew this. But to see the proof of it, that blew me away.

To feel the truth of it, that made me pause.

 

I’d already shared (spoken during the meeting).

I’d taken notes on what I felt and what others’ shares inspired in me. I always do this. I want to soak up, absorb, and store the truths they so easily share among the group.

 

These moments of grace. Where I am filled up with the peace I crave but don’t normally know how to gain.

These moments of grace. Where I accept that food is what I try to fill up on – when I’m not hungry. Trying to fill myself, fill myself, fill myself until finally, finally I feel something other than this terrifying numbness, this void, this empty abyss of nothingness but pain and worry, anxiety, depression, and shame.

So afraid that I won’t get enough food into me. So afraid I will remain empty. Feel nothing but a gnawing monster of never satisfied, never filled, never enough.

Never enough.

These moments of grace. When I find myself, real, solid, completely who I am. Vulnerable and alive and visceral. Safe. Filled with a peace, a harmony with who I am, that I cannot explain in words.

 

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These moments of grace where I write down, “I can choose what to fill myself with” in the little notebook I keep in my purse. In case there’s a fluttering butterfly that I need to capture with my pen, preserve in ink between the pages.

I can. That’s it. That’s the secret.

Fill myself with truth. With self-love that I can then spill over and share with others. With acceptance of what I feel, who I am, what I want, what I need, the secrets I wish to hide from myself but don’t need to. Acceptance that I am only as sick as my secrets. Acceptance that what I resist, persists.

Fill myself with creativity, nights spent typing until the clock tells me staying up any longer would cause me pain, and joy spills over onto my pillow because I never used to feel this, never used to want to be awake.

Fill myself with pillows on my bed, comfy in the middle of all these plushies, eating the words on the pages of a book I love.

Fill myself with hugs and smiles and tears and more hugs. With daydreams and nightmares, conversations, and silence.

Fill myself with the strength to poke at the things I wish I could pretend away, the situations that I wish didn’t exist. Fill myself with the knowledge that looking at and feeling that pain, those memories, these realities – it is worth it.

I can choose to fill myself with prayer and scriptures, fun and silliness. With confidence and joy. Hope and knowing that I am purposeful.

 

I have filled myself with these things long enough.

Felt them in my bones long enough. Stored them in the hollow of my rib cage long enough.

Just long enough, compared to the years of abuse and neglect, self-hate and ignorance.

But long enough.

That I wake up, flinging myself out of bed so I can get to my writing. Wishing I didn’t have to sleep because being awake and feeling this, is what I want.

I have filled myself with healthy emotions and relationships and truths. To the point that I can see how different it is from the pain. The misery. How different it is from filling myself with food. Which always causes more hurt anyway.

I have filled myself with enough moments of goodness. That now I can have these moments of grace.

Sitting there in my support group, realizing I don’t need to fill up on food. I am already full. Filled to the brim with something new. Something better. Something real.

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Persephone Knows

This is a poem I wrote some time ago and published here in October of 2015. I’ve re-written it. I’d take the previous one down, but that feels ingenuine. I often take what I’ve made and rip it apart, before stitching it back together with different thread.

Since writing them, I’ve gone through many of poems and changed them. Without telling anyone. Just so you know. 😉

So without any further fuss
I give you –
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


 

Beautiful how the truth can be.

Daringly sinister, you see.

The duality.

 

The beauty it can create.

Hearts it can incinerate.

 

Depending on the paintbrush

Using oils or lye

On which canvas

The why?

 

Even as the teardrops drip

And lips pout red

Something grows inside

As this truth is fed.

 

It’s really quite simple, darling.

Though that doesn’t make it easy.

It’s really not that hard.

Rather filled to empty.

 

Balances what’s inside me.

If I can’t be real

I can’t be free.

 

But now and then

I rummage and shuffle

Pretend I’m not me

Hide in this muzzle

 

Tips the scales and down I go

Falling until I hit bone and bow

 

When it comes to me,

Well, you see

Only hurt can smother the doubt

Always seem to take this route

 

So, I sit here and burn

Fight myself at every turn

Forget to breathe

Struggle and seethe

 

Scrape at the dead skin

Beg the truth not to win

Drowning in plastic again

 

I slam the windows

Barricade the door

But truth drags me by the feet

And I wash up on the shore

 

Drowning in flames

Dancing in the darkness

Shadows flickering

In duality’s likeness.

 

If only I’d remember

If only I’d learn

What always is salvaged.

Persephone knows

Death can be lovely

And flowers can be damaged.

 

If only I’d listen

I cannot hide pieces

And not be stricken.

 

The sun doesn’t always shine

The moon sometimes takes her time

I cannot smudge parts of my soul

And expect to live whole.

 

Truth cannot speak, only strike

Dormant matches in my chest

My beast never hides

Truth burns me best.

 

If only, if only

If only, I’d learn.

 

But always,

Always

I choose to burn.

 

by Daphne Shadows

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(this poem is disjointed instead of flowy, on purpose)

Wretched

I wish

Truth

Wasn’t such an allergen.

 

That people didn’t shy from honesty

Like a flame edged sword.

 

I wish

Love

Was given in equal measure.

 

Not plucked from one

And doted on the favorite.

 

I wish

I wasn’t smiling

While my heart

My whole being

Cries

 

The most

Sorrowful

Sobs

Of loneliness

 

Of absolute

Mystified

Bewilderment

 

At how so much

Hate

Is slipped between

Our love

Like so much unimportance

 

We are killing each other

One apathetic gesture at a time.

 

I pray for something

More

Something

Real

 

And hope

With teeth clenched

Eyes squeezed shut

Hands of my heart, wringing

Like an innocent maiden

From long ago

Before everything was cheap

 

While I smile

A hollow smile

That we both know

Is fake.

 

 

By Daphne Shadows