The Rough Draft Waiting

My patience wore me down, thin to the bone, bare as the surface never could be, I had to dig deeper. Through the flesh of all I never could see, my temper always got the best of me. And these well articulated plans never made it beyond the hypothesis constantly picking my brain with rough drafts that stay rough. Never smooth enough to perfect a final copy worthy of being seen, so it goes in the trash can of all things unnoticed. Stays clean in the unseen of my own eyes so my hands don’t have to feel the way dirty feels exposed. And I feel unclothed, birthed in the shame that comes after being stripped raw; cover me. Blanket me with something, anything at all other than the dull pain of how my spine broke through the flesh of who I never wanted to be. No take backs! So I perfected the demons while looking into the eyes of the wrong ones and I can’t undo the mess that cripples me. Well, serves you right. How does it taste? You can’t spit out the bitter medicine you fed yourself, can’t purge out the poison from your own hands. You have to keep it, lay down, roll around in it, make a home of it. Because you asked for it. Now you want to be ungrateful? Bullshit. And who’s gonna bail you out now? That’s right. Not one fucking person other than you. Get to work. Grab the shovel and dig out of the mess you buried yourself in to hide. The hiding places are gone, love. You cannot breathe because you buried yourself alive and still tried to call it living. Look at you now, kicking and screaming like a tantrum that stopped giving you your way. Time is up. No one is going to come save you… it’s your turn now. Save yourself. This is where you learn all the lessons you won’t forget. This is where you figure out just how tough life is and if you are just as tough or not enough. Which is it? It’s a split second decision to make or break yourself. Now let me see you break yourself open until you make yourself stand up again and matter. Matter into the final draft of yourself… finally.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

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Dare You

I guess the misery is a weakness, spread it around like love paying itself forward and wonder why it never makes its way back to me. Well, people don’t like the edges of the way your madness rubs against them, it’s too sharp, you try too hard, you don’t try enough, you’re not enough. But you think you’re too much sometimes. And it’s pathetic really. Giving so much of yourself away as though it’s a gift anyone would be honored to have. You are full of shit. No one wants to unwrap that package to see what’s inside because the poison spills out with one look. There’s no mystery, no guess what the big surprise is… it’s clear. Transparent as anything ever could be, your self loathing is predictable, your self love is loud and mute all at once. It hurts my ears the way you talk to yourself. Get off your fucking knees like a plead that doesn’t know how to stop screaming. Stand up and pull it together, snap out of the self induced shit show. The audience is gone. Find your footing again. Walk again… open your eyes again.. live again. Live again. Love yourself. I dare you. I fucking dare you.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

The Package

Maybe unwell describes me too mildly, sounds too pretty like a lie fluffed up, pretending to be a reality, and we know that’s not me. Let’s be honest and describe it more accurately. Throw out the pretty packaging that covers me, open that plain old box of truth and man, sometimes it’s ugly. Bat-shit crazy, go ahead and say it, off the fucking rocker mad, lost my shit, I’m no longer rocking, somewhere along the way time stood still, the lights went out and never came back. I lost track. Monday or Friday, it’s all the same to me. The sun threw a shadow to cover its eyes when I wished for the dark to teach me a lesson, and that’s the one wish that decided to come true, so I’m learning it. Feeling my way through the dark, thinking about wishing for amnesia to wipe away my thoughts before they kill me, or maybe I’ll stay silent and toss the thoughts a dare. I’m not scared. Bring it all at once, I’ve been there before, I can take some more. And this could be the curse I earned for making the misery contagious enough, it brings more company to my door and calls me home sweet home. Well, welcome home, beautiful misery, lovely, weak demons, I know you like the back of my hand across my own heart, promise. Broken image trying to be me, you can’t master it… took me years to shatter this way, lost it all one day, like overnight lasted a minute before freezing time precisely when I lost my mind. I think the sun took it, used it for the dark to make that shadow, gave part of it to the moon and it went crazy too. Told the stars to avoid me when they fall because I do it so much better. But not anymore. I stopped falling when I hit the lowest spot, nowhere left to fall, and I don’t believe in flying. So I lay here in the dark, with these demons, this misery, and the conversations we have that I have been starving for. I can’t possibly ask for more.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Taste It

