My Honest Poem

Hi,

My name’s Chris

I’m 25 years old

When I was a littlekid my mom would always call me kissy Chrissy

And I’m still embarrassed about it to this day

But it reminds me that I used to show all the love and affection that I had in my heart without worrying about what other people would say of it

I love ice cream… too much sometimes

I like laughing so hard until I make the whole room stare

And dancing like my demons can’t catch me

I let my eyes say the words that my lips can’t shape

My humour is scary

But my hugs are safe

I’ve been told that I’m soft

That I feel too much with my heart

So I’ve tried to make my muscles hard

And to feel with the strength in my grip

My closet is full of salmon colored shirts

But I don’t like to fish

In life I find myself

On a constant pursuit of happiness

I’ve got the words “you are enough” tattooed on my arm

But I still struggle to believe them

I’ve got a semi colon tattooed on my side because my story isn’t finished

Just like all the half-written suicide notes on my bedside table

The words “I am NOT enough” are tattooed all over those notes

It’s a constant battle between “I am” and “I am not”

Sometimes I give in to all the negativity that I have fought

And those are the days I can’t get out of bed

Those are the days I can’t get out of my own head

I often like to wear hawaiin shirts

as if sad people never wear flowers

I have so much self-doubt

But people who have seen me say I have super powers

They say my happiness is contagious

That my life is super couragous

I’ve spent times in my life being so low that I have wanted to die

But those times have taught me to keep chasing the feeling of being truly alive

To me, being truly alive means connecting with people. It means being with them in their darkest moments and letting them sit with me in mine

In those moments I feel Goodness and my heart perfectly align

And the happiness that I am pursuing

The happiness that we are ALL pursuing

May bring us together.

LOVE: When Everything Goes Wrong

Fast forward through falling in love.  You already know how it goes.  You’ve seen the movies.  You’ve felt those butterflies.  You know what it’s like to be wrapped up in that bliss.  To be ignorant of all those flaws.  Fast forward through all that sappy, cheesy stuff.  It’s not what truly understanding love is about.

Love is about when everything goes wrong.  And you’re constantly stuck thinking why can’t this be like the movies and the fairy tales as tears fill up in your eyes and you’re driving away.  Over and over again you end up in the same spot.  With so much love for that person.  But it’s all f*cked up.  And you see their flaws so strongly.  It angers you.  They keep pushing and you need space and then finally you push and then they need space and you cry and you’re so confused and the pain in your heart is so real but everyone around you will point out their flaws more and tell you that you don’t need them.  But they’re wrong.

They don’t know you like I do.

This is supposed to be different.  We aren’t breaking up like all those other couples.  Our love is stronger.  And we keep telling ourselves that until we are finally walking away from each other.

And it’s not okay anymore.

And then you go so long thinking about all those times they cried or they yelled or they didn’t understand.  And you get angry.

Why couldn’t it have gone differently? Why’d everything have to go wrong?

You sit with those questions for quite a while.  You sit with the sadness.  You sit with the anger.  You sit with the heartbreak.

And then a memory will hit.  That moment that you were in bed and she quickly lifted her head up so you could tuck your arm underneath as you wrap your other arm around her.  And you’re supposed to be sleeping but you lift your head upand over her shoulder to catch one more peek at her face.  And you can just catch the corner of her lips as they curve upwards.

Beautiful.

Because even when everything went so f*cking wrong.

Those little things went so f*cking right.

No one can take that away from you.

Thank you.

-Christopher

A Steady Glow

I remember the first time we were staring into each others eyes and she smiled saying “you make me happy” and I smiled too. I thought it was beautiful. I felt amazing. How could I not? I was responsible for someone else’s happiness! Is there any other responsibility as powerful? Not that I’m aware of.
But then it changes.

It flips.

There we are down our path and the smiles aren’t coming as easy.
“You make me cry” she sputters at me. And I want to cry too. I thought it was heartbreaking. I felt terrible. How could I not? I was responsible for someone else’s sadness. Is there any responsibility as painful? Not that I’m aware of.

I think of the idea that we must first know the feeling of sadness in order to know and recognize happiness. We must first know pain to know pleasure.
Being the reason for ones pleasure feeds the ego. One could reach for God like ambitions.
But to be the reason for ones pain?
A candle can burn for hours, even days, lighting up a room with its consistent flickering. A steady glow.

And then in one instant. All that light that has been provided without question can be smothered out with one breathe. The pleasure can be forgotten and only pain remains.

Darkness.

It’s hard to put a heart back together in the dark.

It’s a good thing that happiness is a light. And it transfers through a smile. It is our own responsibility to receive it. Just as a candle accepts another flame. We are all responsible for our own happiness. And we have all known sadness. The moments of pleasure feel so much better when we know our pain but choose not to let it creep back into our breaths.

