I just wanted to share with you all that one of my prose poems got published on HerStry. I would love for you to check it out here. Thanks!💕
We were born to soar.
But from the moment we arrive,
we are anchored by barbels,
held back with chains,
for our own good,
until we’re old enough to know
right from wrong,
safe from unsafe.
But by the time we’re set free
to roam the big, bad world,
those chains have grown comfortable.
We trust their weight,
feel at home with them,
The wings we once had
have atrophied from neglect;
it’s not like we could have actually
This is not the way.
This is us drowning in fear.
These chains are more cruel
We walk through fire
to melt them off,
melting ourselves in the process.
oh so slowly,
with no structure,
nothing holding us down.
our wings return to us,
our hope restores us.
We take baby steps forward
We fumble at first,
no idea what to do
or where to go.
The draw of the clouds,
the nudge of the breeze,
the cheers of our loved ones
raise us right up.
If we keep ourselves
light and attentive,
the wind whispers to us
helps us flow there with ease
pumping ourselves up
where we must,
letting our Guide do the rest.
But beware of the chains,
ever present in our memories.
Don’t be fooled by their shine
or lured by their lies.
You must remember
and keep remembering
who you really are.
Find others who will serve
you were born
You were given wings,
not as adornment
or to feed your pride,
but for a very particular purpose.
to unveil the truth
to show them the wings
they never knew
they always had.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I’m re-posting a prose poem I wrote a few years ago. As always, your thoughts and comments are welcomed below.
I am woman.
Hear me roar.
That’s how the saying goes, right?
And yet, you’ve never heard me roar,
never so much as a peep or complaint.
My mother taught me,
“Don’t expect too much from the world,
The world will only disappoint you.
Don’t expect too much from the world.
Then you’ll never be disappointed and no one can hurt you.”
Such wise words, I always thought.
Look at me now, I’m so happy.
No expectations, no disappointments.
The hurt would come and,
like a good little girl,
I would swallow it up.
Over time, it slowly built up,
like a heaving, suffocating burden,
so that now,
I’m all filled up.
And the hurt the disappointments the heartaches,
they’re boiling over and pouring forth
Still I tried not to show it.
I tried to push it, stuff it, lock it
all right back inside.
I hurt myself ‘cause I didn’t want to hurt you, world.
Didn’t want to hurt you, ‘cause I was scared you wouldn’t care.
And perhaps you don’t.
I’ve had it wrong all this time.
My mother was wrong,
as was her mother before her,
and her mother’s mother before her.
They taught us that,
we have little worth in this world,
so better not to expect, to rock the boat, to stay in line.
Be a good girl,
be a good wife,
be a good mother.
Ain’t nothin’ better than a self-sacrificing mother who puts her needs at the very end of everyone else’s.
I’m a saint.
I’m an angel.
I hurt, I cry, I get angry,
when you don’t laud my achievements as much as my brother’s,
when you think my desires aren’t as important as my partner’s,
when friends and colleagues don’t show me the courtesy of calling back,
because their time is so much more valuable than mine,
when I am branded either a prude or a prostitute,
while, conveniently, “boys will be boys”,
when you don’t think to offer your help in the kitchen,
and instead, ask me,
“What can you offer?”
like I’m the waitress at your favorite diner.
What can I offer?
What can I offer?
Dude, what can you offer me?
When my profession asks me to work just as hard as anyone else,
take stress just as much as anyone else,
see my kids just as little as anyone else,
then pays me a salary lower than everyone else,
they’re telling me
“You are not worth it.”
The world has said this to me in so many ways.
And I absorbed it, believed it,
inculcated it into my life,
wove it into my being,
and proudly spread the message to my sisters.
“You are not worth it.”
My worth lies in what I can offer,
in the pristine condition of my private parts,
in the voluptuousness of my body,
but only if it’s in all the right places, otherwise,
in the waif-like silhouette of my figure.
I am not worth it.
