I am a Haunted House


How does a girl shake the spectacle of her own mind?

My birthday is a week away. I hate my birthday. Well, more this unshakable reaction to my birthday: loneliness and ache, old ghosts, echo, recall, and a building doom that creeps in and makes home in my chest, every year. It’s easy to say “I hate my birthday”. It’s dramatic; and I am sorry. I am. I wish I didn’t. It seems like understanding this about myself would better prepare me, but it never does.

And it’s so hard to feel safe: carrying this feeling, pacing the living room, staring at ceilings, heeding the thoughts, reliving memories, the same soundtrack on repeat.

I am frustrated with myself for not being able to shake what I “understand” as being a result of so much history that I’ve not had control over. Still, it’s Saturday, almost noon, and everything I feel is my fault: I am unable, I am unlovable, I am never ever enough, I am a burden, a mistake. I am a mistake that I cannot rectify or hide from. I am lonely, alone.

(And, in my older years, not for lack of trying; which might be the worst kind of loneliness.)

I’m sorry. This is all so dramatic. But I’m just trying to get you to understand my bite and snarl.

Mea Culpa, in advance.

Please be gentle with me this week.

I am a haunted house. Houses don’t build themselves. Houses don’t invite ghosts to stay. But, houses hold, they sink and settle, they leak, they break, they flood, they burn —

Please be gentle with me this week. The floodgates open, the nightmares begin and continue, the waters rise; I’m hanging on. I’m tired and terrified and alone. If you can offer a place to hide a monster, please—

If not, come back next week. I’ll show you—

Watch me.

How brightly I burn — 

I've joined The Rumpus as Assistant Features Editor!

I'm honored and humbled to announce that I've joined The Rumpus as Assistant Features Editor. YEEP!!

I wanted to encourage y'all to submit your work! In particular, would love to see even more Femme & QTPOC Voices amplified far & wide!

I'll also be working with The Rumpus' ENOUGH column, now open to submissions. Women of Color, please share your #MeToo stories.

I know that in my family, we've held our tongues, woman after woman & daughter after daughter for so so long.

I know that our bones are etched with all that we could not say; stories that need to be told. Because ENOUGH! Because #MeToo! Because #NeverAgain! Because we are writers and words offer salve to all that cannot be smoothed over: the bumps and ridges— all that is marrow deep.

My community, my mentors, Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation - VONA, Kearny Street Workshop, Quiet Lightning, Nomadic Press, Winter Tangerine & my creative cohorts and family have helped me find the courage, the inspiration, the craft, the words.

I know you feel the same. & I hope you'll share your words (all words, not just ENOUGH), your salve, with us. We can heal each other. We can heal ourselves. We can we can we can <3

Holler at me with any questions! <3 I can't wait to read you.



Thinky thinking:

I'm cleaning out my book stash and came across Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More". ANYONE in a relationship should read this book, by the way. ("relationship" meaning any bond with any human, not just yer boo.)

Why do we conflate the word "crazy' with "codependent" so easily? Is it bc they both start with a "C"? So does "cookie".

Ya know, people do not & will not reach out, open up, trust you when they're called "codependent" for doing so— especially when the term is used incorrectly.

And, what if they are "codependent"? The problem is not the codependent. The problem is the situations/people that pushed them into that corner. Codependency is a coping mechanism. It is developed in reaction to trauma and/or abuse.

That someone is coming to you, vulnerable with their pain is kind of a big deal. It means they (want to) trust you. There is a lot of that right now, holiday season and all. Stay keen, yea?

Open up a little. Expressing one's needs and feelings (even difficult ones) and/or asking for compromise in relationship is not codependent.

Codependency is a toxic give and take. It creates fear, shame, worthlessness, a frightened worldview and spins these things as truth.

Partnership uplifts, witnesses, encourages flight, creates soft landings.

Codependency takes two people. Often, one to gaslight; another to sacrifice their own well being to accommodate; to bend the fuck over backwards in the name of "if I do this I will be loved / respected".

Yes, we often attribute it to romantic relationships; but codependency extends to bonds with our mothers, boyfriends, teachers, friends bla bla bla etc.

This isn't about your "crazy girlfriend", homies.

Question, too: why are WOMEN so quickly called "codependent" (meaning "crazy" or "needy") while similarly hurt and "needy" men are not?

What is YOUR definition / understanding of codependency? 
Maybe you have it wrong? or a little off?

Talk to each other about feelings and shit, y'all. Communication, warmth, compromise, & validation go a long long way. It creates growth, depth and intimacy.

Isn't this what we want with those we hold close? Unspoken warmth, a foundation to build upon—?

And Listen. Listen. 
Show 'em that you see them, hear them; not that they are burdensome.

Cuz if you're in a codependent relationship; this is exactly what the codependent is freaking out about, standing in front of you, stammering their heart out best they can—

<3 C

#mentalhealth #relationships #codependency #MelodyBeattie#codependentnomore