Tell me it’s Okay
(*You called for help...)
take me in your arms
and tell me everything’s
going to be okay.
Please tell me
the storm will die down
and there will be clear skies again.
Please don’t leave me
to deal with my inner demons
and break myself.
Please, I need you...
The pain numbs
Tears cascade down
This isn’t what I need right now.
I may seem strong
But my insides
are a mess.
I could crumble
at the slightest touch.
I just need someone
to hold onto,
to be there for me
at my darkest hour.
Someone I can trust
and care about deeply.
Someone to comfort me,
and make me laugh
the pain away.
I just want reassurance
That things will get better.
That whatever happens,
we will stay strong together.
But you go on with life,
Leaving me behind,
forgotten together with the
of our past.
(*...but nobody came)
To the girl I used to be: it’s going to be okay.
She breaks more.
breaking intestines as she swears on stars that one day she will be light enough to fly away,
breaking her mind as her thoughts swing like the swing set where she lost her innocence to a man she called father
(back and forth, back and forth),
breaking skin to show the sun how she can glisten too
(how she can be happy too, how she can feel powerful too),
breaking her heart as she isolates herself in her basement room
(droopy eyes, drawn blinds),
breaking bones as she bashes to remind herself that she is a failure that deserves it
(over, and over)
breaking her soul with the breaking of her body with the breaking of her life
(she is hurting till she doesn’t hurt).
She breaks more
(more, and more)
because she wants to
(because she needs to, has to),
and crack by crack
(break by break)
c r u m b l e.
(but she lived till today, and it’s a miracle I say)
Tell me it’s okay. Tell me I’m going to wake up tomorrow and the sun will shine through the shutter blinds like it always used to, making patterns on the floorboards and turning the dust in the air into little golden specks, and that while my eyes are still half closed I’ll smell the fragrance of coffee and something frying in the kitchen. Tell me that tonight I’ll hold my baby in my arms, feel her soft little body against mine, her fingers running gently through my hair as she drifts off to sleep, safe and warm. Tell me that when I lie in bed, in that comfortable state between consciousness and dreams, I will hear only your soft breathing, the creak of the bed as you turn, the gentle sighs of sleep. Tell me that when I walk out the door I will see a beautiful world, a world that isn’t crushed and broken; that I will feel whole and my heart will pulse with hope and I’ll know that I’m living and not simply surviving painfully with each new day. Tell me that I can still cry with joy as well as sorrow. I’ll believe you, for just a moment. While you hold me and I bury my face on your shoulder, I’ll believe that nothing ever changed and we still have a family, a home, a life. I can’t tell it to myself anymore. I need to feel it in the squeeze of your hand on my arm and know it from the reassurance in your soft voice. I need to hear it from your lips.
Please ... just tell me it’s okay.
(In case you didn’t read the first comment I posted, this is just a fictional piece I wrote for fun. I imagine it to be something like the prologue to a dystopian novel. It doesn’t reflect my own thoughts, but the thoughts of a character whose life has been crushed. Perhaps her husband has died and she’s trying to tell herself he’s not gone. That’s my opinion, anyway :)
Mama’s baby, daddy’s little man
Jimmy Junior sat next to his mama, listening to Reverend Lucas talk about Jesus, and God and heaven and going home. I want to go home Jimmy thought. But he didnt say it out loud. He wasn't supposed to talk in church. Just sit and listen. To Reverand Lucas. He liked when there was singing. His mama sounded like an angel when she sang. She didn’t sing today though. She just held his hand and rocked. Every once in a while she moaned a little and said, "Jimmy." The first time he jumped (Mama never talked to him in church), and said, "Yes, Mama?" But she just kept moaning and rocking and holding his hand. And then he realized she was calling Daddy. Daddy's name was Jimmy, too. That's why he was Jimmy Junior. He was named after Daddy. Daddy called him his little man. Jimmy Junior sat up tall and smiled. Then he remembered Daddy was gone and wasn't going to call him anything any more. He scrunched his face then balled a fist and pressed it into his eye to keep the tears from falling. He was the man of the house now. He had to be strong for Mama. He promised Daddy. He held Mama's hand a little tighter. She looked down at him, her face softening. "Baby," she whispered as she lifted him onto her lap, holding him close. Jimmy Junior buried his wet face against her chest, wrapping his arms around her.
"Dont't worry, Mama. We're going to be okay," he said, sniffling.