I don’t need some profit-hungry make-up company to tell me I am, just so I’ll buy their products.
I need my parents to say it,
But most of all,
I need to say it.
Now I wonder, why in the world did I grow up idolizing Cinderella,
who let everyone walk all over her, as she whined in her sing-song voice to her mice,
when instead, I should have respected her Stepmother?
At least she was honest about what she wanted,
and went after it with a passion,
rather than running away at the first signs that someone might see who she truly was,
and losing her ‘glass slipper’ in the process.
(I wear Aerosoles, bitch.)
Because that only happens in dreams, right?
with the help of fairy godmothers we didn’t know we had,
who randomly decide to bequeath us with magic?
You can’t give me magic.
You can’t wave a wand and expect its sparks to transform me into something more precious than I am now
although I may not always know it,
although you may not always see it,
I am the magic.
I’m the magic that makes this world go round.
You don’t even know how lucky you are to have me, world.
If you call me a bitch now,
I will take it as a compliment.
If you call me “too ambitious” for single-mindedly going after what I want,
I’ll think I’m doing something right.
And if you say,
“What else did you expect?
She’s a woman after all,”
Then I’ll make sure,
in fact, I guarantee,
you will hear me fucking roar.
For all my rhetoric
about tearing down walls,
realizing you’re special,
feeling connected to the Universe,
there are moments
when I feel like I’m still the same
teenager I used to be,
and for all the work I’ve done on myself,
there isn’t much to show for it.
You can never fully escape depression,
no matter how hard you try
to hide from it,
to handle it,
to heal from it.
You will always have moments of weakness,
and depression will be right there,
lying in wait,
like a deceiving
yet oddly familiar crutch.
At such moments,
the best thing you can do
is to know
with utmost certainty
that it will pass.
It’s okay to sleep it off,
to talk to someone,
eat comfort food,
watch a funny movie,
or even find a corner to cry in,
to let yourself feel
and pointlessness of life,
because those thoughts will come.
It’s okay to lean into it,
and feel like you’re utterly
at rock bottom.
Just don’t act on it.
Hang in there.
Wait it out.
A couple hours,
a couple days.
Because it will pass.
You’ll notice that all the effort you’ve put in –
learning how to better yourself,
how to transcend the pain,
and grow towards the light –
it hasn’t been for nothing.
Your strength and resolve will slowly return.
Your deep-seated desire
to unearth yourself from the mire
will become your lifeline,
so that whenever you feel like you’re drowning
in a cesspool of negative energy,
your lifeline will always be there to pull you out,
back to consciousness,
back to your waking self,
and to your mission of lighting up the world
with your very existence.
Some people believe
you can measure the worth of your existence
solely by what you’ve achieved in life.
The truth is,
your worth can’t be measured.
Your value is inherent.
and it’s inked into the unfolding of your story,
which is itself entwined
into this infinite adventure called Life.
So before trying to conquer the world
by crossing off an endless list of to-dos
and achieving a myriad long-term goals,
remember to just BE.
Remember who you are
and who you aren’t.
Who you are is
a universe unto yourself,
born on this Earth to learn
in the magic of this world.
Who you are not is
There is no such thing as a mistake.
has a purpose.
And if you can’t find it,
And when you do,
revel in it.
Living with purpose is the ultimate antidote
The more you learn to believe in yourself,
the greater the heights you’ll climb,
until one day
you’ll find yourself soaring above the clouds,
able to help pull others out of their despair,
and into this One
life we all share.
We’ve all heard that it is good to give in the service of others, whether it be of your time, effort or money. But how often do we think about the benefits giving has on us?
Usually, at the end of a long day or gruelling week, I feel depleted, as if I have nothing left to give anyone, not even a smile or a kind word. I just want to be left alone to stew in my self pity, resentful that there is no one around to give me the love and attention I want.
