Give Me One Reason – Monday Night Poetry

February 9 2024

Last Monday was exactly what I needed and I had a blast! Love these deep diving poetry folks!

The Space in My Heart

Give me one good reason
Why I should stay

When we’re together the words
You say to me
Bury themselves into the fertilizer
Of my heart
Watered with the tears that shed
When you ignore me
Sprouting, growing into the garden of you

Only to be crushed by the boot
Of your unreliability, dishonesty
Your empty, meaningless words
Supported by your inconsiderate nature

You come to me as an option
When you need replenished
When you’re lonely, sad, or confused

I am sustenance caught
In your web
Suspended, stuck
Waiting for you to come for me

I’m continually questioning my
Position in your life

I’m tempted by your tasty fruit
I know I should disconnect

My soul knows this

I want to understand you
I want to explain how I feel

But my soul knows I need someone
Who chooses me over and over again
Someone whose efforts reflect
I am wanted in their life
Someone who abundantly fills my cup

Give me one good reason
Why I should stay

Are we just telling ourselves stories?
We would do and say anything
To hang on to each other

Fiction filled stories
With pieces of truth
Patching the plot holes

Dancing to the tune of
Each others energy
Smiling in each other’s sunlight
Singing the joy bursting from our hearts
Drawn together like magnets

Is it fiction or truth?

Deep down I know the answer

Infusing myself with the strength
Of all the goddesses before me,
I close my eyes,
take a deep breath
And I
Walk away

February 2024

Inspired by Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason”

Hosted by @sidewayseightprojects and @mondaynightpoetrynv

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: Burn it to the Ground – Monday Night Poetry

September 9 2023

Monday Night Poetry – Thank you to my friends, Melinda and Fran, who surprised me with showing up!! It was so fun to see you two, and hang out together! The poetry shared by everyone was absolutely amazing! What a great night!

This is the first poem I’ve written with this tone, and with the specific intent of being spoken. I wanted to record myself performing it, but I just don’t feel like it. For those of you who have heard me speak, or had conversations with me, imagine this in my voice, with the emotion of a person who has had enough!

When I finished speaking this poem, I received the most applause I’ve received so far, with some commenting that I need to run for office. There just happened to be a campaign manager in the audience. Ha!

I’m not looking for advice. I’ve got everything figured out. This was written to help move through what I was feeling last Monday.

Trigger warning for mention of suicide, lots of cussing and if you work in the insurance industry, don’t take this personally (unless you are a higher up in the industry).

Burn it to the Ground

She said they had received the paperwork
It’s in review
There’s a 14 day turnaround
Unless it’s urgent
Urgent bumps it to a 24 hour turnaround

This had already been in limbo
For a month and a half I tell her

Approved visits were depleted
Authorization requested for more visits
Something not submitted,
Or filled out properly.

Each time submitted
There’s that fucking 14 day turnaround

I ask her
What would elevate this to urgent?
I tell her this has to do with mental health,
The person has an official diagnosis of major depression
One can’t say to suicidal thoughts,
“Hey, hold up now we’ve got to wait 14 days
Before we’re approved more visits with the therapist.”
That’s not how it works.

I’m placed on hold while
She speaks to the authorization department.
You see, I’m not “allowed” to speak
To the authorization department.
Only providers/doctors can do that.

Which is complete bullshit
And depends on who happens
To take your call.

How do I know this?
Because I called two weeks ago
To inquire about the hold-up
And I eventually got transferred
To the AUTHORIZATION department.

She comes back on the line
Authorization department
Says the provider can call
And tell them that the matter is urgent
This will escalate to a 24 hour turnaround.

Okay. I let the provider know this.
Has it been done?
Who knows?

Insurance in this country
Is a fucking load of bullshit.
Meant to wear us down
Confuse us, overwhelm us

I just happen to be one of those
That won’t give up
You cannot wear me down
I have a tenacity fueled
By the hammer of the gods
I will fight for what my family needs.
Many people can’t do this,
or don’t have the energy
To deal with the system.

