She started to grow in my womb,
but she also grew in my heart. I don’t
know when it happened, but I loved
her so much. She was perfect. How
could she not live? Even now I often
wonder what she would look like, what
she could have been? My baby girl
turning into a moody teen. Her perfect
little hands covering my fingertip.
I still feel the soft but firm grip.
Today I am sharing a poem that brings back very painful memories. Grief is an emotion that had also a very important role in my past and present mental health issues. Surprised me greatly during therapy how ignorant of this whole process I was and this is an emotion I still struggle with in the present moment. But, who doesn’t?
By Walt Whitman
In the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the word prosaic is defined as an adjective, firstly meaning ‘ordinary and not showing any imagination’, synonymous of unimaginative. And secondly meaning ‘dull, not romantic’, synonymous of mundane. The adverb form of this word is prosaically, which could be used to say for example: ‘he writes prosaically‘ (his writing style bears no imagination). The second meaning of the word can be used to say: ‘I decided to join a drama group because I was tired of my prosaic life and decided it was time for some excitement’.
This word originates from the Latin “prosaicus”, which has a root in the Latin “prosa”, which means prose, straightforward writing. Its first records date from the 1600’s, to refer to any text that was not poetic without any negative connotation. However, with the rise of the poetry status as a higher form of writing, considered to be more beautiful and imaginative than prose, by the end of the century, the prose style was given a lower status. This resulted in the natural evolution to the current meanings of prosaic, usually negative.
I like the sound of the word and I think is kind of poetic, I will definitely start introducing it in my poetry writing. Let me know in the comments below what do you think of this word. Were you surprised by any of this?
Thanks for reading and please comment, xxx
This week I shared a poem I wrote about ‘Guilt’ and its relation to my depression and so I decided to explore the theme a bit further. Since an early age, I grew up with a strong sense of guilt. I am the first child of my parents, in any fight with my younger siblings, my parents always said that as the eldest, I had to be the most reasonable. And whenever my father upset me and I went to my mum for sympathy, she would always tell me to try and understand his point of view because he had a terrible childhood and a hard life. In every situation I was put on, the responsibility was mine; not only for my own actions but also for others – those younger than me as well as those older than me.
The worst thing I that I grew up oblivious of this exaggerated feeling of guilt, and the truth is that I always felt responsible for anything bad that would happen to me and to those around me. And this feeling contributed to the strong sense of worthlessness and the low self-esteem I experienced most of my life. I didn’t like me because I failed in everything and let everyone down, but at one thing I excelled brilliantly – at faking it. I was the best at pretending to be self-confident and happy with myself. Looking back, I don’t even know how I did it. I lived that lie for almost forty years of my life and only when I was in therapy for depression did I learn that when my parents induced that sense of guilt in me as a little girl, they were abusing me. I never look at myself as a victim of parental abuse, because I didn’t know any different, but I was. They abused my innocence when they should have taught me self-love and unconditional love. A few years ago I would have thought this statement to be a bit tragic and exaggerated but now I know better, only because I have hit rock bottom, being in so much emotional pain that I believed my life was over. Yes, there were moments when my depression was so dark, that I believed I would never be able to go back to employment and to be independent ever again – and to be honest, I couldn’t care less.
But thank God for Private Medical Insurance, CBT, group therapy and the few brave individuals who have shared their experiences with me and made me gradually believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am also hugely lucky to have a group of friends and family who have supported me and been so patient with me helping me to be hopeful and keep going. I have forgiven my parents because despite not liking the way they made me feel I love them and I know they didn’t mean any bad, they simply did what they knew best. They also did good things to me and loved me the best they could.
I will revisit this issue again, I’m sure of that as there are so much more to guilt in the story of myself, there is also the guilt of not being well and being a burden to others, but that is a whole new post. I remember during therapy being very surprised with the role guilt played in my mental health – who would have thought? If you would like to find out more, follow the links below:
“Where there is great love, there are always miracles”
It may be spoon fed to you before
you can choose, like a need.
Honeybees feed on dandelions
after a long bad winter, but this
is no nutritious food. A creeping
buttercup weed, sneaky undesirable
pest, secretly sprouting. Fast growing
deep roots you can’t see. Extermination
is necessary or it will take over a flower
bed. It’s tiring! Guilt binds you, keeps
you in the past, takes over thoughts
and feelings. It’s a hard battle that you
have to keep fighting without rest –
being vigilant and attacking at the slightest sign.
