Playing With Storms (Diagnose Me)

Playing With Storms (Diagnose Me) by Valerie Parente

I’ve got five different disorders and I can’t afford to be diagnosed with another
But ever since the grief I’ve feel like my brain has spawned a new monster
My emotions are so intense and I freak out then repent
People ask me why I acted out
and I honestly can’t remember why
I remember doing the deed
but I don’t remember why I felt it was necessary
all I remember is that I really truly believed in the feeling’s intensity
and I played with thunderous storms even though I don’t even like the noise
and I think that’s pretty scary
when you can go 25 years understanding the string between your actions and emotions
then suddenly don’t remember why you did something so intense
its like you’re sitting in a backseat watching yourself
there’s a barrier between you and what you do
a major disconnect
and I can’t even begin to try to figure out why
I just know that my mind has become so hard to find
I’ve got five other disorders that I understand inside and out
but I don’t understand the reasoning behind this new rage filled spree
It would be so much easier to address this if someone could just diagnose me.
Please, just diagnose this storm inside of me.
Because then I can begin to master the storms artfully.

The Storm Maker

– Valerie Parente (1-28-2020)

Intention

Intention by Valerie Parente

He was sick. Nose stuffed. Ears blocked. Miserable on the couch. His only movement came from his fatigued thumb gently scrolling through the phone.

“Open the door” came a text from his close friend.

His eyes burned. He hesitantly typed, “Door’s unlocked”

The floorboards creaked as the girl walked into the loft with a bright smile and a piping hot container clasped between her hands.

“I got you your favorite soup from downtown. Maybe it’ll make you feel better.”

He didn’t get up. He didn’t thank her. “Why did you do that?”

In that split second her eyes shifted from glowing to deeply hurt.

She didn’t shut down. She didn’t back track. She said what needed to be said. “What is wrong with you?” Those piercing words sounded more like they were begging for an answer than asking a simple question.

“I- I just don’t know why you’d waste your time-”

“Don’t pretend you have my best interest in mind,” she snapped. You never would have guessed that this was the same sweet and giddy girl that just came skating into the loft.

He knew he had a problem. He knew this was his problem but his mind was trying so hard to categorize this as her problem. His thoughts cranked away, trying to rationalize the panic coursing through his veins in a way that didn’t pin the blame on him.

The problem wasn’t that she did something nice for him. The problem was that she paid attention to what his favorite soup was. The problem was that she went out of her way to drive to his favorite take-out restaurant and then in another direction to his loft. The problem was that she thought, in her time alone, that doing something for him would be a worthy use of her energy. The problem was that she thought of him.

Before he could translate his thoughts into verbal daggers she called him out.

“How miserable it must be to be you,” she shook her head in disbelief, “How little do you think of yourself that you feel the need to stop or shame anybody for caring about you? Not just doing a nice favor for you… but really caring for you. Understanding you. Just because you don’t see your own value doesn’t mean I have to stop caring. You hate yourself so you project all of that onto me and I am so sick of it.” Her mouth quivered in contrast to how strong and stern her tone was.

He didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t figure out a rebuttal fast enough.

“I am NOT your punching bag!” she cried out with a voice so strained you could hear the exhaustion in her vocal chords.

He rubbed his fingertips on his bloodshot eyes up to his temples. Why was he like this? Hurting her feelings was never his intention. His intention… well… what was his intention? He didn’t know.

Her eyes were wet but she didn’t break eye contact. “I’m not going to apologize for having emotions just because you can’t handle your own! I am entitled to feel things when I’m around you. I’m not going to let your self-hatred stop me. I’m sorry but that’s not a war you’re going to win.”

He panicked, “I- I’m sorry-”

“I don’t want to hear ‘I’m sorry’!” she was crying now. “I want you to get professional help! I need you to! I need you to be okay! I need you to accept yourself! I need you to take care of yourself! I need you to understand your worth! And in order to get to that point you’re going to need to cry and hurt and feel a whole bunch of uncomfortable feelings and I need you to know that it’s going to get better… and I need you to believe me when I say that! Because if you don’t get to a healthy point then you’re going to lose… and if you can’t handle someone having emotions around you then you’re going to wind up alone.”

Alone.

That.

That was his intention.

A dominating part of him was trying to push people away. Not just any people. The people who care… really care. The people who get inside his head. The closer they were to understanding him when he couldn’t even understand himself meant the harder he needed to push. And she understood him and she got in his head and she saw all his flaws but still cared. That’s why this girl was getting the brunt of his insecurity-spawned and fear-born frustration. An unconscious facet of his brain was trying with full force to wind up alone… because being alone would be easier than handling the emotions that come to the surface when you have a real connection with someone.

– Valerie Parente (4-22-2019)

Cynic

"Devil's Advocate" by Valerie Parente

“Devil’s Advocate” by Valerie Parente

Cynic by Valerie Parente

He has a very quick wit and he uses it to guard himself
Always the cynic, never fails to cast a doubt
Playing devil’s advocate to get a rise from the crowd
But I think there’s a twist he doesn’t want figured out
I’ve begun to notice that the words in his mouth
Are fueled by conflict but claim an impartial sound
He declares disinterest, yet he still sticks around
While using logic to debate rational grounds
This seems to contradict the face of a neutral account
Because no true nihilist has a belief worth caring about
I know when he reads this he’ll just shut me down
He’ll laugh and dismiss the complexity I’ve announced
With the same rhetoric that makes him so profound.

