Grab Your Crystals

Grab Your Crystals by Valerie Parente

She cracked open her chest
and pulled a cluster of crystals out
ready to thrive again
like rain after the longest drought.

The world was shut down
and she was shut off
locked away in a cave
growing rocks in the dark.

Some rocks were iridescent,
picking up hues from her moods,
some rocks were rose colored wands,
sharing a beautiful body of truth,
some rocks were translucent towers,
pointing to her next move,
some rocks were marble orbs,
reminding her what she had to lose.

So grab the crystals you’ve been saving
in the shape of a heart
hold them up to the sunlight
and watch your dark side depart.

– Valerie Parente (4-13-2021)


Happy Again

Happy Again
by Valerie Parente

I would like to be happy like we were before
back when it was easier
because it’s been the end of the world
for one long year that felt like more.

I think we all lost
the innocence we once wore
back when we didn’t have to hide out of sight
and I think we all forgot
what we used to fight for
back when we didn’t have to fight for our life.

I don’t know if we were happier before
but it sure was easier
back when we didn’t know better
and our bad times didn’t feel like forever.

When your life was narrowed down,
what did you sacrifice?
When you had to rethink your path,
what became your priority?
When you thought it was the end of the world,
who did you think of?

No we won’t be happy like we were before
but we’ll sure feel its worth
and when we smile again
despite all our stress
we’ll all feel a truer form of happiness.

– Valerie Parente (12-31-2020)

Too Much Loss For One Year

Too Much Loss For One Year by Valerie Parente

This has been a really devastating year
with more loss than our brains can comprehend,
some said with goodbyes
some with unfinished sentences.
It’s not that we’re okay with the loss,
it’s that we didn’t have a chance to lament.
It’s not that we’re dwelling in the past,
it’s that there was no proper end.
And it’s not that I’m mad or insensitive,
but there are some goodbyes I simply cannot accept.
Some explanations are not just explanations
but a farewell, my dear friend.
And I guess the collective conscience within all of us
is learning a very hard lesson,
that the world will keep on turning
no matter who’s lost interest.

– Valerie Parente (10-17-2020)

Black Hole: A State of Mind

Black Hole: A State of Mind by Valerie Parente

This meltdown is not circumstantial
this meltdown is a state of mind
and I believe this one was looming for months now
when everyday life got flipped upside down
and I didn’t have a chance to grieve the everyday life we had to collectively leave.

I’ve been trying to cope by distracting myself with the people who matter most
which is ten times harder when you have to distance yourself to maintain physical health
and I think after two months one little straw broke the camel’s back and I only knew how to overreact.
The circumstances never changed but a heavy darkness infected my mental state.

It doesn’t make sense for me to be as upset as I am about my personal circumstance
because it’s really not the end of the world
but this state of mind made it feel like I was going to die if I didn’t testify
and this heavy mass of pressure in my soul was simply waiting to cave in
like a black hole.

This state of mind will pass with time
but I’m so scared while I try to make it there
because every second in this black hole
feels like an eternity I can’t control
and I just want things to go back to normal.

– Valerie Parente (5-23-2020)

A Germaphobe’s Hell

A Germaphobe’s Hell by Valerie Parente

When someone else understands the anxiety I’ve been feeling for half my life
I don’t feel comfort, I feel competition.
I worked from the inside out to walk through this hell
and now you’re telling me to turn around and walk with everyone else.

No, I don’t want the world to change their mind and say that my mental strife was justified
don’t tell me that my fears were right all along.
Why would I want to see my disorder become mainstream
after you spent years telling me that my pain is unique?

I understand the necessity to chain us all down as a way to protect ourselves
but I can’t pretend it doesn’t feel like hell
to be told to back-track all your progress
because now it really is a matter of life or death.


– Valerie Parente (4-13-2020)

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)

Thoughts While Social Distancing / Quarantine

Thoughts While Social Distancing / Quarantine by Valerie Parente

Society is in probably the weirdest state a lot of us have seen in our entire lifetime. The closest thing I can remember that came close to this culture-change where you can literally feel the collective worry and uncertainty of friends and strangers was 9/11. That was vastly different in so many ways though. This is not a single event on one moring that affected our lives forever, this is an ongoing day to day “I don’t know when this is going to end” crisis that is going to affect our lives forever.

Comparisons aside, I think the social isolation is the hardest part of all of this (for me at least). Having anxiety and depression and a slew of other mental disorders has always been a pain in the butt, but I learned to adapt and get used to it to the point that sometimes I didn’t even realize when I was acting out of anxiety or depression. Now that I’m quarantining and socially distancing myself from literally everybody who isn’t my direct family I’m realizing just how important socializing has been for me through the years in overcoming my eating disorder and OCD.

In the past when I’ve had an irrational thought, usually attributed to OCD, I always had the option to get out and distract myself with friends or even the company of strangers. I didn’t realize just how important it was for me to be able to go for a drive to the local coffee shop and just sit there writing or reading. I didn’t even have to be interacting with anybody else, but the idea that I was around other people was incredibly comforting. Despite my personal problems, the world went on. I could see it, I could feel it, and I could prove it to myself by going out in public. It was a simple freedom that had significant affects on my mood. This is why I think I’ve been more uneasy about the introversion of staying at home than the actual worry about the virus itself. As I sit here in my own head I’m realizing that the most uneasy part of this social distancing and the lockdowns taking place is that notion that the world does not go on. When I’ve been stuck in my own head I was always able to go out into the real world and see that everything proceeded as usual and I could literally see that my anxiety did not mean it was the end of the world in the larger scheme of things. Now there’s an unsettling cloud above everybody’s head that maybe, just maybe, it is the end of the world. Maybe, just maybe, your anxiety is justified. No, you cannot escape your own head by taking a stroll through the mall or grabbing a coffee at your favorite coffee shop or even by stopping by your friend’s house for a quick catch up. None of that is an option right now, and we don’t know when it will be an option again. And that’s incredibly unsettling to say the least.

Very rarely a crisis like this happens where you really do have no choice but to find the strength in yourself and only yourself to stay calm. Distraction outside in public is not an option when it comes to quarantine. Sure you can read, write, use social media to connect with friends, or learn crafts and skills that you never had time to learn before, but you can’t go out in public and distract yourself with a “real world” that carries on despite your personal problems. There are so many simple pleasures that we have taken for granted like the mere freedom to grab a coffee down the street. As lame and cliché as it might sound, I think this coronavirus is going to teach a lot of us to appreciate what we have. For those of us millenials with mental disorders, I think we’re going to start realizing just how important the company of strangers can be. It’s an annoying lesson for any one who has fought any form of hardship in their life because we’ve learned this lesson before, must not on a global scale. A lot of us really do appreciate our blessings because we’ve been to that place of mental turmoil. It’s pretty frustrating that we have to learn this lesson again but SO much more magnified. Nonetheless, there’s always room for improvement. This is a rare opportunity where not just one individual or one individual family is going to have to heal from this trauma, no, this is going to be the whole world healing. And we’re all going to have that commonality with total strangers from now on. Maybe at the end of this there will be more compassion, understanding, and of course appreciation for each other’s company and basically every simple pleasure we have that we never dreamed would be taken away. I’m sure this is the slap in the face a lot of us needed to realize “holy shit that thing I was worried about before was NOTHING compared to a Goddam pandemic”.

I’m not saying this is the end of the world. It’s not. I really do believe it’s going to be okay. We have great luxury to be able to sit at home, and not only that, but to also be able to have a say in how this crisis plays out. We can all help the human race by doing the right thing and staying home. We will, no doubt, be forced to confront our mental health in the eerie moments where all you can hear is that inner voice, but let’s make that experience constructive. Let’s learn about ourselves. Let’s learn that we have great blessings. I know it’s hard to see now but I really think this is going to have major positive effects on a lot of us if we allow it to. It’s either think positively, or let all the suffering and havoc wreaked by COVID-19 be in vain. I vote we think positively.

– Valerie Parente (3-23-2020)