Chasing butterflies in the garden

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Oh, to be blissfully away in the small, lush garden of my daydream cottage,
barefoot, feeling the occasional ant exploring unchartered territory in its search for the way home;
baresouled, by and for myself, with no audience to impede my natural self;
soaking up the May sun,
looking up at the bright blue sky through the emerald leaves of a tall oak tree,
tree sparrows tantalizingly trilling about the freedom of discovering yourself in the embrace of a white cotton candy cloud,
bees busily buzzing about tasting the sweet nectar of the cornflowers, the poppies, and the chrysanthemums,
crickets cheerfully chirping about the happiness of simply being,
there, in the present,
with no wandering thought that there’s no unchanging the past,
nor having certainty in the future.

Oh, to feel the dainty flutter of a butterfly’s wings
cease as it lands on your rosy cheek,
then suddenly dancing away in the warm spring breeze,
filling you with the childlike wonder you haven’t felt in many a year,
making you sprint to your feet
and chase it with the wild wind in your tousled curls,
letting the boisterous laughter reaching your upturned lips
join the harmony of trills, hums, chirps, and the murmur of the nearby spring.

Oh, to be chasing butterflies in the garden,
to be a novice at life’s symphonies and requiems,
just now coming to know the first,
and never the latter.

Oh, to be chasing butterflies in the garden…

– Patricia

You’ve always been a cat person

Bless your heart, you’ve always been a cat person.
Languorously waltzing into my life
like you’d always been the rightful owner,
covert claws painfully showing themselves when I least expected it,
leaving their mark on my hypersensitive skin;
always a bit too independent for my taste,
coming and going as you pleased,
sometimes there on the sweltering summer nights
when I would lie awake in the crumpled bed sheets,
staring at my make-believe galaxy of glow-in-the-dark star stickers
plastered on the rainwater leaking ceiling,
while you purred perrrfectly soothing whispers into my anxiety-filled ears,
easing my uselessly ruminative mind.
Other times, floating around my necrotic neurons like a pale phantom
seemingly evading all my blizzards on purpose,
so cruelly making me keep my ears open
for the pacifying sound of your returning footsteps,
even though you hadn’t left your paw prints on the marble kitchen countertop
in 4 days, 9 hours, 21 minutes and 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 seconds.

Bless your heart, it wasn’t your fault I have an anxious attachment style!

But I
couldn’t help it,
couldn’t change it,
couldn’t take it
anymore.
I needed so much more than your hypothermic love.

No wonder I like dogs better.

– Patricia

I painted the bathroom walls opal yellow

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I redecorated this week.
Started with the bathroom. Seemed the easiest.
Went out and bought myself opal yellow paint for the walls.
Bright colour to cheer me up when I’m at my lowest
and can barely gather myself to take a shower.

But I didn’t consider I wouldn’t even reach the bathroom,
so the bright, calming yellow won’t fill my eyes
when I’m thinly spread far away in my tear-stained beige sheets.

I painted the bathroom walls opal yellow,
hoping for a few more sunshine-filled moments of respite,
now that I’m doing better.
Held the promising paint can in my left hand
and the auspicious paintbrush in my right hand.
Right then, let’s get to work!
and first began covering the empty spaces and the mould
between the white bathroom tiles.

I should’ve finished what I’d started
and not stopped.

I went to have lunch and, lost in my train of thought,
got hit by a paralysing wave of anxiety about my future.
Warm potato and carrot soup in my mouth, forgetting to swallow,
staring blankly at the tattered tablecloth.
“Go back, go back!”

Went back to painting,
but nothing was the same—
gone in a split second of mindlessly letting the impromptu raft keeping me from drowning
drift away in the sea of
what now’s,
what if’s,
and how’s.

I should’ve bought more paint.

I painted the bathroom walls opal yellow,
but the disillusioned, salty tears dripping into the paint can
diluted the paint.
The tiles still have blinding white streaks
here
and

there.

I thought it couldn’t get any worse.
Turns out, all I’ll be thinking of
are my tears spread on the walls
and sinking into the empty spaces between the tiles,
deeper and deeper,
reaching the frame of the house.
Iamonewiththishouse.

,
,
,

Now I see why people choose to move house
instead of just redecorate.

