“…mental health is not anything to laugh at. It is to be taken seriously, never to be minimized.”
I found pieces of a free writing session with one of my besties, Bonique’a, from 2012. It ostensibly started with her asking me, “What’s your story?” and morphed into an introspective jumble of something else. I have shared the beginning of this poem in some other things I’ve written, including my forthcoming novel. Somehow though, I ignored the gems sprinkled throughout the end of the writing session. Here I present the reworked free write spawned by my bestie who always keeps me thinking and digging deeper. Thanks, girl.
I like to tell folks I don’t have a story
But I also like to fuck with people
That in itself tells a story.
You confused yet?
Good, now we have something in common
I think that’s how friendships begin.
Not sure if I can maintain it but that’s part of the story too
Pay attention to the details
That’s where the angels are for me
I live in devilish broadstrokes
Details are the only way the good creeps in
Giving the true life to the picture
Details are what fill funeral obituaries
Speaking of obituaries…
When I exit this world
I mean exeunt this world
-I am plural-
2 paragraphs can’t hold me
But I digress
2 of me
Literally in a figurative kinda way
Want to be consistent.
Craving to be consistent.
Trying for 37 years to tuck in a chain of normalcy
To ward off the thieves of despair and frenetic madness
Stolen goods can be replaced.
But how about the bad that no one cared to burgle
Kept bads never seem to get displaced
Instead they are displayed permanently on mantles
Dismantling yet another plank of sanity
Isn’t insanity just the outside half sibling of sanity?
The one no one bothers with?
The ugly one.
The one we’d rather not discuss?
The family secret.
Do you know the feeling of going through as the inaudible glitch.
But maybe that’s my story.
The one told in hushed tones in back rooms.
Reposted with permission from In My Mental Mind.
Alise Leslie is a poet, author, blogger, spoken-word artist, and mental health advocate currently residing in Durham, NC. She writes at the blog, “In My Mental Mind: a black girl’s mental health journey," focusing on mental health issues, particularly for women and men of color, through essays, personal stories, poetry, and music. Her lipstick game is most likely better than yours.
when sadness is no longer an emotion/ when it becomes a residence/ an empty abode, with no windows/ filled with the smoke of anxiety