keep it moving

you know 
when you’ve made a mistake 
hurt someone 
and you want to scream 
“bite me”
through feral teeth 

because you 
have been programmed to 
keep apologizing 
for not giving 
what people expect to take 

like a lone 
pear tree 
and uneven 

surrounded by 
honey bees 
because the sweetness 
is overflowing 

the ripeness 
for the taking 

I might roll my eyes 
at the whole scene 
the cycle that makes 
me stay out late
in the night 

but later want to scream 
you can’t take any part of me 

keep it moving
keep it moving 

reduced to candlelight

I sat in the dark 
after power was sucked 
from the city. 

I told the summer storm,

“I don’t want to think about it.”

She leveled me with a look and said,
“You will sit in sticky heat
with rain pounding your windows
sirens blaring across the city
and you will be still. 

Light your candles. 

Watch everything flicker. 

Just like your heart 
you’ve buried under
layers of responsibility. 

Don’t compromise your solitude. 

This is a different kind of silence – 
the earth upheaving. 

Respect this rhythm. 

The thunder.
The cracks.

Be shaken.
Be grateful for this moment

The full silence.

The permission to be released to the storm

to be reduced to candlelight.”

#WorldMentalHealthDay 2019

It’s #worldmentalhealthday and the past year has been the most informed year of mental health for me. ⁣⁣

Note: informed. Not easy. ⁣⁣

I learned what the enneagram was. ⁣
I explored emotional intelligence.
⁣I lost two meaningful humans to suicide. ⁣
I chose to try therapy as an adult. ⁣
I took tests for depression and anxiety. ⁣
I asked a doctor for help. ⁣
I sobbed when I took my first antidepressant pill. ⁣
I told more strangers, friends, and loved ones about my grief than I thought I ever could. ⁣
I began writing my first manuscript (aka bravely/shakily claiming my story). ⁣
I started asking about mental health practices during interviews. ⁣⁣

I feel an overwhelming and humbling gratitude to everyone in my life that has held me – either in warm hugs or words – this year.

⁣⁣If you need someone to talk to about mental health, I’m happy to listen and offer resources. Or even just my own warm hugs.

I’ll be a goddamn muse

I’ll be a goddamn muse
blood pounding 
in your fingertips 
electric hum in your chest
tension on your tongue 

pouring words from you 
at 4am in shaking ink 
like measured sips from 

building a hunger 
you don’t recognize 
feelings deep 
in the soft spots 
of your bones

you can’t escape 
I’ll pull your eyes from the road
your hair in my fingers 
sparking heat all over 
every inch 

of your pulsing body 
you’ll taste more than 
on my lips 

warm sunlight and 
whispered nights 
smelling a certain cinnamon 

that never seems out of season
you’ll trace me in words 
on your pages 
in the absent back of your mind 

you’ll crave 
and ache 
and reach 
and finally understand 
what it means 

to behold 

new friends

this weekend I met new friends 
sang a homemade song in a croaky late-night voice 
smoke clung to my hair for days
kayaked over sparkling lake water
listened to the throaty laughter of old friends reconnecting 
missed my dog more than I expected
sipped a ghost pepper “hot pants” cider 
cried in the car because grief still loves to ride shotgun 
listened to the longest group-retelling of a love story
which might be my favorite way
of getting to know
a crew of strangers

loss is a loss of words

you realize the full depth of how many words you have
when you can’t say them to someone⁣⁣⁣⁣
because a loss

is a loss of words
a loss of experience ⁣⁣

but not a loss of love

⁣⁣⁣⁣today is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay ⁣⁣⁣⁣
and I’ve lost much more than words

⁣⁣⁣⁣while prevention is incredibly important,
my passion is hell-bent on loving people who are here, hurting
⁣⁣⁣⁣I’m writing letters and postcards
to anyone who needs a little sunshine
(or “a heartbroken smile” as a friend pointed out)⁣⁣⁣⁣

send me your address and I’ll 
mail you a written hug ⁣⁣⁣⁣
heck, send me someone else’s address
and I’ll snail one their way, too ⁣⁣⁣⁣

the biggest thing is that
none of us are alone in this crazy space-rock ride

If you’re looking for some next steps for grief, mental health, or addiction, here are a couple places to start:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline ⁣⁣
text: 855-308-6330

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline⁣⁣
Free and confidential support for people in distress 24/7. ⁣⁣

Look up a Gilda’s Club in your area for free group counseling. ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣

If you want a great grief card, check out @emilymcdowell_

⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣You’re so loved⁣⁣⁣⁣.

grief wears different masks

grief wears different masks on everyone ⁣⁣
can strip normal away from even the simplest rhythms ⁣⁣like eating well⁣⁣
or consistently ⁣⁣⁣⁣

a dear friend asked me
⁣⁣peering closely at my face ⁣⁣if I had lost weight⁣⁣
and I have
⁣⁣it’s been silently slipping away ⁣⁣
a quiet unraveling ⁣⁣that I was too afraid of acknowledging

⁣⁣⁣⁣so instead ⁣⁣I started asking friends how to be strong ⁣⁣
to teach me to do squats
⁣⁣⁣⁣I want to be strong
⁣⁣because day by day
I can feel pieces of me slipping away
⁣⁣into the motions of every day ⁣⁣

until I’m at my front door with vertigo⁣⁣
turning my key ⁣⁣
dizzy ⁣⁣
snapped into reality⁣⁣
because I didn’t notice how I got there⁣⁣⁣⁣

it takes a lot of courage ⁣⁣to admit that you have weaknesses
⁣⁣or need help ⁣⁣
I haven’t figured it out well yet
⁣⁣but if you’re wondering ⁣⁣how to start healing ⁣⁣

call someone
⁣⁣breathe stiffly for a bit until⁣⁣
you realize you can’t hide the crying
and then give yourself a hug⁣⁣
from me
to you ⁣⁣
wherever you are ⁣