Tag Archives: drugs

Helpless

15 Mar

The tide recedes
each time
a bit further
taking with it a little pain
and a little strength

When the sun is out
it warms my face
On my palms
it tingles
and I sigh
relief

I hear the birds sing again
the sky, a gorgeous hue of blue
beauty everywhere
fresh air
never tastes sweeter
sharp
full of promise

I want to run
but not away
towards something, someone, somewhere
Clearly defined

peace

I smile
wide and free
show my teeth even
and giggle endlessly

Self love
the color of my skin
the way it shimmers in the sun
the shape of my body
the softness of my lips
in harmony with my strength

I feel
and more importantly
I Want
to feel

A day, a week, or a month goes by
and I wake up
feeling strange
unsettled

Heaviness sets
my thoughts pained
a cold sweat
as the memories take hold

Alone
the quiet scares me
as it creeps in
the lack of sound

In a fog
everything hurts
my mind lays
Dormant
withdrawn

Those muted days
I don’t wish on anyone

Sadness fills me
at the thought of
Wasted youth
in a frenzy to feel nothing
to fade

Release the gray days
for the clear blue days
learn to feel again
Not so
helpless

Moving Forward

20 Jan

How do you balance your own dreams and ambitions with those of the collective good? The collective good being: your family, your people, and for those so inclined, society as a whole. How do you balance any dreams with the reality of a failed attempt? How do you move forward when life seems stalled or worse yet muted?

When I was a kid I thought anything was possible. I was living in low standards (in quality of life, expectations, and interaction) that I drew up my own world of existence. When I try to recall memories, many of them are of me just sitting, lying, standing – alone, lost in thought. A loud buzzing is in my ears as I lose track of time and wake from my fantasy to find that hours and sometimes only seconds have passed.

The hours spent dreaming were my escape from my life. My time spent reading and writing were a respite from admitting where/when I was living.

And in these dreams with limitless skies I saw myself as an attorney, as a businesswoman, as an inventor – with an empire that would spread its wings in Boyle Heights and provide a higher quality of life to its residents: to teenage moms, to boys on the cusp of being lost to drugs/gangs/apathy, to immigrant parents providing for a better life. I dreamt of a world where I wrote my way to the top, sharing my stories, and then my profits to this community. Buying a beautiful house for my parents and siblings; making enough money so my parents could stop their backbreaking work; financing the education of my siblings so they could escape the soul crunching cycle of poverty; realizing these goals would make me happy I thought.

Yet along the way my heart wasn’t strong enough, my mind became weaker, and I dreamt longer and longer. My escape became a necessity and I would lose track of time, lose track of my goals and ambitions, until I just lived. I breathed, I ate, I woke and I slept. I loved with an immature sense of what this meant or what it would bring.

And those goals became silly notions meant for another. My self-questioning became louder, a feverish pitch of self-doubt that drowned out any positive thoughts and immobilized my inner sense of worth.

A failed marriage, an unaccomplished degree, and single motherhood at 23.

It seemed the only dream I had “accomplished” which I couldn’t even take credit for was growing into an attractive woman. As a child, I had wished daily to be beautiful, graceful, to possess the ease of human interaction – the ability to connect and feel with others, but this desire was misguided as I did not know the difference between healthy and unhealthy connections in relationships.

I was in a downward spiral that was quickly finding its way to the bottom. I had no sense of where I could go from there, of what life meant anymore if not my definition of a perfect loveable family.

But with pain, failure, and darkness comes revelation. You cannot hide from yourself when all that is left is you.

So I took the shreds of my motivation and began a painstakingly slow mending process. I recognized my faults, which were many, and realized that no matter how sympathetic a past I had, it did not constitute an excuse for where I had landed.

And 5 years later you find me here, full of life.

I didn’t give up on life. I placed one foot in front of the other and though I had many missteps, I keep walking forward. And I feel a sense of pride in my life; I have two young daughters that grow lovelier every day, I have a career that I enjoy and brings me a sense of fulfillment, and I am ready to go back to my restarting those childhood dreams – even if that only means coloring the life of my loved ones with my happiness.

We can spend days philosophizing about what true happiness means and what we need to possess it. We can spend an equal amount of time debating whether the singular task of making ourselves happy contributes to the improved happiness of the collective; I believe that it does. By being a happy mother, daughter, sister, friend, and partner I am bringing that positivity into the lives of those connected to me. By sharing my stories, I hope you feel the hope that has carried me through daily and how this hope has changed as I have gotten older. I once thought happiness would come when I married and had children, a family to love me and receive my love.

But I learned that you can’t smother the darkness, you can’t swallow the bitter memories, you can’t hide from the gray that is nestled inside you and lures you into endless sleep; you have to face it in order to bring a sense of peace and happiness into your own being.

Imagine that you are in your dark hole, surrounded by darkness that eats at your perceived happiness away, that chips at your will to live, that hammers you down when you try to move forward, that suffocates you when you try to take a breath of hopeful air. You are left slumped on the ground choking on the hurt, the pain is so strong it keeps you pinned to the floor and no matter how hard you try to ignore it; the ringing in your ears makes it impossible for you to function at a higher level than mere existence. It becomes a sub existence and time passes by, passing you by.