– Valerie Parente (3-5-2018)

The Artist, The Muse: A Poetry & Prose Collection

The Artist, The Muse: A Poetry & Prose Collection by Valerie Parente OUT NOW

Buy THE ARTIST, THE MUSE Via Amazon

The Artist, The Muse is what you get when you interweave psychology, creativity, and spirituality into the poetic fabric of a mentally disordered daydreamer’s mind. Valerie Parente artfully hones the craft of written word in this collection of poetry and prose through fantastical metaphors, rhythmic patterns, heartfelt emotions, metaphysical references, and breath-taking epiphanies. Dark daydreams and silver-lining mantras blossom out of the obsessive compulsive writer’s verbal landscape as the artist becomes her own muse.

Includes poetry, prose, and artwork by Valerie Parente.

Table of Contents:

The Artist, The Muse
Conscience of Nonsense
Glitter In The Air
Shy of Me
The Gargoyle Mindset
An Inadequate Reflection
Ink
You’ve Made An Author Out Of Me
Essence
Grandiosity of the Sick
Daydreams Are Shadows
Sanctuary
Hindsight of the Falsehood
Echoes
Idu Ego
The Silver Screen
Realize These Butterflies
The Writer
Natural
The Instinct of Intuition
The Masterpiece Tragedy of Marionette
Egomaniac
Inquiries
Playing with Dolls
Imagination Is Not Free
Validation
I Wish You Well
Bleeding
Paradox Lock
Dreams of Floating
Give & Take
Her Bright Pink Shoes
Why I Apologize
My Heart Thaws
Mars
Sage of Tarkus
Normal
The Creeper
Young Sapling
Scarecrow
she could not master astral projection
Touch the Heart
Creator
To Be Human
Lady Luna and the Light Inside
Tiara
The Answer
Order In Disorder
Trust the Stars
Novelty
Message From The Universe

The Artist, The Muse by Valerie Parente

Trust the Stars

Trust the Stars by Valerie Parente

What is meant to be is already unfolding
Promises we send in space and time
Keep your faith through the darkness of night
And the right pathway will be realized.

Trust the stars
They know your heart.

Destiny is your relationship with the universe
The stars reflect the dust you are made of.
Guardian angels glowing down from above
Writing constellations in a language called love.

Trust the stars
Wherever you are.

The awe that you feel in today
Is not constrained to the starry sky
Whenever you forget about your stellar guide
Remember, you are made of the same light.

Trust the stars
They got you this far.

Stardust

– Valerie Parente (7-2-17)

Acceptance

This is the time of year where many of us look back and realize what does and does not matter in this crazy yet incredible paradox called existence. It is baffling and beautiful when you really take an introspective moment to sit down and recollect the path your life has taken so far. In hindsight you can realize which seemingly insignificant experiences had significant impacts and, knowing their outcome thus far, accept them for exactly what they were.

In your life you strive to be something, you strive to get something. When reminiscing about even the most mundane events we are able to notice that the necessary things we needed to make the most of those experiences, bad or good, could always be found somewhere in the memory. (When I say “make the most”, I mean “benefit to the psychological and spiritual growth of our being”). Even your most loathsome situations had some component that helped you get through and, as a result, become the wiser and mentally richer person you are today. The proof is in the fact that- guess what?- you survived.

A major turning point for me this past year was during the past summer when I sought out a different obsessive compulsive disorder treatment.
The treatment shook my idea of individualism. I am proud to say that I did not go into panic mode, like I have in the past, and irrationally attempted to compensate for my lack of certainty with anorexic “solutions” (eating disorders never pose real solutions, they only tangle you in further problems. This is a topic for another time, though). When I think back about how I handled the identity crisis I realize that what I did was, first, recognized my confusion; and second, accepted my confusion. I did not know who I was, what I was about, and how I was going to tackle the grand scheme of my life- and I was content with that. I wrote about it in a poem called “Novelty” (“Novelty” by Valerie Parente) not with the intent to find some external solution out of the thin air, but to find and uproot the solace already dwelling within my current state. And what I found in accepting my state of mind was the miracle of acceptance itself.

The greatest revelation I have come to this past year is the power of acceptance. Acceptance is something we hear about all time. Psychologists, gurus, even religions have long emphasized the importance of accepting our circumstances. I don’t think people understand how this feels until they really experience the ineffable, unwavering, natural phenomena of acceptance firsthand. Acceptance brings a veridical peace that I honestly cannot describe through linguistics, nor can I force on anybody else.
That being said, I can bring light to what acceptance is NOT.

Acceptance is not a peace of mind that can be feigned. Often people mistake peace of mind with being unaffected by life, but this is false. Pretending not to care, pretending that the things bothering you don’t really matter to you, and pretending that life has no effect on you has a tragic outcome… it undermines the greater moments of life. If you are so busy being unaffected all the time you will never feel the depth of positive notions like gratitude, awe, joy, excitement, humor, or love.

Acceptance is also not “doing nothing”. If you are not content with your situation you should still make an effort to overcome obstacles, injustices, and hardships- but you should do so with a mind that reasonably acknowledges the reality that you will have to work through, not around, your dilemmas. To acknowledge a problem for what it is while acknowledging the extra exertion that will be necessary to tackle the problem is to have a mentality that is balanced. Be determined enough to face challenges while compassionate enough to recognize your limits and give yourself a break when you need to replenish your energy. This kind of mental equilibrium is the type of acceptance I saw in myself when thinking back about my identity crisis induced by alternate OCD treatment this summer.

recognize-and-accept

There is great freedom in accepting yourself, others, and anything or everything that unfolds. Let yourself feel what you feel. Understand that everything is fleeting, including your mental state. And be as you are. When you look back you will always realize that you survived, and that nothing can devalue you… you can only be made richer.

 – Valerie Parnete (12-18-2016)