August 22nd, 2020
A Poet And Her Anxiety Walk Into The Woods
A poet and her anxiety walk
into the woods — the person, thing and place
misunderstood for none of them can talk
adequately to explain how retraced steps
in dirt unburden pain. Though two depart
just one returns. Emaciated pines
devour her concerns, humane foie gras, heart,
mind without a mark of tooth she can find
upon serene sieve of skin divested
of its glut within. Stress will make its way
inside again, against her rested
skeleton, to be sacrificed another day
in a thicket of emaciated trees
who make mincemeat of anxiety.
I have anxiety. I think many of us do in the post pandemic world. I actually got diagnosed with it depression/anxiety right before the pandemic began and started taking medication for it. I decided to speak openly about my decision to take medication for my depression and panic attacks because I came from a family where mental illness was something if one had — which both my parents did — one prayed about it and did not discuss.
I dealt with a lot of abuse I feel was partially the result of untreated mental illness. People choosing to release my anxiety and their depression on another person. My parents did not deal with either of these conditions well and definitely suffered from both, and I bore the brunt of their feelings as marks upon my body and scars on psyche.
I’m proud to say when my depression and anxiety began to make me become a person dangerous to myself, a person crying all the time, a person I didn’t like, I was open to all forms of help.
I don’t only take medication. I exercise. I run and also walk in the woods, and that is so good for my personal mental health. This sonnet came out of me tonight before my walk because I’ve been so stressed all day. I craved that walk with my whole being.
A storm is coming — a hurricane is on the way to me (or was, now suddenly it looks like it’s going to New Orleans, which I hate for them.) I have some big changes coming that are stressful but necessary and scary in the pandemic world. It’s all the kind of stuff many people are going through, and many people are going through SO MUCH WORSE. I get overwhelmed at times and panic, find myself unable to breathe. Tonight I was craving my walk in the woods so much, and I made a little twitter joke about a poet and her anxiety go for a walk in the woods.
The best part of that joke is, for me, is somehow on that walk, anxiety always gets lost. It finds its way back inside me eventually, but for a period of time I feel its absence in my life entirely, and it’s such a precious light and free feeling.
The emaciated trees I refer to are my divine longleaf pines. They are as skinny as I never was, and I imagine them like some lanky athlete endlessly hungry. When I’m among them, I feel light and it lasts for a while.
I had fun thinking of them hungry for my anxiety. I hope they are. I have more to give.
If you need an additional pick me up from any stress or anxiety this week, I have a very economical poetry collection available now at Roaring Junior Press. It’s called Golden Ticket, and it’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sonnets that are fun and delicious and illustrated by Amy Suzanne. You can order it here for only $5 and free shipping in the United States.