Anomaly

Anomaly by Valerie Parente

You said my mind was weak
when I developed OCD
but I say my mind was strong
strong enough to rewire it all.

You said I favor my defects
because honesty is my reflex
but I’m denouncing the stigma
with this abnormal wisdom.

You said I have an excuse
to revisit my refuge
but I’m happier in the open
socializing instead of coping.

I’ve got this mental illness
pushing me to my limits
and you think that I’m complicit
but I’m really just its witness.

– Valerie Parente (6-23-2021)

Nemesis (Not Me)

Nemesis (Not Me) by Valerie Parente

I’m finally happy
and my OCD still found me.
I see you in my dreams
with a tangible body
but when I go to defeat you
you’re the nemesis that continues
like a chain that keeps repeating
in a relationship so uneven.
I see you in so many forms
using my sweet slumber to return
and I punch, I kick, I scream
I wrestle to separate from the enemy
and I get oh so frantic
to justify my antics
begging the peers before my eyes
to understand that I’m the good guy
that I am separate from this disease
but then I wake up and it’s not a dream.
I still have this sickness on my skin
when I’m awake I’m still hallucinating
and it’s hard to believe I used to be afraid
convinced I’d be so lost without this charade
but now that I’m full grown I finally see
that this disease is nothing without me.
You’re just a sickness that attaches
used my puberty to take advantage
and I was far too young to understand
that your golden offer was a cruel scam.
How dare you stick yourself to me
even when my brain is asleep?
How dare you attack those I love
as if my entire psyche wasn’t enough?
And even though I’m so damn exhausted
by the nemesis in my subconscious
I’ve finally found my grace and solace
knowing I can manipulate you as an artist.

– Valerie Parente (6-13-2021)

Third Poetry & Prose Collection

Do you want to own a hard copy of my latest poetry?
My third poetry and prose collection is currently in the works and includes fan favorites such as:

Not Bionic
These Laurels Were Never Meant To Rest
The Spider Princess
Material Girl
Seascape

Like Fine China
Poetry: Sight and Sound
Fishnets
Pamper Yourself

Celestial Being

…and over 150 more pieces!

Make sure to Follow this blog, valerieparente.com, to stay up to date for the new book release!

Cogs In This Machine

Cogs In This Machine by Valerie Parente

The cogs in this machine
get stuck on repeat frequently
I understand the mechanics of my mind
and how it operates on rapid fire
but sometimes I need to be checked
because I have a tendency to forget
that it’s not normal to dwell and replay
and every now and then I need an update.
It’s gonna take a little grease
to loosen up my psyche,
so if you tell me its time for a cleanse
I’ll take your word and reflect.
It’s not easy for me but I’ll lend my trust
I’ll get down in the dirt and scrape the rust,
then when I get these OCD gears turning again
I’ll try to remember the importance of maintenance.

– Valerie Parente (8-10-2020)

Rather Be Haunted (A Poetry & Prose Collection) OUT NOW

Purchase Here on Amazon!

Love. Heartache. Death.
Rather Be Haunted documents a dark period for the poet. Emotions linger like ghosts. Interpersonal relations cause palpable frustration. Death breaks the heart but in the most beautiful way.

Through chronological poetry and prose you can feel all that haunts the obsessive compulsive writer’s psyche as she tries to understand her hyper-sensitivities through rhymes and clever lines. As frustration builds, so does resilience, making the struggles that define our humanity all the more remarkable. After all, isn’t the struggle to make sense of emotions the grandest mark of being alive? What makes us human hurts; that is the gift of the universe.

Rather Be Haunted is the second volume of poetry & prose by Valerie Parente, featuring Mannequin Art alongside writing pieces. You can now own the collection in Paperback or Kindle!

Order In Disorder

Order In Disorder by Valerie Parente

There is an order in this disorder.
A recyclable cycle that can best be described as a pattern of the mind.
A pattern of thinking perfectly warped thoughts and a pattern of reacting to those thoughts by invoking protection against the twisted perfection.
The disillusions playing in rotations are the thoughts with the connotations systematically assigned to strike different panic chimes.

