Writer’s Poem: what can I say…

Writer’s Poem: what can I say…

IMG_8089

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness,
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.”

The above quote is one I have seen roaming on the internet for years now, always the words, never the author. I only just found our today, It was written by the Pulitzer winner and incredible poet- Mary Oliver.

I have read a lot of Mary Oliver’s poems but connected with a only few- The poem I am sharing below is one of them. But then again, my choice of Poetry is something else. Either way, reading Mary Oliver’s poems gives one the sense that she is a woman in tune with nature. She writes a lot about nature and in soothing words.

Below is the poem I chose for this week’s writer’s Poem Wednesday. I hope you like it:

What can I say by Mary Oliver

What can I say that I have not said before?
So I’ll say it again.
The leaf has a song in it.
Stone is the face of patience.
Inside the river there is an unfinishable story
and you are somewhere in it
and it will never end until all ends.

Take your busy heart to the art museum and the
chamber of commerce
but take it also to the forest.
The song you heard singing in the leaf when you
were a child
is singing still.
I am of years lived, so far, seventy-four,
and the leaf is singing still.

Advertisements
The Love we withhold-

The Love we withhold-

IMG_7651

I kept waiting for the world to hand over to me, that which I withheld from myself. I sought for it, chased it, demanded it. That fuzzy feeling which one gets from being appreciated or loved or cherished.

I stood on tiptoes awaiting that one person who would make my world all sunny again, that one person who would make me feel like my presence is needed and my absence dreaded, that one person who would make me feel good about myself.

And what I got, was a ball of spitfire. From afar, it looked like a beautiful powerful light, just the kind to elicit the feeling of stardom, but up close… It burned. And I learnt, the world is a reflection of the image I view myself in. (I saw charred skin in the mirror, and the world gave me one).

-We cannot expect love from the world until we are willing to give that love to ourselves. And when we get to know who we are, we accept who we are, we love who we are, the world as we see it would be different.

Mental Health Friday #30

Mental Health Friday #30

IMG_7108

Last week on Mental Health Friday, I shared the story of Rahul who was diagnosed with Vitiligo (which is white patches spreading on the skin as a result of decreased pigmentatio). He was going through a rough patch; what with the stigma surrounding vitiligo, low self esteem and suicidal ideation. Today’s story continues from there…

At that time, My Mom & Dad had many long conversations with me, where mom was obviously tender while Dad pretended to be little tough but, they both had the same motto – not to let me fall into depression. In the meantime, I got a counselling call from NIT kurukshetra (kurukshetra is my hometown as well) for Civil engineering. After another marathon session with my Dad and my brother, it was decided that given my state of mind at that time, I should straightway join NIT and not even think of dropping a year to prepare for IIT again. And that Ladies & Gentleman proved to be a great decision as the things stand today –> #Moving on is sometimes the best option available !

Hey wait! Story is yet to finish. Few days into the college, I realized that it’s not like school, it’s different here. The way you dress, the way you look matters utmost here, especially during the first two years. And so, by now my favorite enemy, the inferiority complex was back to haunt me. I remember one day crying heavily after returning from college. When inquired by my parents, I uttered “No one will marry me!” And my Dad gave me a look which clearly said – you moron, you are have just turned 20 and you have already started thinking of marriage and who knows, may be about kids also!!

Jokes apart, I had this insecurity that no one would like to be friends with me and that nobody will even invite me to their parties because I look so uncool with these white patches.

After quite a few bad days, finally, one winter morning while sitting under the sun, I gave it a thought – why am I so unhappy and so ungrateful to God all the time despite having such a wonderful family, a wonderful college, some really great friends, no financial worries, availing best possible treatment available etc. Read more

Writer’s Poem: After a while…

Writer’s Poem: After a while…

IMG_6974.JPG

I don’t think enough credit is given to translators. I’m saying this because, there are some incredibly amazing poetry I have come across, which I wouldn’t have been able to read if not for the translators who transformed the various original languages in which the poems were written into English.

Today’s Writer’s poem Wednesday is a poem by the Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borge. “After A while” is a poem which resonates with a reader, it tugs on one’ emotional strings while at the same time, leaving a resounding message. It is the of understanding and advice. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

After A while by Jorge Luis Borge

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up
and your eyes ahead,
with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today,
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul,
instead of waiting for someone to leave you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure;
You really are strong,
you really have worth.
And you learn,
and you learn,
With every goodbye, you learn.

