Thank You

Thank you for finding the strength in my weakness.
Where I can only hate myself,
you fight to reinforce my worth.

Thank you for struggling through my stubborn self-loathing.
When I can only make myself bleed,
you find bandages to bind the wounds.

Thank you for picking me up when I stumble and fall.
Where I fail to stand and move ahead,
you’re there to catch and nudge me forward.

Thank you for listening, even when I struggle to speak.
When I’ve lost my voice,
you sort through my tangled thoughts to find the message.

Thank you for being patient enough to out-stubborn me.
Where I refuse to speak,
you ask until you can drag it out of me…even when it takes hours.

Thank you for guiding me.
When others have left me in the dark,
you became my shining light.

Thank you for taking every fragmented piece of me for what it is.
Where others let the shards of my psyche fall away,
you stopped to pick them up.

Thank you for being you without falter.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally.

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Sunrise

Just as she accepted the warmth of the sun,
it set,
and she was left in the shadow of night.
Again.
She was alone,
but she always had been.
She merely deluded herself into thinking she wasn’t.

Left mute,
she could not call for help.
Left blind,
she could not seek out the flickers of light in the distance.
Left deafened,
she could not follow the calls of those naive enough to think she could be pieced back together.

Her companions were the demons that plagued her existence.
She could only stumble toward the whispers of the ghosts of her past,
drawing her deeper into the abyss.
She could only clamor after their lingering glow,
hoping to find her way out.
She would find her way out—by whatever means necessary.

She didn’t expect to see the next sunrise.
The sunrise was such a rare occurrence to begin with.

…Maybe… it was simply time for her to go.

…Maybe… the sun would rise more often in the next life.

…Maybe… she could find peace in the next life.

…Maybe… she could find herself again in the next life.

…Maybe… that was exactly where she belonged—in the next life.

Ten Days

Sixty-one days ago,
there was an explosion of excitement.
It stretched clear across the Atlantic from the US to the Netherlands.
It hasn’t waned.

Now,
in just ten days,
there will be another explosion of excitement.
This time,
we will be face-to-face.

I still remember the first time I saw your eyes light up,
catch the glow of your monitors and sparkle with amusement.
You were far too pleased with yourself,
watching me blush as you took advantage of the inner foreign language nerd.
Bastard (I know, I know; not born out of wedlock).

I still remember the first time I saw you laugh at the squeak and following, “Fuck off.”
You almost died.
…Though you did, and still do, generally do it to make me happy,
don’t lie and say it isn’t for your own amusement, too.

I still remember the first time I watched you squeak and swear with a gentle murmur of your first name,
a snap comment,
and a shit-eating grin on my face.
Though I, too, do it mostly because I love you,
I admit I find it highly amusing.

…I still remember the first time I saw you look at yourself and tear yourself to pieces.
I still remember the literal pain I felt as you simultaneously tore me apart,
stripping away every one of your strengths,
leaving behind only imperfections.

I still remember the first time I saw you roll your eyes at me as I did the same—
parsing the strengths from flaws,
tossing the strengths aside,
the mountain of failures, and imperfections remaining.
I still remember the first time I actually watched you call me a hypocrite,
spitting back that goddamn psych fact on perception.

We’re still a couple of hypocrites,
for multiple reasons.

No screens this time.

In ten days,
I will physically touch you,
tackle you to the ground in the middle of a busy airport,
kiss you,
and laugh as D yells, “FIFTY SHADES OF GAAAY,” so loud your family hears it back home.

In ten days,
I will drag your jet-lagged ass back to the car,
hand you an energy drink,
and grin.
“Wake up, klootzak. GMT -5. Only 14:00. We have shit to do.”

In ten days,
your American adventures will begin.

Buckle up, bitch.
D and I are driving—
you’re in for one hell of a ride.

Ik hou heel veel han jou, beertje.
I’ll see you soon. 

What Do You See Now?

What do you see in me?
Think about it.
Root it deep into your mind.
Have it?
Good.

Keep that in mind as I ask you this:

What do you see in me as I see what is not there?
As I watch objects morph into the unimaginable?
As I see people, auras, creatures…, monsters… slink around you,
genuinely frightened for your safety,
often unaware that these things are not truly there?

What do you see in me as I hear the sounds of the skeletons in my psyche’s closet?
The growls, groans, screeches of demons?
The banging of the fists of the abominations trapped inside my closet—my mind?
As I’m hunched over my desk,
hands over my ears,
tears in my eyes,
desperate to just make it fucking stop?

What do you see in me as I stumble through those days detached from our world,
entangled in the gnarled woodwork of my own?
As I glide hazy-eyed, affectless, with an inflectionless tone that typically carries more peaks and valleys than my mood cycles?
As I give laconic answers?
Or disjointed pieces of sentences being forced together from different puzzles entirely?

What will you see in me when I don’t remember any interaction we had during those days?
When I only see where the pages have been torn from the book of my life?
When I’m aware that those days happened, but have no written pages as to what exactly?
When I have only photographic glimpses from the damaged film of my eyes’ camera?

