I feel discouraged.

I have been encouraging clients to identify their emotions, to find the words for those and for their unmet needs and hopes, to speak them to loved ones. I have tried to do this myself, because I am the kind of person who has to think about feelings in order to really feel them, and because my loved ones care for me well when I let them.

I see my feeling reflected in those around me, and this helps me to understand it. Someone told me recently that he tries to pray, but he always feels like a kid in a spelling bee trying to figure out the longest word whenever he does, so he stops. Discouraged.

I assess other people’s mental health needs on a regular basis. Are they hopeless or are they discouraged? Have they given up on everything or are they still trying to heft that load, with its ever-piling pebbles?

My courage and enthusiasm have been sapped by a string of small inconveniences, frustrations, late nights, and very bad news. Dis-couraged.

Feeling discouraged is insidious because it depletes initiative gradually. I keep telling myself and others that I am okay. I am just discouraged. Because of that, I do not have the stamina to pick myself up. Acknowledging that increases the sense of discouragement.

I am tempted to dismiss this feeling, because I see hopelessness every day, and that is much bleaker. Fortunately for me, I am a therapist, and my clients come to our sessions telling me that self-compassion helps. I have decided to try not to be a hypocrite.

Feeling discouraged is hard. It doesn’t have to be compared with anything else to be hard. Suffering is part of being human, and I am not alone in this. May I be kind to myself as I move through these grey days.

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“When she was a child, her aunt and uncle burned her with cigarettes and molested her.”

As I am typing this in the middle of a routine assessment, I must stop, overwhelmed.

At first, I think that the right words are too obscene to type. I quickly realize that I do not have the right words.

There are not enough obscene words in all the world to carry the obscenity of this reality.

There are not enough obscene words in all the world to carry the obscenity of this reality.

There are not enough obscene words in all the world to carry the obscenity of this reality.

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Fistful of Self

Are turned inside out
Not by a thread
But by the fabric itself
The subversion of identity
Submersion of self
Into a system of pieces
That may box us in if reassembled
Or attach to our insecurities
Before scattering to the wind
Carrying us away
In a fragmenting
Vomiting up the questions
Of whatever defines
Or destroys

We shine at our most fractured
The edge-sharp pieces
Catch the eye
To be dulled or reshaped
At every turn on display

Did you see me unraveling?
I saw you look but I could not tell
If recognition there
Was yours
Or reflecting

I’m holding all of my threads
Fistful of self

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The Toast of the Mime

The toast of the mime is silent, resounding
Broken clock ticking for life ever bounding
Eulogy, requiem grounding and pounding
The binding of eloquence finally confounding

Most of the time.

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God bless the grass.

Grey sky met grey concrete like a business meeting of androgynous folk in grey suits, and the trees were perfectly still like they had been caught in a photograph against their will and were now too demoralized to try to escape. 

The atmosphere smelled like industry and efficiency, and people didn’t look up when they passed one another. If they had, of course, they would have seen themselves, or quite a close approximation. Nothing had changed and nothing was changing and nothing would change.

But then, quite suddenly, a single blade of grass poked up through a sidewalk, and

everything changed.

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Yonder breaks the news, and you soldier on as

War echoes in your denial of pain.

I wish you would stop and draw beauty in your eyes, and

Be like the flight until the fire stops, and

Hold your grace deeply and tightly and neverletgoingly.

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The Inside

This ceiling fan spins with such shaky vigor

that I can’t help but imagine the dropping of a single blade –

dropping out with no reduction in horizontal speed.

It would cut a person wide open

so that all may see

what he or she was made of.

In my mind, the blood is dark like wine

and it spreads to cover the floor

in a shiny coat of the most expensive polish

as all the people around stare in dismay

at their newly soaked socks.

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