December Poetry Challenge: Self Improvement

This was my response to prompt #24: Your Top Priority

I am the ONE

I build the life of my dreams through discipline and hard work
while I appreciate everything I have at this moment
even the minor annoyances
and especially the moments of calm and silence
I’m no longer relegating myself to a side character
or a side chick or a passenger in my life
I’m writer, the master, the driver of the life I’m creating

December Poetry Challenge: Celebration

This was my response to prompt #12: Something to celebrate

I’ll be celebrating with these two homegirls

Tonight I celebrate with friends, with champagne and music
We celebrate how far I’ve come and make a toast
to a future full of potential and promise
we laugh about all my past drama, dance to Taylor Swift and Yung Gravy
and cry with joy about everything good in my life
tonight is a celebration of the life I’ve work hard to build
tonight is a celebration of who I fought hard to become

Poetry: An Act of Rebellion

I wrote this in December 2021.

once you get your wings, there’s no going back

Believing in myself feels like an act of rebellion
after years of self loathing and self destruction
I finally feel enough and complete
Is this some kind of dream?
Do I really love myself?
Do I really accept myself?
Do I really care about myself?
I do and I do and I do
I’m ready to live out my truth
I’m complicated and complex
and not terrible or a hot mess
I’ve been forever misjudged
and thought I was too much
The reality of my authenticity
Brings out a new transparency
I was never too much or not enough
or even the hardest to love
I might be a complicated puzzle to solve
But I’m always, always, worthy of love

Poetry: I Was Never the Marrying Kind

I wrote this in December of 2021.

I’m grateful for every past version of myself …

I was never the marrying kind
Don’t know why I forced myself into that line
Maybe because of society’s expectations
I made marriage my destination
But it wasn’t really who I ever was
Forever is not meant to be in my book of love
But still I tried for seven years
And by year 7, I ran into my biggest fear
I felt trapped in a cage of my own making
Happiness, contentment, and authenticity I was faking
But it was never truly me
Living this suburban reality
And one day I wanted to sleep forever
My mind collapsed from society’s pressure
to continue this facade of being the perfect wife
With my perfectly imperfect life
My authenticity I had to put aside
I’m a wife and mother of three
There’s no such thing as being free
But these were the lies I told myself
The critic in me I learned to quell
I learned I could be a mother but not a wife
My husband took our relationship’s demise in stride
There would no more anniversaries
We were done with self imposed forgeries
And a new chapter started with us
One full of laughter, friendship and familial love

December Poetry Challenge: 99.9 Percent

This is my response to prompt #15: the best kind of surprise

sometimes you have to say “fuck it”

Love surprises me with a glance, with a slight touch on my hand
And 99.9 percent of me wants to run
I don’t want to take a chance once again with my sanity
but the romantic in me say “fuck it”
maybe this will finally be a different story
one where my lover doesn’t leave

Poetry: Countries

I wrote this poem in 2016 when I was reflecting on how different my children were. At the time, my middle son was going through a difficult time and it was hard to deal with.

my 3 sons in July of 2021

Living with my three children

Is like living in three different countries

My oldest would be Singapore

With strict rules and laws, 

He hates flaws in himself 

And others and is unforgiving

It’s challenging to live in 

Singapore

My middle child would be a war torn ridden country 

Like Syria

That’s currently filled with constant chaos,

He is trying to find himself in a place 

He feels unwanted and lost

It is an unpredictable struggle

To reside in Syria

My youngest child would 

Be an established and friendly country like Spain

He is vibrant, laid back yet energetic 

Occasionally you hear about political protests 

That reminds me of his occasional tantrums when

His life feels unjust

It is almost a predictable and easy existence to 

Live in Spain 

Poetry: The Wind

I wrote this poem in 2006.

That wind can be rough

The wind makes the plants and branches dance, 

Like our lives dance everyday, sometimes slow, 

Sometimes fast, sometimes soft, sometimes rough

Will we ever find a steady rhythm,

A steady beat –or

Do We dance to different tunes until the branch breaks?

What is the name of the soundtrack of our lives?

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: My Pathetic Little Beast

Me in 2006 when I wrote this poem

I wrote this poem in 2006 about my tumultuous relationship with writing. I love to write and it’s saved me more times than I can count. However, I tend to beat myself up if I’m not writing enough.

Instead of tears from eyes that long to spill,
I will spill words onto these pages.
Words that make sense,
Words that don’t make sense,
Many are in fact nonsense
I will let my emotions, the wind
And my surroundings guide me until
I fill up these pages
Full of nonsense, prose,
Poetry, ideas, and everything I can think of
This will be a new phase
this new phase will be full
of promise and potential
And it will also be full
of what I hope is the inspiration
that leads me to share my relationship
to the world.
this will be my fourth baby
Another one I will nurse and raise until it is
As beautiful and complete as my
real life ones.
This is the promise I make to
my pathetic little beast.

Poetry: The Full Moon

I wrote this poem in 2006 in college. I’ve always been kind of introspective when it comes to the possibilities of life.

The beautiful full moon

The full moon strikes full of unseen possibilities

Possibilities that dwindle as life goes 

Through the process of aging or does it?

Perhaps we are the ones who put limits 

To our potential to be anything or do anything

Perhaps it really is true that we are the writers of our own destiny

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.

Poem: The Objectification of Eliza

I wrote this in 2019 when I was reflecting about the way men have often objectified in a way that they almost always seem to just want the fun and sexy part of me but seem to often have problems seeing the rest of me. I’ve almost always felt like I’ve been good enough to be their lover but never good enough to be introduced to their mother. Do I still feel this way? I honestly don’t know. I like the attention and validation I get from men because of my looks but sometimes it feels so hollow.

Often men want this girl…the ones that’s always down for a “good” time
BUT run away from this one….the other girl …the vulnerable one that has a realness hard to accept

Tell me I’m pretty, tell me I’m sexy

Tell me I’m beautiful

Objectify me, fuck me, 

Forget about me

And then

Try to come back to me

And when I deny

your lust filled request,

Put me down, threaten me

Try to hurt me-

Your words mean nothing to me

You’re not the first 

But will be the last

Who tries to destroy me

You’re not the first 

But will be the last 

Who treats me like a doll

to fuck at your convenience

You’re not the first

But will be the last

That tells me I’m not good enough

Tell me you miss, tell me you want me

Tell me you’re sorry

Be persistent in your quest

In trying to get me in your bed

with empty promises

about how this time it will be different

Sorry to my past, my present, and

future lovers-

I am pass being the girl

that’s just used for fun-

I am pass being the lover

you never introduce to your mother

I’d rather live in a world 

of solitude and calm

than to once again fall

into the objectification trap