Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Is it an opinion or just reflection?

Today....is opinion day. If you know me than you know that I have a lot of opinions and I'm always willing to share them with someone. There's something that's been pressing upon my mind as of late, and it's something that I'm going to use as the focus of my post today. You've heard me talk about it before in some form or another, but today, I feel like it needs to be addressed again.

When I was in High School I learned that not everything was okay in my head. I'd often feel hopeless and lost. I didn't have a purpose and didn't really care to find any direction. I found that through writing I was able to harness these self-deprecating feelings and corral them into a single focus. It was at this point that writing became an important part of my life. It helped me cope with all of the things that I had to do throughout the day. It helped me see that I could get up and do homework, hang out with friends, be social, and everything else that a teenager is meant to do. I was able to find an outlet and threw my mental illness plug into it. However, the power to the outlet would sometimes go out and I was left feeling empty and alone. I'd fall into a dark place and never thought I'd be able to leave it. It was when I felt like I had broken past my "breaking point" that the plug would start working again and I'd be able to function as a normal moody teenager.

This has been the case since High School. There are moments when I'll feel like I'm on top of the world. I feel like everything is in it's place and I can perform miraculous feats. Then, out of the blue, the mental illness unplugs itself from the outlet and I'm left feeling like a dried up husk. This feeling of emptiness lasts for a few weeks. It's at this point that I am able to plug back in and move on with my life. I'm convinced that this is something that I'll deal with until I'm perfected.Throughout the last few years I've discovered just how much it affects me and the people around me. I'm learning, what I call, the "personality" of my mental illness, and how I can work with it to help myself when I'm feeling like the world is coming to an end.

I've been faced with one of these bouts of depression for the last few weeks. I woke up about two weeks ago and felt like all of the energy that I had so graciously been given the previous day had all soaked into the pillow I was resting on. I didn't want to get up and I definitely did not want to go to work. But, I was able to pry myself away from my bed and go about my business. As the days progressed the pillow slowly sucked away more of my energy until all of the good thoughts that I had managed to muster up had all been replaced with thoughts of pure darkness. I had a rain cloud hovering over my head, the storm soaking my body with a mixture of resentment towards everyone saying "good morning" or making sure that I smiled and hollowness in my chest. Yesterday, I felt so down that I didn't want to do anything. I was completely drained and slept most of the day. I stayed in bed and only left for work and making dinner for my kids. When I woke this morning, I was sure that I'd feel worse than yesterday but somehow, the pillow, instead of seeping my energy, gave it back to me. I woke up happy and energetic. I was able to greet the day with a better outlook. Today was a good day.

I bring all of this up for one reason. As I was going through this depressive episode, something that's going to happen again in a few weeks, I was the only one that knew what was going on. I didn't inform anyone that the dark clouds of depression had harbored in my mind. I didn't allow anyone past the walls that I had put up in order to protect others from the downpour that I wrestled with inside. There were people who knew I wasn't feeling well, which is where I left it. I didn't feel well, but it wasn't anything physical. I was battling something inside my head that, for the last two weeks, had left me battered and bleeding. There wasn't anyone who knew what I was struggling with, and that's my point. We are so quick to judge someone for how they act and do things that we forget how much they could be struggling. I normally put on a mask to cope with my crippling depression. This masks helps others around me to feel comfortable. They see me as a sarcastic dick who doesn't mean anything that he says. I make them laugh and that's good enough for them.

There are people all around us who are struggling with one thing or another. It could be physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional. There is someone close to me right now who is struggling with the life-changing effects of cancer. She spoke to me of how she was walking somewhere today thinking to herself, "there is something inside of me that shouldn't be there. I have cancer. There is cancer inside of me". Her cancer isn't visible. You can't see it and don't even know about it unless she tells you. She's struggling though, hurting at times, and knows that this is only the beginning of a fight with pain. But, she still smiles and tries to have a good outlook on life. You would never know that she is suffering because she doesn't let anyone know.