But there is a ladder amongst this darkness. Barely visible at first but you feel it with your hands as you wander around unrelenting in your desire to escape. Each rung on that ladder brings you a different memory – a painful shameful moment in your life; and in order to move past a rung you have to come to terms with it and the implications it has caused in your life.

If you were abused, you need to know that you did nothing to invite this undeserved attack onto yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. You do not have something in you that can elicit this behavior in others toward you. You may have been repeatedly abused, by many, but you need to realize that it is not your fault. You were a victim but over time and with a lot of work you can heal and stop living like one.

Whatever hard reality was or is your life you have two choices, same as anyone else; climb the ladder or cower in the false safety of your known darkness. Don’t beat yourself up for decisions and choices you made, even if you ended up hurting others. You have to learn to forgive yourself and push forward. If you don’t, your “reality” (your self-inflicted continuation of that twisted world) will always remain your captor.

I’m not credentialed to tell you how to get better, I can only share what I have gone through and have done to get to a better place. One thing I can tell you, when you climb high enough up that ladder, you will savor the ease with which you keep climbing and you will begin to shed your old tattered self and embrace the new stronger, happier, and more productive self.

I am not at the top of the ladder; I don’t know what I will find when I get there. But I do know that I am relishing the journey upward and that I am improving this world a little with my own sunshine brightening this beautiful new day.

Two Lights

11 Sep

We would talk for hours every day. You begged me to draw for you, to write for you and recite the stories to you at night. We were One when you let the words of your poems slowly slide down my body, caress every inch of my damaged soul, and heal me with your dancing eyes.

I would get caught up on the lovely song of your voice and slip off into our world. I would lay on my bed with my legs propped up against the wall, let my head hang off the side of the bed so the blood rushing to my face would add to the happy high that you brought to me every time your whispers blew in my ear.

I close my eyes and see your sharp features; the razor sharp lines that made up your jaw and chin, your eyes – jagged lines resting on your cheekbones, and your mouth always in a crooked smile when you saw me. Always kissing me softly and whispering what a beautiful and perfect being I was.

I hadn’t seen you in days and I missed you. You sensed it and told me, “Susana, you and I are special. This universe is full of darkness with the blind shuffling amongst each other in a fruitless journey but I have you, You are my light. We are two lights amongst the darkness and we will dance together wherever we may be, however long we may part, we will never lose each other. We are two lights shining brightly for each other.”

I smiled into the receiver, pressing the phone closer to my lips and ear so I could feel you. Your hands always on my body, feeling delectably cool to the touch and soft against my teenage skin.

“You are on an altar and you will never fall in my eyes. You are an Aztec princess, with rich beautiful brown melanin and silky skin, you are my perfect kindness. I will always love you.”

I could never respond, I could never tell you how I felt. But I willed the love outwards, hoping that you would feel the force of my loyalty to you, my admiration for you.
Your words come back to me and they make me smile as if time never lapsed, as if you haven’t been in the ground for years. But your face remains intact with the softness of youth while I have aged over a decade.

For countless nights I woke up to the lingering kiss from my dreams, searching for your lips to brush up against mine once more. Your smile, the twinkling of your eyes, the endless wonder you held me in, the unbridled love you showered me with; what are they now but ghosts of yesterday?

How could you have forgotten your promise to always light my way? How could you have chosen instead to walk in darkness like the others?

The numbness you succumbed to daily took you away from me long before you left my arms forever. You wanted so much. You wanted all of me; you lived inside my thoughts, heart, and quickened flow of blood and still that was not enough. You understood that I could not bring myself to give all of me but that did not stop the pain it caused you.

And you thought I gave up on you. You thought you weren’t good enough for me. No matter the kisses, the embraces, the boundaries I broke daily for you; you could not believe that I loved you as you uninhibitedly loved me.

You allowed it to consume you; your eyes started to lose their depth and your laughter became an echo that I was left to chase.

You left me before you were gone and I could not, did not, rise up to the challenge to bring you back. I did not fight hard enough for you. I should have pulled harder, called harder for you to push temptation away. Instead I allowed you to slip away into a living sleep.

 

 

Little Man

10 Jul

Little Man

I saw you grow from a small scared child cowering by the door,
Anxiously looking back and forth for acceptance before setting foot inside.
Endless nights filled with terrifying cries from your nightmares,
Some past reality on replay in your mind
You shook like a leaf and held on for dear life to our bed post,
You abhorred the darkness and begged for light, begged to stay by our side

Slowly you grew and you found your place
We loved you greatly Little Man
Part of us like any other
I saw your fears start to wane and a smile crept in its place
Mischievousness replaced uncertainty

But it lasted briefly
We let the past take hold again
Thought we did the right thing,
The compassionate and proper thing,
But we didn’t shield you as we should have.
If only we had followed what our heart urged all along,
If only we had not failed you Little Man.

