Dirt

Dirt by Valerie Parente

I strolled back to that field of dirt
where the trauma was at its worst.
And suddenly I’m twelve again
And I feel absolutely no different.
So much dirt on my hands
Like I didn’t stand a chance
Because I was way too deep
In the dirt beneath my feet.
And I can see it now
The seeds meant to sprout.
The place I was supposed to grow a garden
But a bunch of rowdy kids interrupted the harvest.
Throwing dirt at my name
When I was at that critical age.
My mind is twenty-six years old and it hasn’t forgotten
All the times those kids teased me just for talking.
“Do you want to dance with her?” some girl asked,
“Never,” the popular boy laughed.
It’s taken me a decade and a half
To realize I’ve been wearing that past,
Attracted to the trauma of being unwanted
That’s why I fall for men who aren’t options.
And I’m fairly certain there’s a part of me
That’s been trying to understand why I was teased
That’s why I looked for the worst in myself
And fell into an adolescent kind of hell.
Back then I just dismissed and dismissed
Because I knew that kids will be kids.
In a way I was more sensible back then
Because now I feel the need to openly obsess.
That’s why I visited this field of dirt in the first place
I figured it was about time to unearth that pain.
I’m not upset, I’m not mad.
I just wanna know what about me was so bad
That they felt the need to throw that dirt
When I was just a twelve year old girl
Minding my own business in my own garden
Planting a future I almost walked in.

Its not about trying to re-hash old wounds
It’s about trying to get to the root.
Because there’s trauma under this ground
and I think I’m ready to dig it out.
There is so much beauty in retrospect
Because as I look back, the clouds roll in.
Now the rain is coming down
And those seeds are finally ready to sprout.

– Valerie Parente (12-10-2020)

An Artist’s Battleground

An Artist’s Battleground by Valerie Parente

It’s not a battle I should have to fight
but it’s a battle I don’t mind
because I know what its like
to fight for my life
when my own mental strife
destroyed me from the inside
and I was forced to find
a new reason to try
so if someone out of spite
wants to give me a hard time
about the things that kept me alive
then I’m perfectly fine
fighting that fight.

– Valerie Parente (12-7-2020)

Fishnets

Fishnets by Valerie Parente

Maybe if I dress as the girl I’ve never been
then I’ll never have to feel this pain again
because these bittersweet songs
have me missing it all
and I’m not one for regrets
but I regret that I left
so I’ll just slip on these fishnets
and continue to pretend
I never took anything for granted.

– Valerie Parente (12-5-2020)

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away by Valerie Parente

My deep-seated
obsessive need
to resolve every one
of my teenage dreams
comes from
my inability
to forgive myself
for developing a deadly disease.

I gave up a decade of my life
I gave up adolescence as a whole
I didn’t have a social life
I didn’t have a chance to grow.
I lost important relationships
I missed out on milestones
I let good things get away
in the name of starving my throat.
Anorexia took half my life
in ways I will never know.

So when I suddenly reappear
and it seems out of the blue
when I recall my childhood
like it was yesterday’s news
that’s because the last thing I saw
before sickness came through,
the very last thing I saw
was a different version of you.

I’m 26 years old
and suddenly I remember it all
I’m 26 years old
and it’s nobody else’s fault.
Do not blame yourself
you did nothing wrong
.
That’s what I tell myself
when the regret comes along.

I don’t know if it’s because
the world is in a dire state
or maybe it’s because
I’ve hit a certain age
but this year I’m realizing
all of my critical mistakes
and my biggest struggle now
is not in what I delayed.
It’s not about getting back
what the eating disorder took away.
It’s not about finding romance.
It’s not about a psychological escape.
It’s not about fixing relationships
or finding new ones to create.
It’s about forgiving myself
for losing a decade.

So when you hear me say
I miss what was nearly mine
the one that got away
the one still on my mind.
I’m not talking about someone
in front of my eyes
because the one that got away
was me all this time.

– Valerie Parente (12-4-2020)

Like My Dolls

Like My Dolls by Valerie Parente

I just want to be like my dolls
without the judgement from them all,
a mystery in the shape of a female,
representing aesthetic fairytales,
provocative yet innocent,
the way I see myself in my head,
that’s where I belong
in the silhouette of a doll.

As my peers reach milestones
full of romance and growing old
I can’t quite relate
because my timeline isn’t the same
but when I touch plastic and porcelain
I can grow without forcing
through stories propped on the wall
in the silhouette of a doll.

– Valerie Parente (11-29-2020)

The Crystal Tree

The Crystal Tree by Valerie Parente

There is a plant that sprouts
though not from a seed,
it spawns from a gem.
They call it the crystal tree
and when it is full grown
sparkling prisms it breeds,
dangling from ebony branches,
a quartz and amethyst variety.

All the boys and the girls
like to go crystal picking,
plucking off shiny rocks,
in return a prophecy is given,
reflecting the constellations
that the stars have written.
Each crystal shows a path
specific to all the children.

One day young Elissa
wandered through destiny’s groves.
Eager for some direction
she plucked a droplet the color of rose
and ever since that day
she thought in poetry an prose
making a living through words
recording her conscience in rows.

Sometimes we find guidance
in the depths of nature
discovering ultimate truths
for man is its mirror.
We can sparkle, we can shine
and nothing is dearer
than the clarity of our instincts
and an intuition that is clearer.

– Valerie Parente (11-25-2020)

Actually Healed

Actually Healed by Valerie Parente

I always thought it would be a gradual process
and maybe it was and I just didn’t notice
but it seems overnight I stopped caring.
There’s opportunity to hurt but I can bare it.
And if I had one lesson to preach
it would be that you should believe
that, with time, you will heal from your heartache
and you don’t have to understand that today
but all of a sudden the loss of a relationship
will no longer have any negative connotations.
It’s over and I’m perfectly fine
and all I remember is the good times.
Now when I look back I can laugh
with absolutely no emotional strings attached.
Because I really
truly
from the bottom of my heart
have moved so far on.

– Valerie Parente (11-16-2020)

Not Too Little, But Definitely Too Late

Not Too Little, But Definitely Too Late by Valerie Parente

Like a memory bank
I always had you in the back of my mind
convinced that one day
I’d find the courage to finalize
what always made an imprint on my brain
in ways I didn’t fully realize
until it was way too late
and I no longer had the right
to say what I always wanted to say
once my hunch was clarified.
I made a critical mistake
strictly following my own timeline
I carved out a space
in the shape I had been traumatized
and I forgot in my craze
that I could pause my own life
but that does not initiate
the freezing of someone else’s time.

Like a broken gift
I always knew there was something wrong with me
so hyper-focused
on my emotional needs
memorizing feelings like scripts
ripped out of a teenage diary
daydreaming on autopilot
as I wrote detailed stories
to compensate for what I missed
heart-flutters in my memory
and I always kind of wished
that I could satisfy an old belief
my daydreaming brain’s secret
that once again we could meet
but I’m not supposed to talk about this
even though I remember you so clearly;
I guess that’s why from age 13 to 26
they called me a psychotic freak.

– Valerie Parente (11-14-2020)