We need to start living in a world where we can all be kind to each other. We might not always agree with the choices that someone is making, but we can still be kind. You might live or work with someone who keeps making the same mistakes over and over again. You might want to strangle them at times, wondering why they can't seem to get things right, but you can still be kind. You don't know what that person is going through and you might never find out. I am definitely guilty at jumping to a quick conclusion about who a person is based on the things that they do/don't do. I'm not saying these things, standing on the sidelines, thinking that I never falsely accuse someone of something. I tend to be in the thick of the ridicule, standing by the side of the accuser, feeling slighted by the accused in some way or another. But, that is one thing that I am working my hardest at changing. Just like no one can see the battle raging inside of me, I can't see the one blazing in them.

It might take all of the energy that we can find, we might have to squeeze it out of our pillows every morning, but we can be kind. We can focus on the good. We can be the person that others want to emulate because we are kind. We can choose to be kind. Someone once said, "In a world where you can be anything, be kind".

It is my hope that I can truly start being kind to everyone. If I have been uncaring and insensitive towards you in any way, please allow me to say sorry. I can be a jerk at times but I am learning to change that about myself.

-Jer


Saturday, May 20, 2017

A myriad of poetry

School is over and I finally have an opportunity to write on here. I'm grateful that I was able to have another successful semester. I'm also grateful that I only have two more to go in order to finally gain my degree. Wow!! I can't believe it's actually going to happen. It only took what...10 years! Trust me, you aren't the only one that's judging me a little for taking so long to get a bachelors.

It is Saturday, which means that it's time for "writing day". I want to share with you a collection of the poems that I wrote for the final portfolio in my poetry class. There are 12 of them, so if you can't be bothered to read them all, that's perfectly understandable. It takes a person of great patience to make it through a large collection of poetry. The only premise for the portfolio was that it had to follow a time line, meaning that each poem had to build upon another. In my collection, I've tried to take the reader through the life cycle of a single narrator. It might seem that a different narrator is speaking as you progress in the piece, but it's the same one who is growing and learning about the world.

Enjoy!



Growing up

When I was young I’d play
with shellfish and plankton
and whales.
They’d sing me their tunes
as I’d lie in bed, softly
listening while creating their ocean
from my eyes.

I knew their language- I
tasted their skins. We became one
sort of being and it was fun.
Fun to dive into a life not my own,
exciting in fact, I’d go there to
feel at home.

The whale was my mother,
the shellfish my friend.
The plankton was the dinner
that’d we chase until it was dead.
We’d dance around lava flumes,
they were our campfire, I’d stay
there until my brain got tired.

Blue kazoo

I am five years old
and I have my
first kazoo.
It is a deep
colour of plastic…
BLUE!!!
Blue is my
favorite colour and
this kazoo is now
my new favorite
thing!

My mom and dad
would find no interest
in this pretty little object.
They’d just tell me to throw it away.
That is why I am five
and this blueberry flavored
noise-maker is my life.
It has to be blueberry!
Everything blue taste like
Blueberry!

It might look weird,
with its long body
and hollowed out center,
but I promise that it does
not taste like daddy’s cigars.
I tried those once and they didn’t
taste like anything yummy.
This kazoo though,
 tastes just like the colour blue.
A blueberry tasting
instrument.
An instrument making
a pretty little noise.

But, what is that noise?
Where is it coming from?
Is there a bug trapped inside
of my blueberry kazoo?
A buzzing bee trapped
at the top of my fruity noisemaker?
That has to be what’s
making the noise.
Inside that turny
wheel thing.
How can I get
that buzzer out?
I know!
I open the wheel!
The door to see this…
BEE!

Wait! There’s no bee in here,
only a piece of thin paper.
But now I can’t put this
door back on.
It won’t close!
It’s not working now.
My blueberry flavored
blue kazoo is now gone.
And I am all alone!

Approval

They used to call me young man.
I didn’t struggle to hold things.
I was strong. I was bold.
My youth caused people to
flock to me. They’d laugh
when I’d walk in.
I found that I had
strength in their laughter.
I’d put it in a cup and take it
in one shot.
I’d dilute the powder,
the fruit-punch color mixing
together until the cup was
a perfect color of blood-red.
I’d swallowed it down and leave
 no drop.
The bitter taste was
like crab apples touching
my innocent tongue.
I kept drinking however,
until it was gone.




Three thoughts in one poem

First

The catskin garland
freshly hung
around the penguins window
with a rusty tack
smeared from the glaring.

Second

Hypocrisy!
Hypocrisy!
You prance in pudding
but demand I soar with cotton.