So distant and detached
You have become another
Not my Little Man
Lost and floating you seem to travel though this city
All Faded you claim

Come forward from your haze
Break though the heavy drapes of apathy

Bring you near once more
Shake you awake and make you see
Who you are,
Who you Are Not
You could be anyone and anything
That doesn’t end here, it truly only begins to be your time

If only you could see what I see in you
What lies within you trying to break through
You medicate your soul to keep the pain at bay
The hardness in your eyes does not fool me
I know how it hurts
And I want to be there for you
Little Man

I want to see you smile once more
The hope fill your face with future dreams
Fulfilled by you
Deserved by and preserved for you
Lying in silence
Until you awake
Little Man

Shortcomings

9 Jan

Sometimes in the name of staying clear of the danger zone we tend to be too conservative with our goals; we draw a line that we don’t want to cross to ensure our survival and we forget that we are individual human beings that have accomplishments and passions to pursue.

I remember being 13 years old and being asked to write what we wanted to do in life. I and several of my friends wrote about what they didn’t want to do in life: never get arrested (or at least not arrested as an adult), to live past 24, to live past 16 without fathering/mothering a kid, and to not OD. The list was an example of pretty basic survival goals that never went beyond an actual desire to bring to fruition the individual dream that lives in each and every one of us.

For a long time this was enough; I just didn’t want to fall into the wrong steps. I wanted to live long enough to move out of my neighborhood; I wanted to live long enough to help people; I wanted to live period. But things change as you mature, as you become a parent, and as you get out of your environment that keeps a mental helmet strapped around your head. The restraints start breaking apart and you start to allow yourself to dream that there might be something out there for you to pursue- something or someone that you can contribute to and it scares the bullshit out of you.

I’m 26 and as another year rolls along I feel stronger, healthier, and more frightened than I have ever felt before. There is no match, in my opinion, than the real fear that has crept inside of me now that I have made it well past 24 and well past the basics of my survival list. I’m not 13 anymore; joking about living another 10 years if I’m lucky; I am an adult that has cleared the hurdle and is now expected to take the next leap. What do you do once you have fulfilled your own expectations? Many of us have entered the territory of our dreams – the land of “what if” – and we should not forget that we are capable to take that dream and run with it without looking back.

Reflections can be cathartic; they can remind you of where you were and how far you have moved forward, but we should never allow the past to shackle us and keep us prisoner to our own mind – break through and run with it. Run towards what lays before you, run towards the possibility of happiness and drop the guilt of shedding your old skin.

I write this at midnight on a Saturday night because the thought occurred to me that it’s not only me that feels that I owe something to the inner me, the old me, many of us might feel the guilt of being happy. Many of you might feel that you do not deserve to be happy but you do. It’s as simple as the sun rising every day and as long as it sets every evening I am going to keep walking and running towards my happiness and keeping it in my grasp even if I am well past accomplishing the items on my “To do or not To do” list.

You have to go out and do something with your life. Don’t allow time to pass you by as you idly hide in a corner and keep playing the same tune.

With that note – Happy New Year

Beautiful Gina

10 Nov

It’s been over ten years but I thought of you Gina and I couldn’t help but cry. I felt waves of pain and choked up emotion overwhelm my body making me double over and gasp for breath. I’ve buried you in the back of my mind- filed you away and fought the urge to remember you. It hurts to wonder if you’re dead or alive; and if you are still breathing- if it hurts you to draw breath from this life.

Being pretty doesn’t do you any favors in this neighborhood; instead it makes you a walking target to strike down. The dirty men trying to paw at you, the ‘homies’ trying to get you big at a random kickback, and most girls would claw you down if you made their boyfriend’s head turn as you walk by.

Yet you had heart you know? You never backed down from a fight- your angular face set in stone and “china” eyes would turn into slits under the exclamation marks of eyebrows you had. I can still see you clearly if I close my eyes: you wearing your baggy Dickies tight at the waist with that black cotton belt and big silver belt buckle, your burgundy shirt tucked in pulled tightly over your breasts that we were all jealous of.

I always felt proud that I owned Vans just like you. You’d do me up with the Jordana Lipliner Pencil in Honey, my hair slicked back and loose in the back. You made me feel like a chola as we strutted across campus; cool and accepted as you wrote “La China” next to my “La Honey” on the bathroom stalls.

You were special Gina, a beautiful girl from East L.A. that didn’t take shit but always stood by me. I was Proud to be your friend.

Why does East L.A. swallow beautiful girls like you Gina? When I saw you again you were a shell of your old self. All that was left was a crack-heads skeleton of what used to be an Aztec Princess. I wanted to throw my sweater over your body and revive you. Gone were your Latina curves – those large round breasts you were so proud of, only a flat concave chest in their place. You were hardly covered in that awful see-through mesh dress you had hanging off your frail frame. I couldn’t find the beautiful almond shaped eyes full of fire- all I saw was dull glass…

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Zack Hunter is the pseudonym of a Californian poet, author, artist, musician, and researcher. He lives on a farm and spends his free time reading and writing about whatever it is he is passionate about at the time.

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