The Crystal Tree

The Crystal Tree by Valerie Parente

There is a plant that sprouts
though not from a seed,
it spawns from a gem.
They call it the crystal tree
and when it is full grown
sparkling prisms it breeds,
dangling from ebony branches,
a quartz and amethyst variety.

All the boys and the girls
like to go crystal picking,
plucking off shiny rocks,
in return a prophecy is given,
reflecting the constellations
that the stars have written.
Each crystal shows a path
specific to all the children.

One day young Elissa
wandered through destiny’s groves.
Eager for some direction
she plucked a droplet the color of rose
and ever since that day
she thought in poetry an prose
making a living through words
recording her conscience in rows.

Sometimes we find guidance
in the depths of nature
discovering ultimate truths
for man is its mirror.
We can sparkle, we can shine
and nothing is dearer
than the clarity of our instincts
and an intuition that is clearer.

– Valerie Parente (11-25-2020)

“In Touch” FREE ON KINDLE through 7/9/2020

From now through July 9, 2020, my full length novel about obsessive compulsive disorder, In Touch, is FREE on Kindle. Click here!

“Undergraduate physics student, Jef Sterling, has done enough textbook reading to know that the universe is home to countless mind-blowing discoveries. But Jef never expected one of those discoveries to be the mind of an obsessive compulsive writer sharing the same campus as him. After reading a poem by Lacey Parker about her personal struggle with OCD, Jef’s highly rational brain fixates on uncovering the mysteries held captive in Lacey’s highly irrational brain. Throughout the course of a school year these two students exchange ideas that merge science with art, reality with fantasy, and physical phenomena with mental phenomena. While learning from one another Jef makes it his mission to make sense of Lacey’s nonsensical disorder and all of its incredible ironies; how she lives by the notion of feeling everything emotionally but dreads feeling anything physically, how her mind lives to protect as it gradually wreaks destruction, and most paradoxically how both Lacey’s most rewarding qualities and most detrimental flaws manifest from the same brain. In Touch by Valerie Parente is a realistic fiction novel alive with intellectual discussion, mental strife, heartache, and anecdotal insight into the cognitive confines of obsessive compulsive disorder.”

New to Patreon!

For anyone interested in supporting my mission to find beauty in darknes, I just made a Patreon account. No pressure to join, I just figured I should make the option available as an artist in this day and age. http://www.patreon.com/valerieparente

The overarching theme to all my artwork- whether it is poetry, prose, stories, drawings, paintings, or photography- is finding beautiful darkness. I love finding the positive in dark moods, situations, and imagery. This is evident in my written work on my website, valerieparente.wordpress.com, and in my novels available on Amazon (“The Artist, The Muse”“In Touch”, and “Rather Be Haunted”. I draw inspiration from a lifelong and personal struggle with very severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anorexia. Each body of work I create centers around mental illness.
The Artist, The Muse : a poetry and prose collection about what it is like to have a mental disorder that influences your art.
In Touch : a fiction novel about a female with OCD, based on my real-life struggle with OCD, through the eyes of a male without the disorder.
Rather Be Haunted : a poetry and prose collection that explores love, heartache, and death from the perspective of a girl with OCD that feels “haunted” by the motifs in life that define her humanity, including my signature Mannequin Art (used as a commentary on what it means to learn how to be a “normal” human).

Thank you from the bottom of my heart if you are interested in my journey to discover beauty in darkness.

Bookmarks

Bookmarks by Valerie Parente

“Shame On Me” by Valerie Parente

I keep on seeing these bookmarks
telling me where I left off
but I can’t go back to the plot
without hurting my heart;
maybe it’s time for a fresh start.

You see, I was reading for so long
learning how I could belong
and maybe that’s where I went wrong
because it shouldn’t be so hard
to appreciate another person’s art.

Now I look at my bookcase
a mix of textbooks on display
many unfinished but still I wait
because I’m afraid to turn the page;
for this chapter in my life to go away.

I think the problem with my head
is that I identify with all I’ve read
memorizing lines by accident
and prolonging the feelings I said
because I never wanted the story to end.

– Valerie Parente (6-15-2020)

An Obsessive Compulsive’s Take on the Coronavirus Crisis

An Obsessive Compulsive’s Take on the Coronavirus Crisis by Valerie Parente

Day Five in quarantine, and I am full of so many uncomfortable thoughts. How odd it is to live during a time when everybody else is performing the compulsions you’ve been told were “irrational” for over a decade.

I have been wildly afraid of germs since I was 13 years old (I’m 25 now). I don’t touch my face unless it’s right after washing my hands. I deem my clothes “dirty” as soon as I exit my home. I keep bottles of hand sanitizer in my car and every bag I have. And in the past few years I have gotten really good about challenging these germaphobic thoughts and compulsions by going out more, touching my face, not taking a shower immediately upon coming home from being out in public, and doing so many more little acts. Now with the COVID-19 crisis it feels like everything I’ve been told was “irrational” is becoming the norm. Yes, this is an unprecedented situation and the rules of what is “cleanly” and “germy” have now changed, but that doesn’t make it any less bizarre for someone who has been told for the past decade that constant hand washing and not touching your face is unreasonable and compulsions of the mentally ill. Now we’re desperate not to fall ill in the name of doing these manic compulsions. The acts that were was once deemed over-the-top are now being drilled into our brains.

I can’t speak for everyone with OCD, but for me, there was always a sense of “I’m being ridiculous, but I’m going to do it anways” when I performed a compulsion to get rid of germs. I always kind of knew I was overreacting. I knew it. Did I believe it? No. Knowing and believing are two very different things. I very much believed I would get sick if I didn’t shower before going in my bed, but I knew deep down that this was not a normal thought process and that I was being crazy. This coronavirus crisis really is an OCD sufferer’s worst case scenario played out. It’s everything we’ve ever been told was an overreaction now being categorized as a necessary course of action.

People always told me it wasn’t the end of the world if I let a germ touch my skin. Now the world is in this freak situation where it might be the end of the world. We’re in a realm of danger where it actually can be a matter of life or death if you don’t wash your skin. That’s absolutely mind boggling for me. I’m not necessarily upset, and I’m not even complaining, I’m just uncomfortable. Perplexed. Shocked. I never thought I’d see the day where all of the obsessions I was told were unnecessary to entertain have now been given credibility on a global scale. I guess the best word I can use to describe all of this is wild. It’s just wild.

Social distancing. Hand washing. “Don’t touch your face”. I’m equally curious as I am concerned with how society is going to behave once we move past this traumatic chapter. My gut tells me a lot of people are going to develop obsessive compulsive disorder after this. We’re fostering that obsessive compulsive mindset and placing it on a pedestal of “life or death” importance (and rightfully so), so how can you go from that drastic and dire mindset back to “oh you’re being ridiculous for wiping down your seat every time you go to sit in it”? I really don’t have the answer. I guess we’ll all find out, together.

– Valerie Parente (3-17-2020)

Break Me Down

Stefani Sparkle

Break Me Down by Valerie Parente

I don’t know why you’re okay
breaking me down
you break me down
maybe it’s because when I’m in pieces
you don’t have to look at the big picture.

– Valerie Parente (10-18-2019)

Broken

"Blue Rose" by Valerie Parente

Broken by Valerie Parente

You’re free from this world of suffering
and that’s a good thing
so why does it make me so sad?

Maybe to pray someone is at peace
means that I will never be.

 

 

 

– Valerie Parente (10-14-2019)