The Facets of Invisibility – Monday Night Poetry

November 4 2023

Monday Night Poetry! I had missed an entire month. It was lovely to be amongst these beautiful folks once again. I shared a new poem and an oldie that was published in Elephant Journal in 2015.

The Facets of Invisibility

The I in neurospicy stands for invisibility

The other day I came across this quote,

“Invisibility didn’t keep me safe. It kept me lonely.” – Facilitate Joy’s instagram

At first I thought, Yes! That’s it! And then I thought, No! I like being alone!

Invisibility is control
It is staying in the safety of my home
Reaching out on my terms
Texting on my terms
Posting on social media on my terms
Answering the phone on my terms
Stepping out the door on my terms

Invisibility is not saying yes to invites because on the day of the event I may not have the spoons to be around others
It is waiting until the last minute to buy tickets because on the day of the event I may not have the spoons to be around others
It means buying the tickets, but staying home because on the day of the event I didn’t have the spoons to be around others

And then I came across this quote,

“Too much. Too fast. Too intense. The glass soul falls to the ground and shatters into a thousand words. The invisible boy becomes visible, and all of a sudden, his emotions blast neon.” – Author: David Levithan

Invisibility means safety
Being vulnerable only when I’m at my strongest,
mentally and emotionally
It means loneliness and longing
It means happiness and contentment
It means encouraging and loving myself
It means longing for a deep friendship or a partner
While intermittently being profoundly happy with my current status

Invisibility means being alone more than I’ve been partnered
It means having mind blowing conversations with my teen that are the same fucking conversations I have with myself

About relationships, understanding social cues, understanding why people do the things they do, why it’s so damn hard to make friends, build friendships, and make romantic connections

Invisibility, loneliness and contentment become my partners
We dance together to keep each other company
Invisibility is the times when I’ve been brave
Stepped out of the comfort zone of my home
Exposing my tender under belly
Losing the mental acuity I possess when working, writing, and advocating
I become naive, trusting what others say
Attracting absolutely the wrong people
Losing control, losing myself

And then I found this quote,

“I was invisible, and I was only just beginning to realise the extraordinary advantage my invisibility gave me. My head was already teeming with plans of all the wild and wonderful things I had now impunity to do.” – Author: H.G.Wells

The I in neurospicy stands for invisibility

Invisibility means control
It means retracting back into the safety of my home
Reaching out on my terms
Texting on my terms
Posting on social media on my terms
Stepping out the door on my terms
And beginning the process all over again.
2023 Camilla Downs

Oldie shared:

Anger is like a storm rising up from the bottom of your consciousness. When you feel it coming, turn your focus to your breath. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Dear Meltdowns, Welcome and Meet My Friend Mindfulness

Sometimes I’m able to sense when you’re lurking in the shadows. Sometimes I’m not. And you sneak up like a cat stalking its prey.

You penetrate the peace of an otherwise tranquil day like an earthquake suddenly rocking and rolling in the middle of a quiet night’s sleep. You are the complete opposite of fun and joy.
You are loud, aggressive, physically harmful, and verbally malicious. You lack compassion, empathy, and kindness. You take all actions and words personally.

What I want you to know is that I welcome you. Not like I’d welcome my best friend coming over for coffee and chatting. I welcome you like one later appreciates a grumpy relative during the holidays knowing that being around this person can help us to learn more about our own triggers.
You are helping us to know what emotions and situations Lillian has resistance to fully experiencing. You are the red flag that goes up as a warning that THIS is where she feels vulnerable.

So, I welcome you. I meet you with love.

When I am in a peaceful, mindful state, going with the flow of life, I handle you just as easily as a leaf floating in the wind. I choose not to accept your meltdown hook.

When I’m resisting life, choosing grumpiness, and having an off day, I accept the hook you’ve thrown out and jump right in with both feet. These are the times I learn more about myself.
Either way, one thing I know for sure is that you are not the true Lillian. The true Lillian is there, and you are simply acting as a buffer so she doesn’t have to experience the rawness of life. It is my hope that as I meet you with kindness and compassion, you see that it’s okay to move aside.