I have to drop the pen from time to time, plug the ink that drips from the darkest part of my well. I am unable to shade the edges over dull, not capable of smoothing down the blade enough so it doesn’t cut you too. This life… it gets the best of me sometimes, holds me under until the best becomes the worst, and the worst is always the part of me that comes up gasping for air. It’s the best of me that struggles in the deep, drowning for another chance to breathe, but I choke on all that touches me, never able to reach back to touch it too before it runs or breaks or dies. And maybe it’s the colors of my own breaking rubbing against everything too hard like a cry for help that sounds as desperate as a pleading scream. Or maybe it’s a whisper that stays unheard like sitting in the back row on purpose to stay unseen. Maybe I’m a mess that sounds off as a warning, alerting everyone of the danger that comes from getting too close. Well, I am… so stand back. You don’t want to catch this fever with a frozen center that can’t break before it breaks you first. Walk away. Blind side your eyes, shut down your heart, guard everything with your life. Stack the walls up higher. I am poison words speaking with this metallic tongue, so bitter, so careless and cold. The words marinade long enough until they fly off the handle all on their own, lashing out like a belt across your backside when you were too young to know how to learn a lesson like that. You didn’t know leather could rage like that, rip a new ass like that, make you say sorry like that. Well, now you know. Swallow your words. Feel the way they swirl in your throat, swim the deep of your stomach, until they tread there too long. Makes you sick. You can’t keep words like feelings smothered inside that way. Sooner or later they escape, make an exit that’s not so pretty and I’m not so pretty. How do you like me now? When the words rip up my throat so hard, my own tongue is destroyed in the language spoken, stories bent off, letters breaking open until my lips are busted. The blood runs through the cracks of my heart, they stay frozen or they boil over hot. But they never just stay. Words don’t stay still. Feelings don’t just sit in the corner and learn their lesson enough to get up and go away. No. They dance through you, they move with the music, sometimes slow, sometimes fast.. but they keep moving. There’s no surface within left untouched. You should be unhinged. Your heart should feel it. Every room of you should be torn apart even if only a little. It’s never simple. Is it? Can you feel just a little? Walk across a room and leave it untouched as though you were never there anyway? Or do you leave it destroyed in some way? Your heart busting a few windows, your eyes tearing out the dark closets, your soul ransacking everything in its path to show you were there. Show you were there when the light burned holes over all that went dark. Show you were there when the dark flipped the switch and turned the room to night. There’s no in between. Don’t try to be the gray in the middle. Stop hiding the colors that make you shine, don’t blur the bright into dull. Let those colors break open like mosaic glass windows busting open into pieces like music at full volume, as you dance through all the beautiful edges. Whether you get cut or not… feel. Fucking feel. Stop holding your tongue, clenching your jaw.. let it roll out, spilling poison that breaks the beauty open. Spill it out. Scream it so loud, it breaks the music hard enough to wipe it clean and rewrite the lines just in time. Save yourself. Purge all the pain you keep binging on like a lifeline keeping you from a flatline. Become a wave that never stops crashing against bigger waves, bust open… those wounds, the salt from your own lips is where the healing sits. It’s your own medicine… now taste it.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

All My Heart

I wish there was an easy way for me to explain all of this through words, but there’s not and never will be. I know you don’t understand, the same as I never will be able to. No matter what, I never will. I lost more than my footing, so much more. My dreams are gone, my fears came to life, ate me alive, and it feels like I am still being chewed up. I am gone. My rising fell before it had a chance to even stand, much less fly. This bottom I keep hitting only falls lower with each day as a plunge crashing harder into a surface that never stops dropping. It’s never ending. And I’m so sorry. I wanted so much to be stronger for you, for myself. But I am changed. Gutted so deep with all that went left unsaid, between then and now. There’s nothing left. A shell of someone who once was, but I can’t be that again or anything at all. I wish I had it in me to shake it off, move forward as though the feelings between us were nothing more than friends who maybe crossed a few lines. But I know what it was. I can’t make light of it now and take away from what it was. I’ll never be able to do that. I can’t shut down like that, turn the world off, and focus on tomorrow. I’m still here, wondering how it all got destroyed. Still holding my heart together every single day with each new change that breaks me open like a hammer. Splits me in two like the person you were and the one you became when reality burned our dreams. I have no place for these ashes, but I can’t let them go. I keep them safe, I always will. I thought by now, it would be easier, that I would be better. But I was wrong. It only gets worse. And I’m sorry for everything. It’s a cruel world to show me you exist only to take you away with no explanation. Nothing has changed. I’m still the same. I hope you are smiling at the beauty you find in each day and no matter where I end up in this life, I will always be watching from afar as you catch those dreams. No one else deserves it more than you. With all my heart, I will be cheering you on. With all my heart.. I will love you like I always have. No matter what.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Tipping the Scales