– Patricia

Second childhood. Or: Time capsule for my inner child

24 years young.
They ask me how I am and I answer: “I am but 24 years young.”
Living out my second childhood with the inner child
who is unlearning all the unhealthy coping mechanisms and internalized toxic behaviours
from my first childhood,
and learning to exist imperfectly,
living for the little things in life:
the went-sledding-and-laughter-rumbled-from-my-belly-button-to-the-tip-of-my-toes-and-then-all-the-way-up-to-my-crow’s-feet-when-I-fell-off-the-sled moments;
the it’s-foggy-outside-and-the-roads-are-empty-so-we-can-take-eerie-photos-in-the-middle-of-the-road-and-not-worry-about-passing-cars moments;
the watched-grandpa-fill-seltzer-bottles-with-soda-in-his-now-closed-soda-shop moments;
the it’s-the-last-day-of-2021-and-the-bright-blue-sky-is-ablaze-with-pink-orange-and-yellow-cotton-candy-clouds-so-let’s-climb-up-the-ladder-near-our-grandparents’-attic-where-they-used-to-store-hay-when-we-were-kids-to-get-a-better-view moments;
the went-for-a-walk-in-the-forest-the-day-after-New-Year’s-Eve-and-took-a-photo-of-Maya’s-cute-paw-prints-in-the-snow moments;
the had-a-spontaneous-snowball-fight-like-there’s-no-tomorrow-and-ended-up-with-bruised-butts-shins-and-knees-but-I’ve-never-felt-so-alive-in-years moments;
the let’s-tease-each-other-and-laugh-wholeheartedly-in-grandma’s-dimly-lit-room-while-she-knits-us-jumpers-and-hums-her-favourite-songs moments.

So when they ask me how I am, I answer:
I am 24 years young.
And not a day too old.

– Patricia

Core memories in the making

What more is left to say between us
that hasn’t already been said
by the torrid summers in which we made hay and then climbed atop the haystacks,
our laughter blending with
the chirping of the locusts,
the sweet smell of dry grass,
and the murmur of the nearby spring
carrying unforgettable memories down a stream of nostalgia.
Core memories in the making.

What more is left to say between us
that hasn’t already been said
by the hot summer days when we washed carpets in the yard,
carefree laughter and chitter-chatter blending with
the feeling of blissful togetherness,
the scorching concrete burning our soles,
the homemade soap under our nails,
and the invigorating cold water splashing from the garden hose,
carrying lasting memories down a stream of soap foam and nostalgia.
Core memories in the making.

What more is left to say between us
that hasn’t already been said
by the sweltering August days when we shelled peas and beans,
one heavy sack after another,
our mirthful laughter blending with
the gentle breeze as we sat under the grapevine,
the dirt under our nails,
and the green stains on our fingertips unable to be washed off for the next couple of days,
the tap water carrying deeply ingrained memories down a stream of dirt, soap foam and nostalgia.
Core memories in the making.

What more is left to say between us
that hasn’t already been said?
Words are superfluous
in the face of shared laughter
in the midst of the welcome humdrum,
For we’ve learned long ago
that our lives are defined by the little things
seeping in our veins through the cracks between our fingernails and our skin,
latching onto our aortas,
making their way up to our hippocampi.
Core memories in the making.

– Patricia

November. Specks of dust and water

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November mornings.
When the sun-kissed floating water particles
dance their way towards the familiar bathroom mirror,
fervently tap dancing, languorously waltzing, comradely folk dancing,
fogging up the glass
While the unrelenting slanting sunrays piercing through the bathroom window
knight me,
So that a whole new reflection can emerge
when the autumnal air carries away the last speck of water.
Sense of self ever in the making.

November days.
When the sun-kissed floating dust particles
join the whirlwind whisking up amber sycamore leaves,
spiralling incessantly.
Cosmic insignificance and evanescence weaving a cautionary reminder
that knights are meant to serve and protect their own,
and that I better uphold my anointed knighthood
before my time is up,
before the pilgrim wind carries the last speck of dust away into infinity.
Self-acceptance ever in the making.

November nights.
When I look to the cloudless marine-blue sky and am reminded
that I am
but a speck of stardust in the horizonless cosmic ocean.