And soon enough.

The world may be a room full of candles.

 

Humble, Happy, Hungry

I am HUMBLE about where I’ve been.

I am HAPPY with where I am.

I am HUNGRY for more.

I am humble about where I’ve been. Both the good places and the bad. Being at my worst, the late nights stuck in loneliness and the stop at the hospital; those don’t make me crazy. They are a part of the process. I know my lows. They do not define me but they have shown me where I do not want to be. And they have given me a superpower to truly empathize with people.

I am happy with where I am. Surely not it’s entirety. But I see the good. I see my growth as a human being and while it has been a slower process than I had expected, I am so fucking proud of myself for being here and being me in this moment. I don’t have a degree, a job, or money to represent who I have become. But I have my body showing strength. I have my mind, battle tested and witty. And I have my soul, connected to the good of the universe. Together, I am ready to dive into the uncomfortable.

I am hungry for more. There is so much out there in this world to accomplish. So much out there to explore. People to meet. Stories to hear. Moments to exchange and embrace. I’ve got so much more to prove. I want to show my strength and my resilience. I want to show people my heart. I want to connect. I want to make a positive difference. I want to show this world and myself that my failures will never define me. I am so much more than what you see.

Make the call.

 

Here we go.
I was 14 years old skating down the ice reffing my first ever hockey game. I was terrified. I am in charge of this game. Are you kidding me? That’s way too much pressure.
2 players crash into each other and fall down on the ice. One teams coach starts screaming at me. I freeze. My mind escapes the game. A grown adult man is screaming down at me. This means I’ve done something wrong. I am scared. It’s not about the game to me. It’s about a person I want to be able to look up to disrespecting me.
I come back into the game. The coach screams again. This time I understand what he’s saying:
“Make the call!”

I’m still a teenager. Things have been difficult at home. My mom and my dad have not been getting along. Everyone is walking on eggshells. It doesn’t feel like home right now. Finally my mom has had enough. She comes to my room and tells me to pack a backpack and get in the car; we’re leaving. My dad has followed her up the stairs to keep yelling. I briefly catch eyes with him before casting my head down. I still remember the white of his eyes, so bright with anger. My head cast down in fear. Then down the stairs my parents went, still screaming. I scrambled out of my frozen state. I needed to act. I had instructions to follow. The tears were streaming down my face and onto my shirt. There was no stopping them now. I rubbed the snot off my nose with the inside of my shirt. Through the rain in my eyes I managed to grab my backpack and stuff my favourite hoodie in it; along with some other things. Now I could hear the screaming carry outside and my moms car start. It was time to go. I rushed down the stairs, through the open door and looked out to see my brother already in the passenger seat. I took the back seat. Dad was really really yelling now. Mom slammed her car door shut and threatened for the last time that we were leaving. Finally my fathers expression changed. His anger halted as he realized he didn’t want us to go. He screams “wait! Wait!” As he struggles to find more words.
This is when I really stopped being a spectator and entered the scene. My dad walked right past the front of the car and opened the back door right across from me. He put his fists down lightly on the empty seat. He looked at me with love. His eyes that had been glossed over with rage now pleaded with me to forgive. He asked me if we could all just go inside and talk this through- no more yelling. He begged me. I was still choking back tears. I didn’t know what to say. My mom is staring back at me from the drivers seat. She’s crying too. We don’t say anything. But her look says it all. What should we do? Should we stay and talk or drive off? Her look is asking me! She doesn’t know! I have to decide what we do!

Make the call.

Here I am 10 some odd years later. And I’m struggling with a whole new dilemma. I need to walk away from something I’ve devoted more time to than anything thing else in my life. But how do I make the choice? How do I know if I’ve got more left in the tank or not. What if I’ve got more to give. I’ve got more push. What if I should’ve walked away years ago and I’ve wasted my time? What if it wasn’t truly a passion and it was just a way to hide from all the bad I was feeling in my life. It was a negative environment that supported the negative thoughts I was having about myself. But it’s what I know. It’s my identity. It’s a part of me. Do I keep it or throw it away?

Make the call.

Is it weird that our tears taste like the ocean?

