The One Thing That Changed My Writing Career

The One Thing That Changed My Writing Career
— Read on


High to the Low

The high tells the low,

“Get up, idiot”

The low responds,

“I cannot. I am worthless”

The high calls bullshit and says,

“You’ll feel better if you go shopping”

The low gets up and feels better

for a day or so, then falls back down.

The high only laughs,

cycles the skies,

“Watch me fly, loser”

And the low watches out the window,

knowing the crash

always stops the laughter.

The low knows the blows,

the tears, the fears,

while the high only knows

the take off, not the landing.

Hands the spiral of the crash

to the spine of the low

like a cruel trick

and walks away smiling.

It’s always lying,

spinning as it does

like a maniac,

tasting danger and loving it.

The low holds the pieces,

bears the pain, takes the gutting,

feels every sharp edge,

while the high is out shopping,

fucking strangers,

sky diving from

invisible planes

just before they crash,

knowing the low will clean

the wreckage.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


Heart and Mind

My heart always says I’m sorry, but my mind says… no, you’re not sorry. You cannot be sorry. Why would you be sorry for feeling? For loving? For hurting? No, stop apologizing and explaining things that just are. But my heart, my heart… it makes me pay for that. It makes me hurt for that, makes me bleed the fuck out for that. With every beat, it wants me to prove why each crack was worth the pain, why I spent nights crying myself empty, only to wake the next day filled again with the pieces of a breaking I don’t have answers to. Those pieces.. they don’t always fit back the right way and I’m only a puzzle that can never be whole again. So I sit here as out of place as I’ve always been anyway, questioning my heart, the way it breaks and splits, and takes me to my knees to search for reason. All the while my mind says, get the fuck up. Stop analyzing the sharp edges of your stupid heart, stop second guessing the beats every time you don’t find reason or rhyme; you will with time. My heart constantly says time is nothing more than cruel hands that refuse to hold me when I need it the most, makes me beg for a letting go that should fly freely, but takes its sweet time and lingers inside so I feel each moment like seconds holding the sharpest knives cutting through old wounds to make sure they stay new. And I feel every minute like seconds crumbling me into a fresh breaking that time has no plans to heal; so I kneel. Pray for a blessing that somewhere in the thousands of pieces, I will find a lesson that my heart and mind can agree on and learn from it. And the lessons learned will be the stepping stones into the growth of my self worth I’ve been searching for and the prices I paid to reach it won’t seem so high; my heart and mind both tell me I can fly, but there’s no proof of that until I reach the sky and feel the wind against my face, when the pain of this is nothing more than a memory that time left its handprints on, and I can remember it fondly without a trace of pain from the hands of time that took so long to heal.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry



Each time I let go a little more, you pull me back in with some subtle move you know will not go unnoticed.  Each time I walk away, you find a way to follow me just enough to haunt me with all I am trying so hard to forget.  I am trying.  I have been trying.  Each time I seal the cracks of my heart with my own healing, there you are, kicking through the cracks harder than before. For what? You said it didn’t have to be this way after you made it this way. You said you wished we never happened. You said everything to keep me, then everything to lose me. You pointed at every wrong feeling I had, but looked at your own as though they sparkled in sincerity.  You said there was no blame, then blamed me for things that never even happened.  I let go a long time ago, ignored the drama brought to me by others, took the blows handed to me by people who should not even have their hands on our story.  But here I am…  sitting with my own demons I’ve come to know very well and there you are… still kicking in doors, letting your ghost slip in.  But I don’t want it.  You left me at the lowest point of my life. That is the moment I knew you the most.  And yes, it still hurts. It always will. But that does not mean I need an apology or anything at all. The way you left said everything I ever needed to know.  So, erase it all if that’s what you need to do.  Nothing could hurt me more than you already did. Nothing.  

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


With so many different ways to bloom, I find myself testing the beauty of each one to see how the dark can wilt it ugly, and sometimes in the withering, I find myself in a new light, blooming fluorescent.

Bloom soft, effortlessly like a green thumb needing nothing more than a glow in the dark where nothing is seen but the possibilities through your own eyes. 

Bloom tender, but dirty with hands clean from seeds planted by someone else like a song you know all the words to and sing it even if it doesn’t help you grow. Sing it anyway, bloom through the music each time until the words scrape your throat a little less or a little more.

Bloom like a scream learning to become a whisper. Bloom like a whisper learning how to be heard. Bloom like a tragedy growing into triumph and with the right light, even the dark cannot rain on the parade of you. Bloom like that.

