Mental Illness & Writing (My Story Part One)

“Being different and thinking differently make a person unforgettable.” –Suzy Kassem

My mental illness is definitely not something I generally like to talk about; however, it’s probably one of the main reasons why I write.

I saw this quote on the internet the other day, and it got me thinking about things.  Lots of things.

“No matter what we make, creativity always changes the creator.” -anonymous

Anyone who creates, whether you’re a photographer, musician, or writer (the list can go on and on), not only do you have the ability to change your own life through the act of creating, but other people’s lives as well.

How do creatives have such powerful impact?  One of the best answers I found was in this explanation:

“Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.” -Olafur Eliasson, Why Art Has the Power To Change the World

To create is to connect. And in this day and age, we as the whole seemed to have lost the ability to truly connect with ourselves, to people, and to the world that surrounds us.

Is it a wonder to why we feel so lonely? So disconnected?

Yes, we have this thing called technology in abundance but it can NOT fully step into the role of the connector. While there is that feeling of being connected to someone on the other side of the digital barrier, it still feels artificial. Not real or alive.

On the other hand, creative arts have the ability to do just that.

Through music, paintings, sculptures, photographs, poetry, and on and on.  So, while art has the power to bring people together, it also has the power to heal especially for the creator (aka artist, songwriter, poet, etc…you get the idea).

How does art heal us?

Art and music affect every cell in the body instantly to create a healing physiology that changes the immune system and blood flow to all the organs. Art and Music also immediately change a person’s perceptions of their world. They change attitude, emotional state, and pain perception. They create hope and positivity and they help people cope with difficulties. They transform a person’s outlook and way of being in the world.” –How Art Heals-Mind/Body Physiology

Music has always been in my family especially on my mother’s side which yielded several musicians including an uncle who went on to play with an award-winning Native American-Folk band, December Wind.  As a girl, I can remember many occasions when family members gathered together at my Grandmother’s house for a “jam session” completed with guitars, banjo, fiddle, accordion, harmonica and even a set of spoons.  I was at an age where I was misunderstood (no one knew I was partially deaf until later) and music was something I understood. I’d sit on the floor, and “listened” to the beats and deep bass sounds for hours.

Although I loved music, I never learned to play an instrument (the desire was there though), I ended up singing in the school and church choirs for several years (I’d harmonized through the “beats” and reading music).

Since I couldn’t be a musician, I found myself drawn to words.  Words I also understood so I delved deep in the worlds created by words.  Here I connected with characters who became my friends since I had so few in the real world (byproduct of being “different”).  After accidentally discovering writing (the story behind this discovery can be found here), I’d took my favorite characters (Scooby Doo and Shaggy were among those) and created my own world with them in it.

Writing became a lifeline to the intense loneliness I’d felt.

When I was in college, I took to writing journals as a way of dealing with the stress and pressures that went with being a student living away from home.

In 1992, I stopped writing altogether.  This was the year I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (a form of Retinitis Pigmentosa-progressive blindness-which included hearing loss).

Depression really emerged at this point in my life though I was never diagnosed.  And when I married my first husband, Aaron, anger replaced everything else I was feeling and he bore, unfortunately, the brunt of it.  The depression and anger steadily grew worse over time, and then the worst happened.

He was killed in a car accident.

Grief and regrets overwhelmed me, and I nearly did the unthinkable.  I backed out just before it was too late as I realized that this would be the ultimate regret that I could never return from.  Worse of all, it would hurt my family as well as Aaron’s.

I just couldn’t do it.

Instead, I poured all my attention and strength into finishing college (which I did over a year after Aaron’s death). By this time, I’d moved out in my own apartment, but also had regressed from all social activities becoming a hermit with very little contact to the outside world.

Then Jay came into my life (actually he returned to my life, but that is another story of its own).  He changed everything by not only marrying me, but by reintroducing writing back into my life through a gift of a leather-bound journal.

In this journal, I spew all my anger and pain like vomit.  When the pages were all full, I closed the book and packed it away (even to this day I have not gone back to read it).

Now being emptied, the healing can begin.

(This is just part one of my story.  I plan to continue in the near future)

Advertisements

Kari

This poem is about a girl I once knew.  We were the same age when she disappeared.

