To live with my spirit free

It’s a bit cloudy today in the crevices of my mind

Obscuring truths I don’t want to know, answers I wish not to find

It’s rainy today in the juncture between my brain and my soul

Drowning out the thoughts that I wish I’d heard before

Waves of comfort calm my spirit, but crush me when they reach my rocky shore

For in that serenity hide the dangers that shake me at my very core

I feel at peace when reality melts away like dripping gold,

Shining brightly, creating fantasies as I wish them to unfold

Dreams of where I’m free to live, where what’s hidden is told

Where my surroundings I create and where my heart is truly bold

A place where I can roam freely, a place where souls aren’t so cold

But then reality again and again it takes its unyielding hold

Then I’m left where cruelty has become the currency around me

Sipping at my naivety, destroying who I once dreamed I could be

Turning my summer champagne into cold and bitter black tea

Gnawing at my roots until I’m as weak as a brittle palm tree

Whose branches just keep on snapping, destroying the parts that make me

Chiseling away at my sculpture until I collapse into lakes of debris

And as I scatter in the violent tides, they pick up the scraps for free

Someone steals my joy, the other steals my trust

Someone steals my peace, and I’m left an empty crust

The struggle never ends to hold on to who I am

Cursed with disorienting winds, an identity like swirling sand

Sometimes it terrifies me, because I begin to lose my mind

Wondering who I am, and why the hell I fight to remain this kind

How do they toughen their heart, how do they conquer their mind?

How do they find the strength to leave those who they love behind?

How do they manage to live their lives while constantly aligned

With only what they want, and to others’ needs turn blind?

How did they learn to take before they learned to give?

How did they learn to break your heart but never to forgive?

Who taught them that to crush and plunder was the only way to live?

And why and when did I learn that I had to just give, give and give?

Give up my identity,

In order to appease you, like an insatiable deity

You kept me drunk on hope, miles away from sobriety

Wishing I could just reach out to the rest of society

When you treated me like you own me and I reacted with piety

Because you know just how to take control of my fragile anxiety

And I find myself with conflicting thoughts of where I thought I’d be,

Wondering if it is too late to take my chance at all opportunity

To embrace the world, to connect myself, to smell, touch, hear and see

To re-sail my boats and rediscover my authentic morality

To dance, to sing, to laugh, to breathe in diversity

To scrape off my scars, to shed off adversity

And ask myself honestly for once, who it is I’m born to be

And give myself the existential right to live with my spirit free

Beyond the right you thought you had to bind me with your slavery

I'll shine bright

I breathe a little easier when I leave you behind,

The weight on my shoulders, the plague in my mind

It gets a little breezier the moment I find

Glimmers of clarity and from you I unbind

You keep me too busy with heartache and crimes

Too stressed to reflect

Too tense too unwind

Too afraid to connect

Too timid, too blind

My colours were once vibrant, my spirit divine

My laughs would echo with a joy that was mine

But baby I met you and what’s mine became yours

You’re a storm that raged in, after softly knocking on my door

I thought I could do this, but you always wanted more

I thought I’d get through this, but you had more in store

I thought it could happen to be loved and still be free

I didn’t imagine you’d have this much power over me

To lift me or crush me, to slow me or rush me

To beat me down and then touch me...