Lillian can handle the unexpected, the discomfort of not getting her desires, and the “letting go” of learning to be flexible. It’s okay to release your grip.

I will continue to meet you with a calm voice and compassion as often as possible, until the day you realize it’s okay to become dormant, slip into an eternal sleep, and allow a miracle – the miracle of Lillian fully experiencing emotions and going with the flow of life.

Camilla (Mom to Lillian)

And the story behind this one (from my 2015 perspective).

Lillian has a rare genetic condition called 18p-. This means that she is missing the short arm of chromosome number 18 and it affects about 1 in 50,000. The main way this manifests for her is that she is speech impaired, and has balance and motor skill issues. Also, for the past year and a half she has struggled with experiencing anxiety and difficult emotions.

Situations that can cause Lillian to meltdown:

Events not unfolding as anticipated
Schedules being adjusted
Communication difficulties
Being reprimanded
Teasing from her sibling

In July 2015, Lillian had the worst explosive meltdown we’ve ever experienced. We made a quick stop at the grocery store to get a few items.

As I paid for our items, Lillian caught up with me, and once I was finished, I could sense her energy shift. Apparently, there was a miscommunication between us about looking at more gluten free desserts.

This quickly led to a volcanic explosion for Lillian. Fortunately, I was close to the exit doors, so I made my way out and headed to the car with Lillian melting down behind me. I quickly got into the car and invited Lillian to do the same if she was going with me. She was not open to doing any of the mindfulness techniques we’ve been learning.

I decided to start making our way home even though she had not calmed down – not the best choice in that moment. She was scratching, pinching, and pulling my hair from behind.

I pulled the car over, turned to Lillian and screamed some ridiculously outrageous comments. I quickly realized I must get out of the car. We needed space between us as I was bleeding and in a great deal of pain from the scratches and she was a big hot mess.

Once out, I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths, and asked to see the situation differently. Upon opening my eyes, I saw, shining up at me from the rock and dirt filled ground, a beautiful red jewel heart. There was my answer, a reminder to always respond with love.

At this point, Lillian was ready to do a calming, mindful technique and I requested that she do it on her own. She got out of the car, chose to pick up a couple of rocks and studied them. After a few minutes we got back into the car and drove home.

We’ve not had anything of that magnitude happen since and I am hopeful this was simply “one step backward” before more steps forward. When this happens, one of us must be fully present and mindful or things can escalate.

Lillian has been seeing a psychotherapist since April 2015. We are working on cognitive behavioral therapy with mindfulness training. Additionally, I work with her on physically feeling the emotions within her body.

She has made great progress. It’s slow going, yet I feel we are closer to the ultimate goal.
The miracle of Lillian truly experiencing negative emotions and the rawness of life without the buffer of a meltdown.

At some time or another it’s possible we’ve all experienced our own version of a meltdown. Mindfulness is a miraculous practice to bring into one’s life. Once we become practitioners of mindfulness, more often than not, we are able to remain calm and peaceful when we or our children experience the rawness of life.

With mindfulness we are able to tune into our body and notice the beginning signs of a meltdown; clenched jaw, increased heart rate, tight shoulders or neck, stomach pain.
At this point we can say or think to ourselves, “There is anger inside of me.” This is the opposite of thinking or saying, “I am angry.” These two statements have completely different meanings and will take one down different paths.

Once we acknowledge there is anger (or any other uncomfortable emotion) within us, we can then put our focus on how this physically feels in the body. Is it tight, rolling, moving from place to place?

Let’s be real here. This is absolutely not fun and can be extremely uncomfortable. Yet, if we stick with this practice, it will become more of a habit and eventually the uncomfortable emotion will release.

Poetry: Moon Dance and Remember the Little Things

August 8 2023

@mondaynightpoetrynv last night was also a fundraiser for @burnergeargiveback.

Such a great idea. Collecting used Burner camping gear to give to homeless people. It typically ends up in the trash. People come from around the world to attend Burning Man. Many buying gear just for this event, then leaving it behind when it’s over.

I read 2 poems. Remember the Little Things and Moon Dance

Moon Dance

Do you ever feel like running barefoot and free and howling with the moon? xoxo

The intent is to release the discomfort.
They are ready to release it and be free.
Ready to live this life from love instead of fear.
Ready to be free. Free to follow the heart.