Translated by Veronica A.  Shoffstall

p.s I would love to hear your thoughts on this poem. It really is a favorite of mine. (And yes, I have far too many favorites 😄)

 

Mental Health Friday #29

Mental Health Friday #29

IMG_6735.JPG

Today’s Mental Health story entails the journey of Rahul, through growing up battling with a chronic condition- Vitiligo, in a stigmatising society, and its impact on one’s mental health.

“Ladki ka rang saf toh hain na ” (Girl’s complexion is fair, right?) – a question so often asked here in our country (India), even today, by so called well educated ‘to be mother-in laws’ of 21st century. Such is the unfortunate obsession for fair skin in our beloved country. But look at the irony of the fact, when your whole skin is about to turn white, you panic like anything because suddenly, you are being looked down upon for no fault of yours.

Well here I am, presenting my story (it won’t be sad & boring, I promise) spread over 13 long years of my struggle with a skin disease called Vitiligo or Leucoderma, which in layman terms can be simply put as a problem of white patches, whereby melanin pigment of the skin starts fading away and your skin colour starts turning milky white.

Irrespective of how deadly a disease is or for that matter, how adverse the circumstances are, you just need to hold on, you just need to believe that things will eventually turn better for sure.

The reason why I want my story to reach masses is not to glorify my successful fight with an incurable disease, but to convey that irrespective of how deadly a disease is or for that matter, how adverse the circumstances are, you just need to hold on, you just need to believe that things will eventually turn better for sure. Hoping against hope is basically the key.

Coming back to Vitiligo, well the disease in itself is not painful at all. There is absolutely no physical pain whatsoever, but believe me , the taboo associated with this disease just fills you up with so much of inferiority complex initially, that you almost start hating yourself .

The ordeal started one fine evening, when I was about 11 years old. I returned home after having a horrible cricket session with my friends (I was out for a Duck and went for too much runs while bowling, if I remember correctly). I was anyways, dejected because of the day’s proceeding, but suddenly my mom noticed a small white patch on my knees and she panicked –“It’s a white spot! Come here, let me see properly ”, she said, with her eyes already in tears.

This looks like fulveri (another synonym for vitiligo) ”, she said with a heavy heart. And a pandora box of worries & uncertainties started from there on.

My life was never the same after that day. Every now and then, my mom’s panic stricken voice and fearful expressions on being asked by her friends about my white spots, were more than enough for me to know that something huge and something bad has happened to me.

Then started a vicious and unpleasant circle of countless clinic visits to all the dermatologists in the city and in the nearby cities including Delhi. For the initial few days however, I was unable to understand the gravity of the situation (I wish I had never understood, for ignorance is bliss sometimes) and I was more in a confused state but eventually I started feeling a little odd, I started to hide my spots. So much so, that I intentionally stopped wearing shorts at all and trousers/jeans came to my rescue.

I can still recall that extremely uncomfortable feeling of insecurity, that feeling of guilt for the crime that I had never committed, which stayed with me for next 3-4 years during school. After that, though the treatment continued (steroids & all), but this negative intensity started to lower down a bit, not because I made peace with vitiligo but because I changed my focus. I started preparing for IIT. –> #Changing the Focus does help!

But despite the likes of Irodovs & Resnick Hallidays around (my engineer friends can relate to these terms easily), I could not clear IIT and boom!! Vitiligo came to haunt me again, this time more ferociously. It was all over me, spreading like a wild fire.

See the thing is, vitiligo is someway directly proportional to your worry hormones. The more the anxiety levels are, the quicker is it’s spread. That was a horrible time – a career failure after 2 years of rigorous preparation & an incurable disease which I was battling for last few years – just too much for a 17 -18 year old to handle. I started thinking of ending my life. Yes, it is true, I was really low on confidence and was almost hopeless. Had my family not supported me that time, I would have committed suicide. –> #Family Support does wonders!

To find out how Rahul overcame his struggles and lived to tell/write his story, be sure to look for next week’s Mental health Friday post! 

Thank you very much Rahul for sharing your story with us. Do check out his blog at The passportsouls.travel and say hello. 