In that tender way

That way that left my life astray

The way that makes me forget what happened yesterday

When you held me so tightly, I thought I would die

When you drank from my kindness until the well ran dry

When you decided to destroy my trust and wouldn't say why

I've gone into hiding but I cannot run away

You keep me craving and my heart it obeys

When my spirit is naked in my moments alone

I see how much of me because of you is gone

But then you're suddenly all around me

And my layers they're back on

The ones I created to pretend I'm still strong

The ones I concocted to convince myself I wasn't wrong

To fall in love with someone who never loved me for who I am

But rather who loved me because you saw my flaws

My sense of insecurity, what I wrongly believed I was worth

An intrinsic vulnerability that I've been unable to unbirth

A sense of isolation as old as my first breath on earth

My weakness, my pain,

My scars, my wars,

Oh baby they were my painful siren call

You flocked towards me and didn't hesitate at all

To conquer, to change, to break me with words,

To take until I lost what it was that made me my own

The me I had painstakingly put together and that through tragedy I'd grown

The sense of hope I nurtured in the pitch black dark

The belief in a tomorrow that I hid in my heart

A craving for humanity when the demons left their mark

In my head, whispered in my ears,

When I lay in bed, wondering if the end is near

Oh how you shone so brilliantly when you first held my hand

Oh how you eased my fright before I began to understand

Your intentions for me, your determination for my essence to posses

To force me to submit, to break me down, forcing me to confess,

To use my past against me and to keep me a mess,

But today you're far and I can breathe my truth

Fearing the day I'll return once more to you

It's impossible to escape you, of that you made sure

You soiled my love, made our connection impure

I see it so clearly when there's oceans between us,

But when I look in your eyes, it'll take over – my weakness

So I'll live today and I'll dream tonight

Of a fearless tomorrow, of my individuality alight

I'll pray for help, for strength, for what's right

I'll pray for serenity, for grace, for might

And for that day to come, which in the absence of you,

I once again become glorious and I shine bright

Oh, baby, I'll shine bright, I'll shine bright.


The words swirl in my spirit

Trying to latch onto meaning

Desperate to find significance

And my hands begin to itch,

Angst, tired of idleness

The words begin to gain momentum

Frenzied, desperate to be immortalized

To be written in ink that never fades

On paper that never burns

To be read, to be learned

Yearning to be seared into memory

To be preserved in the folds of consciousness

They fight one another

Dancing in the grooves of my mind

Battling for dominance, for attention

And I wait, tense,

For those of them that will emerge out of the shadows, victorious

My neck, my shoulders tighten

My soul begins to wander, reaching,

Hunting, alert

My breathing slows down

My pen hovers, longing, craving

And just as I am about to give in,

To close my eyes in despair,

A few words begin to glint in the darkness

Taking shape, taking form

And they being to tumble,

To flow out of me,

Delirious at the prospect of escape

And my pen moves

Scratching emotions onto white pages

And finally,

Finally, it arrives

Release, my existence’s vindication


I teeter at the edge of enraged insanity,

Stopping myself from taking one more step,

Cloaking myself in numbness,

Shielding myself from your betrayal,

From your disregard,

From your rotten love and hollow words.

I tell myself that I’ve known all along,

That I chose to tuck my doubts away,

Chose to love you through my questions

Chose to trust you even without your answers.

But did I?

I’m a fool whether I knew or whether I was caught off-guard,

I’m a fool for allowing your breath to mingle with mine

Even though I smelled your need to conquer me,

Smelled the others, the liquor, the sin.

Smelled your desperation to keep owning me.

Why did I stay?

Because I hoped.

And because my soul was a dark, gaping void,

Aching for a spark, a flame

And you came swooping in burning bright,

An inferno that hid deceit at its midst.

I was blinded,

Amazed at what came alive out of my coldness when you touched me,

Out of my loneliness when you whispered words that I longed to hear for oh so long.

You brought me to life, just to take it away.

You taught me to trust, just so you could betray.

You made me love just to leave me here,

Broken, ashamed and wondering what you felt like between their arms, their sheets,

What you felt when you kissed me after, tainting my soul with your mistakes.

Did you smell my scent as you kissed their necks?

Did you hear my voice when they cried out your name?

Did you hear my tears with every gasp from their lips?

You took my years, my dreams, my joy

What was it that I failed to give?

You took it all, why wasn’t that enough?

You vile, selfish, thirsty beast,

You drank my blood, feasted on my flesh and ripped out my soul

And made me believe that was love.

You took the canvas of my vulnerability and painted it in shades of red.

Your brushstrokes were so tender that I mistook them for passionate care,

But you were only meticulously drawing a target,

Marking me as your victim from the moment we met.

Did you laugh?

Did you laugh at how easy I was to fool?

Did it make you smile, my inability to believe you’d be so cruel?

When you told me you couldn’t live without me,

Were you thinking of what it felt like when your skin slid slicked against theirs?

Of when your heart beat faster against their chest before it stopped and then came back to life,

Your pulse synchronizing with their shallow breaths?

When you brushed my hair away from my eyes,

Did you hope I’d exist forever blind?

Did you pray I’d always be so easy to mold, to form forever into your fraud?

Did you feel like God?

In those moments I awoke and let my instincts prod my doubt

And you made me believe I was insane, a wreck, damaged

And hard to love?