Recently, while meditating, I opened up to a new idea. I had been focusing my energy on removing this painful block at the top of my spine, trying to will it away through the sheer use of my mind and breathing. Nothing worked. It was only when I stopped focusing solely on the pain, but rather, around it, on my body as a whole, and thought to myself, “Just release,” that the pain finally dissipated. It occured to me that “releasing” is a lot like “giving”. By giving my negative energy away, not to another person, but back into the universal pool where all energy exists, I was able to feel a sense of release, and ultimately, peace.
If we can start to think of giving, in all circumstances, as a release, it will do us so much more good than the people to whom we give. Whether it’s lending our voice to a cause, creating our art for the world, sacrificing our time to be better parents, or just sharing our resources with those in need, the act of giving is a privilege. The giver gets so much more out if it than he/she will ever know.
At the end of the day, when your exhaustion gets the best of you, instead of focusing on all that negative energy, aim to release it. Give it back to the universe. Sorry, world, I don’t want this resentment, this disappointment, this depression. You can have it back. I want to make room within me to receive something better from you – your endless supply of love.
It may not come from the exact person you want, in the exact way you want. But it will come, so long as you are open to receiving it. Being open means softening your heart, softening your expectations. It means accepting loving energy in whatever form it takes, and allowing it to replenish you.
So next time you think you have nothing left to give, give anyway – a hug, a smile, a kind word, a helping hand. Apart from the postive impact it might have on someone else, and the ripple effect that ensues, it will be a release for your soul, and a way to make room for replenishment.
Most people run away from pain.
It’s uncomfortable and disturbing.
We think it takes us away
from being able to enjoy life.
And yet, on the flip side of pain,
there is always pleasure.
They are two opposing sides of the same coin
that we haven’t learned how to flip to our advantage.
Most people just choose to stuff the coin deep within their pockets,
rejecting both pain and pleasure,
in favor of a routine life,
where both these experiences are tempered,
and life seems manageable.
Except that life isn’t meant to be managed.
It’s meant to be fully lived.
Despite our best efforts, life doesn’t bend to our will.
Instead, we’re the ones getting puppeteered through life,
thrown from one tumult to another,
taking solace in the breaks between each crisis.
What if there is a way for us to align ourselves with the Universe?
To reduce our depression and anxiety,
our chronic loneliness,
always feeling on the fringes,
What if there is a way to be happy,
but it involves taking out that dreaded coin,
and dealing with the pain in our life head on,
learning how to sit with it,
What if the force of releasing that pain
had the power to elevate us,
causing the coin to flip on its own?
Then we might feel the greatest pleasure of all –
To each other.
To that spiritual being lying deep within us.
The thing is,
there is no such thing as pleasure
If we didn’t have either of these experiences,
we’d be living a life of ennui.
Without the pain of our aching muscles,
getting a massage wouldn’t feel like such ecstasy.
Without the pain of going to school every day,
we wouldn’t have the pleasure of seeing our friends,
or in the long term,
the satisfaction that comes from achievement,
the joy that comes from using our education to better the world.
Without the travesty of war,
we would not truly cherish peace.
Many of us live with deep wounds,
from broken relationships,
or the loss of loved ones.
We endure tremendous pain,
absorbing it into our psyche,
allowing it to diminish our spirit,
trying, unsuccessfully, to ignore it
until it goes away for good.
But pain is like a leech.
It won’t leave
unless we learn
how to heal.
The path to healing is personal.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all set of guidelines
for finding your bliss.
Yes, talking to a therapist might help,
or joining a support group.
Yes, medication might be hugely beneficial,
or reading about personal development,
to new ways of thinking.
Or maybe, for you,
none of this will work.
Perhaps you just need patience
the sincere desire to evolve,
to transcend this human pain that is constantly weighing you down,
so you might find some semblance of peace –
and dare I say –
The path to healing is personal.
You must figure it out on your own
but not necessarily alone.
you’re never actually alone.