Oh come on don’t be salty. Is it that the waves of our mind wipe us away from the thoughts of reality. The current of our stressors pulls us down so we cannot breathe. The sharks that are our thoughts smell the fear that is our blood and bite down with self hatred and judgement. We build boats of self compassion and of kindness. We ride above the waves with enjoyment. Safe and dry. The sun shines down, the seagulls swirl above exclaiming “you’re alive, you’re alive”. Take a deep breathe in. We smell the salt in the air that reminds us of the salt that once poured out of us. It reminds us of how bad it can be. It makes us so thankful for our boats. But sometimes the salt in the air and the wind act as a warning. And as the wind picks up the waves beneath us start to crash louder and louder. The thoughts in our mind are back, wiping away the simplicity from up above. The salt water jumps over the sides of our boat and soak our feet. And suddenly it’s pouring from our eyes. The clouds up above rush over us asking “what’s wrong what’s wrong” and we exclaim “I don’t know!” Our boat starts sinking under the weight of the water. Fish gather to nibble at our skin, peeling away with the water invaded cells; freeing the sadness that they once caged in. The water reaches our mouths and drags us down further, stopping us from finding words to explain. Our breathe is once again gone. Our life is nothing but frantically throwing ourselves threw the waves, no longer sure which way is up. The emergency alert in our boat frantically beeps along with our empty gasps. It struggles to get out a signal. The coast guard finally responds; “why are you so salty?”

Here’s to waking up.

Drop in, dropout

Picture this.

You turn your alarm off as soon as it comes on. You roll over back to sleep with a grin on your face. Your bed is just the right amount of warm and cozy. Your legs stretch out. You’re dreaming of being in the perfect relationship with your ex girlfriend. None of your worries have come to mind. Later you get up. It’s a sunny warm March afternoon. Your roommates have already left for the day so you have the house to yourself. You blast music, drink tea, and make French toast. You get dressed, wearing one of your favourite shirts. You leave the house.

The sun is so nice you think about rolling down the window. Maybe next week, nothing but good weather and good times lies ahead. You take the long way downtown, enjoying the ride, singing to the music. You get booster juice, cause why not treat yourself. What a perfect start to the day. Then you park in front of the drop in counselling center, play your sad song over and over again, trying your best to keep in the tears, but they sneak out the corners of your eyes.

You never leave the car. Just sit there staring at the logo on the door and the people that occasionally walk in or out. You wonder what separates you from them. What makes it so hard for you to find help Chris? Is it something wrong with the system? Is it the stigma cast down on you from society? Why are these people getting help and you aren’t? Maybe you’re just too fucked up. You’ve been coming here for 5 years now. Rarely going inside and never getting better. As if one day an angel will walk out of that door and solve all your problems. What are your problems anyways? I don’t see any. You’re a middle class raised child with financial support from your family living in a world full of opportunity. You’re too lazy to go to class, too lazy to get a real job. But you still end up at the bar every Saturday night, the first one to shout “let’s do shots”.

What’s your excuse again? Oh right. ‘Depression’ how could I forget. So you’re just tired all the time? Then why do I always see you at the gym or at the rink? It doesn’t make sense.

You should do something about this. You get out of your car. You walk to the entrance.

You reach for the handle.

But nothing reaches back.

Goodnight, maybe I’ll try going again tomorrow.

Real Men Go To Work

Toxic Masculinity and “being a man” somehow got mixed up into meaning the same thing. And it’s sickening. Toxic masculinity is not strength. It is weak. And it is good for no one.

The ‘manliest’ man struggles because he cannot ask for help. Men discourage men because the conversation can never be about the last time you cried or the person you care most about.

And what is the result? Nothing less than a swipe right movement. The conversations about how many women you’ve slept with. And it’s never about their names.  It’s never about who they are.  It’s only about the notches on the belt.

The same belt that beats down the hopeful imagination of young boys.

The same belt that hangs from a ceiling fan because a man would rather tighten his neck than loosen his heart.

The belt that holds up pants which cover up your real manhood. The pants that disguise your sense of being a man with a fake sense of belonging and a false confidence that spreads like wildfire.

Truth is real men don’t need belts. Real men wear pants that fit.

Pants that wrap around their bodies comfortably, accepting the imperfections of their body just as they accept the bodies of real women instead of sizing them up to unrealistic standards. Pants that trail down to the top of work boots.

Work boots that go to work for equal rights for all human kind.

Work boots that go to work using their strength to protect the people who feel weak. To use the power in their voice for the people who are not heard.

They are not boots that stomp over the people below. Crumbling their pride, their confidence, or their consent.

Real men grab a hat as they leave for work. Not a hat that hides their true intentions and protects them from any consequences. But a hat that humbles them of their privileges and sets them out to do good.

Real men take sticks of gum and take time to chew on their words instead of spitting out insults, judgments and sexist remarks.

Real men have eyes that see the beauty in women instead of casting down shame on their image.

Men are taught to measure twice and to cut once. Measure your self-worth, build it up, and cut others some slack.  Don’t measure to show off how big you are and cut other people down.

Real men wear dirty shirts. Shirts covered in blood sweat and tears. The blood from their mother that taught them how to treat a woman.  The sweat from chasing after their goals and passions. And the tears that they cry when it all seems a little too hard.