"Yes, baby," she replied, rocking him, "we will."
pulled half baked confessions too hot from this mouth, you told me it's okay that we're going to be okay and i don't believe you. i found a trader hidden underneath this skin and we're just shoving our hands over the other's eyes and going in blind.
my momma told me it's okay that her daughter's going to be okay as she calls the number for therapy. it didn't work for my brother last may, but why not try it on a less important victim this time? i'll have to shower the insanity from my body before i go in, so they realize i don't need the cruel depicting and reshaping i know they're craving.
left the car running as i fell from the car into the unforgiving snow, my sister screaming at me, it's okay that she's going to be okay. pregnancy can happen to anybody, what's the problem if she's only sixteen? now every friday we spend the night in the living room where her boyfriend's a constant no-show and convince the family to paint memories on her showing belly.
there are blooming weeds sitting at the cafeteria table next to me and my friends are giggling it's okay that they're going to be okay because at least they'll have cousins to be their prom dates, since the school prefers physiques over minds every day. my blood's boiling and when standing up for them means "you're a part of the loser table go to sit them"s, then i've lost hearing completely.
clawing face cards, black-hearted jokers, from the backs of my eyelids while whispering, it's okay that i'm going to be okay. self-images are reflections where the mirror cries your lies in front of you at one am; saying differently, saying truths - like how you're going down a dark road you've never known will - will never be allowed at the world's atm. no, you're refunded when you try to tell me; the return receipt is stamped with the label of insanity; at least they'll hand you loneliness free of charge on top of everything.
Fifty years of wedded bliss
Two as one, old and grey
Wading through struggles
that only love can know
Who could think
that life would pass by
Coming to a close
Knowing one will wait for the other
A patience well learned
Two wrinkled hands
held for the last time
Not afraid to leave this world
but afraid for the one love
whom is left behind
Like she's said many times in this life
"Tell me it's okay."
Dedication to Yourself
I’m not good at training people. I know it.
I have the patience of Job (whoever that aptly named fellow was) but when it comes to dealing with trainees, gods help me. I’d rather just slit my wrists and call it a day.
It’s not that the trainees are all terrible; some are downright gifted individuals...okay, maybe a few are downright gifted. But at least most are well meaning.
The problem is my own gravitation towards intense foci of stress.
I’ve lived in high stress environments most of my life. It’s a bit like living in deep water, where the pressure is so great you have to acclimate slowly before you can surface. Or like living on a high gravity planet, and suddenly shifting to a lower gravity and reminding yourself not to punch things too hard.
Then somebody hands me these poor little low gravity surface dwellers and it’s like trying not to squish the stress toy to where its eyes bulge out.
I do try - I don’t yell, scold, scream, or pressure them. I go over the tasks, show them what I do (that’s usually where eyes start to bulge, so I try to go slow), and then show them what they should focus on. I offer criticism as constructively as possible and use lots of calming, positive reinforcement verbage to try and coax them along.
I keep my interior monologue to myself. I don’t choke anybody. I don’t rip out my hair or scream at people. I may go punch a bag really hard at the end of the day.
Because it’s so very, very hard to watch someone go through tasks you could do faster yourself. But you can’t do it yourself, because they need to learn and eventually you can’t run the office alone. You have to recognize this and repeat this mantra a lot. Any help is better than none. If you can’t get a full time hero take a part time side kick. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Which becomes the biggest obstacle of all: Telling them it’s OK when they can see they’re not doing the best.
I’ve worked mainly in shipping and construction - shit goes wrong. A lot. Sometimes it’s avoidable, other times it’s just what happens. Mistakes are made, accidents happen, deadlines are shot. Upper management of course hates it all, and there will always be ample customer screaming to the point where both sides conspire to roast you on a spit. There’s rarely a moment where you can do everything right and the world appreciates you. There’s always a dozen more moments where it’s wrong and it’s all your fault.
It’s these moments that threaten to kill fresh new recruits, particularly the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed ones that spent all their years overachieving in school. Managers love to hire these types because they’ll work their guts out and probably take the place of two less motivated workers. In school effort generally pays off; in the workplace, it’s not the same guarantee. Your best effort can still result in failure and reprisal, and the reward for hard work is usually just more work. That’s the way it goes.
I know, because I died this way a lot. I am essentially a revenant of the overachieving child I once was. Part of the pain in training is seeing the ghost of yourself in the untested eyes of those you’re about to send to slaughter. In these moments, it’s actually the slacker trainees that drive people nuts that I am the most thankful for - because honestly, they’re the ones who have it right. I don’t worry that they’ll go home torn up about what happened, because they’re so distracted they won’t remember or care. I don’t worry that they’ll develop ulcers, or lose sleep, or gain thirty stress pounds. The air in their heads provides the perfect insulation against the frigid reality of the workplace.
God bless these idiots.
Honestly if I could teach anything to school-aged kids it would be that dedication only to the task at hand doesn’t matter. Be dedicated to yourself. When you recognize that regardless of effort the same result comes about then it makes more sense to pull back from throwing in your all to throwing in enough to get it done. Don’t put the vehicle in its top gear when you’re doomed to grind uphill.