 

It was a warm summer evening
The moon, bright and full
Who knew that it would be your last?

Shadows moved among the houses
Benign, all but one
Who knew the night would be so deadly?

Vanishing without a trace
No witnesses but the trees
Where could you have gone?

Rumors and hope
Your family held on so tight
Searching, always searching

Like the serpent, he crept amongst us
Writhing, hiding
How does a heart gets so cold?

Seven years, he held back
The truth buried oh so deep
How do you pick up the pieces that once was your heart?

Time may have passed, but you’re
Still close to our hearts
Rest in peace, my friend

 

Read more about her story here.

I Feel

My eyes lift to the sky
And watched as the nightly orbs
Melted into nothingness

Just like balloons
Dreams drift up, up
‘Till I can no longer hold on

I feel
The ground sucking me in
With nowhere to go
But down, down to the
Endless abyss

It still feels like
Yesterday when I sat next to you
Watching, waiting

For the blipping sound to go quiet
And with the silence
Came the depthless void

I feel
Your arms around me lessening
The warmth of your hands growing cold
I’m alone oh I’m alone

Though these eyes may not see
I know you’re there, shining down on me
For as the rain washes away my tears,
The clouds will fade, fade away

I feel
Your touches in the breeze
caressing , comforting
No, I’m not alone, never alone

Gone

Gone is the generation
Of those who came from scraps
And gave us their all

Gone are the dreams
Dashed by the approaching
Darkness like some smothering veil

Should I give in and give up?
Should I just toss the towel
And let it all go?

Gone are the ancient evergreens
Security blanket against the world
With them, my soul

Gone is the innocence
I once knew when life
Was an open, sunny road

Should I let the past win?
Should I just toss the towel
And let it all go?

We all have to face the
Twilight there’s no
Running from what awaits

How many sunsets
Before it’s our last?

Gone, soon we’ll all be gone

Do I just toss the towel
And let it all go?

Or shall I live for
The sunrises, however few
I might have left?

Many things, people
May be gone, but
I’m still here

No, I think
The towel I’ll keep
And give it one more try

Dark

I woke up in a sheet of sweat
And saw that you were gone
Even now, I forget
Our shattered bond

Dark is the water
I’m drowning
My heart torn by mortar

Pieces of me raining down
Down, down
To the black abyss

Dark, oh so dark

When I stare at the mirror
All I see is the face of a stranger
And can’t help but feel an error
That it was your life’s in danger

Dark is the night
Where stars hide their light

I’m falling, falling
I can’t stop this bawling

The image of you overflows
In my mind, I can’t get you
Out of my mind

My heart is
Dark, oh so dark

Without you

Dark, dark
Ooo, oh, oh, so dark

Caged #IWSG

“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage.”
― Richard Lovelace

For those of us who are attempting or have attempted to write our story (I’m referring to the story of our lives whether it’s a memoir or through short stories or poems), something always seem to stop us from finishing it (or in my case, starting).  It’s like there this solid wall blocking my way, more specifically my pen, from getting the words out of my head.

The words are there and so are the images, but I feel like my head (or something else altogether) is like a cage keeping them within invisible bars.

It is so utterly frustrating.

I keep asking myself – what’s holding me back?

Fear.

Fear of what? 

Of hurting someone who I love? Or, hurting myself?

Maybe both.

Fear of the truth. Of finally allowing myself to be freed of all the pain I kept locked in

A writer who’s caged by past regrets and unwilling to let them go because she believes she deserves all the pain she feels.

How messed up is that?

My heart knows I must write my story, but convincing whatever part of me that’s holding the words back has been a battle I’ve fought for years.

A battle I fear I will ultimately lose.

What about you? Are you struggling to free your words?

Back Home

*Author’s note: this is still raw and I feel also incomplete. I’m not sure whether this should be a poem, or perhaps a song. 

