Poetry: Unhappiness

I wrote this poem in fall of 2005 when I was feeling overwhelmed by my responsibilities of being a mother, a girlfriend, a student and a worker. As usual at that time, I took on too much and was trying to be everything to everyone. One trait of BPD that I’ve carried throughout the years is over extending myself sometimes to my detriment in order to make other people happy.

Me with my middle child circa late 2005

Feelings I can’t turn off

Quickly come in droves

Don’t know what to do 

My options are few

Do I follow my gut?

And get away from this rut

Or do i stay here ?

And become what I fear;

A woman that settles

And lets others meddle 

A woman with no mind

And with everything, she is fine

But can I turn off the real me?

And stay so unhappy

Poetry: The Difference

I wrote this in 2006 after I was reflecting my first years of being a mother to my eldest child who I had at 17. Becoming a mother at such a young age didn’t make me the best parent and at times I still tried to act my age and party a lot even though I was a parent. It used to eat me up inside but I’ve come to terms that I did the best I could under the circumstances.

me and my oldest in 1999 when I was 18

Late nights at the club

Drunk and dancing-you

Singing lullabies

Until he fell asleep-I

Getting ass from 

an unknown stranger-you

Looking for monsters under the bed

and wishing them away-I

Waking up in an unknown place

With a helluva hangover-you

Waking up from little hands 

Shaking my shoulders-I

You and I=me

Me =two different truths

About the way your childhood

 Was seen

Poetry Review: Visceral

Visceral by Melia Cogan

The debut collection of poems Visceral from Melia Cogan is appropriately named since it will make you feel a multitude of intense emotions internally. As a person that feels intense emotions, I loved this book. The book is divided into 3 sections titled Love, Rage, and Death. Reading this book felt like going through a roller coaster of emotions-from sexy to anger to sadness. Personally, for me, this is a good thing. I resonate with poetry that makes me feel my emotions.  I picked my favorite poem from each section. This was hard since all the poetry in this collection is amazing. 

The first section Love captures the magical feeling of what it’s like to be in love, make love, and be loved. Her poems in this section makes even the most jaded of us feel like there is a world where love is possible. The first poem “Daemon-Lover” leaves you breathless with the raw emotion and sensuality felt throughout the poem.  The second stanza is fire as it states, “With a spirit strong as seventy/As his throbbing passion sears me/ With its ‘blind encompassing throbbing power ”(Cogan, 22-25)   It makes you feel like you are witnessing passion on display. You might have to take a cold shower after reading this poem. The other poems in this section not only capture the passion of being in love but also the complexity of other feelings that come with it. 

The next section of the book is Rage, and you feel the anger and rage within this section. 

My favorite poem in this section is Women’s Inheritance which captures the essence of what’s like being a woman in the 21st century. It addresses the misogyny that our modern patriarchal society continues to administer to women. The poem also conveys the disappointment that women feel after being used and discarded nonchalantly by men. The sixth stanza captures this feeling as it states, “Finally, you who I love with my whole self / Could not display this mythical manly bravery/ To tell me the truth/ Why not?” (Cogan, 30-33).  The other poems in this section captures the anger felt with different experiences in life ranging from expectations in relationships to abandonment issues. Cogan expresses a raw truth about anger that most people are afraid to express and that is a kind of bravery you don’t see often. 

The last section is Death and I’ll just say that you should have a box of tissues by your side because it will probably make you cry. In this section, Cogan is versatile in exploring the theme of death. In this section, my favorite poem is Remember Me for the Birthdays which is how the poet wants to be remembered by her loved ones. The eleventh stanza conveys this as it states, “Remember how I filled you with the urge/to push forward and explore/To engage life, expanding in all good directions” (Cogan, 37-40). Cogan is skillful at portraying grief in a conscientious manner that’s both thoughtful and respectful. 

Melia Cogan brings a raw vulnerability and talent to her debut collection. I highly recommend this poetry collection if you are looking for a versatile collection that explores the depth of the human experience. I’m excited to read and review her next poetry book, Love Pangs. Below are the links for both Visceral and Love Pangs

Visceral: https://www.amazon.com/Visceral-Melia-Cogan/dp/B0915DH7W4

Love Pangs: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Pangs-Melia-Cogan/dp/B09PHJXX19

Poetry: Did I Ask For Your Advice?

I wrote this poem is creative writing class in 2006. It’s some kind of form poetry but can’t remember what it is.

me around the time I wrote this poem

Did I ask for your advice?

Father and mother

You are not that wise

So I told a few lies

I didn’t mean to hurt her

Did I ask for your advice?

I had to break mine and her ties

Any words, please don’t offer

You are not that wise

I’m a man of twenty-five

Don’t treat me like a youngster

Did I ask for your advice?

Please don’t give me those eyes

And pretend to be higher

You are not that wise

Stop it with your sighs,

My dear mother and father

Did I ask for your advice?