When in the end it was me, on my knees, weak in the spirit

Begging for your forgiveness, for you to love me through my madness

For you to hold me as I felt deranged

And when I tied my intuition into knots so tight, that I could never reach it again?

Did it make you feel absolute?

Did it quicken your breath, dilate your pupils and rush your blood

When you realized my life had forced me to learn to give,

Boundless, needy, desperate,

And that I willingly took the scraps,

The scraps you threw on the ground,

Thankful, humbled, feeling my worth at my heels,

Believing all I deserved were the fading residues of your attention?

Did it not break your heart?

To watch me empty as you took and took,

To see me fade as you grew vibrant?

To watch me shrink as you loomed above me,

Holding what power I had left in your mighty palm,

Toying with it between your fingertips?

Was I made this weak?

Or did you make me this way?

Was my disposition created to crumble at your touch,

At your words, in your embrace?

And now, as I lie, curled up on the cold barren earth,

Your shadows surrounding me from every corner,

Your scent clinging to the edge of my memories,

My body awash in a slowly fading warmth from when you held me last,

My mind overcome with questions that claw away at my sanity,

Steadily breaking down barriers I’d fought to never breach,

Dark places I swore never to near,

A hopelessness so suffocating, I can barely will my lungs to breathe;

And I ask myself where,

Where the man I used to be has gone, he who was once high on the light of life?

I ask myself who,

Who will you share the secrets of your love with tonight?

I ask myself when,

When did my resolve begin to waver so frail?

I ask myself how,

How can you still look at me, look into me and tell me that’ I’m your life

While you savagely break every single vow?

And worst of all,

I ask myself why,

Why am I still achingly in love with you?

Why do I need you to hold me close, comfort me and tell me it will be okay,

When you were the one who used my affection like a weapon,

Tearing at my seams, unraveling my world, my mind, my soul,

Leaving me asking myself over and over and over again,

How could you do this to me, my love,

When you were the one who swore,

Years ago, in the dark summer night when we first met,

That you would be the one who would keep me safe?

The middle

It wears me down, this vision of who I’d like to be

Anxiety goes off like little flares roaming around within my spirit,

Whenever I realize how far I am from who I am meant to be

And how long the journey is through pain, grief, despair, sacrifice, obligation, incarceration, denying, asserting and accepting,

All in order to reach the shores of enlightenment

And the soft, green-sanded beaches of self-actualization

I’m held back; a prisoner of my own making

At times I can no longer see through the deceit, the lies,

The threads I’ve woven into a fabric that I present to the world as my skin

But which is in reality my shield,

A mask I let them see of everything I believe would make me worthy in their eyes

And I’ve hidden the ugliness, the remnants of past and future pain,

And the traumas that manifest themselves internally, every single wretched day

I’ve fooled them well, and in the process I’ve lost myself

Denying my soul the nourishment and catharsis of being unleashed without restraint,

Without armor, for it to be able to encompass the bounties of the world,

The evils of our time and the mystery of man, before returning to me

Weathered, but learned

Battered but blessed with the knowledge of who it truly is,

Who I truly am,

And how I can, for once, do what’s right by me.

Yet now I fear it might be too late

I’ve held back much too long

My soul is petrified of what it can learn when it tastes the richness, the decadence of liberty

And I’ve grown tired, insurmountably weary

Too intrinsically fatigued to go on this quest

See, if I am to survive,

Fighting back against the pressures to be who they want me to be,

But rather be who I was born to be,

I will have to face my greatest fear:

The middle part of this journey from the prisoner I am now

To the unshackled, unrestrained, unguarded me

It scares me because I know

I will see it in their eyes

I will hear it in the drops of their inflections

I will feel the way they will stiffen when I unfurl what’s within

And l let them see the bad with the good,

The ugly, the decayed, the saturated; the human

I wish more than anything that I could skip that part of the process

And with a deep exhale be abruptly emancipated

I do not have it in me to wage battle

Or to fight through a transformation

I don’t want a cocoon; I don’t want a warming eggshell or a womb’s embrace

I just want to be birthed, immediately, gloriously, into this world,

Just as I am meant to be

Just as I want to be

Just as I must be.