If you step out of your own way,
start ignoring your inner critic –
that pesky roommate who’s taken up residence in your mind –
let go of all your preconceived notions,
your antagonizing ideas about life,
your impressions of success and failure,
if you let go
that constant connection you have with the universe,
I promise you,
your heart will open up
to the truth.
Your path will be revealed.
Something beautiful will take shape
from the core of your being.
And if you can learn to trust it,
it will never steer you wrong.
If you are ready to face your trauma,
the challenge will be immense
but the reward exponential.
Because with healing,
comes the ability to help others.
And in the quest to help others,
you may just find your life’s purpose.
In helping others,
you’re creating a ripple effect
that will change the world.
And in helping others,
the person you’re actually helping the most,
I’m a prisoner in my own mind
sentenced to a life of despair,
and the only one able to save me
is behind bars, too.
For years, I longed for a savior –
an attentive parent,
an inspiring mentor,
a romantic partner.
For years, I waited.
People came and people went,
but not one of them could save me.
Because the only one able to save me
is behind bars, too.
She has the keys to our freedom,
but not quite the strength.
She knows that I love her,
but my love is weak.
We’ve spent so many years apart,
walled off from each other
because I abandoned her,
but only to protect her.
What good was our bond if it had only caused pain?
So she turned her back on me,
and I on her.
Doesn’t matter that we were stuck in the same cell,
the walls between us of our own making.
All these years later,
I turn to face her.
She’s the only one who can save us,
if only she could muster the will.
I’m begging her to unlock the prison door,
and set us free.
Let us live as one,
in this perfect human body,
with this identity that, together, we can sculpt to our liking.
Let’s forget the past
and not dwell on the future,
but just experience each moment as it comes,
with nothing but love for each other,
with nothing but gratitude for our oneness,
with nothing but grace and contentment in our heart.
She reluctantly turns towards me
and points to something in my hand.
I had the key to our freedom all along.
When I look to the prison bars,
all I see is a curtain of wild flowers intertwined with leafy vines,
sunlight peaking in through the gaps.
We hold hands,
lift up the curtain together,
and walk into the beautiful landscape
of the unknown.
We saved ourselves.
And who knows?
Maybe we are the savior in someone else’s story, too.
About nine months ago, I shared a prose poem with all of you entitled, “Bare Naked”. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can find it here. Today, I’m sharing a video of myself for the first time, in which I’m “performing” it. This is new to me, so thank you, in advance, for your views and comments!
How can your mood go from upbeat to somewhat disinterested to super depressed, all in the span of one morning? And why does that morning always tend to be on a Sunday?
The Sunday Blues is a universal phenomenon. Nobody wants to go back to school or work on Monday, and do the homework or chores that ensure the rest of the week will go smoothly. Most people spend their Sundays procrastinating as much as possible, then scrambling to get their work done before bedtime.
There’s also another, less talked about, element to the Sunday Blues. When Friday becomes Saturday, you’re moving from a structured day to an unstructured one. Unstructured can be fun, at first. The chance to sleep in and have breakfast at 11am, to lounge in your pajamas for half the day, or spend time outdoors in the fresh air. But with unstructured time, there can be trouble, too.
If there’s more than one person living in your house, you’ve likely already experienced the Battle of Expectations. One person may want to stay home, while the other wants to go out. One person wants to socialize, while the other wants to read. If you’re part of a couple or a family that wants to spend time together but can’t agree on what to do, it’s tremendously challenging to meet everyone’s expectations. And if you’re a parent – well – it comes naturally to place your needs behind everybody else’s. By the time Sunday rears its ugly head, you feel a creeping sense of dissatisfaction and realize that your valuable free time is running out.
Often, the negative thoughts and unpleasant feelings you’ve been avoiding all week attack you when you’re at your lowest, like on a Sunday. That’s when you really start to feel miserable. It’s inevitable, though. If you’ve spent a lifetime feeling unworthy of having your needs met, then even as you try to rebuild yourself and your sense of worth, the road to recovery will still be full of stumbling blocks. And when you stumble, you’ll feel like all the progress you thought you were making was just a hoax. It’s the “one step forward, two steps back” conundrum.