And remember - it’s OK. Always. The shipment can get lost, the install can go wrong, the customer can throw a hissyfit and never come back. The world will go on. Honest. There will be other customers to piss off another day. The boss could fire you but again they’ll just have to train up another fool who will likely do the same thing.
If you can handle that, then I can handle showing you the ropes because I know you won’t hang yourself on them.
some of us need help
see, i’ve carried this weight for
what feels like centuries.
i’d rip my skin to show you
how the hooks tear beneath but
i don’t think you’d see me the same.
truth changes how you perceive
and i have been in pain for so long
i’m afraid to look at myself, really.
agony must be defining because
i don’t remember who i used to be
before it hooked itself into my body,
viscious talons ripping with
repetition into transient flesh.
does prometheus remember who he was
before the eagle took to the sky?
do i remember a day before i decided
i wanted to die?
broken minds typically
bend the body like a wire
given recklessly to the hands
of an over-eager toddler.
my body reflects what my heart commands
and my heart demands a break.
so please, tell me that it’s okay
for me to fall broken;
crumbling to the floor
bloody and moaning for
all the good i used to be and more -
tell me i can wail faithlessly to god
for a relief from the ache.
please, tell me that it’s okay to break
body and soul.
i still don’t know who i’ll be
when i wake.
but i can’t do it unless
you show me the way.
i'm sorry that sometimes i make you feel as if you're flying high but then the next thing i do is ripping your wings off and watching you fall
and i'm sorry that i can't pick up your pieces but i still try to pick up myself
i remember all the times when i asked you to tell me it's okay and you did, even though it wasn't
i remember when i broke your heart for the first time
and how you've let me break it again and again and again
and when one time i cried "enough" and told you to finally leave me
but you didn't
and i couldn't stand how you could stand me and i got so angry at you for not wanting to lose the weight of me
because honestly, i don't think you should love me, i always feel so lonely
and i think i'm ready to fight for us but everytime i pick up the sword it's pointed at you
so this is how it is
you were lying all this time because you see
that was not okay
hope this letter finds you in good health.
In a minute...
It was 11:15.
Carly watched her mom leave.
Mom was going to get one of the doctors, because Carly was hungry again.
Carly was always hungry these days.
Carly watched her mom leave, her breath sighing in and out through the ventilator. It was matched by the sound of the beeping heart rate monitor.
Slow. Too slow.
Carly was sick. Her Mom and Dad never told her she was sick, but Carly was 8. She knew how it worked. She knew healthy kids didn't eat soggy food and listen to the hiss and beep of machinery all day. She knew that healthy kids didn't hide inside a white room all day. Healthy kids got to go and play with their friends, and argue with their parents. Carly couldn't argue with her parents. Her voice wasn't strong enough to get above a whisper. Carly couldn't go out and play. She was too contagious.
Contagious. A big word. Too big for a little girl.
Carly watched her mom leave, watched the door open and then shut. She watched her mom leave, and was sad that she could not.
Carly was tired. Tired and hungry. And she felt her eyes close. It would just be a minute. Then Mom would be back with food and Carly could carefully eat it, being careful not to trigger a coughing spell.
Coronavirus. That was another long word that Carly knew. She heard the doctors say it. She heard them tell her Mom that she wasn't supposed to see Carly, but they gave up trying. Mom wouldn't leave Carly.
Yet, as Carly fell asleep, her mom was gone.
Only for a minute.
In Carly's dream, she met an angel.
"Hello, Carly." said the angel with a wise, kind face. "Do you want to fly?"
In the dream, Carly didn't have a ventilator. She wasn't hungry, or tired.
And so she said "Mom says I shouldn't go with strangers."
"Oh, but I'm not a stranger. I've been with you your whole life."
"Well then why haven't I seen you?"
"It's against the rules. But Carly, you have to come with me."
"Can I wake up? Just for a second? I want to ask my mom if it's okay."
The angel sighed, and then Carly woke up.
"Mom," she choked out. "Mom? The angel wants to take me with him. Can I go? Is it okay?"
But Carly's mom was getting Carly's food.
Carly had to make her own decision.
And Carly fell back asleep, and went back to the dream.
"Did you get an answer?"
"No," Carly said sadly.
"I can't give you any more time. You understand."
Carly did not understand. But she looked up at the angel.
"Will it be okay? Tell me it's okay."
"It's okay," said the angel. "It's better for everyone this way."
"Well, okay," Carly said. "If you say it's okay, it must be."
And so Carly flew with the angel.
"I only left her for a minute!" The hysterical mom sobbed. "She can't be gone. There must be some mistake. Please, doctor. It was just a minute!"
The doctors were too busy to hear the mom's pleas.
They write the time of death.
It was 11:16.