It’s a journey back to myself and all I know now is that it has been everything but graceful. Not a pretty picture of pieces crumbled into a mess that no one else can clean up but me. After sweeping the chaos under the rug for so long, pretending it didn’t exist, looking away became easy. Out of sight, out of mind. Until the day my mind said no and took me the long way around. The look me in the eyes and face the demons way around. The clean your fucking mess up way around. I couldn’t look away anymore and I guess the hardest part of a battle is when you are your own opponent. Sometimes I can’t remember if I’m betting for myself or against myself, but I know the end goal is to kick my own ass hard enough to know I’m on my own side. It’s easier said than done. But I stepped up to the plate of myself, which is a good start. I’ve uncovered the mirrors, picked up the rugs, cleaned the closets, taken out the bones from those skeletons. Most of them anyway. But that’s only the beginning and the weeks feel like years by now. Just because I uncovered the mirrors doesn’t mean I have taken the next step of looking in and maybe those rugs are up, but I still see the shadows from what was there for so long. Every day is a new day, offering a new chance and maybe I’ll be stronger, but sometimes I feel weak. Every day is weigh in day to see if I measure up enough in my own eyes- but also to a world that taught me I never tipped the scales into anything other than mediocre. I forget who I’m proving myself to, but last time I checked, the world didn’t give a shit about tipping the scales to push the standard ratio in my favor, so… looks like the color of my own eyes will be the only judge for how heavy it feels to be light and why the dark covers me empty but warm all at once.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Unintentional Breaking

I never meant to turn stone cold, like a light that dimmed so fast it broke. I didn’t mean to come down your throat like a quick temper with flailing arms and it was never intentional the way my softness hardened into a fist fight overnight.

I wanted to be stronger than that, keep my fight brave and never show weakness like that, but my fire burned out and I can’t begin to tell you how cold this room is.

My insides tremble from being frozen in time, stuck in the moments that chained my heart and held me prisoner of a past I won’t see again, but can’t stop searching. I wanted to stay thick skinned and untouchable to a life that hammers into my confidence, tries to break it at every swing.

But somewhere along the way, that hammer hit just right and I finally shattered. Thinned me out transparent, my heart can be viewed on the outside now if you dare to look in.

I didn’t look away from myself on purpose, but the cracks… they are hard to look at, harder to acknowledge, so I find myself unable to not look away. Honestly, I’m ashamed of the demons that jumped through the cracks of my breaking. But they stayed. Didn’t escape the way I did. Stayed for the show like I refused to.

Sometimes giving up is easier than facing what’s pulling you down and it’s hard to look at the face of that. So I try hard not to. I wanted to fly but I fell. I wanted to rise, but the drop of my fall was stronger than me and I’m not sure anymore if I have it in me to stand once again.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Searching for Feathers

I want to be a clean slate, wiped blank from all that affects me, uncracked from all that reaches into my bones deep enough to hurt forever. The pain that touches me, shouldn’t even graze my skin, but it plants itself inside, grows old wounds until they spread new.

I hate the way it never stops splitting me open, the way I root myself so permanent into moments that should be nothing more than a corpse rotting in the rear view mirror. I can’t walk away from those graves, on my knees, holding flowers in memory of a time that forgot me long ago. And I don’t visit those graves, they visit me, like a haunting that never stops turning my heart cold.

They try to make a home of me when I don’t know the way. Lost the directions so long ago and if I ever had a home somewhere, I don’t recall the address anyway. Maybe my heart is homeless, searching for places that offer shelter, even if only temporary, even if it offers nothing more than feeling anything at all, as long as it’s more than nothing.

There’s so little in the more than nothing, but god… there’s so much to be found. Like finding a smile when you don’t have one and it feels so much like love promising to stay forever. Even if forever is only a few days, it was longer than never and sometimes… that’s everything isn’t it?