You are not that wise!

Poetry: She Flew

I wrote this poem in 2006 when my mother-in-law passed away. She was an incredibly kind and lovely person.

She flew one afternoon without warning

leaving us in a state of grief and mourning

Why did she have to fly?

Was it really her time?

And now everyone left behind

Has rivers running from their eyes

Why did she have to fly?

Was it really her time?

Regrets and remorse

Has become our two worlds

Why did she have to fly ?

Was it really her time?

No fancy words could ever express

How it feels to lose your best

Why did she have to fly?

Was it really her time?

A New Diagnosis: BPD

Me at 16

It was April of 1996 and I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 months after he had grown distant from me. I was in a world of despair and teenage angst and longed to no longer exist. I was feeling this rush of intense sadness as I was walking home from school. I looked at the cars on the street and thought about how easy it would be to end my sadness if I got run over by one. As I was alone in my thoughts, I stopped paying attention as I crossed the street and wasn’t aware that a car was coming. It stopped within inches of hitting me and the driver honked at me and yelled at me. I continued to walk in shock of what had just happened. I didn’t know then but I would be walking into many more BPD episodes like this one.

Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and I’m 40, the mother of 3 kids, work 2 jobs, and have a complicated love life. I decide to go back to therapy due to some recent trauma and driving anxiety. I do a 3 hour assessment and when the feedback comes back, it’s there on my concept map: I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I expected the driving phobia but the new diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder was definitely unexpected.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

According to Mayo Clinic, “Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel
  • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all
  • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
  • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
  • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights

Causes for Borderline Personality Disorder:

  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited or strongly associated with other mental health disorders among family members.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

Risk Factors include:

  • Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close relative — your mother, father, brother or sister — has the same or a similar disorder.
  • Stressful childhood. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused or neglected during childhood. Some people have lost or were separated from a parent or close caregiver when they were young or had parents or caregivers with substance misuse or other mental health issues. Others have been exposed to hostile conflict and unstable family relationships.

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237

Learning about this disorder has been overwhelming and also life changing. Some of my friends didn’t think it was possible for me to have BPD because I’m too nice. I was also kind of in denial at first until I did the research and thought damn, my life finally makes sense to me. I’ve been coping with intense emotions since I could remember and have a pattern of risky and impulsive behavior and sometimes self sabotaging my own success and romantic relationships. One minute my mood can shift from happy and joyful to full on anger and sadness if I am triggered by feelings of rejection, abandonment, being criticized or judged. I also have a tendency to villainize people if I feel threatened by them. Also, when I feel like my life is “too normal” or “too boring”, I seek out an adrenaline rush and create chaos.

Throughout the years, I’ve leaned some healthy coping mechanisms like journaling, writing poetry or blogging, exercising, mediocre dancing and singing. I’ve also had some unhealthy mechanism like drinking, binge shopping, binge eating, having sex for only validation purposes. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better with time because I’ve become more self aware of myself and my need to survive not only for my myself but also for my kids.

I’m hopeful that with this new diagnosis of BPD and therapy, I’ve have way better coping mechanisms to become a better version of myself. I’m hopeful that going on this new journey, I’ll not only be surviving but I’ll be thriving. I also hope that I heal the girl in the picture above who was a teenager trying to find love for within the arms of a any dude because she didn’t know how to love herself.

Poetry: A Poem for A Couple I Never Knew

I wrote this in 2006 inspired by my husband’s parents.

Love is written in the stars

Many of us speculate

Why and how these two met

She was always literature’s mate

he  was very well unread

But still these two started

A very fruitful fairytale

One without castles 

Or a tall, tall bed

But one that would blossom

Into a lovely romance 

that would bring me 

my special somebody

Reflection: I Am America

It’s been 4 years since I took an oath to become an American citizen. I took an oath specifically to Trump which makes me nauseous typing BUT I also took an oath because of Trump. Before making the decision to become an American citizen, I had never really cared about politics but that was until Trump got elected. If you were a POC or immigrant or both, you felt the shift in the racial tension in the U.S right before the election but especially after the election. Racists overtly made their ignorant beliefs known that immigrants were not welcomed in this country. DACA was in the process of being repealed. DACAmented kids who should have been protected were being deported and there was a rise in deportation for undocumented immigrants as well or well the media made it seem like that. I felt that as an immigrant with LPR (legal permanent resident) status, I could possibly be next. In February of 2016, I sent my paperwork to USCIS to solidify my relationship with America. One could say that for better or worse, I finally decided to make a commitment to this country. Here is my blog post about the process:

https://rejectingstagnationafter.wordpress.com/2018/09/04/becoming-a-citizen-in-the-age-of-trump/

What has changed in the past 4 years since becoming an American and what does being American mean to me now?