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

 

Hope- a 4 letter word

Hope- a 4 letter word

IMG_6603

Hope-
Without it
I would be, a mess
Of a person, a shadow
Of a human, a remnant of
Someone who could have been;
Without it- I am nobody.

So I hold onto it,
Arms weary, feet dirty
And I cling onto it,
Mind boggy, heart aching
And I claw deep into it,
Fingers piercing
Last mechanism.
And I do not let go,
Despite the darkness
Building around me.

Hope-
A four letter word
Without which…

The above image is courtesy of THE odyssey online

Mental Health Friday #26

Mental Health Friday #26

IMG_5751

I know, I know, there are quite a number of us here for whom the previous year was fraught with dampened expectations, punctured dreams, heartbreak and betrayal. I have a fair idea of what it feels like; I spent a chunk of 2017 popping Fluoxetine and Quitiapine, and I “coincidentally” lost a job one month after opening up to my struggles with depression.

I lived out of my suitcase for six weeks, waking up next to warm bodies in Calabar, squeezing my six-foot frames into Nissan Micra taxis in Ibadan, and rolling on large dusty mattresses in Port Harcourt. I was ignored by people from whom I expected support, and I overdosed on Haloperidol, but I’m still here, I’m still here.
.

I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

There may be a large volume of uncertainty as one year gives way to another, and you really can’t be blamed for that (for some, seeing out each day was tasking enough), but I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

In 2018, I hope you find peace, I hope waves steer you to shores, and I hope that the darker rooms of your mind find light bulbs that last significantly longer. I hope you find love, and if you have, I hope that you sustain it. Never lose sight of the fact that every emotion of yours is valid, and you have the right to be vulnerable, to be sensitive, to be intense without apology. If he is not comfortable with it, if she tries to stifle you, don’t be afraid to take a walk.
.
I am all too aware of how helpless you can be when trying to hold on to love, and how hard it is to resist chasing after yesterday, but this year, I hope that you learn to move on and get over, I hope that you learn to attach premium value to your feelings. I am not oblivious to what it means when someone has you wrapped around their finger, but you deserve the one who wants to be with you everywhere (ok, almost everywhere, to avoid a restraining order), you deserve moments that are the stuff of dreams, and there’s need for you to stop having your heart dragged around.
.

I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices

Sure enough, no one owes you anything, but I hope you run into people who’d be willing to help you with no long talk, I wish that this is the year you finally get it together, and I hope you come to terms with the fact that you can’t have everything (godliness with contentment, or something like that). I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices you have to make, yea, I hope Life finally allows you to find your rhythm in 2018.
.
Much is made about worthy causes and progressive movements, but I hope that “group think” does not erode your mental faculties, I hope that you don’t shelve the values you hold dear in the name of being “woke”, heck, I hope that you get to have a mind of your own in 2018. Here’s hoping that you avoid needless drama, and here’s hoping that your decisions are well advised, so that those who detest you would find no opportunities to kiss their teeth on your account.
.
True, not everyone attaches importance to the hype and anticipation that comes with another January, but I like to think that the calendar deserves its respect…and in all this, I am convinced that Someone is watching over us, so (for those who believe) feel free, send shout-outs to Him!
.
Here’s to adventure and memory-making in 2018.

Written by Jerry Chiemeke who is a lawyer, screenwriter, writer, editor and a critic and writes at JerryChiemeke.com. I came acrosss the inspiring post above on one of the groups I am in, and requested Jerry for permission to share it here with You guys. 


If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

Writer’s Poems of 2017

Writer’s Poems of 2017

As promised, I compiled a list of all the writer’s poems I posted in 2017. It totals about 42 poems.