Third

Does your cup depress,
like a bag full
of dirty laundry filled
with a sugar-coated heartburn
that’s empty like your soul?


Insensitive

Shhhh...
The silence is deafening.
An aching from ear to throat.

The words expressed,
a tongue that’s burning,
your moment of light attuned.

Allow for the thoughts to tire-
to breed, seed, and bloom.

Plead for the humbling experience-
a breath, a sigh, a relief, a cry
a sorry passage won't do.

Swallowing glances,
Blurred through vision,
Shadowed from what's now askew.

Peace, a luxury unafforded.
Hope, dashed by you.

Shhhh...
The silence is deafening,
A moment you've now gone through.


In order to avoid a family reunion

You see it glancing your way
that potato salad winks at you.
Your aunt Ruthie made it…
three days ago.
Now, it stares in a greasy manner
begging for someone to take a bite.
Don’t mind that it’s been sitting there
basking in the hellish sun for over
four hours.

The bugs fly high, searching for a target.
They need to lay their eggs
and your hair looks like a mansion.
They quietly fly low, make their landing
and inject their gooey eggs deep inside
your arid scalp.
You can’t scratch them away
that’d make you a bad host.
They’ll be born soon and they’ll
soar away, leaving behind a kaleidoscope
of disease and bacteria.

Should you go, or should you stay home?
If I were you, I’d just say you have diarrhea.

Giving it up

As the chicken fades away
from the butchers last cut
on its carcass that’s just been chopped,
our love has died.
Nevermore to return
to the lustful depths
of youthful intent.

We were honorably discharged,
like a soldier saying farewell
to the flowerlike grass
of a weed-topped hill.
Our affections hollowed out by
those long nights of
blood and acid tripped exposures.

Our romance began in
 bowl of pride-filled
pudding-like glitter.
We glistened through the waves
that hid the lies
of your puffed up
secreted torture.

My love for you, like a band,
has stretched to the limits
of a world of ignorance.
 My eyes have been peeled,
and the revealing fruit
is not plentifully appetizing
like the yellow outside covering.




My new lifestyle

Someone threw my food away.

The tub of lard I was saving for later,

 the glistening fat that shimmered in delight.

It’s only food-but God it’s good.

That chicken carcass, already prepared.

It’s seen better days

but I’m sure it’s still good.

Is that mold? I’m just going to say it’s parsley.

It smells like it’s been in the fridge for a while.

Fridge smell, a mixture of spoiled milk

and all of the crusty stuff that collects in the back.

Plants fail in comparison to chicken,

already prepared and begging for attention.

What’s Kale? Why does it taste so…green?

Earthy, like smelling into a cloud of dirt.

Tofu, lentils, beans, and quinoa, they all

sound like a fun night with the butt-trumpet.

They don’t wink, they don’t nod.

They just sit in there

waiting…

waiting for me to prepare them.



Kidnapped

Fear!
You’re a fly, I shoo
you away, but you keep
coming back.

Fear!
My hiding place won’t hide
me well.
I’m a camel with my head
in the sand but ass in the air.

Fear!
Losing the last
marble of my childhood-losing
my actual child, my gift
from the Gods.

Fear!
I’ve fallen into a
glitter-filled bowl of pudding.
I’m stuck in the shimmering lights
that blind me from the exit.

Fear!
My world will change if
your youth is taken
and your candle
is snuffed out.

Hidden message
            
            It happened on an average day
          the excitement bursting like stars.
           It’s late for saving the begging child
         who promptly stomps on fire.
               I mention this to cause a stir-
             to excite the pot to scorn,
            no protection is given to the innocent-
           the lost or sacred sheep,
        from empty hands that sin has touched
             to assault the harrowing feet,
             to snuff the precious light,
             to execute total control.
                I involved myself with the dirty animal
         who met me in a dingy bar.
            By losing dignity I lost it all-
            an oppressive chain now blooms.
          My strength has all but left me.
               I try and yell with no success.
This poem is meant to make no sense
but, does it maybe, to you?


The Sparrow

The little life drains
from the sparrow's
tight throat,
as she cranes her
head to the sky.
She prunes out her clothes,
puffs up her breast,
spreads out her pride,
and...falls.

Down to the feet
that the cobbler protects,
with his hammer, tacks, and cloth.
Down to be mended
with life-giving touch,
and ready to soar anew.

-Jer