Bloom as though you lost your crown for the hundredth time and don’t even stop to notice. Kick the dirt over the shine like a seed you bury that roots up to cover you with a clone of your own heart, brighter than any crown ever pretended to be.

Bloom like the funeral you feel inside yourself busts open every day and tears into you like a party that never stops celebrating another chance to be alive and new. Bloom into the colors you made up in your own mind, just between the gray, where the gold meets the rainbow no one believed in, and name each color after yourself. I dare you to bloom like that and not apologize for the way your name sounds in someone else’s mouth or the way the light bounces off their eyes to see a shade that describes you wrong.

Bloom from the seeds that still grew when you didn’t give a shit who trampled through your garden and who tended to it with hands that never knew how to strangle the life from your bud. Bloom as though walking away spills the rain from the sky just to taste what you planted so the sun dials itself to full light.

Bloom through the cracks of anywhere just to prove you can. Bloom to show the concrete how to crack open and lose with grace, as it spreads its cracks wide just to follow you home.

Bloom like that. Eyes forward, feet firm, destination unknown, without caring where you’ll end up because you can grow anywhere.

Bloom in the closet where skeletons hold secrets, behind a locked door, but you hold the key now and swallow it, as you carry the bones out with you, bury them deep where they come back like an announcement that never shook you anyway.

Bloom for you. Bloom for every wish you ever made that did not come true, grow into it like you invented it. Grab the stars, pull them down, show them who’s in charge of your wishes now.

Bloom like you. For all the beauty unseen, it does not have to be. Do not ever bloom to be noticed, love, bloom to grow only from the light of your own eyes. Because if you wait to bloom in someone else’s light, you will wilt in their shadow, and you are too bright for any shadow.

Kick the shadow threatening to cover you and burn into a bloom that never stops tasting fire. 

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


Courage on Repeat

It’s in the tremble of the bottom lip, the throat gutted dry, tears flood out no matter how hard you press your tongue to the roof of your mouth..That is how you always know you hit the wall of that familiar place where no u-turns are allowed, no redemption lies in wait, and shaky legs give in to the quicksand of the unforgiving.You have been eaten alive before by the mouth of the world, love. Did you think it couldn’t happen more than once? You tell yourself to hold on tight for one more round, brace for impact and hope you only get chewed up and spit out again, and not swallowed whole. I don’t have it in me anymore to wholeheartedly agree, but I have a tiny bit of hope left over, and it may be just enough to tell myself to breathe, focus, and hold on for dear life as this life takes me for another ride. I am on my knees, holding wishes like salvation, whispering secrets to the stars, hoping they hear me one last time. My life depends on it now and I say, “I know the sky is not empty, because I have felt it fall and it’s so goddamn heavy.. please show me what weighs it down before it falls again.” I don’t know if I can do this again, but I have one last shot and I swear to make it matter like me.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


Which Way?

I have been running for my life, whether towards it or away from it, I have not stopped. I chase it or it chases me.  There’s an echo sometimes, maybe from my chest where my heart tries to make a run for it, or perhaps it’s from the way my feet hit the pavement loud, running from myself, away from myself… I search the signs, look for one that shows me the way to self discovery.  Maybe I’m lost most of the time, but at least I am not standing still. That means something right?  I don’t always know the route carved with my name, but I swear I’m leaving footprints everywhere to say…  I was there, I am here, I never gave up. I swallowed the compass, read the way by the beats of my heart.. I listen closely, and it’s okay if it takes me the long way around.  Sometimes the long way has the best lessons to learn. 

 -Stephanie Bennett-Henry 


A Fool Who Judges

If you remember anything at all, remember that you do not know the story of someone else unless they have confided in you about it, and even then, it is not yours to judge.  You will never know the struggle of another. You simply cannot. It is impossible to grasp the pain of someone else or the journey they have traveled to be where they are today. You have never held it, you have never felt it, so why would you think to judge it? Feelings can only be judged by a heart that is not full and pain is only measured by fools who never felt. There’s a lesson in this. I hope if you learn anything from this life, it is this: 

Someone else’s struggle is not yours, their pain is not for you to judge or mock or make light or dark of.  The only pain you can truly hold and understand is your own. Don’t judge someone’s climb only to hope they fall. Because even if they do fall, they will never crash as hard as the fool who judged them when they tried to fly.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry 