What do you see in me when you hear the word, “antipsychotics?”
Do you think, “Psycho,” “Crazy bitch,” “Nut job?”
Or do you pity me?
‘Poor thing…,’ ‘To have to go through that…,’ ‘She’s so young…’?
Can you sympathize,
being one of the poor bastards having experienced the same thing,
your opinion likely unchanging?
Or, lacking similar experience, do you think nothing different,
whether it be positive or negative?

I can almost guarantee it isn’t option three.

If you somehow find out,
and it is,
…thank you…

Guardian Angel

My guardian angel isn’t in heaven.
She isn’t dead,
nor has she ever been dead.
She is very much alive,
and she lives about 15 minutes from me.
…Barring traffic doesn’t suck…

She doesn’t wear white robes garnished with golden sashes.
She doesn’t have glowing feathered wings.
Her hair is not white blonde hair, her skin not pale porcelain, nor her eyes a shimmering blue.
She wears torn jean shorts and printed t-shirts.
On rare occasions,
a pantsuit, but only when absolutely necessary.
Her hair is ashen brown and her eyes the color of milk chocolate; her skin has seen the sun during each season but bears no evidence of burn.

Hell, she wouldn’t get into heaven given the bible’s stringent rules if either of us believed in that,
which is bullshit.

My guardian angel is a 22-year-old college graduate with a business degree.
She’s a goddamn weeb,
she swears a metric fuckton,
she games,
and she works her ass off
…even for the assholes that don’t deserve it.

She is a mama bear.
Don’t dick with her cubs [read: her close friends].
You’re asking to get rekt.
(Seriously, don’t do that; I’ve seen the outcome.)
She’s a protector,
a giver,
a lover,
but also a fighter.
That last one is important.
Don’t forget that shit.
A grave mistake you will make.

Above all else,
she is my best friend.
If I could be half the person she is,
accomplish half of what she has at our age,
I’d like myself a hell of a lot more.

I love you, dude (#NoHomo ;D).
My dear Pseudo-Homo,
I owe you so much more than some stupid poem,
but I suppose…,
it’s a start.

Seventy-One Days

One week ago,
there was no countdown.
There was no excitement.
There was no talk of, “When you’re here…”
Now,
there is.

In seventy-one days,
I will pick your sleepy, jet-lagged ass up from the airport.
Here, only 22:30, 12/07/17.
There, already 06:30, 13/07/17.
I only get more excited as the days creep by.

In seventy-one days,
I will quite literally tackle you to the ground in the airport,
just settling in for the night,
and jolt it (and you) awake with the squeak of your name.
Your fellow passengers will likely look at me like I’m insane.
Fuck ’em.

In seventy-one days,
I will finally find myself locked in your embrace,
face buried in your chest,
(tall Dutch jackass),
and exhibit feminine, bitch-like behaviour involving tears of joy.

In seventy-one days,
after one-hundred-ninety-three days of unconditional love and support,
I will kiss you for the first time.
I will tell you to your face,
“Ik hou zo veel van jou…, mijn beertje,”
with a shit-eating grin on my face.
And I will love every second of it.

In seventy-one days,
I will sit in the back seat with you as you drift in and out of sleep,
speaking softly to you.
I will run my fingers through your hair,
a stupid grin on my face,
through the entire hour and a half car ride home.

In seventy-one days,
I will drag your tired ass inside,
put you to bed,
and shortly thereafter,
lay down beside you.

In seventy-one days,
I will drift off to sleep at your side,
in your arms,
and sleep peacefully…
for the first time in a long time.

Four Little Words

Four words.
Four little words.
And she grins a genuine grin.

Four words.
Four little words.
And her face flushes red.

Four words.
Four little words.
And her heart nearly stops.

Four words.
Four little words.
And she nearly loathes herself just a little less.

She wasn’t proud of herself.
She didn’t meet her own standards.
She never had lived up to her own expectations.
She wasn’t good enough.
She never had been—
for herself or anyone else.

Then suddenly,
she was.
At least for someone else.
They looked for the effort she put it,
and found the worth in her where she,
nor her family,
could… or would.

Not her mother.
Buck up, Bucky. You just have to keep going.”
Everyone is crazy, has issues, is tired.

Her father.
That “B” could have been an “A”.”
Everyone joke has even just an inkling of truth.

Her grandmother.
So, are you going to start getting good grades again?”

She was trying,
doing what she could,
while others played god with her life.
The life that was once her’s was no longer.

I’m proud of you.
He was though.
Your best is more than good enough.
He meant it.
“I told you you’d pass, babe.
She didn’t think she would.
EZ.
She nearly shit a brick at an “A” in Dev Psych.
“I told you everything would be all right.

She never got her hopes up;
better to be pleasantly surprised than crushingly disappointed.

I’m proud of you.
A fuckwit grin.
Every.
Goddamn.
Time.
He meant the world to her.

And when he was happy,
she worried just a little less.

I’m proud of you, Jessie.