The captor

I love you like the rain

Easy to wash away

I want you when you’re lost

Drowning in tones of gray

I like you when you’re weak

Molding you like softened clay

I make you bite your tongue

Till the words just go astray

Because I love you when you’re hushed

With nothing left to say

I need you at my whim

Every dark and lonely day

Because I want you to exist

Just to hear the way you pray


The first time they used who I am against me,

When they shone the light on how words and fiery glances can cut deep into my spirit

My tears flowed in crimson and clear drops of pain and I ran towards the darkest shades of shadow

Scratching at my skin, scratching at my mind, scratching at my soul, trying to scrape off what made me different from them

I bashed my head with a rock, blood as thick as oil flowing from my temples, hoping to release those of my thoughts that they just did not, could not and wanted not understand

I worked the tears and blood into the layers of the peeled shreds of my skin and flesh, meshing them into clumps in my hand and shaping them into a brick

I let the heat of my shame radiate off of me unrestrained and let the brick boil its way into hardness

I then took the brick, broke my ribs with it and placed it above my heart, praying that this would make me stronger

I sewed my chest back up, turning my wounds and scars inside out, so no one could ever see them

That was many years ago…

Yet my ritual never changed

Today I reel from the look of your eyes and the disappointed tone of your reproach

And I run to my shadowed spot once again, as I have done so many times before

I forge my pain into a brick, but I no longer have to crush my ribs, they’ve learned to crack open all alone the moment they hear the brick sizzling its way to completion

I struggle to fit it in, thousands of bricks now dwelling in me, yet they don’t do much to make me stronger, they don’t do much to make me safer or more immune

But I cannot stop

They’ve merged themselves into a wall, a fort around my very core, the only barrier that slows down the hurt of your bullying

Slowing your hate for a few minutes where I can take a deep breath before your nonacceptance breaches my barriers and finds a way to spite my essence

And the bricks just keep coming, my skin, my thoughts, my tears, my flesh, my blood, all that you’ve damaged in me hardening inside

They might not stop your words from hurting, but they keep my truth hidden, hardening my softness, crushing my uniqueness, keeping who I am buried deep, deep, deep in my gut and nowhere else

But they also weigh me down, these thousands of bricks I carry around

They slow down my thoughts, they slow down my pulse, they slow down my emotions and they make my steps heavy

I crawl through life although I want to run, I drag my feet although I want to leap, I lose my breath although I want to sing

The wall inside me is taking over, a mess of hardened, living, pulsing pain

It succumbs so easily to you, allowing what you think of me to matter so damn much, slowing your hurt but not stopping it from reaching inside me

My scars they’ve toughened inside out, they let you in but trap me inside, my fort turning into a prison

I now often struggle to access who I am meant to be, to access those hopes, those thoughts I buried too deep

And the bricks they keep on coming, and coming, and coming

Until one day, they will succeed in burying me alive

And I will die…but maybe, maybe, so will this pain

So will these scars

So will these wounds

And so will these bricks


I lay awake at night

Trying my best to remember and to figure out when it happened…

When I lost the battle,

When who I am became who I was and who I became, became a reflection of you,

When I allowed what you want to be to become what I must fulfill

When my pores started oozing out your scent and I lost my own perfumes

When what I dream of became framed within the constricts of your approval and your approval became the definitive measure of my worth

When I lost my sight and wore your retinas as lenses, only allowed to see the world through your vision

When my flesh became your domain and my body became a jurisdiction, which only you can rule, only you can punish, only you can permit

When my future became my past and my past became forbidden, memories of which I’m only allowed to recall if they were pre-approved by you

When my work became a burden and what I earn became a treasure trove for you to satisfy your desires

When my empathy became a sin and my kindness became a betrayal if it wasn’t directed towards you

When I began to whisper ‘yes’ even though my spirit was screaming ‘no’

When I forced the threshold of my pain to constantly increase and I began telling myself that it’s all okay, you could have hurt me worse

When I began filtering my words and my thoughts, painstakingly translating them into what you want to hear

When my values became secrets and all that I believe in became what you could desecrate, while I passively stood by and prayed for redemption

When hope turned from platinum to black and became a pastime of fools rather than the force that used to propel me forwards

When I began to dread light and reflections rather than darkness and shadows, lest I see myself or see you too well

When every breath began to be laced with fear, shame and surrender

And when, oh when, the prospect of living became so much more terrifying than the thought of dying

I lay awake at night, trying to remember…..

And I haven’t slept in years.