Feathers Plucked

I hope one day you find sunsets that hold honesty, the moon holding a glow of kindness as a reminder that you have always held those traits inside, but perhaps hid pieces away and forgot the meaning in moments you wished never happened. You should know wishes don’t come true and time cannot be wished away in the hush of waters grown rough, love, nothing stays calm forever. I once thought you were the best listener in the world, until the world spun into a flight that crashed into deaf ears. But you hear me now. You hear me in a different way, like a stranger annoyed, inconvenienced with the pain I spill because perhaps you felt some of that pain too. We poured it out in different ways publicly, but one on one we bled the same. The only difference in the blood was that mine spilled out to you, leaving no questions behind, while the truth of yours leaked slowly through words I had to read instead of hear. You squalled words in anger, not from anything I did or said, but from perceptions rooted from guilt. While I was trying to understand your silence, you answered with written words so loud and clear, I caught a fresh break to the heart. You only chalked it up to drama when it interfered with a new bloom on your horizon. You only thought my feelings to be a plead, begging and screaming like I was showcasing drama of pain self inflicted. You know that’s not true, or if you somehow can pretend not to know… I guess that’s your way of moving on. You mocked my pain, put it on display during my healing, until I took your blade and turned it on myself. Not everyone switches feelings off so easily and walks away from what we had, but you did. Turned your heart to stone, gave a dozen reasons why, until the truth poured through the cracks, and I was the last to know. I won’t be coming this way again, because your blades aimed at me keep knocking me down every time I stand. That’s self induced drama. You’ve made it more than clear that you never cared at all, so why are you still trying to rationalize our story? My pain, self pity, self induced wounds and “drama” as you call it shouldn’t affect you at all. If you’re so strong to not even flinch, then you are fooling me, because your words keep flinching beneath your own skin. You just refuse to look at them in fear you may feel. So, go… move on.. what’s stopping you? I know where my pain comes from, but I’m not sure you know yours. My tongue has never lashed out at you. I loved you with all of my heart and you felt the same. But when the audience wanted to see a show with a little blood, you caved and gave it. That’s when I knew you stopped believing in me, if you ever did anyway. That’s when I knew I was worthless to you. Yeah.. it’s not always easy to keep standing to look for my light when the one person I believed in more than anything put every single person before me, and could not even call me friend anymore. You believed a lie from someone else’s mouth and never bothered asking me about it. That was part of the show offering bloodshed I guess. Well, the show is over, bloodshed done, congratulations. Close the curtain. I’m not starring in the fictionalized storylines that pat you on the back for having to deal with such a squalling, self-induced, chaotic mess. I was never part of that play, but I’m honored that you can take my pain, and write it as though I am nothing more than a crying nutcase. Well played. If you’re finished, you can move on now and fly with someone who knows wings are used for more than plucking their own feathers. Maybe in the end, they won’t just be a chicken, walking around with their head cut off, dodging the point of your blade that bleeds with so much honesty. I’m sure it will be a beautiful soul, I know you love beautiful souls, until one day, you just don’t anymore when their feathers ruffle from your departure, and they stand there with the audacity to squall out feelings like emotional instability, plucking out perfectly good feathers. How dare someone love you and then hurt when they lose you. I know now.. it’s not allowed. It does make for magnificent storylines though, painted like a sky that never fell.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

📷 Amy Judd

Storms Don’t Apologize

Sometimes we forget the storm that made someone else drown, because we were breathing just fine as we walked away with memory selective and shoulder blades as cold as a knife. Keep walking. Stop looking back after the storm settled to see if maybe you can conjure up some more thunder in my sky, love. You are a stranger because you want to be. My roots… are where they have always been. I dug every one up, studied it like the back of my hand, replanted it solid and it’s growing as beautiful as it always did, only stronger. I have no blades in my garden. I took them all out of my back, let the blood spill out like calling the name of loyalty, and your voice didn’t echo back anywhere. I own every seed of pain rooted in my bones since birth. Put down the shovel that keeps digging my wounds to search for your reason. You owe me nothing. I got the answers I needed from a public display of third party fiction written with swords thrown at me. I caught each one straight in the mouth, swallowed them all whole to make sure they sliced my heart again and again, cut my wrist just to seal the words in my veins, stitched it up like drama trying to be pain recovered. Find the truth in your own light and don’t ever think my dark has anything to do with you. The same dark you knew by heart and loved anyway… until it became inconvenient; so be it. You showed me how dark can be pitch black and completely alone, but I’m not afraid; I know this by heart. Thank you for showing me how to to keep myself warm in the shade and the continuous reminders of my roots, ripping up like cold steel bars that cage me. For the life of me, I was almost free. But almost is like a promise planted, left to die with everything else, even the flowers I was worth a time or two, or a friendship that withers because it wasn’t worth it to you. No apology is needed from you. I owe myself and trust me, love, I pay every single day.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry