Shadow Sign

Shadow Sign by Valerie Parente

Shadow Sign
you weren’t the light of my life
you were just the shape in which I had been traumatized
I thought you were what I wanted
after all these years of being haunted
because the truth of the matter is
I was never really his
and that unofficial kind of bliss
had me tracing my steps with darkness.

Because Shadow Sign
you were never mine
and with your outline I realize
you weren’t the problem, you were its signal
not something that I was ever meant to rekindle
a simplification of the self
implied light from somewhere else
and that’s the truth to mental health
I looked for love when what I needed was help.

– Valerie Parente (7-21-2021)

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)

With The Tide

With The Tide by Valerie Parente

I decided a long time ago,
that I was going to be alright,
when that first disappointment hit,
I looked my reflection in the eyes,
said, “I will never get over this,
but I will certainly survive.”
Sunny days always came,
the sadness ebbs with the tide.
I remember my teenage self,
and I refuse to waste her time.
I’m a product of those days,
as they were a product of my mind.

You don’t need to forget
for your pain to subside,
you just need to accept
that this is your timeline.

– Valerie Parente (5-10-2021)

The Girl In The Mirror

The Girl In The Mirror by Valerie Parente

I killed the girl in the mirror
when I was a 14 years old student
and every day I resent myself
even though I didn’t know what I was doing.

That girl in the mirror had it bad
and that wasn’t so peculiar.
Nobody that age knew how to act
but I still held it against her.

I make decisions now
with the mirror girl on my mind.
I’m trying to make her proud
because I owe her my adult life.

– Valerie Parente (1-4-2021)

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 where 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)

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)

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)

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)

Noise

Noise by Valerie Parente

Chaos is noisy.
When you finally get out
Prepared for the silence of safety
But for some reason there is still noise
That noise is the trauma.
Echoes are normal as you distance from the moment of chaos
Music is normal as you feel newfound inspiration
But noise,
Noise is the sign of post traumatic stress.
If it is noisy instead of quiet, that is how you know you have been traumatized.

"Noise" by Valerie Parente

– Valerie Parente (2-19-2020)

Paradox Lock

Paradox Lock by Valerie Parente

I am tense where I am supposed to be open
So I pretend that this is a voluntary means of coping
Just a treasure I’ve been withholding.
But the truth is I have no control
of the impossible pain that takes its toll.

I am a lock who is supposed to love a key.
The very thing meant to set me free
is the same cause for my strong agony.
What they call the highest of highs
comes through me as the loneliest night.

I am exhausted when I am supposed to be energized.
They say this problem has psychological ties
manifesting as fear deep inside.
But if this is true then why can’t I recall
the very trauma that started this all?

For so long I was stuck with this mystery.
Where could I find this abnormality?
After they pointed out reality
I read into how this condition thrives
but I am still left wondering why.

Lock

– Valerie Parente (11-22-2017)