This is the second poem of my sequence about depression. Guilt has been the main culprit in most of my mental health issues; my parents gave it to me, not intentionally for sure, they thought they were doing the right thing and they definitely did the best they knew. I have made peace with them a long time ago because I love them, but I hate that they did this to me and my work in the last few years has been to get rid of this guilt and keep my life flourishing with feelings of self-love and worthiness.
by Fernando Pessoa, translated by Richard Zenith
The poet is a feigner who is so good at his act he even feigns the pain of pain he feels in fact.
And those who read his words Will feel in his writing neither of the pains he has but just the one they’re missing.
And so around its track this thing called the heart winds, a little clockwork train to entertain our minds.
‘Autopsychography’ is Portuguese Fernando Pessoa’s (1888-1935) most translated poem. I think the reason why it has been repeatedly translated is the fact that so many authors finding an echo in Pessoa’s words. A poet fakes his pains, even when the pain he portrays is the pain he indeed feels, and it’s all in the name of the creative process. When I write about my own emotions and feelings, there is always a creative process that alters the pain as it is described. Below is my working translation. Any authors with any thoughts on this?
The poet is an actor. He acts so sincerely, he even pretends it is pain, the pain he feels truly.
And those who read his works, in reading his pains can feel, not the poet’s fake and real pains, but only the ones they never felt.
And so, entertaining the reason rides this little clockwork toy, that we call the heart, round and round on its track.
Thanks for stopping by xoxo
I am not a native speaker of the English language, I have studied English in my home country, the sunny Portugal, since the age of eleven and have improved it greatly since living in the UK since 2002. Therefore, I will every now and then write an awkward sentence or even a made up word; but there are a few common errors English speakers make that make me cringe. Please forgive me if this sounds snob coming from a foreigner, but this is only out of respect for the language we use to communicate.
One of the most common errors I don’t get is the misuse of “they’re“, “there” and “their“. To me, this seems so simple. I’m sure everyone knows that there means place, as in ‘over there‘ as opposed to ‘over here‘. For example, if I ask: ‘Have you seen my keys? I’m sure I left them here.’ I might get for an answer: ‘No, they’re over there.’ Of course, “they’re” refer to the keys, meaning “they are” and could be replaced by “the keys are“; and “there” refers to the place where the keys are. Now, if I was talking about my children’s keys, I would say: ‘Their keys are over there.’ Their means that the keys belong to my children, it is being used instead of saying: ‘my children’s ‘.
So, in summary:
- They’re means – they are
- There means – place
- Their means – belonging
Very straight forward, isn’t it? I don’t understand why so many people make this mistake, I’m sure this is one of primary school teachers’ everywhere biggest frustrations. There are issues in the English language that may be difficult to learn, but this isn’t one of them and yet I have seen it everywhere, from professional emails to social media statuses. And I just don’t see why is it so complicated. Could anyone shed a light on this for me?
Today I want to talk about the poem I posted on Monday ‘Mask’. I remember very clearly a period of time, when I was deep in my depression, that I did not know who I was. I knew my name, my age, where I lived, where I was born, etc, etc, but I didn’t know my identity. I did not know who was I all about, behind the mother, the daughter, the sister, the bread winner, I felt absolutely at loss amidst all those personas I had been showing to the world. I was supposed to be a strong, independent woman, self-confident and afraid of nothing, but behind that mask, I felt like a very scared and vulnerable little girl who craved nothing but to be cared for.
I remember people that knew me for a long time, being surprised with the fact that I was suffering from depression because I was antonymous of depression – my sister said once that I would be the last person she’d expected to see with depression because I was always so confident and upbeat. That was the problem, I never allowed myself to feel sad, scared or disappointed; in face of difficulties I would just pull myself together and move on. But sometimes we need to live through the disappointment and feel the grief, the pain, cry and ask for help. I didn’t do that for most of my life and it made me ill. And the realisation that I had used a mask of ‘everything is alright and if it isn’t I don’t care’ for too long made me feel like a farce; I did care, in fact, deep down I cared too much. I broke down when it became impossible for me to pretend and it took me a while to find myself, to find who I really was; not before the depression but who I was behind the mask that I wore all my life.
I think that one of the most valuable lessons I have learnt with depression and during therapy was that it is ok to be vulnerable and it is ok not to be ok. Pretending to be ok, when you’re not is long life habit of mine and I have to admit that I still do it from time to time, I just can’t help it. However, now I can recognise when I’m doing it and take a step back – without judgement – and that makes all the difference.
Thanks for reading and be kind to yourself!