At this point, you have two options: wallow in self-pity all day, or allow yourself to feel your feelings and then re-double your determination to keep moving forward. What does it mean to “feel your feelings”? If you feel despondent, don’t hide it. Tell people and give them a chance to help you. If you feel like being alone, say so. Perhaps this miserable feeling is your body’s way of saying you need more time to yourself. You can nap or shower or read or write. You can call a friend or listen to music. What you shouldn’t do is feel guilty about taking time for yourself, as if you’re failing everyone’s expectations. Because what you are actually doing is failing your own needs. And that’s not okay.
In time, you’ll learn to express your needs more frequently. You might adopt healthy strategies like planning out weekend activities and setting clear boundaries ahead of time; letting everyone know that, on Sunday, during the morning or afternoon or whatever day and time suits you, you just want to do your own thing. Or maybe you want to do something that does involve others, like going for a group hike, or to see a play. It’s about doing something you enjoy, something that nourishes your soul.
Feeling the Sunday Blues (or in fact, feeling blue on any day of the week) doesn’t have to be a constant. It can serve as a kick in the ass, and a message from your soul that it needs some love and attention. If you heed that message for long enough, then feeling bad will lead to feeling better. And suddenly, you’ve turned a difficult experience into a more enlightened and uplifting one.
Harmony. Connection. Oneness. These words are often used to refer to humanity; how, if only all people could put away their differences and act as one, the world would be such a better place. Indeed, the world would have a greater chance for survival. So, working on the assumption that what’s good for the world must also be good for each human being, on an individual level, then how can we apply harmony, connection, and oneness to ourselves?
We’re each made up of many “selves”. There are the various masks we wear for different people. There are the multiple voices in our head, often in conflict with each other, telling us how to live our lives. There’s our light selves and our shadow selves; our mind, body, and soul; our need to be and our need to please. Whichever way you look at it, we are fragmented people, and often each fragment is working against the other, which leads to stress, anxiety, depression, and countless illnesses.
How can we get all the parts of our Being to exist in harmony and work as one? First of all, we must acknowledge the presence of each part, no matter how shameful or embarrassing. We must acknowledge and accept it, because as of this present moment, this is all we have to work with. So, one person may be kind and caring, but also self-indulgent and quick-tempered. She could try to hide her negative qualities from the world, or she could be open about them, acknowledge them, and learn how to wield her cravings and passion in a more controlled way. Every individual part of our Being has a purpose; we just need to work on figuring out what that is.
Throughout our lives, we play at being different people, taking qualities we have or ones we pick up along the way, and experimenting with them in various combinations, like a person trying to solve a Rubik’s cube. When we’re young, we try to be more like our peers in order to fit in. As we get older, we try to differentiate ourselves in order to stand out. Eventually, we reach a stage where, after much effort, we begin to understand who we really are and stop trying to be someone we’re not.
I strongly believe all the puzzle pieces are there, within each and every one of us. But perhaps they’re not fitting together as they should be. The order is all wrong. Understanding ourselves is only half the battle; figuring out how best to be ourselves, how best to connect all the puzzle pieces together in a way that allows us to be at one with ourselves – that is the real work. Learning how to accept our anger but still control our temper and let go of our grudges, how to use all our pent-up energy to our advantage, or how to go easy on ourselves if we don’t have some of the qualities people around us expect us to have. We are fine just the way we are – works-in-progress, trying to solve our own Rubik’s cubes.
Harmony. Connection. Oneness. We must strive for these things within us, and simultaneously, around us. This is the struggle at the core of life. This IS life. We are meant to struggle, yearn, and persist, but we are also meant to be at peace. How we put our puzzle pieces together will have an impact on how well we can keep this balance.