recovery

i use to swing along the line of life and death in my mind
teetering with reasons to stay and reasons to go

how could i ever think such thoughts when there are sunsets that make even the most pessimistic of people stop to gaze,
with hues of orange and pink and lilac
covering the horizon in swirls and gradients so beautiful that only the naked eye can capture its true essence

how could i ever think such thoughts when there are sunday mornings filled with pancakes and my father in a small café
hearing the clinking of coffee mugs and the strange yet familiar laughter of strangers

how could i ever think such thoughts when there are beaches with velvety sand and a symphony made up of gawking birds and the sound of the ocean kissing the shore,
filled with naps in the scorching sun and the reading of new novels that have been left in my bookcase for months

how could i ever think such thoughts when there are soft kisses and passionate kisses laced together with sweet smiles and the whisper of “i love you”, leaving even the most grounded of people up in the clouds

the sad thing is,
i know exactly how i could think such thoughts
because they once took up all of the vacancies in my mind
they are unwelcome visitors that still bang on my door from time to time

to the broken:
i hear you,
i see you
i will hold your hand until you see light again, just as people have done for me
and i will walk with you until the heaviness turns to feathers of hope

clouded

how do i stop fearing the future when i also fear the present?
why is the past so haunting yet so inviting?
on which side of reality will i finally be content?

                  —anxiety

rebirth

When I’m with you, there are never enough hours in the day.
Every minute we are together passes like a bolt of lightning during a humid summer storm,
and every second is gone as fast as my heart after you ran away with it.

You’ve picked weeds from my brain and turned them into sunflowers, planting them with beautiful words and nurturing them with your gentle spirit.

No one can make tears of happiness fall from my eyes like you can, or make me want to leave my perfect little town to be a part of yours.

You’ve helped me find myself, and with each self-discovery, I find a little piece of you, too.
The gaping holes of despair and bitterness that use to cover my soul have been filled so lovingly by your caring heart.

Like a stunning mosaic glued together with pinky promises and childish giggles, I am whole again.
I will never stop being so captivated by what we’ve built together.
Our broken pieces bonded together so effortlessly, and I can’t wait to keep creating artwork
with you.

my love

your voice makes me happier than my favorite song, and your eyes make me want to live in a house of mirrors

you make me feel like a child without a care, happy and living in the moment
no one can make my heart flutter like you do
and i wouldn’t want them to
because my heart is yours

your kiss drowns me like a tsunami and i don’t wait to come up for air

and when i wear my heart on my sleeve you guard it like a precious jewel
i don’t know if you know how much you mean to me

when we fight it feels like my world stops spinning because
you are the center of it
and i wouldn’t have it any other way

your soul is the most beautiful I’ve ever known
and you care about every ounce of me

how rare is it to find someone who loves all my imperfections

i’m so grateful i found my forever in you

it ends here

at one year old, i giggled and toddled around,
and at 5 years old, i began to understand.
at 6 years old, i proclaimed my need to lose weight off of my thighs.
time came and went, but the message remained the same.
as other mothers passed down a love of baking or hiking to their daughters, my mother held my hand and walked me down a self-destructive path.
at 14 years old, i began counting calories.
at 17 years old, i found my finger down my throat and lines on my wrist.
at 18 years old, i crumbled.
& at 19 years old, i learned how to walk away.
how to run away.
escaping the lies that had been fed to me along with a 900 calorie diet.
i learned that strong is all that matters.
i learned that words said to try to shrink my thighs and my hips can be silenced by the fortitude of my own thoughts.
most importantly, i decided that
this ends with me
when I have daughters of my own, i will pass down a love of running, not because it will make their bodies thin like bending branches, but because it will make them strong.
i will show them the wonders of writing and emptying out every nook and cranny of their brains.
i will expose them to different cultures, exploring new food, excited by the flavors and not trembling because of the calories
i will show them how to love themselves, and hold their hands when they do not.
i will never comment on their bodies,
only their brains, their hearts, their spirits
above all else, I will love unconditionally
because
this ends with me

IX

late night diner tripsthat end with full bellies and big smiles
& hundreds of adventures
captured within a thousand photographs

drama, crying, and tragedy
come with eighteen shoulders to lean on
giggles, hugging, and inside jokes
feature nine lit-up faces

i remember singing at the top of our lungs
in your moms old car down the highway
care-free
taking it all in
because we’ll never be this young again

16, 17, and 18 came and went
graduation caps were thrown
and stuffed minivans drove in nine different directions

the ring of a text
the impromptu visit
bring us back to our roots

but when we have to be apart
just know eight pieces of my heart are missing
counting down the days
til I am whole again

june fourth

cross-legged with interlocked fingers
we are watching game shows,
but my eyes keep floating to you

working my brain and making my heart beat faster
we are old souls, yet young at heart
you shout out an answer, i smile

oh how nice it is to share your day

it is little moments like these that mean the most

innocent, yet perfect

with pancake-filled bellies
we hold each other close
these are my favorite afternoons

“what’s yours, is mine”

laying in your low-lit room,
engulfed by your arms and your company
i hold onto you as my heart starts beating like claps of thunder
faster and harder as the storm begins
my breath quickens, in competition with my heart
shallow and starved
i am drowning in myself
the cruel reality leaves my lips and sticks in your mind
you hold me
running your fingers through my shaking hands
kissing my forehead, wiping my tears
my tears turn from ones of fear to ones of awe
we fall asleep intertwined and i wish
i could stay here
forever

—his first glimpse at my anxiety

run

a moment on your lips,
a lifetime on your hips
better run!
don’t run from your self-loathing,
run from the calories
but never run to me.
thighs, tummy, arms
smaller, flatter, stronger
eat this, not that
tell me about your new diet,
but keep quiet about your dreams
a body is made to be skinny,
forget strong

why did i find your finger down your throat
attached to an arm with marks made out of anguish
how could you do this to me?
where did i go wrong?

—words from my mother