What it means to live

What it means to live

I threw it on the ground and burst into tears,
watched my cocktail of pills spill across the carpet . . .
I never really wished for death
but the thought gave me comfort over the months of sickness.
If she died, I’d die –
there was poetry in that.
I brought the cancer when she gave me life
and in the cancer’s death, so would be my own.
That morning came and the pain came and the tears came . . .
yet one by one I put the pieces of my security blanket into the garbage.
Perhaps there was poetry in that as well.

Though the life inside me wasn’t quite . . .
I pasted smiles across my face,
carefully sliced myself into pleasant and colorful die-cut shapes,
stuck myself to anything that helped mask the dysfunction.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and months into years
and still they would all say I was strong.
All I could see was weakness . . .
the attenuated will to die
produced a guilt I wore like my funeral dress . . .
a garment that accentuated my identity –
a darkness covered in flammability.

There was a failure to extinguish my life
and a failure to truly live . . .
caught in limbo
spinning round
stopping only on the poles of numbness and melodrama.

Adulthood came and I ventured out into world,
determined to prove myself worthy,
yet still caught in the monomania  of guilt and self-deprecation.
Spread myself thin as communion wafers
and allowed creation to swallow my body.

A lifetime within a lifetime spent chasing monsters
and it took my own creation of life to realize they weren’t real.
I stared into blue eyes cradled in my arms
and I breathed for the first time in 9 years.
Finally alive and grateful for my once perceived weakness.

Photo Credit

32 responses to this post.

  1. “Days turned into weeks and weeks into months and months into years
    and still they would all say I was strong.
    All I could see was weakness . . .”

    That made me shiver. I remember that feeling all too well when my parents were divorcing and my world came crumbling down…

    This is beautiful and raw, and I will always admire your courage for sharing so much of yourself.


    • Thank you so much, Jen . . . . I think, as children and teens, we take on so much responsibility when something traumatic happens . . . we’re already confused and struggling, add these things to it and masking ourselves just feels like the most logical thing to do.


  2. Wow is all I can say. Raw and powerful.


  3. Wow Dayle. Wow.

    I hope you don’t feel weak anymore … because you certainly don’t seem weak to me at all.


  4. Interesting take on the prompt — nice! Welcome to the Speakeasy!!!


  5. I loved how you used the prompt to conjure the image of how we compartmentalize and mask our true feelings.


  6. This is absolutely beautiful Dayle! The imagery and emotion are so vivid. I love this line: “Spread myself thin as communion wafers and allowed creation to swallow my body.” Well done – and welcome to the speakeasy!


  7. Wow
    Always so honest and beautiful!


  8. Posted by Karen on February 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    I admire you’re honesty Dayle. Beautiful, haunting, and honest. I am kind of speechless. Besos.


  9. Beautifully crafted scenario of despair and its final absolution.


  10. Ok this is weird – I swear I commented on this last night! So well done, really great imagery!


  11. So well done. So full of emotion and honesty. Beautiful work.


  12. Posted by nataliedeyoung on February 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Such vivid imagery – “monomania of guilt and self-deprecation” – love it.


  13. Wonderfully dark and very exposing. Well Done.


  14. wow this was beautiful and sad. full of so, so much emotion. really great job.


  15. This line — “the attenuated will to die” — is so (normally I’d drop an f-bomb here but maybe me swearing all over your blog isn’t awesome so you can imagine it or not at your discretion) awesome. The entire piece was *great*, but that line just jumped out and kicked me. Fantastic.


  16. I agree with Eric — I love that line! I also love how you end it — really, it’s as if the darkness is lightening there.


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