Not the blood of your victims, the sweat from others doing your work, and the tears of the girls you’ve left behind.

Real men go to work. You can pick them out of the crowd by the gas masks they wear to protect themselves from the toxic masculinity that surrounds them. The toxic masculinity that closes in on them and asks what notch of the belt they’re on.

But I say don’t worry. I know my privileges. I am a white male in North America.  I have more opportunity than anyone else on the planet. And yet it sickens me to be a part of this stereotype. A stereotype that is all to true.  A stereotype that reads ‘rape’ all over headlines.

To have girls tell me that my friends have taken advantage of them but no one else can know. Because the verbal assault that follows might be worse than the physical.

To have men all around me cheat and lie

And when they tell their buddies it results in high fives

Cause you got laid bro.

And this is what manhood is. But you’re such a man because you get up and go to work in the morning.

Real men go to work.

They go to work for the ones who can’t.

The High

What was the last thing you truly wanted?

I feel like I’m living a life that ain’t mine.

And every time i share some of my mental health story to the public, and i get positive feedback, I feel a glimpse of what my life should be.

Sometimes I feel so high that I envision myself being famous, I envision myself being known world wide as an advocate for mental health, i see myself helping people through their struggles on a daily basis. I see myself in a movie.  And i see it so vividly that i believe it to be true. Like there is no way that this doesn’t happen.  Because i am meant for greatness and it is only a matter of time before i rise to it.

Sometimes i feel so low that i cant get out of bed and get something to eat because i am  not worthy of life.  I cant get out of this darkness because if someone sees me trying to escape it they will spit on me and shove me back down into the dungeon that is my head.

Every time I write I am trying to get people to understand what I am going through every minute of everyday. My mind does not take a break.  And i will keep writing because i will never find a way to explain exactly how it feels.

People don’t understand the high.  I feel so good, so full of energy.  Cocaine couldn’t begin to understand the high that my own brain can give me.  There is absolutely nothing in the world that could bring me down.  One day someone broke into my car and stole my stuff and I didn’t hesitate for a second.  They must’ve needed that stuff more than me.  Isn’t the circle of life beautiful? The world balances itself out and I can just keep living, keep smiling.

Wouldn’t a normal response be hey my sh*t just got stolen that kinda sucks?

People don’t understand the low.  There is literally a voice inside my head screaming at my every move, my every thought.  The voice is me.  The voice isn’t ME.  The voice doesn’t go away it just is quiet sometimes and louder at other times.  My mind almost always knows whats best, but my voice shuts it down a lot.  My thoughts go hey Chris you’re feeling down because you’ve been in bed all day. Maybe if you just get out of bed your head will clear up a bit.  My voice goes Chris you’ve been in bed all day because that is all you’re good for.  I go but voice I gotta make it to class today.  My voice says but everyone will see you and I’ll tell them how fucked up you are and everyone will judge you.  What would you do?

I work and I work.  I have a civil war between my ears.  It is all about the small victories.  The voice told me I can’t get out of bed today.  So I don’t get my homework done. But I make it to class.  Win.  I play it off like I was too cool to do my homework.  I get a couple more wins.  I make it to the gym or out for a run.  I get the good drugs pumping through my head.  I get a couple more wins.  I keep battling.  I keep working at it.  You don’t think I can get out of bed? Too bad, I’m f*cking doing it. And then one day I wake up and the sun is shining.

Right now I’m waiting for that day.  And it can’t come soon enough.

I WANT this voice to f*ck off.

Cause this life ain’t mine.

Moments of Bliss

It’s about moments. Moments of bliss. We do it all. We battle. We get up when we can’t stand. We shout when we have no words. We listen when we can’t hear outside our own head. We feel for others when we cannot feel ourselves.

We hear people tell us that it gets better. We do not believe them. But we keep going. We go minutes, hours, days, weeks, months without hope. We keep going. Why? We battle. All for those moments. We don’t know when they come. We cannot always create them. But they are life. Moments of bliss. When you are surrounded by friends and loved ones and you realize that you are just laughing in the moment. You escape all the darkness. And by the time you have come to the realization of this moment, it is already gone. Quicker then it came. But it was bliss. We get up. We eat. We shower. We go to work. We go to school. We battle to do all the things that we are supposed to be able to do everyday. It is so hard. We keep going. We will never stop. Why? Moments of bliss. They are magical. They are what makes us alive. They are ineffable and unexplainable. And they will always come again, no matter how long they disappear for. So we keep going. Because all of the struggles are worth it.

Even if.

It is only for a moment.

“All I want is

And all I need is

To find somebody

I’ll find soMEbody”