It's not fair I can't fall asleep with the trees every winter and only rise again when the distant sun returns being left abandoned in this windswept landscape is too much agony to endure year after year Left to live as a corpse in this cold darkness denied the sweet slumber offered to half of nature unable to escape into an expanded unconsciousness until I am awaked by the scent of spring flowers Half my life is wasted waiting for the thaw huddled into myself for safety and warmth where the beauty of the silent snow cannot creep into my veins Patience is a virtue I have not been artful in the ticking clock torments me and tears me down telling me I must rise and not let time slip by while my delicate soul continues to shiver
Acts once performed with the intention of loving kindness have become just additional burdens of mindless routine every little task now resonates with resentment self-care disfigured and transmuted into self-harm Somehow I turn even healing practices into poison to punish myself for not meeting my own expectations what is there inside me that turns self-love so sour? why doesn't putting in the work work for me? Tools I was told would transform me if I was patient were twisted into weapons of perfectionism just more masochistic mutations of all the miracles I used to think would some day save me I'm so tired of this futile self-improvement project called me the pearls of ancient wisdom I've turned to soot within my fingers the internal pressure of trying to get better is the terminal illness of my inner-most essence
January punishes with pale grey glances punctuated by ragged breaths of sharp wind the air is empty of all familiar affection no more lingering, soft caresses from the sun The candles have all been extinguished on hearths and families that had gathered for feasting seem to have long since dispersed and dissolved back into this new year of silent, bleak darkness Expected to set goals while my soul is frozen over exhausted by the pitiful effort of just trying to get by themes of death thud against the weather worn door while paper crane wishes are swallowed up in icy oblivion Winter is a season where time stands still and all perspective on life is lost within waiting and the halfhearted insistence I'll feel good again in spring promise me this practice of painful patience will pay off
I resent the need for community the suffocation that settles over the soul after prolonged periods of being utterly alone I'm not presumptuous enough to suppose that other people could ever value me I wouldn't ask for what I don't deserve The human condition is being put in the position to require some amount of social support that I am unwillingly compelled to pursue I won't pray for things I haven't earned, that I am unfit for all I ask is to be spared the pain of possessing a basic need that always aches, but cannot be fulfilled Please let the empty spaces satiate fill me up with the silence beneath everything make this loneliness enough for me
I just don't have what it takes to improve my lot in life I thought I did everything right to make the cut to survive I don't have what it takes to struggle for years for a small chance of success in the distant future I don't have what it takes and it's hard to keep hearing I do from people that mean well but don't see that I'm already drowning I don't have what it takes to hold myself together or muster the mental fortitude to do more there isn't anything left inside to give I don't have what it takes to try harder than I am right now it's embarrassing to try to explain that this is everything I've got
One of the many struggles I have in life that I attribute to my undiagnosed Autism is my utter inability to make decisions. I’ve felt like decisions were so much harder for me to make than my peers even as a young child, but I feel it’s only gotten worse as I’ve gotten older and the decisions I’m faced with every day have become more and more serious and important. It’s hard enough for me to decide what to wear or what to make for dinner, let alone if I should take a new job or move.
I used to be more able to make a decision if I felt somewhat forced into it out of discomfort. I’d wait until I reached my breaking point, where the discomfort of not choosing a different path exceeded the discomfort of change. However, that threshold for discomfort has become larger and larger as I become more dependent on and attached to my routines. It feels impossible to make a big decision regardless of how certain I feel it will be good for me, because I know it will inevitably cause turmoil and disrupt my normal patterns and habits for awhile. Despite unhappiness with where I am, it still feels easier to just let things remain how they are. At least I know what to expect, even if it’s nothing good.
I’ve been trying to focus on the positive things I stand to gain from making a change. Part of me does get excited at the idea of beginning a new phase of life for myself. Who knows what wonderful new things might enter my life if I only have the courage to make room for them? However, I am immediately terrified and overwhelmed with the idea of the immediate future that lies before any of those benefits. How on earth can I bear the pivotal moments of action? It seems like an insurmountable task. I wish I was able to press a button, make the decision, and wake up a few weeks later beyond the initial aftermath.
Possibly worst of all is the feelings of guilt, shame, disappointment I feel with myself for not being able to do this. It’s hard to even talk about with other people, because I am so embarrassed. I can’t really ask for advice, because it’s obvious what they’ll tell me I need to do. Part of me is afraid that their certainty will push me into action. No matter how sure I am of something, there is always a small voice in the back of my head pushing me in the opposite direction, warning me that I might regret this. I know that’s not something I can ever avoid for sure. But I already have so many regrets. I’m afraid to trust myself. I’m afraid to be the one that chooses how my future will unfold. I don’t want to blame myself for making the wrong choice someday.
On the other hand, what if I am making the wrong choice by remaining where I am? There may be wonderful opportunities and people passing me by because I haven’t been brave enough to create space for them in my life. I hate feeling like such a coward, like a child, that needs someone else to make all the important decisions for them. I just want to ask for help, but I know that there is no one that can help me to live my own life. Some things we just have to do on our own.