Free to live in peace and bliss.
Free to trust themselves.
Free to live from the true Self.

Free to listen.
Free to jump. Free to leap when it speaks to them.
Free to write what they’re supposed to write.
Free to dance.
Free to go barefoot in the moonlight.
Free to leave footprints in the sand of life’s beach

Free to experience fully each moment of life with no thoughts of what just happened, what happened yesterday; or thoughts of what comes next.

Free to BE committed to that which they are immersed in the moment.

Free to sway with the wind.
Free to kiss and hug a tree.
Free to run their fingers along the tip tops of the grass.
Free to take a nap in the sand with toes wiggling and giggling as each piece of sand makes its way through the cracks and crevices of their …… toes.

Free to smile at all whose eyes theirs meet.
Free to hug freely and receive hugs freely.
Free to let another soul know how much they care for them. Free to receive unconditional love. Free to give unconditional love. Free to BE unconditional love.

Free to write for hours on end.

Free to let music surround the body and caress it with each note as it climbs to the heavens to caress the cosmos.

Free to love all beings and all animals. Free to love the grass, the bushes, the trees, the dirt, the rocks, the sand, the sky, the clouds, the soil, the water, the hills, the mountains, the snow, the wind, the rain, the thunder, the lightening.

Free to scream from the bowels of their soul … F R E E D O M

They wish to be contained no longer. They are compelled to break free of this shell, this shield placed around them ages and moons ago. Like the baby chick breaking free from its shell, like the butterfly breaking free from its cocoon … with intense determination they chip away at the shellshield.

Like a prisoner who has no tools with which to escape, they use bare hands and nails to scratch and tear free from this shellshield.

With its hundreds of gnarly scars, rough and broken with welts of pain healed over. The time has come to be released. The time has to come to have more than a peephole of an opening.

Break the fuck free, saunter out, and howl with the moon. And, BE FREE …. Hallelujah!


Remember the Little Things

Feeling the cool water glide across your skin while swimming
The intoxicating scent of roses, lilacs, magnolia, Lillies
That first step into the warm sunshine
Picking dandelions and making a wish
That first gulp of a cool glass of water
Touching another and being touched
That first kiss with someone special
Walking barefoot through soft grass
That first bite into a ripe, juicy plum
Filling our belly with favorite foods
Fluffy towels just out of the dryer
Feeling the sunlight on your skin
Taking a nap under a shade tree
Listening to your favorite music
The feel of the sun after a swim
Sunshine through the window
Hot soup on a cold winter day
The smell of freshly cut grass
The sparkle of fresh snow
Sitting around a campfire
That first sip of coffee
Walking on the beach
A text from a friend
Deep belly laughter
The sound of waves
Fresh, clean sheets
Snuggles with pets
White puffy clouds
The smell of books
Watching a sunset
The smell of rain

July 2023

Photos by @sidewayseightprojects

Wild Flower – New Poetry

June 5 2023

I went again. I absolutely adore this group of people. The poems shared were powerful, meaningful, and passionate.

I shared a new poem, written today.

Wild Flower

As a young girl she loved music,
moving her body to the beat
With her record player and 45’s
She was a Dancing Queen.

Music made everything better
The discomfort of Life melted
Leaving only the beat and lyrics.

She feels the beat, the words,
in her heart, her soul, her bones.

As a child and teen,
Soul Train, Solid Gold,
American Bandstand
Were her Saturdays.

Dreams of being a Solid Gold dancer, Being a Rockette.
She assumed these dreams to be out of reach.

As it went, as she got older,
Life took it’s twists and turns
With dreams of becoming a dancer unrealized.

As she became an adult, married, had kids
She hid that part of herself
Rarely dancing.

2023 has brought an emergence
After 8 years of withdrawing from Society,
Refraining from being social,

She says, No longer.
Fuck that!
I’m dancing.

I’m dancing when I go for walks.
I’m dancing when I’m in the grocery store.
I’m dancing in my seat while driving.
I’m dancing while working.
I’m dancing while at the gym.
I’m dancing while making out.

