“I wasn’t born with anxiety”

I wasn’t born with anxiety,
It was given to me.
A present from my parents.
For 23 years I thought there was a hole in my soul,
That I thought too much and felt too much,
That I was sensitive to the weirdest things.
And that love meant abuse,
Denial that I had emotions and a life inside me.

I wasn’t born with anxiety.
Anxiety was developing an insanely sensitive hearing,
So that I understand the emotions of my mother while I was on a different floor on the house,
To track every footstep and every sigh,
So that I know what mood was coming for me.
Making sure the door was unlocked for my father when he arrived,
So he wouldn’t get angry.

I wasn’t born with anxiety,
Anxiety was me hiding my precious inner world,
So that it is not used as a weapon of shame,
Never listening to music out loud, not saying I liked my friends.
Never suggesting that anything could be more important than the needs of my parents.

I wasn’t born with anxiety,
Anxiety was not knowing that I was a person too.
That I didn’t cause my parents’ mood swings and depression,
That I had worth beyond being a good child and making them happy.
That my life was my own.

I wasn’t born with anxiety,
I was simply made to believe that at any given moment, if I am not careful,
I will be noticed and yelled at or shamed.
That I don’t deserve to sleep in and will be criticized if I do.
That my personal time cannot come at the expense of not entertaining my mother.
That being angry makes me a bad person.
That I should be ashamed for not putting my parents on a pedestal simply for existing.
That I am not allowed to be happy if they are not happy.

I wasn’t born with anxiety,
But what I was given followed me to college,
Making me reenact what I had seen before with my boyfriends,
Thinking that giving up my happiness,
And putting up with questionable behavior
Was what “good” people did.

I wasn’t born with anxiety,
Yet it is a part of me,
But I will not let what was done to me
Rule one more second of my sanity.

“On Anger”

I’m gonna say it loud and clear,
My anger has power,
Perhaps to be feared.

I’m sick of being thrown in someone’s shadow
And expected to stay put there,
While he lays out his thought for all the world to bear.

I’m sick of feeling forgotten,
For having the implosion of energy in me,
The art the emotions, the wants,
Kept in an inoffensive box that appeals to these controllers.
They think I’m weak because I don’t yell back,
But I cultivate a Buddha peace moreover.

What do I strive for in a world that expects me to be great,
But not too great, and not too visible also?
The women we all know are the laughing stock.
While we’re silent about those who silence us,
Letting only their admirants speak.
What freedom is this?

I am so angry,
So angry that my love for powerful individuals
Must leave me selfless.
That it all starts with an acknowledgment of equality
Of mind and character that I do poses,
And it ends in being asked to look up and clap on the sidelines.
And we wonder why powerful women “can’t keep a man” –
They don’t want to.

My friends don’t bombard me with their view until I give in.
They don’t expect me to stay silent and pretty
When I go to a party by their side,
My main purpose to make them look good.
No possession, no taming me to fit in a box.

Of course it feels lonely
When you express an opinion no one wants to hear.
But only in my edginess,
Can I hold my power too.

(from the Archive 2018)

“The Lost Future”

I morn for the things that we’ll never do.
Passing by an Indonesian restaurant left me blue.
I thought about Italy and all its charms,
And how I’ll never be there in your arms.
My train ride to Maastricht is now with a friend.
My weekends of summer – alone with a pen.
I go to your city, and yes you’re still there,
Though I cannot reach you, of that I’m aware.

Last week we had a future,
Food spots, and places, and dreams.
This week I live in the shadow of that,
Wondering what hope while alone really means.
Constructing myself again, and the future,
Which has disappeared from view.
Avoiding those wonderful things I can’t have,
Because they remind me of you.

“The Child”

If you want to be with me
Say hi to the child in me.
She gets excited when you smile
And imagines what we’d look like in a while.
But I have to tell her, nothing is ever what it seems.

She only remembers the good things,
Flower fields, hugs, cute animals in zoos,
And feeling like she’s not alone.
I tell her to remember,
Even in company, she is always alone,
That meeting the child in someone is not the same,
A child would not abuse her like that.
She just doesn’t understand,
As children want to live in happy land.

She doesn’t care about the the thousand nights I couldn’t sleep
Over those who did me wrong,
She can only dance and imagine,
That you’ll fit perfectly in her song.

I want to trust her,
I want to let her breathe,
But shouldn’t there be someone to mend her bruises,
And tell her everyone will leave?

The child in me loves the child in you
But our adult selves hardly speak
As adults seem to do.
We make everything so complicated
We feel things but we regulate it,
So no one can see the crazy boy and girl jumping up and down.
We’re not allowed to say we need someone,
We’re supposed to think, not jump.

The child in me is sick of playing by my rules.
Even as I try to take away her sense of wonder,
She hasn’t realized that putting her hand on stove-tops burns.
I hope she never really learns.

“Window Reflections”

Rap music like a pulsing heart in the background
Makes me think back to
Nights feeling like my breath in zero degree weather
That little smoke coming out from my lips being
Sacred like the delirious friction of your skin against mine
When we paint shadows across the city skylines.

And yet later I lay with eyes wide open
In excitement there never is a constant
I don’t know how to separate the highs and lows,
All I’m looking for’s control.

I think I wanna know what happens
To anticipate the disappointments
To predict the next inevitable fall.
And with this, I’m ruining it all.

Can’t I just enjoy the moment,
Be happy you’re here tonight and if tonight only
Make it worth a sudden blow?

They taught me to fear,
To shame and to be near,
But no one taught me to be happy.

“On Fitting In”

To be in a group is to feel you belong,
To never have to be lonely or strong.
Or so it seems to the one standing by,
All the friends laughing on the grass in the sun,
But to not be yourself is actually not fun.

I don’t think people like me run in groups.
Their love for silence can be misunderstood.
They’d be the ones staring away
Trying to figure out what’s going on around them,
Wondering about every face.

They don’t like to please a crowd,
But rather a soul,
And that needn’t be loud.
Although sometimes, I love my voice to be heard,
When I’m arguing something that can’t be observed.

I’ve tried many times to change,
To fit the description, to round out my edges,
But I keep coming back, and filling these pages.
No amount of alcohol, loud music, and being in bed,
Will chase away the tumbling waves in my head.

To sit here and analyze, and criticize, is to be me.
And maybe many others do feel similarly.
This man with a baby just cycled by,
A look of hopelessness and wonder,
He stared into my eyes.

Maybe people aren’t as shallow as they seem,
And maybe one day, I’ll find my team.
But that can only happen,
If I let my eyes, with realness, gleam.

“The Power of Saying Goodbye”

One morning, I was in a foreign land,
Standing on a platform,
Waiving to a disappearing train,
With a crying mother in its hand.

One night, we couldn’t sleep from too much crying
And hugging, our relationship declared dying.

One afternoon, I got a phonecall,
That now there would be silence on the other end.
And the snow cried too, a sympathetic friend.

The tears are always there,
That is true.
But few know,
Of the quiet liberation too.

Sometimes things fall apart,
For wilder things to be built.
After tears and anger,
Sometimes we need peace.
Nature gave us humans hands,
To grasp and then release.

Sometimes saying goodbye
means you don’t need a crutch.
Newness is pain,
But the adventure is much.

That is not to say that I don’t love.
The problem is I love too much.
But my love for freedom,
For rightness, and for making my gut content,
That spans the greatest extent.

A goodbye not said can eat you out for years,
Can be the source of many many more tears.
Saying some words you shouldn’t have said.
Sometimes, goodbye is less regret.