The Gallery of Me – Monday Night Poetry

October 23 2023

Monday Night Poetry. Beautiful people. 🖤🖤🖤

I shared a work-in-progress.

The Gallery of Me

As you enter the gallery of my heart
Tread lightly
Viewing the exhibits with
An open mind and heart

Leaving judgments and criticisms
At the door
You are welcome to retrieve
Them upon your exit
And you are welcome to leave
Them behind to be discarded
With the trash and nonsense that
The gallery routinely ejects.

Let’s cleanse the senses before entering
Close your eyes
Take a deep breath
Inhale the scent of this lemon
Touch your legs and your arms
Run your tongue along your teeth
Listen to the sounds in the room

Now step into the gallery.

Observing the first exhibit

You see what looks and smells
Like an apple pie
You pick it up
Sensing the sweet heaviness
Of apples, sugar, and flour
You look underneath the apple pie
And see and feel the discomfort
Of not being listened to
Ignored, mistreated, misunderstood,
You sense the longing of wanting
To fit in, to be liked.

You are looking at my childhood
A time of unbounded joy
Pure innocence

Intermingled with deep sorrow and trauma
You see a young girl who learned
How to dissociate
How to figure things out for herself
How to navigate her young life
Minus the emotional support of the adults around her
You see boundaries violated
A young girl who felt like she had no one
No one who understood and knew her true self

Moving on to the next exhibit

You see a field of honeysuckle vines and wildflowers
The scent is sweet and wild
Beyond the field you see
A dark tree-filled woods
mysterious with an air of loneliness

You are observing my teenage and young adult years

A time of wildness
Violation of this body
Living life from a mixture of my
Neurospicy mind co-mingled with trauma
Of my childhood and teenage years
Yet, not knowing this was how
I was living and responding to life.

Moving on to the last exhibit

You see a wildly colorful caterpillar
As it moves through all stages of
Transforming into a magnificent butterfly

You are observing
My adult life

A time of love,
Or what she thought was love,

Finally learning who I am
Working through the trauma
Releasing it’s silent, yet destructive grip
On my mind and heart

Setting boundaries
Speaking the fuck up when moved
Embracing my
And my romantic attraction preferences

Enjoying these last
Moments with my youngest
As they prepare to create
The next exhibit of their own life.

May you tread lightly
As you exit the gallery of my heart
And may you continue to fine tune
And create the exhibits of your own heart.

2023 Camilla Downs

Photos by and facilitated by @sidewayseightprojects and @mondaynightpoetry

*** I often write about my childhood, and many times it sounds unlovely. There were absolutely fun and carefree times, too. I have written about those. I write what is currently in my heart and mind. And absolutely none of what I write should be received in a disparaging way towards my parents. I love them very much and know they were doing the best they could. ❤️❤️❤️

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