Wildflower


Wildflower

Tiny holes hollowed out of the earth like graves,
and from these graves, life will rise.
Each damp cavity, carefully spaced–
two to four inches.
Soil, sweat, and strict scrutiny coalesce,
filling each earthen womb with precision and purpose.

The habits of the elements are closely observed.
The sun—it rises in the East, peaks at noon.
A heavy swath of shade sets about its duty at dawn,
shielding the west side of the barn until sometime after lunch.

The central garden takes its first drink of sunlight
while the morning moon still watches from the sky
and continues, bathing, until the moon returns
and only the most distant suns can be seen.

Each seedling must have room to grow, expand.
Never crowded, for they will wilt and die.
The should be fed water and sun and shade
until they’ve had their fill but never more.

They are God’s creations—living beings. Maybe
they silently cry for water when the soil is parched
and cracking, or call for bees to come feed from
their centers and spread their seed as they leave.

I do not know this for sure.
All I know is… If I were a flower,
I would be a wildflower, running along the highway
or spreading across a field. I would not follow rules.
Because only wildflowers sprout without worry
and bloom without permission.
Yes. I would be a wildflower.

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The Rules


Note: I will be the first to admit that I am no poet. I have a passion for writing that sometimes seems absolutely out of control, but my talent or specialty does not extend to poetry. However, I am taking a poetry class this semester in an attempt to possibly bring horrible up to acceptable. Anyway, that being said… I will be posting my poetry throughout the semester. So you can either watch me blossom or watch me fail over and over and over. lol Either way, it’ll be fun. Enjoy!

The Rules

Small and slow, we begin.
Unsure baby steps toward nothing at all.
Soon, we learn to skip and sing and run,
Moving faster than we ought to.
All the while, following an invisible tether
That pulls, leads, directs.

Soon we reach an edge, the crest of a valley
Breath escapes our parted lips violently, both at the beauty
And at the fear of falling, tumbling down into nothing.
The security of our past journeys gone. Only our tether remains,
Pulling us onward. We have no choice but to continue.
And when we begin our descent, we are on our own.

The journey is steep and dangerous.
Rocks, roots, vines challenge us, we stumble, we fall,
We scrape our knees and palms. We persist.
Our bodies become bigger and stronger,
We think with purpose. We no longer skip or sing.
We fake bravery when there is none to show.

Finally at the bottom we stumble clumsily into a glorious glen
Full of blues, greens, reds. Vibrant hues we’ve never seen.
We turn to look at how far we’ve come in such a short time.
The terrifying descent of the steep canyon wall
Seems so far away. Another lifetime. Momentarily
We wonder at how we feel higher than we’ve ever been.

Strong, capable, reverent, we try to see it all, eyes darting,
Fascinated, but the tether pulls. A Robin bathes herself at
The edge of a pond. Fluttering wings playfully splashing,
So beautiful and innocent. We want to stay and watch.
But there is no stopping until the end.
Those are the rules.

In the valley we are grown and full of life.
We laugh, we run, we fall in love many times.
We find ourselves, become intimate with our passions.
We succeed and we fail again and again,
But we still miss opportunities as they fly by.
So much to see and do, but we are always moving.

One day, we approach the far side of the valley,
Our backs face the only home we know, and we panic.
Looking up at the steep incline, we pray for mercy.
To be allowed to remain in the valley a little while longer.
But there’s no stopping until the end.
Those are the rules.

And so we climb. Tired, weak, and aching.
We drag ourselves up slowly, cautiously.
Our bodies worn and weathered.
The journey is rough, the end out of sight.
And there are no breaks for resting.
We must keep moving, and somehow we do.

As we near the peak, the crest of the incline finally in sight,
Something has changed. Suddenly and all at once, we have aged.
Our skin no longer smooth. Our voices husky and tired.
Our muscles and joints worn like antique door hinges.
We have trouble remembering how this journey began.
But we are optimistic. When we reach the top it will all be clear.

This agony will surely end. And finally it does.
The last steps of our ascent are slow and purposeful.
Gasping and holding our sides, we take that last and final step.
At the peak, far away from the valley where we belonged,
Where we loved. Where we lived each day so fully.
We feel the loss of those times and that place.

