The Ongoing Paradox

The Ongiong Paradox by Valerie Parente

When you’re an artist they call it inspiration.
When you’re mentally ill they call it exploitation.
So how am I supposed to cope
when I seek solace as both?

– Valerie Parente (12-7-2020)

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)

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)

No Appetite

No Appetite by Valerie Parente

Having an appetite is a luxury.
When you don’t have an appetite life is hell
because you have to eat
because you feel your body getting weak
you have to put fuel inside
but the pure disgust makes every morsel feel like torture
and to go through day after day just trying to figure out how much you can intake
when just the thought of food makes you want to purge
is truly a kind of hell that nobody deserves.

– Valerie Parente (5-22-2020)

Untouched

Untouched by Valerie Parente

My 25 and a half years of suffering doesn’t come from not feeling good enough.
This is a constant issue of feeling like I am good enough
but like God keeps setting me up
for a million and one lessons
about how there’s absolutely no one
who could ever give a fuck
about the body I managed to save
when I tried to die young.

And you can go ahead and say I’m insane for being so broken up
but maybe you’d understand my kind of hell if you spent 25 and a half years untouched
while your mind continues to level up
I get better every day
but the night never comes
where I go to bed with someone
and maybe that’s God’s way of saying
I’m not meant to be loved.

– Valerie Parente (5-20-2020)

Playing With Storms (Diagnose Me)

Playing With Storms (Diagnose Me) by Valerie Parente

I’ve got five different disorders and I can’t afford to be diagnosed with another
But ever since the grief I’ve feel like my brain has spawned a new monster
My emotions are so intense and I freak out then repent
People ask me why I acted out
and I honestly can’t remember why
I remember doing the deed
but I don’t remember why I felt it was necessary
all I remember is that I really truly believed in the feeling’s intensity
and I played with thunderous storms even though I don’t even like the noise
and I think that’s pretty scary
when you can go 25 years understanding the string between your actions and emotions
then suddenly don’t remember why you did something so intense
its like you’re sitting in a backseat watching yourself
there’s a barrier between you and what you do
a major disconnect
and I can’t even begin to try to figure out why
I just know that my mind has become so hard to find
I’ve got five other disorders that I understand inside and out
but I don’t understand the reasoning behind this new rage filled spree
It would be so much easier to address this if someone could just diagnose me.
Please, just diagnose this storm inside of me.
Because then I can begin to master the storms artfully.

The Storm Maker

– Valerie Parente (1-28-2020)

I Am My Own Savior

I have had a major breakthrough in the past few weeks.

Before I get into the details of this breakthrough, I need to reiterate the warped thought patterns I’ve had throughout my entire adolescence. Ever since I hit puberty I drilled it inside of me that finding a romantic partner was the key to happiness. And this deeply rooted belief affected me in literally every area of my life. Instead of helping me progress, it stunted all of my growth.
“When I fall in love I’ll be able to start my life.”
“When I fall in love I’ll be able to move out.”
“When I fall in love I’ll be able to stop being anorexic.”
“When I fall in love I won’t be afraid of germs anymore.”
“When I fall in love I’ll feel satisfied with my experiences.”
“When I fall in love I will have a purpose.”

And it took me a hell of a long time to realize that all of this was complete and utter nonsense. Yes, I was told over and over again that it was nonsense, but that didn’t stop me from believing this fallacy and letting it dictate my life.

I can’t tell you what exactly happened the past few weeks… but suddenly… it’s over. Those feelings are gone… and not “gone” in the sense that I kept telling myself I didn’t need someone else but in the back of my mind still longed for it; “gone” in the sense that I completely and irrevocably do not feel like I need someone. Do I want someone? Honestly I don’t really care. But do I need someone? No. Not at all.

Maybe this epiphany hit me because I started reading a lot of nonfiction and expanding my mind and forcing myself to go out and do activities on my own and be my own date for the day. I’m not sure. All I know is that beyond any fraction of a doubt I have had a major spiritual awakening. I can’t explain the “how” of it happening, but I can tell you the outcome. I, for the first time ever in my adult life, feel like I don’t need to be saved. I feel completely satisfied and at ease with the fact that I am my own savior. I am the one who is going to be with me at the end of every single day and I am going to be there for myself and I am not scared of this fact anymore because I am whole on my own. I have everything I need inside my soul and I feel truly connected to the force that created me, whether you want to call it “God” or the “universe” or whatever. I believe in myself. I believe I am made of unconditional love. I don’t need love, I am love. I can rely on myself. I refuse to wait for someone to start my life because my life is here and now and in every present moment and I truly feel like I am never alone. Something inside me feels protected and loved and so far from being on my own while paradoxically feeling like I am a soul that can rely on itself to feel complete.

Now I am just sitting content; looking back at that teenager who numbed herself with mental disorders and I cannot believe I wasted an entire decade thinking so little of myself and putting so much on hold for wait for a savior… and I am in awe that the savior my ego was crying for was me all along.

I am not afraid anymore. I am full and happy and truly in awe that I get to be me.

I do not need anything, I have me.

– Valerie Parente (8-4-2019)

A Poetic Manifesto

A Poetic Manifesto by Valerie Parente

What it means to be an artist is that I take my life experiences and process them through a creative filter. My internal world manifests best through the art of written word. As a result, when I’m in pain I might write a “dark” piece. To those who find this work disturbing, this is my rebuttal.

"Scar Tissue"

I have every right to say anything I want to say
because this page is my stage and this is my brain
and the reason you felt uncomfortable when you read it
was because you have resonated with it.
If you become upset knowing that I am broken
then please understand that writing about my mental health
is how I begin to heal myself.

I will never stop emoting and hurting and healing and if any of this is problematic for someone then I pray you find the strength to learn how to be human one day.

– Valerie Parente (5-30-2019)