The Path to Self – A Poem

My life is markedpath

by a series of memories.

If I look behind me,

I can see them forming

the path that I am on.

The memories are shaped

like paving stones or

Tarot cards, each of them

a doorway or window

into that moment,

into that memory.

As I walk along my path,

I can look back and

see where I was last year,

two years ago or three.

When I stop to touch

the memory, it rises up

in front of me, as if

it was a small television

when in reality

it is my memory I am

viewing. This one is from

three years ago, when I

was at the darkest point

in my life. I was sitting

outside on a bench and

the sun was warm on

my face. Inside of me,

however, there was only

torment. I sat on the bench

with a bottle of pills and a

bottle of water beside me.

The urge to take all of

the pills was overwhelming.

It had been a long few weeks.

May had been my dark month.

After my diagnosis, I thought

I had been doing well, that I

was fine. I wasn’t. What was

a disease on top of a disability?

I could handle this, I could do this.

I couldn’t. Not on my own.

I had cut everyone out of

my life. I thought it was

better that way. Even though

I knew it was foolishness, I

didn’t want to infect anyone

else with my sadness. I wore it

like a shroud of cloak.

The darkness was in every

word I spoke, every action

I did. I had started wearing it

like an armor, now it would

be my downfall. I called

my boyfriend at the time

and told him what I wanted

to do. I was looking for some

kind of comfort, some kind of

caring. What he said was:

“So do it.”

I hung up on him and grabbed

the bottle of pills, twisted

off the cap, poured the white

tablets into the palm of my hand,

as if someone else was guiding

my actions. I remember letting

out an anguished sound,

not a yell, more like something

primal that no classification.

I forced my hand to put

the pills back in the bottle,

put them down and picked

up my phone again.

I called my mom.

I told her what I wanted

to do, what urges I was

feeling. She said the words

that saved me:

“I didn’t raise a quitter. Don’t you quit on me.”

I remember sitting outside

on that bench, the sun still

warm upon my face,

letting my sadness leak

out of me in a flood of tears.

There was a moment that

I could barely speak but

my mom spoke to me,

told me how strong I was,

how brave I was, how I

was better than this, that

I could do anything I

put my mind to.

Slowly, I calmed my breathing,

I calmed my heart.

I told my mother:

I love you.

She told me the same.

I put the bottle of pills

back into my pocket

and told myself that

I would live, despite how much

it hurt me to do so,

that I would thrive,

despite the fact that

I didn’t think that I

had that much to live for.

Back on my path of self,

I stop watching. I don’t

need to see anymore,

I know what came after.

I place the memory back

into the path, in the exact same spot.

I often think of throwing

that stone into the water

that runs along side the path,

its shallow waves a constant

music. I think of burying it

within the grass, never to be

seen again. But I don’t.

This stone is a reminder

of what it was like at my lowest

point and it is a reminder

of how far I’ve come.

I pat the stone so that it

settles into the grass,

remembering who I was

and give it one last glance

before moving forward

into who I am.

One Comment on “The Path to Self – A Poem

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