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“And she lived.”

A lot can happen in two months….

I sit here in a dear friends house in the outskirts of Pittsburgh. I have taken back my life and I’m in a place now where hope doesn’t seem so far away.

Around this time in January I began to feel myself spiraling back into depression. I wasn’t happy with my situation, and I felt so powerless…I thought that I would remain stuck, that I would never truly find contentment. I cried, a lot. I wasn’t sleeping, and I was starting to get scared. What if this time I ended up in the hospital instead of just in outpatient? I didn’t want to go back to 3 South, but I felt so hopeless and lost.

Then I called my sister. My sister has always given it to me straight, she has always comforted, but never coddled me.

She told me “You’re not happy here. You have a chance to change everything, to go somewhere else. You’ve been sitting on this opportunity for a long time, and it’s time that you’ve taken advantage of it.”

She was right, I had a gateway that I had been avoiding because of one thing: fear. Fear had kept me prisoner, even with all that I had learned, all that I had accomplished, I was still afraid. I was afraid to take a chance, I was afraid of doing something without my mom there. I wanted freedom, but I didn’t want the risk that came with it. Fear is a demon that came with my depression and anxiety, it had wrapped itself around my heart and was beginning to take root. I had to take a chance or I would wither away.

So I began my journey by taking baby steps, then eventually I began to gain the confidence I needed to fulfill my goal, which was to get the hell off the Shore. Now I don’t hate my hometown, but I found my heart there and it was broken there. I needed to find a place where I could begin again. So with the encouragement of my friends, and my family I packed my car and I drove to Pittsburgh with a feeling of hope and happiness that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

I’ll let my poem tell the rest:

Purple-pink sunsets dot the sky as I load the last suitcase in the trailer.

My whole life packed in the back of a U-Haul attached to a grey Ford Escape.

Escape…

Is that what I’m doing?

I turn,

And I see my entire past before me–

My entire world painted on a canvas

That is battered and torn as I slam the door on my past.

“There’s nothing for you here…”

She says.

“This place is like quicksand.”

This Shore, this is all I have ever known.

The pungent smell of marsh,

The taste of salt;

The soft cattails and marsh grass that tickled my feet.

My childhood was built upon the foundation

Of sandy beaches and marshy ditch banks.

Maryland is in my blood–

Yet I have cemetary dirt under my nails

And an unwanted voice in my soul.

No matter how hard I scrub

(Out, out damned spot!)

I cannot remove the grime of her passing.

No matter how much I will it

I cannot erase his stain

From my body.

Maryland is in my blood,

But the past hangs over me like

Vampire bats in their lair.

The Shore raised me,

And the Shore broke me.

Now,

I take my broken pieces

And try to make some sense of my life up to this point

Through gnashed fingers and hands.

For thirty springs,

Thirty summers

Thirty falls

And thirty winters

I have endured–

I have survived.

Surviving is overrated.

You’re not living.

I want to thrive!

I want to breathe the air of release.

I want a day without the barrage of

Reminders of the cemetery dirt

And the stain on my skin,

Of the forked tongue spilling lies

And the groping hands, unwanted, tracing my skin.

The bats,

They will follow me.

However instead of vampires they will be insectivores!

Cleaning my infected mind of moths and insects

That cloud my future.

For you see the past is a chapter,

And I am the book;

I am the author.

I will write my narrative from the road–

I will take in all of it’s glory.

This chapter is complete, it is time to close it.

By the time the ink dries on this page,

I will be gone and the line will read:

“And she lived.”

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