There is a fine line between fascination and frustration a challenge that grips and sparks quietly slumbering curiosity can burn us up just as quickly The feverish fixation of one day becomes a chore for the next reluctant to make commitments for fear of past experience that all of these flimsy fancies will fly away Incapable of great works that require the steady, faithful persistence of years this fickle heart flares up at the idea of being tied to anything for so long longing to be cradled, not caged by consistency Tireless effort to balance between a comfortable edge and overwhelm the impossible choice of stagnation or the violence of self-destruction left hanging idly in the middle
Soft warm light suspended in the brutal vacuum of snow one final day of indulgence before the empty months commence January is the longest part of the year a vicious nod to immaterial time that contracts and expands as it pleases to trap us in the cold violence of winter The sunshine tide will slowly ascend further up the shores of frozen evenings to melt the aching numbness of vitamin D and dopamine withdrawal But even the faithful repetition of 29 years cannot convince me that the trauma of winter will give way to green abundance once again and melt this ice inside my veins Waiting in this black and white is a reminder that I still haven't found the patience I was promised would come with age just more pain piled on with yearly practice
As seasonal depression has slowly but surely sucked all of the life and motivation out of me in the last few months, I’ve been finding it harder and harder to write. An overwhelming sense of shame and mediocrity grip me as I attempt to do my daily poetry. I’m so distracted by the idea that I am not good enough, that my words are ignorant and hollow, that I can’t concentrate for long enough to create anything. Then this only reaffirms my crippling self-doubt, making it harder to come back to my laptop the next day.
Yesterday after finishing a poem that I wasn’t particularly proud of, I decided to read some of the older ones I had compiled for publishing this coming year. Even though I’ve done this in the past, I was still surprised at just how wonderful I felt these older poems were. I know I was partly moved because they reminded me of the times when I had written them, but I can’t deny that they are also excellent poems in their own right. I think anyone could enjoy them just as much as I have. The more I read, the more thick the wall of tears became against my eyelids, inevitably overflowing into hot streams down my cheeks. I wrote these. I had to keep reminding myself.
Today despite still not feeling particularly creative or inspired, the sense that I’m a failure and I’ve never written anything good nor will I ever write anything good is absent. I know that inspiration will find me again. I believe in and am proud of the things I have already created. I feel at peace inside this artistic dry spell.
Looking back at my old work was exactly what I needed. I’ve done this in the past not only with my poetry, but with my art as well. One day I was nearly in tears, wondering how I had ever believed I could draw or use my drawing tablet at all. Then I decided to pull up some of my old drawings. I was so happy looking at them. These are really good! I was delighted and surprised that I was so easily able to forget my own talent.
Sometimes the combination of mental illness, writer’s block, and exposure to so many other people’s amazing work online can leave us feeling inadequate. In these moments I try to remind myself of Lizzo’s wise words: “I am my inspiration.” We don’t need to be at the same level or have the same style of writing or drawing as other people. It can be hard to be an impartial judge of our own talent. That’s why it’s important to go back over our older work. So many times I’ve found that something I once hated or didn’t think much of has turned out to be one of my best creations when I look back. The poems I wrote as a teenager that I was embarrassed by seem simply beautiful to me now. I’ve even decided to publish them, and they’re available on Amazon if you’re interested.
I guess my point is, don’t trust your opinion of yourself or your ability when you are feeling low. The mind has a way of convincing us of things that aren’t true, especially when it comes to our perceptions of ourself. Just be patient and remind yourself through hard evidence. If your brain is telling you that you can’t write, go back and read what you’ve already written to prove it wrong. If it says you can’t draw, take the time to enjoy a personal art show of past works to silence that critical voice. Hell, sometimes this even works if I’m having a particularly bad body image day. I’ll look at somewhat recent photos I’ve taken of myself to remember that I can feel beautiful.
The only person you need to compare yourself to is your past self. Be your own inspiration. And most importantly, I want you to remember that every single thing you have created or will create is incredible and worthwhile, because it is a piece of your mind made manifest. When I look at something someone I love has drawn or written however silly it may seem to them, I love it. I love it because it came from them, and that’s all that matters. That’s what makes everything any one of us creates special and perfect. And lastly, let yourself rest sometimes. I promise your inspiration will come back soon enough.
I'm tired in a way I can't put into words the liquid soul I once housed with pride has slowly dripped away, now I'm bone dry Even the effort of asking myself what I want is more than I can manage anymore all I want is to want nothing This spiritual fatigue leads me to what is easy the path of least resistance is what I always pick regardless of the potential for happiness It just feels unlikely I'll ever uncover the strength to lift my head back up to face the world as I did and self-pity has become so sour on my tongue I want to be an artist and add my own beauty to life but my intentions get twisted and misconstrued distracted by the imagined gaze of unknown eyes So ashamed at the presumption of being worthy tearing myself to shreds to demonstrate to the world how aware I am that I'm not enough How can you ask for help when you don't feel you deserve it? how can you change direction when you're too tired to keep walking?