A system that fucks over the
Actual people who need health care
Lining the pockets of those
Who need their pockets stripped clean
To take a walk on the side of those
Of us their screwing over.

You would have thought I received
Good news when I received notice
That the promotion I got in July
For a few more hours, and few more dollars
Also resulted in me being eligible for insurance benefits.

Let me tell you
There’s something seriously wrong
When you have to sit through a THREE fucking hour
Orientation to learn about these benefits

They making it so fucking confusing
It would almost be easier just to opt out
Of the whole racket.

So now this few dollar raise
Has bumped me over the limit to
Receive the crappy ass medicaid we’ve
Had for the past 13 years
Now I’ve got to choose between 4 fucking plans
That eat away at the few dollars raise I received

All with different levels of my contribution
Co-insurance, deductibles,
It’s plenty enough to make an ADHD brain fucking explode.

So, yes, we need to burn it all to the ground
Start from scratch again.
Simple, easy

One shouldn’t have to have the tenacity
Of 20 people, a college degree
Or a non-chaotic mind to figure this shit out.

Fuck off insurance companies!

**Since writing and performing this poem, I received word that insurance DENIED more therapist visits. To say I was filled with intense rage is putting it lightly.

I will appeal but in the meantime, I will be paying out of pocket for visits that happened during this two month period. How can you look at a person who has an official diagnosis of Major Depression with suicidal thoughts and then DENY their fucking therapist visits?

I am seriously done with being kind. Those in the insurance industry who make the damn guidelines can pack it. May it always rain on them whenever they leave their home, may all their food taste like rotten lemons, and may they be forever constipated.

Poetry: Where Are You?

Monday Night Poetry last night, always a beautiful time.

Where Are You?

I am halfway to nowhere.
I am halfway to everywhere.

I’ll meet you in the middle
I’ll meet you in the trees

We’ll dance to the music of the stars
We’ll laugh to the touch of the ocean

I am halfway to nowhere.
I am halfway to everywhere.

We’ll be each others sanctuary
We’ll transform into wild animals

We’ll laugh together as the oceans waves sing to the shore
We’ll embrace as the moonlight drips into our souls.

We’ll walk barefoot through the wet grass
We’ll hold hands to the scent of the sun.

I am halfway to nowhere.
I am halfway to everywhere.

We’ll whisper secrets as the trees embrace us
We’ll share music as the wind sings her song.

We’ll kiss as the flowers dance to the tune of our music
We’ll look into each others eyes as the clouds swallow us to be reborn as rain.

I am halfway to nowhere.
I am halfway to everywhere.

I’ll meet you in the middle
I’ll meet you in the trees.

Photos and facilitated by @mondaynightpoetrynv and @sidewayseightprojects

Thoughts While Waiting for a Powerful Monday Night Poetry

June 18 2023

Waiting. And waiting and waiting for Lillian.
While the wind blows through the open windows,
through my hair,
through my thoughts. ❤️💋❤️

June 20 2023

Spoken poetry last night was incredible. Powerful, moving, inspiring, heartbreaking, and full of love. ❤️🖤💚

Monday Night Poetry With the Healing Vibes of Nature

June 13 2023

It was music and poetry last night. Good times! 🖤

June 16 2023

Began the walk this morning deep in the blues. Walks, nature, and music are my go to when I’m processing sadness and hurt. I fell asleep last night to liquid love leaking from my eyes, and woke the same. I could really use a hug. Human touch from kindred spirits is something I have missed all these years.

I’m feeling better after the walk, getting sweaty, feeling the breeze against my skin, looking at the gorgeous sky, flowers, and trees, listening to some sad music, listening to some uplifting music.

I know it will return until I’m finished processing it, along with trying not to be harsh with myself. Like the ocean with her waves it seems to hit the hardest at night. Is that how it is for anyone else? Or is that just me?

Off to shower and then taking Thomas clothes shopping. Wish us luck! I have no sense of style other than black. Is it black? Yes, okay. It’s halfway to purchased. Just need to see how it looks on me. 🤣💋🖤💋🤣