Garden Girl

Garden Girl by Valerie Parente

Garden girl
the way she unfurled
took a long time
to fulfill her words.

Garden seeds
dirt on her knees
buried her sadness
with a thumb so green.

Garden rain
it’s just a mind-frame
we could be our gloom
or we could be its grace.

Garden growth
from hell she coped
decided to be resilient
in how she spoke.

There is always a choice
between wreckage and poise
she can’t control the weather
but she could control her voice.

The clouds rolled in
and the garden listened
come rain or tears
it does not know the difference.

– Valerie Parente (7-31-2021)

Venus Fly Trap

Venus Fly Trap by Valerie Parente

I don’t want to, but I snap
so quick and so crass
locked shut from the past
a paradox I haven’t grasped
because if I wasn’t grabbed
then why do I feel attacked
involuntary and so fast
before I get the chance to relax
like a venus fly trap.

Years of tension so compact
maybe this is what lasts
when you’ve been broken in half
but now I’m more than that
so happy and on track
I guess the trauma stays intact
muscle memories I don’t have
these lips seal in a flash
like a venus fly trap.

This struggle is meant to pass
and I’m going to achieve this task
learn to bloom instead of clasp
I’m still a flower, if you must ask
blossoming among the grass
so much beauty in this craft
with a love so matter of fact
kiss me and I’ll kiss back
like a venus fly trap.

– Valerie Parente (6-6-2021)

Graffiti

Graffiti by Valerie Parente

Like a graffiti artist
envisioning a new canvas
I saw the writing on the wall
and I was terrified me from the start.
Even though I love to paint my pain
I had never been more afraid
because I knew that space will never be pure again
I got something beautiful at a monumental expense.

– Valerie Parente (3-10-2021)

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)

The Time Is Up

The Time Is Up by Valerie Parente

In 2 months you’ll be able to breathe again.
In 2 months you’ll remember the fallen.
In 2 months you’ll learn to live with yourself.
In 2 months you’ll realize what really counts.
In 2 months you’ll find a reason to laugh.
In 2 months you’ll rise above your past.
Because this is God’s way of saying the time is up,
time to come face to face with your fears
time to get to know the mind you’ve been avoiding for 25 years
time to feel the discomfort that matures you through loneliness
time to master your trauma like a true artist
time to look inward for gratification
time to make those long overdue changes
time to show your ego how far you’ve come
time to tell the people you love that they’re enough.
It’s time to see your deepest pain through;
It’s time to contribute to the world that chose to spare you.

– Valerie Parente (3-31-2020)

Ripped Open

Ripped Open by Valerie Parente

Red Rose

My heart did not break,
it was opened up.
Sometimes it feels like we’ve been destroyed
when we’ve actually evolved into better versions of ourselves.

– Valerie Parente (1-5-2020)

Duality

Duality by Valerie Parente

The most beautiful thing a person can do is be honest about their ugliest parts.

"Angel Dust" by Valerie Parente

– Valerie Parente (12-16-2019)

Susceptible to Growth

I’m not scared of relationships, I’m scared of making a shift from friends to more than friends.
I’m not scared of going out to eat, I’m scared of breaking my streak of home cooked meals.
I’m not scared of moving on, I’m scared of re-establishing myself on new ground.

When trying to dissect exactly what it is about change that is so scary I’ve come to a couple of conclusions (all idiosyncratic to my own personality and emotional history- so, as usual, I cannot speak on behalf everyone suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder); but if I had to pinpoint the sole problem I have with change that I think would most resonate with other OCD sufferers then it would be how in a ritualistic mind change can imitate an intrinsic kind of susceptibility.
To physically change my placement or what I surround myself with, to literally and figuratively put myself out there in an unfamiliar situation with unfamiliar factors is to open myself to a universe of possibilities I have no practice in handling. I cannot guarantee I know how my personality will handle new and different experiences and to somebody who is constantly trying to decode the intermingling of their identity with their mental illness this is nothing short of terrifying.

Equating susceptibility on an identity level is developmentally crippling. Any kind of milestone, an experience or event that should be cherished, could easily be seen with a negative connotation (hence the examples of misconception that I’m simply afraid of being in a relationship, eating at a restaurant, or moving out into a new environment). This kind of mindset is not fulfilling and that’s not fair.

In my OCD fight I’m going to consciously equate change with a more positive connotation- one of growth and blooming. One where getting to the next level, transitioning, and graduating into new milestones will be viewed like pouring water on a blooming identity, to further discover what kind of beautiful flower it will be rather than suppressing it to a bud or a stem without its floral crown.

nourishing a blooming identity

Change will nourish you, not hurt you. And unfamiliarity forces you to become more familiar with your identity by shedding light on how you handle certain experiences. Growth helps you become a more complete you. Making your identity susceptible to growth should be seen as making yourself available to a new level of beauty that only life experience can elicit.

Change welcomes susceptibility, but susceptibility welcomes growth.

– Valerie Parente (5-24-16)