In this sick masterpiece, these thoughts became obsessions egregious as transgressions only to be diffused by a reactive set of rules. These reactions became compulsions strategically malfunctioned.
And yes, these rituals provide relief, but it is that very sense of success which legitimizes illegitimate stress.

mental with material brings emotional

– Valerie Parente (8-26-16)

Novelty

quantum queen

Novelty by Valerie Parente

I always felt like an ongoing stream of my former self, like a passing current from the past through the current.
But lately I feel disconnected from the old moments and more connected with the sole moment.

I always felt like a blurry memory, like an irrelevant event trying to relive my intent.
But lately my memories are fleeting like separate entities separated from my identity.

I always felt like I had the right words racing in my mind, like I had to be the first person to write words in the first person.
But lately I cannot remember the word I was looking for, and I am quite content with the quiet content.

And though these new feelings leave me unsure of myself, I somehow feel more like me.
Because I might not know what I am all about, but I finally stand a fair chance at finding that out.

– Valerie Parente (8-11-16)

Quest

“You don’t want to get better.”
I was extremely offended.
“You don’t want to get better.”
I was extremely offended again.
“You don’t want to get better.”
…and again. It is difficult to get over an emotion when your glitching mind replays conversations… sentences… phrases… words… sounds… again, and again.
“You don’t want to get better.”
The sting of the comment was starting to subdue into a vapid memory, naturally losing its caustic power with every mental replay.
With a clearer mind I tried to understand why I was so offended by the comment.
“You don’t want to get better.”
That can’t be true. I know I want to get better. I know OCD is not my friend. But to entertain the idea that living with OCD is living carefree would be foolishly wrong. There is no serum to permanently reverse this mental illness in its totality, but even if there was, the idea of simply ousting obsessive compulsive disorder is not a matter of “getting better” to me. But why do I view “getting better” with such a cringe-worthy connotation?
It’s not that I want OCD… it’s that… I would feel lost without OCD.
At those critical ages when a kid becomes an adult, when virtues are established, and when identity is found, the development of my personality coincided with the development of my mental illness in a symbiotic relationship.
Obsessive, compulsive, and disordered have fused themselves with the evolution of my personality, so it makes perfect sense that I would feel lost without the anxiety disorder that has pervaded my growth into adulthood.
I do want to feel better. I do not want OCD to rule my life. But I understand that to embark on a life without this mental disorder (if I were somehow endowed with OCD’s cure) would be to face a whole new challenge in itself, a challenge of feeling totally lost and having to find myself. I would need to be ready to take on that challenge. But you know what? I don’t think I get to consciously choose when I’ll be ready for that challenge. And I know this to be true because I already unintentionally started to face that challenge of self-discovery. Because to realize there is a challenge that needs to be addressed is to already begin to address that challenge. I might be lost, but I will find my way.

"Rose Quest"

“Rose Quest” by Valerie Parente

– Valerie Parente (7-9-16)

Hierarchy of Aversions

Some obsessive compulsive disorder sufferers are deeply disturbed or repelled by certain objects, ideas, words, feelings… anything really. Often times people with OCD tend to perform avoidance rituals, in which they obsessively and compulsively avoid these things that stir up so much fear and anxiety. In my OCD struggle with avoidance rituals I have mentally deemed these repulsive obsessions my aversions.
In trying to sufficiently explain how my aversions rise and fall from different degrees of anxiety-inducing severity I have constructed a model I like to call my Hierarchy of Aversions.

Hierarchy of Aversions
NOTE: The Hierarchy of Aversions is constructed by an obsessive compulsive designer.
This mountain of obsessions was built on an OCD premise with the least worrisome aversions at the pinnacle and the most flagrant aversions at the foundation. While most hierarchical structures are stacked with the more dominant echelons ranking at the top of the pyramid, the Hierarchy of Aversions is layered with the least bothersome aversions at its peak, where they are closer to drifting out of sight and out of mind. Unorthodox, yes, but OCD is not orthodox, nor is it logical. Remember, the Hierarchy of Aversions consists of empirical levels that draw their order from a disorder in the constructor’s mind. The primary fears are set at the bottom of the pyramid because they bolster up every other fear. The obsessions that elicit compulsions on the bottom indirectly influence every fear on top.

NOTE: The Hierarchy of Aversions is constantly under renovation.
The contents at each level of the pyramid frequently climb up and down or come and go. What gives these OCD aversions mobility in the Hierarchy of Aversions is the mood of the constructor. Stress causes the disturbing images, ideas, or rituals to weigh heavier, subscribe to gravity, and drop closer to the bottom of the aversion pileup. When moods are lighter and stress is at bay it is common for aversions that once seemed so prominent and so debilitating to feel “not so bad after all”. They, too, become lighter and rise towards the top of the hierarchy. With a little push these flagrant obsessions can even float away.

NOTE: The Hierarchy of Aversions can be manipulated!
Sometimes aversions go away on their own, without the voluntary aid of OCD recovery. When an aversion seems to effortlessly evaporate it can feel like some random blessing. In trying to understand these “random blessing” cases I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s some subconscious effort on the obsessive compulsive disorder sufferer’s part, an effort that ironically involves using OCD to defeat OCD.
For me, when fears no longer appear fearful one of the two situations has typically happened…

1. I had an amazing experience relating to that aversion.
2. I had a horrible experience relating to that aversion.
These seem like very contradictory experiences. Illogical, right? That doesn’t matter. OCD does not rely on logic!

Allow me to explain with the following examples.
1. I had an amazing experience related to an aversion.
I used to have an intense anxiety-driven disdain of the number “7”. I would actively avoid touching, looking at, or talking about anything that had “7” written on it or generally pertained to this digit. But eventually one day, on the 7th, I had an amazing experience. I do not remember what the experience was (and it does not matter). The fact is, I now had a positive connotation to attribute to the number “7”. I almost felt like I had no choice but to graduate the aversion all the way up the Hierarchy of Aversions and, without a further thought, that aversion disintegrated into thin air. Relating “7” to something bad constituted this fear as an aversion in the first place, but using that same OCD mindset I related it to whatever “good” thing happened that day and wound up eliminating the aversion.
2. I had a horrible experience relating to an aversion.
Since the Hierarchy of Aversions is a structure of varying anxiety-inducing obsessions, the very order of this model comes from relating the severity of obsessions to one another. This can actually work to the OCD sufferer’s favor, because when a less severe aversion sitting towards the top half of the Hierarchy suffices, it is much easier to quickly overcome that obsession, or at least diminish the anxiety it induces, by comparing that obsession to the more intense obsessions at the hierarchy’s base.
I actively try to avoid germs, so I do not like walking barefoot in my own home. But even more so I avoid walking barefoot in any environment outside of my home. So, in the instance that I am forced to walk across my floor barefoot because I forgot socks or shoes I get anxious, but then I remind myself that it could be worse- I could be walking across the floor of some filthy public setting. And even though the alleviation of that anxiety is temporary, it is still alleviation. And yes, I am still averted to walking on the floor barefoot, but in pair with exposure this comparison of “it could be worse” nudges that aversion up higher on the hierarchy where it is not nearly as bad as it once seemed.

These two methods I have used to graduate aversions from firm obsessions to fleeting memories involve controlling the OCD with OCD. There is no getting rid of this disease for me, just manipulating it to my advantage so that certain obsessions and fears seem less scary and become more prone to evaporating.

– Valerie Parente (6-26-16)

Conscience of Nonsense

Conscience of Nonsense by Valerie Parente

I have a conscience full of nonsense
and sensory receptors that can’t censor the pressure.
It’s this feeling on my hands that I can’t understand
like an invisible film leaving marks on my skin.
Carefully constructed obstructions created to function
against the notion of change that threatens my name.
I cannot resist all these consistencies
that are based on a promise of personal solace.
Yes I know my views are deeply skewed
but I refuse to be blind to the insights that are mine.
Still I question the spawn of my obsessions
Nature versus nurture? Is it inborn or is it learned?
Even if I knew the cause it couldn’t erase the scars.
So I turn a biochemical disposition into my ambition
and manipulate the disease that manipulates me
through a phraseology that captures all of me
branding my self before everyone else
by arranging language to my advantage
and defining my mind with words so sublime.
The infusion of nonsense with a written form of conscience.
While my heart aches from the pain I embrace
nonetheless, I am blessed to find beauty in darkness.

Beauty In Pain

– Valerie Parente (6-14-16)