But my knees are dirty, the way they plant themselves on the graves of anything that ever made me feel more than nothing. My hands, they are bleeding from the thorns of these flowers I won’t stop holding for the memory of what?

Maybe to remember a time when I didn’t have the need to make myself bleed like this just to recall the time I got this scar, and feel all the pain that caused it. If I don’t feel it like it’s set on replay forever, then it’s forgotten and if it’s forgotten, then it never happened.

I can’t let the scars heal like that, to make them never matter like that, wipe the slate clean like that. I don’t want to be cold like that, but I want to be big like that, be able to move on like that. I pause myself, stop myself, trap myself knee deep in the dirt and blood and pain. For what?

Give me an award for recognition of holding pain like I hold my breath. Brand me with validation that proves I matter, that all the pain was worth it. Show me where the light is or a tunnel that leads to something that shines over the clouds stuck in my eyes like scars that tell the healing no.

Backhand me numb so I fall off this ledge that never stops feeling. And why does that ledge deserve my feelings anyway? Turn out the power and reset it to now. Take me to the black out where everything turns dark, wake me up when the amnesia rips my heart open and smashes it clean of anything from yesterday or before. Fill it with only today and tomorrow where there are no graves to visit, no flowers to meet death in my hands, no scars for me to rip open to show the dark that took my light.

Bring me a sky that shows me light that’s mine for the taking, so I can see what I should be shining for. I need a reason to dig my heart out of those graves, and bring it back to life again. I need to live again without being triggered when the wind blows too hard against me and leaves me gutted. I am so heavy with wanting to be as light as a feather of two birds that once flew together or even just one bird who was always okay flying alone.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Looking for Light

I catch myself trying to pen words that spill positivity as if I have a message that will inspire you somehow to be a better version of yourself today.

But I always stop myself, because those words I try to force are fiction and I don’t want to lie to myself. Same as I don’t want to lie to you.

I could write a few trendy lines about how the stars wait to collect your wishes, shoot across the night sky to make those wishes come true and bring them straight to you. But I can’t do it.

As much as I’d love to rip out of this skin, be someone different and paint myself in a light that always shines in a good way, that’s just not who I am, maybe that’s who I’ll never be.

I’m on a journey to myself and honestly, I’m not sure I have found my light yet, so I don’t want to blind you with the dull sparkle of false shine that only breaks into a lie in the end. This darkness…sometimes it’s all I have, but I am trying to stop holding it like the hand of a best friend, always pulling me the wrong way.

I want to go the right way. I want you to go with me. But only to the place where the light shines true, even if it’s ugly.

So ride with me in the darkness, until I find the light I’m searching for, and when I find it, I will share all of it with you.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

The Lesson to Myself

I am not for everyone, maybe not for anyone at all and I am slowly learning to be okay with that. Taking the lesson that every wrong look isn’t a death sentence plunging a knife into my heart. Learning not to see the color of someone’s eyes as a judgment that translates rejection.

Those shades always did kill me. I try to wrap my mind around the attitude that doesn’t care and that’s an easy thing to say isn’t it? Doing it is a different path and it’s never been level. Trips me with the jagged edges, makes me fall over the cracks, and maybe it’s me pushing myself down the way I mastered so long ago.

I guess, if I’m being honest, this lesson of not being my own worst enemy is the hardest one I’ve taken. I keep failing it like self sabotage is the best grade to earn and I owe myself every retake that’s offered by now. I want to get a perfect score on letting the world fall away without touching me first. I want extra credit for being able to smile and walk away unaffected, bonus points for holding a conversation that doesn’t rip my insides into a grave that buries me alive because I can’t breathe.

I always wonder why I was picked to be this person, the one who cannot pull it together even if my life depends on it and now my life is depending on it. But still there are days when something inside of me says, you can’t do this.. just jump. Another part of me that forces my eyes to stay fixed on the lesson of being undisturbed by eye contact, because why does it even matter? And why does it feel like dying inside anyway? Why am I like this? I would love to know the answer, but I’m blank.

It’s a slow process. Working through the disaster of yourself to find the pieces that fit together to make at least a little sense. I haven’t found any that fit yet, but I’m searching. Digging soul deep. It’s not easy, but I will give myself an A for effort, and keep trying to solve the mystery, until I can crown myself and call it a victory.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry