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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

I’m Okay

Someone asked if I was okay. It surprised me and caught me off guard all at once and I replied with “what do you mean?”

They explained that they had been busy lately, but kept having a feeling that perhaps something was not right.

I treasure friends like this. The ones who take the time to ask. Those are the ones I hold with both hands, whole heart, soul split wide open, with a gratitude that takes me to my knees forever. To me, that is beautiful.

Whether I am okay or not is something I struggle with opening up about. Because I did once. Despite my fears, I tore my own walls down and became an open book to thumb through. Opening yourself up to someone you trust with every part of you is a scary thing, but freeing once you know without a doubt that you are safe in their hands. They know everything about you, your secrets, your fears, your demons, your baggage. They love you unconditionally. The no matter what kind of love. The heart and soul kind of love. That without a doubt kind of love.

And then… that love folds with conditions, bends into doubt, and falls into the nothing that was once the all. Here comes the walls.

I built the armor back high.

I learned not to open myself up ever again to anyone. Because I know what it’s like to share everything with someone and have it used against you. I know what it’s like to have someone love every single part of you one day, and hate it all the next. I know what it’s like to talk to someone every single day and night, and then never hear a word again. I know what it’s like to have someone you think of as your best friend in the world become a stranger you never talk to again. I know what it’s like to be at the lowest point of my life and not have that person anymore or anyone else to talk to. I know what the silent treatment feels like. I know the bathroom floor crying, the devastation, the emptiness. I know all too well how it feels to need that one person to talk to, but you can’t anymore because they’re nothing more than a stranger now and you don’t know why. You only know that all you shared means nothing now. You only know it’s always going to hurt. You only know the friends you lost along the way, but mostly the one you trusted with your life. You feel it when they leave. It leaves an emptiness that cannot be filled. It leaves ruin that cannot be undone. And life or death, my lips are sealed. Okay or not, my throat is empty.

I wish I didn’t know how that felt. But I do.

So, I keep myself safe now behind these walls. And I always say I’m okay whether I am or not. It’s all I have. My words… they got lost somewhere between the all or nothing, when I hit bottom and crashed into the no matter what, and I found myself as worthless as the fall promised to be a lie.

A head first dive I took for face value, I hold on tight now… and never let go. Because I did once.. and it ruined me.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

The Stars Broke With Me

Not everything is meant to happen. As much as it seems like it’s written in the stars, you are holding all the cards, but the stars… they don’t always align and those cards… well, they are nothing more than paper. We hold them like a full house, a split deck, shuffle them with wishes, hoping this hand is lucky. And they fall. Don’t they always fall? The stars never really do. I’ve never really seen my name written in the sky anyway. The stars never promised anything to me. But these words come out. They split my heart, spin around in my chest, flick my throat, I always choke. And so I let them pour out, pen them down on paper. For what? I have to question what it’s all for anyway, because it doesn’t always feel beautiful, the way words should, or maybe how they could, if they didn’t grab my spine first, and twist it into pieces. I am bent sometimes, holding the pain like saving a place for this bookmark made from the pain, the pieces, my spine, this heart, these words. And where do I put it all next? What do the stars say? And what are these cards for? Because I am so tired and maybe tomorrow isn’t part of the plan. Maybe all of these words are nothing more than just words and tomorrow they’ll be gone like time. It moves too quickly, but sometimes so slow. And I feel like that moment between time flying and stopping, that place with nowhere left to go. Swirling around the time and the words that always exist, but not really. That long road at night that never seems to end and the one you drive during the day that ends too soon. I wait there, in the middle, no destination. Only existing. But sometimes I’m holding the cards and sometimes I look at the stars for any kind of message at all. I only see a sky as empty as my hands. It screams in silence, bleeds with storms, speaks in lightning, the thunder roars. And it’s all lost in translation or maybe that’s me. Either way. I have spent a long time searching for purpose, for meaning… for anything. I only have these words. I only have time, however long that is. It feels like nothing sometimes. It feels so heavy sometimes. And I just don’t know how the universe fits into such hollow spaces. My heart is heavy like the whole world sits inside, but god… the emptiness tells me I’m such a liar. And I’m tipped over, falling like I always do. I am a two sided heart, spilling galaxies, spilling nothing. There’s eight million worlds inside, some say everything, some say nothing at all. The sky in my eyes speaks every language, and my heart says, there’s no room in here or it says, there’s all the room in the world. My voice got lost somewhere along the way, but my throat still chokes on all these words with no place to rest. I throw them to the stars, place them in the cards, let them go away with time. They always come back and call me home. Sometimes I love them even when it hurts. Some days I call them home, even when they hurt. Even when they always hurt, I hold them like home. I hold them like the stars told me to do, when they wrote my name across the sky, and only offered a Storm for me to translate. There’s thunder in my throat and sometimes it sounds like words. The stars pull them out, my hair turns to knots, I swallow down hard and the universe dances inside my chest. I always feel it. I always don’t.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Writing the Pain

I heard someone ask once if I was a little thankful for the pain since it lended to new writing material. As though I should be happy for hurting since it threw words into this creative outlet. Perhaps I should send thank you gifts to anyone who ever caused me pain since I used it for the poetry. But in all seriousness, my answer to that would be no. More than that though. I would say:

Take the words. Take every single one. Take my heart, my hands, my pen. Take the ink, all of the paper, take my voice too. Take all of it away forever if it means I don’t get to keep the pain. Because trust me when I tell you the pain is much heavier than the words could ever try to be. That pain.. I could not write words to adequately do it justice. The words I write are not even a fraction of how much it really hurt. So, no.. I am not thankful for the pain. I don’t give thanks to pain. I give thanks to lessons and even then, I thank myself for being the one who had to learn each one. Word for word. The pain was never pretty, but sometimes the ink lends beauty to the words, turning the pain into something better than it would be if it just lingered inside. I am thankful for being able to make the pain seem less ugly, but there’s a massacre inside… that only stops crying, when it’s not laughing at me.

Thanks for asking.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Brave

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

When I Soar Again

He rips me to shreds without even touching me and he knows, keeps a tight grasp on disregard like a knife he has used to cut me a hundred times before. But I sit here and remind myself that I bled out a long time ago. There is nothing left for him to take; the stains on his hands say so.

I hold my tongue silent like a bird that never learned to sing anyway, clench the song inside what’s left of my heart, sing as loud as I can, hoping my spirit will recognize my voice and come back home to me one day. And I know, I am only a wounded bird, winging it through this journey, searching for a reason to teach myself to fly again.

An ordinary bird would have long since crashed by now, but it’s written in the stars that I have never been ordinary. I am simply resting, searching, learning, perfecting and embracing the extraordinary grace it takes to soar through my healing. It won’t be long before I spread my wings to watch the fight of my life evolve and bloom into flight of my life.

The sky calls my name in shades of blue and purple, I hear it as a song playing music only the brave dare to dance to. I see myself there. Dancing, smiling, flying, but stronger, with a whole heart that never once broke. It feels like me again. It feels like home. I am brave there, with no recollection of ever bleeding out.

I am lying in wait, soon to be flying as though the world never once carved me open with jagged teeth to show me just how heavy some pain is to carry.

Look for me soon when the sky turns blue and sings my name like purple shades of brave playing music that never uses silence to make a storm.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

Eye of the Beholder

I was starving to matter once, worth my weight regardless of how heavy my heart was, turning a blind eye to the emptiness that only registered as stone cold in the mirror of my own eyes. And in that mirror of my own eyes, every single thing staring back was not even worth seeing. The scale of my mind only tripped the fault lines of definitions pounded into me my whole life of what beauty really was and it was never in the eye of the beholder, but all the other eyes watching. The ones that didn’t matter, the ones that looked but did not see. The ones looking through, touching but never holding and so I learned to hold myself at arms length away from the microscope of other peoples eyes. I learned to look inside my own heart, dig through all the baggage, unlearn the bullshit hardwired inside, and relearn the lessons worth knowing. It was the hardest lesson I have ever learned, but the most valuable gift I could have ever given to myself. When I weigh my worth now through the mirror of my own eyes, I count my heart first, and I always tip the scales in my favor to say: I am full, I am worthy and I am so fucking beautiful.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry, Uncategorized

While I Was Out

While I was out, the other part of me rarely got out of bed, brushed my hair, or even saw the sun.

But while I was out, I didn’t care about her, because I was dancing blindly with the madness, spinning my wheels in the night, holding hands with dangerous things like they came straight from the mouth of god. I bowed to all as if they were holy, as if I was the one people knelt to and believed in with all their hearts. I was unbreakable, but in pieces I carried around, gifting beauty to strangers.

While I was out, the me that laid in a daze of gray, lost somewhere between sobs that grow numb, didn’t give a second thought to the other half of me sinning like a hobby that became a religion.

And that other half, in her grandiosity, did unholy things in my name without grace or remorse. She doesn’t know she’s evil when she spins in the mania, she only knows that nothing can touch her other than hands that shouldn’t. And she comes back to boast about it, throws it in my face, tells me I’m a failure. I believe her. How could I not? She’s dirty, reckless, and everything I never wanted to be.. but she’s me and I am her.

She leaves me, but never really. I wish she would. She wishes I would. I make her lazy, she makes me a whore. And together, we spin in a cycle that flashes between light and dark, madness and sanity, wrong and right. We are locked together in a cage and it’s always her who takes the key.

Sometimes she is gone for so long.

Sometimes I am gone for so long.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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