Frozen

Last year, I began seeing a psychologist. She helped me work through many of my fears, anxieties and a harsh reality that began changing my family dynamic. When she asked me what word could describe how I felt when the stressful events would happen, I could only think of one word. Frozen. I felt frozen. I was frozen when I comforted my mom. Hearing her fraught with stress and belittled to tears, because my dad had had another episode. When my brothers didn’t believe me, when I told them that our dad was changing. Every difficult conversation I had with my father. Every fight we had when I didn’t understand what he was going through.

It was an emotionally draining year, but finally we got my dad to a doctor and found out that he was in the early stages of dementia. The paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, irrational fears and forgetfulness all fit under one explanatory umbrella. As I learned more about the disease, it started to make sense to me.

Now that he’s on medication, things are better. But they aren’t perfect. He still has episodes, just not as often. When they do happen, I feel the same way. I feel numb to the chaos. It takes me a while to thaw out my emotions and be productive.

Writing has been my savior. Writing has helped me cope when things got tough. As I am writing this now, I feel anxious. I worry about all of the worst possible outcomes. What if someone in my family sees this? What if I am saying more than I should? But another part of me wants to share, because I am not so naive as to believe that I am the only child of a parent with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It is more than just forgetting. It is the decline of cognitive functioning. It is the loss of reason, critical thinking skills and, for my dad, it created a paranoid and irrational personality he struggles to work through.

As a society, I don’t think we talk about mental illness enough. I wish I had understood more before this happened. I wish my father’s generation was taught more too. Maybe then he wouldn’t think of mental illness as a taboo subject. Maybe then he would be open to talking about his anxieties or even willing to admit he has them.

As for me, I know that the first step in working through mental obstacles, is admitting you have them. I wrote this poem to express how I feel when it seems as though the world is closing in on me. I wrote it to admit my weaknesses and help myself work through them. I hope that this means something to someone else too. I hope it helps someone see that although, yes, this poem is dark, it isn’t meant to be negative. It is meant to be expressive. It is meant to be the beginning of getting better.

Frozen

Hands of ice.

My frail body draws blood to its core.

My eyes, they see nothing

My ears, they hear no more.

My mind is but a captive,

To a cold, creeping icy lure.

Feet dug in snow,

Icicles in my joints, solidified from fear

Locking in my knees,

Liquid blood conversion,

Throughout my veins to my arteries.

I move no more,

Slowly, I feel no more.

My body a still, floating boat,

Without an oar.

Heart of ice.

I am trapped in this blizzard ensuing.

With no escape in sight.

Without the warmth of the golden sun,

To feed my soul and arm my fight

Against the cold, cruel war

Within me brewing.

I once lived in peace,

With careless ease.

But I now lie frozen.

A prisoner of anxiety.

-N.B.

My Love

This poem was suppose to be completely different. I was suppose to write a found poem about flavors, but having strayed so far away from that subject, I completed something I wanted to write more. The funny thing about writing is that I don’t always know where I’m headed or what my purpose was in the beginning. It’s as if the deeper pockets of my mind escape and emotions I’ve buried away come out of hiding. This one is about not fitting in, being different and, sometimes, feeling alone in a room full of people. People you know, people you don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. When you’re sinking, it all feels the same. In those moments, it takes every ounce of my being to just nod and smile. Keep up the charade, until I can escape and be alone. Only then, do I not feel alone.

My love, please do not slip into the darkness,

Pitch black, where spiders crawl.

When the weight of the world has crushed you,

Please, do not fall,

Through the gaping hole beneath you,

The one that knows your plight.

The sinner who speaks to your weakness.

The seer who stole your sight.

My love, please maintain your grip.

When the sun sets over the horizon,

Remember the golden day and sip,

On the little black birds calmly chirping,

Their songs emitted through the trees.

Remember the children and their laughter.

Forget the storm that brought you to your knees.

My love, please take my hand.

I’m feigning strength for you.

I’ve seen the darkness in that hole.

I’ve felt the cold chill of judgement, the cruel slap of conformity.

I’ve feared the numbing of my soul.

My love, please listen,

I promise there is a way.

To rise above the flames of normalcy,

To live in the sparkle of the golden embers,

And weather out the storm.

Don’t worry, my love, I’ll be your shield,

I fight this everyday.

-N.B.

Screens

Who hasn’t fallen victim to the entanglement of social media? Every time I open Instagram and see the pictures of beautiful people I’ll never look like with millions of friends I’ll never have, I regret it. I question myself. I feel as if I am not enough. But then I look outside of my window. I remember that real beauty is everywhere in the natural world. It’s not a made up, filtered face on social media, it’s the whites of the clear blue waves crashing on the shore. It’s the bird building a nest of torn up branches for his mate on the sand cliffs above the flat sand where the dogs eagerly chase their toy balls. This is real beauty. Just escaping the walls that surround you and enjoying the world outside your window.

Photo by: Pooeelouis

Monterey Bay, CA

My fingertips glide from your lowest point,

to your highest.

One glance, one glimmer,

at perfection, I’ll never be.

Images that move, images that are still.

Still, I am no you.

Perfection,

is what you create

and my obsessions,

are what you stimulate.

One screen, set my eyes ablaze, forever a prisoner

to a deep wave of jealous green.

Yet, another screen, transparency save,

blocks another life.

A tangible world of imperfect beauty.

I open that screen.