Pulled from our memories, we realize that for the
First time, we have stopped moving. Stopping had never
Been an option. Where had our persistent tether gone?
How were we to continue our journey? Curious, we turn
Our backs on the valley, on our lives. We look ahead, and
All we see is the end. It is time. We must stop. Those are the rules.

Brandy Meredith - February 3, 2015

A Friday Afternoon Spent in Bed


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Whoever coined the phrase “get out there and enjoy life” failed to consider the joys one can gain by simply staying in.

After a very successful week of getting back into the school groove, beginning some new classes, and starting a brand new, exciting internship, I’m spending my Friday afternoon in bed.

Normally, an afternoon in bed means I haven’t the motivation or desire to do anything else. I deal with my share of depressive episodes that make it very difficult to appreciate the best parts of life, so when I find myself fully relaxed, engrossed, and at peace, I’ve learned to recognize and appreciate it.

Have a wonderful Friday!  I am.

Just a Piece of Paper


Just a Piece of Paper

There’s nothing more frightening than a blank piece of paper. It’s the unsurety of it all really. What begins as something seemingly simple, like 28 or 30-something impossibly straight, horizontal lines printed across a blank slate has potential. That’s the scary part.

A piece of paper’s life span can be reduced to the time it takes someone to write two or three sentences, read them over, and hastily scribble through them before the paper is wadded up and thrown away forever. Those two or three sentences could have moved mountains, but they cease to exist in that one frustrated moment following conception and rejection.

A piece of paper can be the backdrop for the scribblings of a 4 year old or the inpatient doodles of an important executive. Which is more powerful? The four-year-old might grow up and one day find his/her scribbles stashed away somewhere safe, among many other treasures that were saved out of love. Those incoherent scribbles could be worth more than the executive’s $15 million deal he/she was negotiating over the phone as they mindlessly doodled. Nobody saves those doodles.

A piece of paper can hold a love letter, a thank you note, an invitation, an apology. It can be used to form relationships, mend broken ones, and just as easily destroy seemingly healthy ones–a folded up phone number left in someone’s pants pocket, or a letter meant for one person that falls into the wrong hands.

A piece of paper can be powerful, insightful, and inspiring. It can hold knowledge and allow others to learn and share in the knowledge of someone long dead, across the world, or just down the street. This knowledge can encourage enlightenment and betterment, and it can ruin people. Knowledge is power. People abuse power every single day.

A piece of paper can form a religion. It can hold powerful words that people will worship and be willing to die for. The paper can encourage people to be good, humble beings, or it can demand assimilation. It can promote self-acceptance or it can promote genocide.

A piece of paper can hold the deepest secrets of a teenaged girl–who she has a crush on, how her parents just don’t understand, and the fact that she thinks she might be ready to have sex. Another piece of paper a little further along in the same notebook may be stained with tears and realizations that came too late.

A piece of paper can be the only conduit for someone who’s suffering. They can put their feelings on that paper and then they can say they’ve shared them. They can use the paper to reach out for help, or they can use it to lie to their families and say everything’s okay. Some might even use that paper to say their final goodbyes and “I love you”s before they leave the world that has always been a hell for them.

A piece of paper can begin an epic journey, a heart-wrenching love story, a deeply emotional poem, or a hilarious comedy. People live and die on these pieces of paper. They love and mourn. They exist.

A piece of paper has potential… The potential to begin, end, mend, destroy, teach, create, learn, get lost, find yourself or something that’s been missing, hold memories–good and bad, and record lives–real and imaginary.

A piece of paper has potential, and it’s magical.

The Official Story of My Demons and Me — The Long Version


Autobiography of a Dysfunctional Writer –The Extended Version

I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for my entire life, I think. I spent my first fourteen years in a “perfect” family setting (perfect for me). We had cook-outs and parties for holidays. We had a nineteen-foot Christmas tree in our two-story living room, and when I was ten years old, my parents brought home my baby brother, Josh.

Family: The Early Years

I remember feeding him and changing diapers. He was my real-life baby doll. When he would whimper from his crib in the next room, I would run to see if he was okay. Of course, my parents thought it was so sweet. I loved him.

Several years later, we had moved into a bigger home, built a pool, and I started the middle-school/high-school climb. I began doing all the normal stuff that you have to hide from your parents—smoking, drinking, smoking pot, sneaking out.

My dad smoked pot my entire life. It was normal to me. I thought all adults did it. On the weekends, my parents had parties where eight or nine people would sit around getting high and playing cards or dice. All I knew was that I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody at school what my parents did because it was our business. I never told… until it became cool. Then I bragged. “Yeah, I swiped this bud from my dad’s stash. It’s some good shit too.” Continue reading

What is Depression, and Why Can’t I Just Cheer Up?


While most people think they understand what depression is, it’s actually one of the most commonly misunderstood mental illnesses out there. So much so, some people don’t even consider it a mental illness. They tend to look at is as more of an emo/goth type lifestyle that people choose. As if feeling worthless, hopeless, and like you might actually be going crazy is something anyone would choose.

Okay. So What is Depression?

First of all, there’s a lot more to depression than just being sad. I guess if I had to choose the one word that was the easiest to spell that might come anywhere close to describing what it feels like, sad might work. But it’s really a lot more complicated and agonizing than that.

How Depression Makes You Feel

Lonely

It is absolutely possible to feel lonely in a room full of people. Not only that, but it’s possible to feel lonely when you’re with someone you’re intimately close to.

The fact is, being around people who seem to be feeling great can actually make you feel worse. You begin to question what’s wrong with you, and why you feel the way you do. You don’t feel a connection to the people around you because you are so emotionally removed from them, from everything. This leads to feeling like nobody understands you, and you’re the only one in your “boat” so to speak.

Unmotivated

Aside from just not really wanting to be around a bunch of happy people when you feel like shit on a stick, depression leaves you feeling absolutely zero motivation to do anything. Suddenly you just don’t give a damn about the things that you usually enjoy.

Nine times out of ten, you don’t even want to get out of bed. Not because your bed’s extra comfy, but because when you’re sleeping, you aren’t feeling. It’s an instant escape from the misery you’re experiencing when you’re awake. Also, depression causes fatigue which tends to help out with the whole sleep thing.

Worthless

Considering the fact that you don’t really feel like you can relate to anyone, and you have absolutely no desire to leave your bed, let alone your house, chances are you aren’t being very productive. The dishes are piling up, you probably stink like 3-day-old sleep, and if you can’t even perform the most basic daily rituals, like bathing, what exactly are you good for? 

Not a whole lot. Or so you think. You know other people are going on with their lives, and there you sit, wearing the same pjs, sporting a permanent pillow mark across your face, and your hair seems to be transforming itself into something closely related to dread locks. No matter how horrible you feel about how you look or smell, it isn’t motivation enough to do anything about it. I mean, what’s the point?

Hopeless

Nobody understands, and you’re purely worthless. There is absolutely nothing in your life to be happy about, or so that’s how it feels. All of a sudden, you become acutely aware of the fact that you’re however many years old, and all your old friends from high school seem to have all their shit together…according to Facebook anyway. What is wrong with you?

In fact, you are so far away from having your shit together, there’s really no point in even trying. This feeling of utter misery is never gong to end. Your life is an absolute joke. You actually start to ask yourself questions like, “Do I really want to live like this? What’s the point? Wouldn’t it be easier to just…”

Feeling Removed from the World

If you hadn’t already noticed, by this point you’re in pretty deep. Questioning the point of living is pretty much as scary as it gets. You can hear cars going by outside. Your friends call to see if you want to have lunch. The Oscar’s was on last night, and the people looked so happy. What kind of alternate universe are you living in where life has no color and everything blows?

Everybody else is just going on like all is well, and you begin to jump at the sound of something outside your door. You find yourself praying that nobody knocks. If you do happen to have to leave the house to go to work or run to the store for toilet paper or something, you feel like a leper. Everyone is staring at you, and wondering what in the hell is wrong with you.

Anxious

If you haven’t already reached the anxiety point, this is where it kicks in. Though they can and often do exist separately, depression feeds on anxiety and anxiety feeds on depression.You start to REALLY live inside your head. You pick apart all the irrational thoughts, and even though you KNOW it’s the depression causing all of this, you can’t stop wondering…

Crazy?