– Patricia

Laugh lines. Or: How life has been treating me

I’ve been treating myself kindly.
My laugh lines used to be paths carved along the sides of my mouth
by the anxiety-ridden moments when I was so uncomfortable
that I felt the need to force a polite or subservient smile
or worse,
a laughter.
Now,
They’re carefree sculptures debossed on my imperfect skin,
forever engraved on my flawed face,
digging themselves deeper and deeper
each time I seize a new opportunity to laugh wholeheartedly,
Be it on the Thursday mornings when I would be sitting in the kitchen,
doing the dishes while mom starts cooking for the day
and my sister pokes fun at our negative formative childhood memories,
gaining some sense of closure,
Or on the drive back home following another awkward family function,
when all five of us vent our anger,
turning the unbearable helplessness into comforting togetherness.
My laugh lines speak of memorable mundane moments
which I choose to seize
every chance I get.

I’ve been treating myself kindly.
My stretchmarks used to be shameful lines
reminding me I grew up too fast for my own good,
pointing out how much I hated the transformations my teen body was going through,
shameful reminders that I was less than pretty—
or so my low self-esteem would assuredly point out
each chance it got,
Be it my 8th grade graduation when I didn’t want to show my legs out of shame,
Or the seaside trips when I would imagine burning gazes
passing an irrevocable sentence.
Now,
They’re pale engravings
pointing out my bumpy self-love journey
and how I came to realise
they are by far
the least interesting thing about me.
My stretchmarks speak of painfully self-conscious moments
evolving into freeing self-acceptance.

I’ve been treating myself kindly.
Life has been too unbearable to go on dreading looking in the mirror
at my bare body,
and picking at each unforgivable flaw.
Turns out, forgiveness is mine to give
And I will do so
Unapologetically.

– Patricia

Comfort Zone

So many never-ending moments spent in entanglement
With the black onyx thorny bushes growing inside the precocious grey chamber,
Expanding endlessly and scratching the newly built walls,
Spilling sacred red on the welcome mat—
Till the fallacious flood of dark claws and crimson plasma
Drowns out any other electrically excitable tree—
Forever staining it with pain and despair.

So young and vulnerable, self-conscious before self-aware,
One too many times unknowingly giving in to the piercing syringes
Injecting intrusive vantablack venom.
Too young to yet fight back,
The thorns have long ago pierced every inch of untainted surface,
Subduing the precocious mind,
Altering reality,
Becoming one with the soul.

Now older, the I has come to grasp their meaning,
All too familiar faces with unforgettable names
Which it calls out in the void of emptiness,
And, although no longer wanting their company,
Safely retreats in their excruciating embrace,
For it is this that keeps it safe from the unknown residing beyond the wall of thorns.

Truth be told,
When the smothering fog is lifted
And a ray of sunshine is allowed to pierce through the clouds of stifling darkness,
The light is far too bright,
Hurting the eyes,
And only fleeting,
And before long,
The self sinks even deeper into the all too familiar dark embrace
Of the known.

For it is the thorns and nothing else that have always been there to hold,
Promising to never let go,
Shaping the I
With unwavering touch
Since childhood.

– Patricia

How to. Guide to best self

There once was a house with plenty of square metres—
Maybe somewhere around 23.
With a barbed wire fence made of limestone and concrete,
Not too short, not too tall: in-between.
With windows smudged with tar for precaution,
Averting the curious eyes.
With minefields for grass for whoever trespasses.
(Or tries to walk out unallowed.)

Inside, there are posters of pivotal moments,
Food to some succulent worms.
And a bed with a mattress that’s home to small bed bugs
Which come out at night for a treat.
The walls are all reeking of fresh paint and… vomit?
*sniff* Gastric juice—could use more.
4.5/5 stars: cozy, fun, love it!
Minus the still functioning doors.

Ooh, piles of dishes, all dirty and mouldy,
A chair with one leg! And… a broom?
No, no, no, that won’t do… But at least there’s no dustpan.
How else can you lie down and brood?
While dust travels slooowly but surely. towards you
To cover the mess that you are?
Good that there’s spider webs woven with wryness,
10/10 would recommend.

One-way ticket only. A bargain now, really!
Better yet—why not DIY?
Takes a lifetime to build though, but once it’s completed,
It’s all yours forever. How fun!

– Patricia