Well, I’ve voted in 2 elections since I’ve become an American including the national election in 2020 (yay, no more Trump). In October of this year, I applied for my passport and have received it. Now, I can take a trip out of the country without any worries or concerns. While it is an immense privilege to be an American citizen since I  now have a whole new world of opportunities opened up and I can travel anywhere; I feel that I haven’t really changed on the inside. I still see myself and identify as an immigrant  but now I also call myself an American. But to be honest, my idea of being an American has changed. I used to think I needed a piece of paper to say “Oh, I’m American” but  for better or worse, America is and has been ingrained in me since that hot September day in 1986 when I set my foot on American soil at the age of 5.

I was an American when every morning at school I would say the Pledge of Allegiance in my broken and terrible English at the age of 6 and 7.

Little Immigrant Eliza
me in 1987

I was an American when I went back to Peru at age 9 to get my resident alien status solidified with my family.

I am America
me at age 9 in Peru during my trip with my family to get our LPR status

I was an American when I met my childhood best friends in Hawaii at age 11.

I am America
me with one of my childhood best friends from Hawaii

I was an American when I had my babies at ages 17, 24, and 30.

I am America
me with my three kids right after their births

I was American when I started working for the government at the age of 18.

I am America
me at the age of 18 in 1999 working for the government

I was an American when I got my college degree in 2009 from the University of Georgia .

I am America
me in 2009 with my parents at my graduation from college

I was an American in 2016 and early 2017 when I attended protests and marches for immigrant and women’s rights.

I am America
me in January of 2017 at the Women’s March in Washington D.C

And I was an American when people told me, “my english is good for being a Mexican” or I’ve been discriminated against or oppressed in this country by the people that don’t want “my kind” here.

I used to believe that I didn’t belong here because of the racism, prejudice, and ignorance I’ve encountered but that’s no longer the case. This year, I finally let go of those beliefs because I’ve embraced that I am America and America is me. My life may have been harder in many aspects because I wasn’t the average “American born” citizen but I will tell you that I wouldn’t trade my experience as an American to be average. I I feel that working harder than the “average American” for my success has made me appreciate my success so much more and for that I am thankful. My parents had no idea of the many hardships they would endure making the decision to immigrate to this country but I am glad they made that journey. It’s taken me 35 years to get here but today I can honestly say that I’m proud to be an American. 

I am America
me in November of 2021 telling my crazy story about being an essential worker

 

Poetry: Frustrating

I wrote this in 2006 when me and my husband were in this monotonous routine of kids, work, and school. I felt lonely in our relationship and it was hard for me to express it to him.

Loyalty and loneliness are a bitch.

It’s frustrating
Living like this
Without desire or passion
The only thing that’s left for us
Is to leave from here
This everlasting ocean of loneliness
In which we are drowning
And separately swim to the shore
of happiness
Where we both belong

Poetry: A Poem for My Third Born

A Poem for My Third Born

You were the rainbow
That came after the most dreadful storm
You were wanted, you were planned
You were loved
You were everything
Anxiously, I waited for your arrival
Counting down the months, the weeks,
And eventually the days
Cautiously, I felt hope
With every flutter,
And every kick
You were a ninja
Determined to reassure
This worried mama that
You were okay-
And I glowed bright
From your inner light
And finally
The day came
I would get to meet
My newest love made creature
And with your birth
Life finally felt complete

My Youngest Son Circa 2012

IMG_1190

My son is 11 Me and my youngest on 6/26/22

Poetry: My Son Throws His Blocks

I wrote this poem in 2006 about my middle child who was toddler at a time. He’s actually my birthday twin and very much like me personality wise.

My Second son as a toddler

My son throws his blocks

They hit me like rocks

So much damn temper

Within my little fellow

Little does he know

About the bad people that sew

many, many spiderwebs

to put you under duress

and he throws and he throws

Like life’s unexpected woes

Those wooden things hit my head

he won’t listen to what I say

He sure has an arm 

for knowing how to harm

In this just a phase

in this life of a maze

Finally he stops and looks

It is another tantrum in the books

I think this is a preview 

to his ever changing mood

Turning 40

My last year in my 30s ended up with me being an essential worker during a pandemic while being a mom of three and being involved in two different romantic liaisons. I could look back on what I have not accomplished in my life and be sad but instead I’ll focus on my growth and my goals for the next year. I’ve made a lot of progress this year both financially and personally. I’ve improved my credit score by 100 points by working 2 jobs and paying debt off. Also for the first time in my adult life I’m in a healthy romantic relationship with a wonderful man. This time last year I didn’t think either was possible and at times I don’t feel like I deserve all of the good fortune in my life. As I look forward to my next year and my new decade, I hope to really focus on becoming a confident driver, submit my writing everywhere and try to get published, and continue to work my two jobs to save up to buy 2 houses. I’m kind of excited for how the next decade looks like. My thirties taught me I can survive what I once thought would not be survivable. During my thirties, I felt myself merely surviving. In this next decade, I look forward to thriving.

February 22, 2021