Friday the 13th

Before I started working at the hospital, I was convinced that superstitious lore like Friday the 13th was entirely just that—nothing more than superstitious ramblings of overactive imaginations. I chalked full moons into that category as well, because, why not?

Fast forward to when I started working in the Emergency Room admitting patients into the hospital. I started noticing odd things that defied the course of “normal” life that the ER staff treated with a callousness that spoke of being entirely too exposed and desensitized to this sort of phenomenon. Mainly, the weird and creepy things that would go down on Fridays that fell on the 13th, and full moons.

Whenever we were scheduled to work on a Friday the 13th, there was always an electric charge in the air of the Emergency Room. Staff was always on high alert because we would get a heavier-than-normal influx of traumas and car accidents that would occur that day. But the really intense stuff usually started more towards the evening. I remember one evening, a man ran in through the sliding doors carrying his girlfriend in his arms who had a large knife sticking out of her stomach. She had apparently stabbed herself for no reason. Our lobby had already been full to brimming with patients who were unable to keep their hallucinations at bay and people whose suicidal ideations were driving them crazy. The silent man sitting in the corner suffered presences that followed him around that looked like the Dementors from Harry Potter, while the lady sitting next to the fish tank couldn’t stop seeing black cats that ran up the wall and disappeared into the ceiling.

Soon after, a squad of Sherriff’s cars sped into the ambulance bay with their lights flashing and an ambulance hot on their heels. A gang fight had erupted with several members of the opposing gangs being wounded by gunshot wounds. The lobby became a hotbed of tension and hostility by two rival gangs both vying for space while waiting for their respective gang members to be treated behind the closed doors of the ER. Another ambulance brought in a patient with severe drug withdrawals and hallucinations that was strapped to the gurney, bucking ferociously trying to get off, and screaming obscenities at the top of her lungs. Since there were no more available rooms in the ER, she had to wait on the gurney in the hallway.

This is just a small sample of what the ER would look like on a Friday the 13th and a night whereupon a full moon was shining. One evening I had clocked off for the night and happened to be driving out behind a vehicle that had just left the ER. The lady sitting in the passenger seat of the car stuck her head out the window and started screaming obscenities at me and then started throwing glass bottles at my car. Luckily, I stomped on my breaks just in time and the bottles smashed on the road right in front of me. I quickly took a detour to get home.

So wherever you are tonight and if you are preparing to go into work, especially in the service industry, please be careful and remain cautious on this odd night that tends to bring out the stuff that’s not so easily explained.

Curious, has anyone else had any strange experiences that couldn’t be explained?

Memories For a Masterpiece

I never could get past the goodbye
you forced out of me. Moving on looked so
easy on you–
the way you acted as if you were freed from
the obligations of our bond. Perhaps
I kept you back from fully becoming who you
are, but it was never due to a lack of love.
I loved you too much and so I
kept you close; never once realizing that
you were suffocating. I’ve asked your forgiveness
many times in the years that ensued,
but you were never there to hear them,
were you? Piece by piece, I scraped a little more of
you from my soul until the memories were bearable
again. Until I could think of you without wavering
between grief and wounded pride. I rebuilt
myself from scratch, did you know? So how is it
that after all this time, you want a place by my side
again? What am I to do with all the scars
of our last parting? I fear they’ve forever become
a silent companion to fill the spaces between
our words and every breath..
No.
Let our memories be our masterpiece.
Let us walk away from what we once were and content
ourselves in knowing we were glorious once,
when we were at the height of our triumph.

Pain Like a Lover

The abyss calls forth her song
of seduction—luring the wary and unsuspecting
as they fall headlong into her depths. Sweeter
than a siren’s song, the edge beckons softly
with the crook of a finger and a come-hither
smile. Unable to resist, they succumb
one by one. Toy soldiers heading into battle
armed with plastic for bullets. The rare one
makes his way out of the darkness—broken,
bleeding, but with light like fire in his eyes.
Talking about cracks that let the light in and
pain that is healing.

Lonely, Dark Night

And if one day you can’t find
a single star in your black night,
’tis only due to their eclipse
by your own beatific light.
Come one morning upon waking
you’ll find that life’s unsteady shaking
cast up diamonds in its wake;
And ‘twixt their birthing and your death,
when all the world held its breath
the Master quietly brought forth
His own Soul for you to take.

*I generally dislike rhyming poems but for some reason this one was birthed in my mind and I didn’t fight it.

You are beautiful if you are brave enough to believe it

Reading the comments section of a youtube music video really stopped me in my tracks this morning. Someone’s carefree comment of greeting all the beautiful readers spurred an onslaught of responses from people claiming they are ugly and awkward and everything opposite of beautiful. It really caught me off guard and left me wondering how many of us are walking around believing the worst about ourselves?

Our beliefs are intangible, yet they have the ability to wreak so much havoc or bring so much joy to our lives without us doing anything more than simply believing it to be true.

