My Life Is Up To Me – A Poem

I was lostIMG-20140713-02150

inside of myself.

I had forgotten

what it was

to actually live.

I had given

up, had chosen

to hide in

the dark. It

wasn’t as painful

as the light.

I had given

up. I was

raised not to

be a quitter,

but I could

see no other

way, could not

see around the

dark mountain inside

of my head.

I lay down

that night to

sleep and prayed

for it to

be endless, to

not wake up.

I prayed so

hard that tears

coursed down my

face while sleep

laid its claim

on my body.

I woke to a

noise in the

kitchen. I got

out of bed

and walked toward

the noise. My

grandmother, long ago

dead, stood making

a jug of

pink lemonade. She

heard me and

turned, a smile

upon her face.

Better drink up while it’s still cold. If it gets warm, it tastes like piss.

Her smile deepened

and she held

out a glass

to me. I

took it, my

hands shaking slightly.

How can you be here?

I asked her.

You died when I was eight.

She smiled and

motioned at my

glass of pink

lemonade, almost

waving at it.

Aren’t you going to drink it? I came a long way to make it for you.

I took a sip

and the tart

sweetness of it

flooded my mouth.

Now, listen. You need some sense knocked into you. You can’t keep living like this.

How else can I live?

You can stop being sorry for yourself for one thing. You can get out there and live.

I don’t know how.

She gave me

a look that

I remembered well.

It was a

look that said

you had better

pay close attention.

You were doing fine before. Now you’ve been given another chance, and you’re choosing to spend it in darkness?

I tried to

think of everything

I was feeling,

all that I

wanted to say.

I don’t know how to do anything else. I’m lost.

So find yourself again. It’s a simple change to make, a simple fix.

I don’t know how.

She sighed and

poured herself a

glass of lemonade.

Her stare softened.

She took a

sip and spoke

oh so softly.

Look, I know what’s happened to you is hard. And I know that change is hard, that it sometimes takes everything you have. You have to make a change for the better.

I don’t know how.

You keep saying that, but why do you have this?

She pointed at

a small magnet

on my fridge.

It was bright

yellow and had

six small words,

six syllables that

resounded, loud and

strong, even through

my current haze.

My life is up to me.

The words sounded

almost like music

coming from my

lips. My grandmother

nodded, smiling kindly.

Who gave you that magnet?

My mother.

Smart woman, your mother. Always liked her. You need to remember those words, every time you’re afraid of making a change. Say the words again.

I nodded and

did so. My

voice was still

soft and quiet.

My life is up to me.

No, no, that’s not working. Why are you living in such a dark place? You need a little light.

My grandmother snapped

her fingers and

the magnet began

to pulse softly

with light, shining

from the fridge.

Now say the words again.

My life is up to me.

The light from

the magnet grew

a little brighter.

And now say it again, but mean it this time, shout it!

My life is up to me!

The light increased

until it was

almost blinding. I

had to shield

my eyes from

its brilliance. I

heard my grandmother’s

voice again. She

sounded far away now.

Never forget, you control what changes in your life. That’s what gives you courage. I am so proud of you.

The light grew

even brighter, more

luminous. I had

to close my

eyes. When I

opened them again,

I was in

my bedroom, still

in bed. I

shook myself awake,

filled with an

emptiness that just

wanted to be filled.

It was a dream.

I said, not

wanting it to

be so. It

had seemed so

real, so true.

I got out

of bed and

walked into the

kitchen. There, sitting

on the counter,

was a jug

filled with pink

lemonade and two

glasses, half full.

I looked around.


I said. My voice

was soft. I heard

a sound that

was like the

snapping of fingers.

I turned and

looked at the

fridge. There, the

little magnet with

six simple words

was glowing bright

like the sun.

My life is up to me.

I said, my

voice finding strength.

My life is up to me. 

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