Are you going crazy? Why in the hell can’t you snap out of this? What kind of person feels like this? Why is everyone else fine, but you feel like absolutely everything in your life is wrong somehow? Why can’t you stop picking, prodding, and probing every single thought that goes through your mind? Why did you suddenly burst into tears when you ran out of diet coke? Why are you terrified of someone knocking on your door? Why can’t you get dressed and face the world like everybody else? Is it EVER going to end?

And then it does…

Either you just wake up and feel normal one day, or something finally pulls you out of it. But suddenly, you’re back to yourself. You think back and realize that the past few days were horrible, but misery loses its intensity in hindsight. You feel so much better, you barely even give it much thought. So, you go back to your normal life… until one day, maybe a week, maybe a month down the road, the dice fail to roll in your favor, and you fall down the hole all over again.

Why Can’t You Stop if You Know What it Is?

The truth is, it’s a mental illness. It overrides all rational thought. Depression isn’t just something you think. You aren’t just sitting there thinking about how terrible things are. There chemicals in your brain are unbalanced. There really is a “feel good” juice, and your brain doesn’t make enough of it.

So rather than just thinking differently when you’re depressed, you actually feel different. You are different. People who suffer from chronic depression, me included, even experience physical pain during these episodes. You should never let anyone make you feel like you should just be able to pull yourself out of it. It doesn’t work that way, and someone who’s never experienced it could never understand it.

What Can You Do?

If you haven’t already, definitely see a doctor. Whether you’re for or against pharmaceutical treatment, you need to see someone who can help. I can attest to the benefits of medication. It’s nothing like the negative stereotypes make it out to be.

The strongest contributor to these negative stereotypes is that some of these medications can cause negative side effects when you first begin taking them, and almost all of them take four to six weeks to build up in your system and actually work on the depression. Too many sufferers begin the medication, experience clouded thinking or muted feelings, and stop taking them immediately. The truth is, most people just don’t give the medicine enough time to take proper effect.

I don’t walk around like a zombie with no feelings at all. Depression medication doesn’t dull or turn anything off. It works to reconnect the circuits that aren’t firing like they should be. They alter the chemical levels in your brain, bringing them to a normal level.

Do I still get depressed? Yes, but it doesn’t happen nearly as often or last half as long as before. Either way, your treatment is your choice. However, if you are suffering from depression, please do see some kind of doctor. You don’t have to do it alone. Also, I would be happy to help in any way I can. Talking to someone who actually understands what you’re going through can make all the difference in the world.

Anxious, Depressed, and Literarily Inclined


My initial intention was to create a cookie-cutter writer’s blog about books, writing, reading, more writing, and even writing about writing. However, at the last moment, a large part of me staged a surprisingly intense intervention with the smaller part of me. Differences were hashed out, a die was cast, and a compromise was made. If I’m going to put myself out here and attempt to portray an even remotely honest version of myself, I’m going to be real. No sugar, no candy coating, and no frilly decor. Just plain old, unadulterated me. So . . . Here it is.

This is my blog—a blog about real life, living with anxiety and depression, the ups and downs of marriage, and of course writing, reading, words, grammar, books I love, books I hate, and everything literary. Writing is a major part of who I am, but I’d be kidding myself and you if I pretended not to be dramatically affected by the other important parts of myself. Some may call them imperfections, and I’ll admit, there are times when I would wholeheartedly agree, but those imperfections make me who I am. As cliché as that is, it’s also true. Why do you suppose so many famous authors suffered from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, etc.? The troubled simply have more to write about.

That being said . . . I pledge to be brutally honest, even when it’s ugly. Especially when it’s ugly. Because somewhere out there, someone else feels the way I feel, somebody else is struggling alongside me, and maybe they have an intense passion for the written word as well. Who knows? Either way, if I had to choose between entertaining thousands and helping a few, I would help. Every single time.

So . . . I’m Brandy. Welcome to my blog. Welcome to my life. I’ll warn you; it’s rocky, but we have life vests. I will dedicate my next few blog posts to further introducing myself and the different challenges I face, and then we’ll get to the good stuff.