Back home
where the peaks call me by name
the clear rivers–
their music soothe my soul

Back home
where I can wrap myself
in the blanket
of childhood memories

I used to walk down to the rapids
just a stone throw away
from the house
built by Daddy’s hands

There, dreams were born
and love rekindled

Back home
where my roots
began, and where I hope
my tired bones will be
laid to rest one day

Back home
where my heart has
always yearned for

No matter how far away
my feet may have traveled

There’s no place like it
where I can find
solace and peace
for this weary body

Back home
where my roots began

I’m back home

In Search Of You (Poem)

via Pinterest

 

*This is my last entry for the Write28Days Challenge. THANK YOU so much for following, reading and commenting! 

 

I can feel your touches

through the gentle breeze

the warmth of them

as my skin radiates in the sun

 

The mist hides your face

or perhaps it is the tears

that fall for you

 

This ache in my chest

unrelenting

 

My eyes linger on the brown earth

where there were once two shadows

wholly entwined

but now there is one

 

My love, oh my love

how my eyes have searched the heavens

just for a glimpse

of you

 

One more time

one more

 

 

(I dedicate this poem to my first husband, Aaron, though he may be gone over twenty years now, I still miss him.  God rest his soul)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Insecured Writer’s Rambles: Will My Writing Have Meaning?

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like to participate.

 

Just celebrated a birthday last month. My 48th one. I’m finding it difficult to believe that I am almost the big 5-0 when most of the time my mind thinks I’m still in my 20’s.

Where on earth did the time go?

I can clearly remember my parents saying the same thing to me when they were in their 40’s.  The sad reality is, my father’s no longer with us. He passed away in 2014. He was only 67.

In my eyes, he was the true steward of God using his carpentry skills (he was so gifted with his hands especially in woodworking, crafting beautiful things) and his time for the church.  Those who knew my father always commented on how cheerful he was, all smiles and loved to whistle tunes from the 60’s as he worked.

Now, I’m looking at myself and wondering, what will people remember about me when I am gone from this earth? How have I used my talent/gift and time to reach others?

After a lifetime with disabilities (hearing and vision loss), I still struggle with my self-worth and whether my writing has any value (especially when most of what I write, both poetry and fiction, tend to be dark). It doesn’t help either when my husband and son think of my writing as just a “hobby” or “fantasy writing.”  And it also doesn’t help when my husband have discouraged me from ever publishing books since I am on disability benefits (there are other factors for his paranoia other than this one reason) when I have many, many stories and poetry within that I wish to share with the world.  So, I have resorted to having my short fiction and poetry published in non-paying zines a few times each year with the remaining items posted on this blog.

Is this me experiencing the dreaded “mid-life crisis?”  Is this me being vain as I worried if all that I’ve written will be lost forever once I am no longer here? How will people remember me? Just a woman who is so and so wife and mother?

I have been given this gift (writing) for a reason, and I don’t want to squander it.  So, no matter what, I will continue to write what’s on my heart and mind through whatever means I can find in the hope of reaching those who need reaching.

 

The Man On The Wire (Flash Fiction)

 

*Image taken from Finding Clarity for this week’s Flash Challenge (click on image for original post)

 

*Note: Am participating in the #Write28Days (February) hosted by Anita Ojeda. Click here if you would like to participate.

I was walking home one dreary day, after the graveyard shift at the Medical Center, when I turned left on 3rd Crane Ave and stopped dead in my tracks. Up above sat a man on the electric wire. He appeared to be completely engrossed in the early morning’s newspaper and accompanied by a silvery-black raven. There was an umbrella dangling on the wire between them. His appearance struck me as a bit odd with haggard clothing, and a top hat.

Glancing around, there was no other soul loitering on the street. I closed my eyes thinking that perhaps the shadows cast by the rising sun were playing tricks on me. When I reopened them and peered up, lo and behold, they were still there.

I crossed my arms and pondered for a moment. I’d been working the graveyard shift all week long so perhaps I was just hallucinating. Yes, that seemed like the most logical reason.

As my arms dropped to my sides, I walked on pretending not to see them.

All was going well until…

By the time I heard the blaring of the horn, I felt my body careening into the air and a second later, landing on the cold, wet pavement with such a force, my sneakers shot off and tumbled down the sidewalk.

As I lied there in a sprawling heap, I watched as the man tucked the folded newspaper under one arm, and with the other, held the opened umbrella over his head, and drifted up into the gray sky with the raven following close behind.

Before the darkness took over, the man transformed into a creature with white wings.