I’m letting the music, the beat, the words
Move my gypsy, Pisces soul
As I float into the mystic.
I’m here to let the Wild Flower Within,
sharing my scent,
My colors, my vibrance with all I encounter.

Let’s put on our Boogie Shoes
And do it all night long
Let’s Dance!
-2023 Camilla Downs

Group photo from last night. Beautiful people. ❤️❤️❤️

New Poetry: She Emerges

May 29 2023

I attended the Spoken Views Live Poetry Night tonight. Second time and this time I read a poem I wrote today. I freaking, absolutely LOVE this group of people. This is my new Monday night jam!

Photo of me on stage, a photo with the two people who welcomed me last Monday, Mountain and Marleta, and two photos of my new shirt (which I LOVE!!!)

Here’s the poem I read:

She Emerges

It’s been 15 years.
The amount of time it takes
For one to blossom from infant to teenager.

During those 15 years
She dove deep
Exploring her inner world
Drawing within herself.

No more socializing,
No more attending events
Attaching herself to the walls
Of her inner life.

Safely around herself
She spun a secure cocoon.

Weaved with the essence of
Her two kids, safe friends, family,
And healing and inspiring books.

Within this protective casing
She dove deep into confronting
Past hurts, past trauma.

Sitting with the pain, the discomfort
Allowing herself to feel every
Emotion that appeared.
Sadness, anger, joy, happiness,
content, shame, guilt.

She dove deep into experiencing
The silence of nature
The silence of life
The beauty of nature
The beauty of allowing nature to bring forth
Healing words to share with the world.

She spent many years of her
Life within this cocoon
Radically changing how
She viewed the world
And her fellow humans

Nearing the end of this molting period
She knew the radical transformaiton
Of her inner life, her heart, her soul
Was complete.

She began shedding
her protective casing.
Only to realize that her physical body
Was not yet ready to emerge.

The years of financial struggle and worry
Had taken a toll on her body.
She spent the next couple of years
In search of what ailed her body.
Finally discovering and addressing the reason.

Once her physical body was on board
With emerging,
And after learning that she, like her kids
Is neurodivergent
She realized there remained
Something within that begged
For release, for transformation

She spent months in search of
Just the right therapist.
This is exactly what the trauma
Of her youth, teenage years, and young adult needed.

An outside force to clear the
Remains of what she alone could not clear.

With each session,
the protective casing she had
Spun all those years ago
Began to crumble

She emerged as her authentic self
Her shining self
Ready to share
Of herself without fear
That shining and sharing of her true self
Would attract unwanted and unlovely attention.

For so long ago, as a young child she
Learned that when she shined,
It attracted that which felt wrong
And that which she did not want.

She is helping that young Camilla
Has hugged and loved her
Placing her in a special
Nook carved in her heart.

Behold the awakening of all that
Could have been
If she had felt safe to
Be who she wanted to be
Explore all that life had to offer
Choose a path that fit her
Feel attraction for who she was attracted to
Love who she wanted to love

The transformation is complete
She’s 16 again
Ready to LIVE life
On her terms.

A neurospicy Pisces
Lover of olives,
Dancing, Walks
And passionate kisses.

Get ready world
With no fear
With no holding back
She has emerged. – Camilla Downs – 2023

Monday Night Poetry – Leaving the Comfort Zone

May 22 2023

I stepped out of my comfort zone big time tonight. While Thomas was in their 6:00pm appointment, instead of sitting in the car for an hour, I drove 5 minutes to Shim’s Speakeasy.

This was my first time here, and I loved it. The atmosphere and the people were awesome. Plus!!! They have Guinness 0. Woohoo! I was only able to stay for an hour, but I plan on going next Monday, and I can stay for the full spoken poetry event, getting myself on the stage. 😱Thursday looks like fun with Old Skool Music. Yay me!! 💖💋💖

Spoken Poetry: Love is the Way

Lessons from Nature … Video #3 … I read “Love is the Way”.

I find it so interesting that the bird chatter picks up in a huge way when I get to the section of the poem about how we all deserve to be loved. I think they agree!

Still working on an outdoor location with better lighting. Here ya go …


See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Amazing news! My 16 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is arriving November 2017. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 11 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

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