One of the lessons I had to learn in the most brutal way was that my emotions and everything I think about myself are master manipulators. It’s as if they take on a life of their own and start telling you things about yourself that are not true at all. One day I decided to revolt and start acting in a way that was completely opposite to what I actually believed about myself and what my circumstances were reinforcing to be true. I would consistently talk to God about this as well and ask Him to help me reinforce positive beliefs and self awareness. One thing that I did not count on is the sheer amount of bravery that would be required to consistently wake up and choose to believe the best about myself in the face of overwhelming odds.

Social media, Instagram models, and our own doubts (to name a few) are giants that have the ability to morph into monstrous proportions if we give them the slightest ability. (I wasn’t able to keep any social media accounts for the longest time due to this.) Let’s agree on one thing, if we must agree on anything at all, and it is this—the world is just waiting to pounce on you and tell you that you are not good enough, do not meet anyones standards of beauty, are not interesting enough to merit anyones attention, and are generally a failure. But there exists a small truth that, if given the opportunity, will change your life forever. You don’t have to agree with the world’s definition of you.

I recently started noticing a difference in the way people have been approaching me, and it has caused me to stop and take note. It revealed a dynamic about ourselves that we too often forget:

We are mirrors.

And people will always mirror our own beliefs back to us without even realizing they are doing it.

If you truly allow yourself to believe that you are beautiful, people will notice your beauty and treat you accordingly. If you respect yourself, people will treat you with respect. If you are kind to yourself, your kindness will overflow to other people and they will in turn react kindly to you.

So ask yourself—are you brave enough to take a stand about what you believe?

Perceptions

This poem was inspired by Sabrina Benaim’s “Explaining My Depression to My Mother.” all I had to do was to leave the car, but my hands froze,and my heart beat faster and fasteruntil terror rose above melike a boat facing a threatening wave until the wave capsized the boat,and my breath stuck in my chest […]

via Social Anxiety — An Alien at Sea

Sometimes it’s just easier not to share things with people who are committed to misunderstanding you. I read a quote once that read, “I stopped explaining myself when I realized people only understand from their level of perception.”

One of the most bizarre experiences I had dealing with depression is when I had to explain to a close acquaintance of mine why I was unable to attend an event with her one evening. I told her my monsters were incredibly fierce that day and I didn’t have it in me to be brave and face anyone else. Her response was, “Oh man, you’re still depressed?!”

How do you explain brokenness to someone who has never experienced it for themselves? It’s like trying to explain the color blue to someone who has been blind all their life. Inevitably, there comes a point where you just stop trying to make people understand.

The Day I Was Jealous

It caught me unaware, seeing you standing there in the parking lot, talking to her. I had finally decided to call it quits on our relationship, and this time I had made up my mind that it was going to be the last time. I thought I was prepared for it too, as our back and forth had worn me down to my very bones. But leaving the store that evening, I was not expecting to look up and see you standing there looking so put-together in your snug blue jeans and my favorite grey hoodie.

I quickly blended into the shadows and cursed myself as I stopped and watched your interaction with her take place. She had said something that made you laugh. My breath hitched and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from your face as every familiar emotion played across its surface. The way your brown eyes became soft and crinkled at the corners before your husky laugh rolled like sweet molasses out into the chilly evening air. I watched her place her hand on your arm and noticed that you didn’t shrug it off. You were still looking at her with that soft smile—the smile that was only reserved for me when you were being incredibly indulgent with whatever shenanigans I had gotten us both into.

Closing my eyes and taking several deep breaths, I quickly got into my car and pulled into the busy traffic, letting autopilot take over. Feeling something steadily drip off my chin, I swiped my hand across my face and realized I was crying.

A Box Full of Darkness

Depression will often make you believe that you want to die, when what you are really craving is to feel alive. There have been so many times over the years that I desperately wanted to put an end to my misery and I mistakenly thought that looked very much like suicide. I couldn’t find my way out of the darkness and pain I had fallen into—yet my overwhelming desire to end it all was a response to my inability to obtain life and joy from everything that used to bring me fulfillment.

I would gaze in bewilderment at the people around me, going about their everyday lives, and I would scream at them internally, “Don’t you feel it?! Don’t you feel the disaster of my existence, the utter annihilation of my very soul? How can you not stop and stare in shock and horror at the destruction of everything I once was?” I was bleeding out my very essence into the universe and yet no one had the slightest clue. They blithely kept on living while my life had come to a sudden and unexpected halt.

Being on the outside looking in engraved some of the most brutal lessons into my shattered soul. Mainly, how important it is to notice the people around you. Not just their outward appearance or the expressions painted on their face—but to really see the person underneath. Being forced to a complete stop in a world that constantly rushes forward at the speed of light showed me how often I would trample over people in my climb to the top—never once noticing or even caring if my actions hurt someone in my rush.

Learning the simple act of kindness came with a terribly steep cost and one I am loathe to ever have to learn again. But unexpectedly, I was also left with invaluable gifts that could not have been obtained in any other way than making my way through that darkness.

darkness