This year, I tried to share with you guys the poems which touched me, and stayed with me. Poems which made my heart tug and my brain work. Poems which reminded me why I fell in love poetry with the first place. The list comprises of authors ranging from the old school poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to 21st century poets such as Carmen Gimenez and Joan Murray. Here’s the list below:

 

IMG_5532.JPG

1) Thoughtless cruelty by Charles Lamb
2) How frail the heart must be by Sylvia Plath
3) Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
4) Personal by Tony Hoagland
5) Mother To Son by Langston Hughes
6) Mother’s Smile by Michael Burch
7) To March By Emily Dickinson
8) Do not go gentle into that good night By Dylan Thomas
9) Silence by Billy Collins
10) In Flanders fields By John McRae

IMG_6103
11) Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar
12) I’m a fool to love you by Cornelius Eady
13) For the young who want to by Marge Piercy 
14) Cartoon Physics, part 1 by Nick Flynn
15) The little white hearse by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
16) In The park by Gwen Harwood )
17) Love Is a Dog from Hell by Charles Bukowski
18) O captain, my captain by Walt Whitman
19) Alone by Maya Angelou
20) Stop all clocks by W. H. Auden

IMG_5531.JPG
21) Not by Erin Hanson
22) Bleeding Heart BY Carmen Giménez Smith
23) Domestic Situation by Ernest Hilbert
24) To the young who want to die By Gwendolyn Brooks
25) Her Head by Joan Murray
26) Dear Reader by Rita Mae Reese
27) I, too by Langston Hughes
28) The mother by Gwendolyn Brooks
29) The Mothering Blackness by Maya Angelou
30) The Nail by C.K Williams

IMG_4061
31) Annals of the closet by Katie Queen
32) I am! by John Clare
33) Middle Age by Pat Schneider
34) I walked a mile with pleasure by Robert Browning Hamilton
35) The art of losing by Elizabeth Bishop
36) Soul unraveled: Rising from the ashes
37) Where my books go by W.B Yeats
38) My November Guest by Robert Frost
39) Mrs. Caldera’s House of Things By Gregory Djanikian
40) Words by Anne Sexton
41) Waving goodbye by Gerald Stern
42) The Ballad of reading gaol by Oscar Wilde.

Thank you to everyone who visited every Wednesday to read, like, comment and share. I really appreciate you giving me the listening ears to hopefully not bore you with my favorite poems. ♥️

Mental Health Friday #3

Mental Health Friday #3

IMG_5472.JPG

The effect of stigma on an individual’s acceptance of a diagnosis is something I find extremely important. As I noted in my last mental health Friday post, my first diagnosis came at the age of five.

At first glance, one might find it easy to stand in judgment of a mother that turns away the opinion of an expert. However, in my case, I was most likely one of the first children diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder and at that time (1974), the term Manic Depressive was still prevalent. I can only try to imagine what the “label” would mean to my mother at that time. Something to the effect of her daughter being crazy, stupid, and/or dangerous. To look at her daughter, she knew those things were not true, but had she had a realistic view of what the disorder meant, she may not have so hurriedly pushed it aside.

the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses

At the age of 23, and receiving the diagnosis as an adult, I made an effort to educate myself. What I found to be the problem in seeing this in myself was that the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses. These things were not the case for me and so I turned it away myself, based on my oddly extreme ideas on what the diagnosis meant. Read more

Mental Health Friday #25

Mental Health Friday #25

IMG_5107.JPG

Today’s story was sent in by Ian, touching briefly about his experience in Psych ward and there after,

It’s been a looong time since I was in hospital, the last time. Since then, thanks to government cuts, they’ve closed the psych ward where I had become so regular, I think that I could have earned airmiles from it. That makes me feel weird thinking about that. Places where we were, parts of our lives that no one knows about.

Sometimes I jokingly talk about my time “on ward” in small, self-deprecating anecdotes.
‘I didn’t get to take a phone inside, in my day’ or ‘If I had said that on the ward, they would drug me up’.

No one gets the humour.

There are still some songs that I cannot listen to, even after all of these years. Not that I don’t love them – but because they come balled up with feelings that I know I might not be able to slow down once they start rolling.

Psychosis, Manic Depression, Major Depression, Borderline, Morbid Ideation – these are terms that sometimes crop up on the radio, and every time they talk about them, it makes me want to groan. The people they talk about are either axe-murderers of somehow brilliantly gifted celebrities. I am neither.

Madness did not give me special insights into the world, it did not make me violent, and it did not make me quirky-and-brilliant(TM). It just made me broken, and stuck.

I still take medication, sometimes – although none of it ever seems to work. I take it as a precaution rather than a cure. God don’t let me become like that again, I pray.

And after it all, after my twenties thrown away – literally in the loony bin – where am I now? Am I better? Healed? I’m still stumbling and wondering what happened.


If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com