What It Means To Love The Girl With The Guarded Heart


There is nothing simple about loving the girl with the guarded heart.

She is not convinced by flowers and fancy dinners, nor won over by compliments and praise. In the beginning she is a slow dance, one step toward you, another step back, as she learns to trust the ways of your heart and the strength of your arms. The dance may be slow but it cannot be rushed, for she will sense the impatience of your steps and the way they fall out of time with hers. Dance with her. Follow the measure of her steps and in time, she will soon look to follow yours.

She will not show you her heart all at once, instead offer you a little at a time, unhurried and watchful of the way you hold each fragile piece. She longs for you to understand how much it takes her to show you these pieces; for you to trace your fingers over the scars left behind from others, to feel the whisper of your breath against her neck as you promise to hold her heart with more care than those who came before. There are parts of her heart that remain unreachable, parts she has buried under layers she will never reveal. Love these parts of her, the parts unseen, the shadows of her soul. For even the sky knows without darkness, the stars cannot adorn us with their light.

She will watch you closer than you realise, listen to every word you speak and weigh it against every action, searching for inconsistencies, seeking the truth of your word and the intention of your heart. Not because she can’t trust you, but because she is cautious, alert, wary; the stories of her past still etched upon her mind. She isn’t ready to trust her heart with you. Not yet. Not until she knows you are a man of your word, a man of steadfast hands and unchanging ways.

There is a part of her that will always remain a little detached, ready to run if she thinks her heart will get damaged again. She no longer believes in second chances, having used all of them on those undeserving of such grace. To hurt her means to lose her, for she would sooner be alone than risk losing the life she has fought so damn hard to rebuild with her own wearied hands. She isn’t there because she needs you. She doesn’t need anyone. She’s there because she has chosen you, because she wants you, because she believes you are worth the risk. And all she asks is for you not to prove her wrong in the chance she has taken, for it has cost her more than you know.

She will need more reassurance than most, she will need you to stay present, available, mindful of her scars. She will think too much, talk too little, cry too often, ask too many questions, struggle to rest in your love. She is complex. Complicated. Perplexing. Sometimes difficult.

But beyond her guarded heart lies a soul that contains the wonders of the universe. One that longs to live and love with abandon, that desires connection and intimacy and to be in relationship with someone who sees both her beauty and her scars, and knows how to fall in love with both.

She holds within her a fierce spirit; brave, strong, courageous, unrelenting; yet is also the quiet and the calm, a place to take shelter against the fury of the wind on storm-filled days. She is nurture, she is passion. She is a touch of madness against ordinary skies, a vulnerable heart with a fearless soul, a barefoot warrior who follows no trails but sets her own path.

She is grounded in her truth, accepting of her flaws, far from perfect but closer to real than most. She is wildflowers and ocean currents and meadows that dance upon the breath of summer winds, uncontained in earthly beauty and free in spiritual grace.

Broken, she knows what it means to suffer. But out of the depths of her suffering, she has come to understand love. And her guarded heart waits for the one who understands it too.

No, there may be nothing simple about loving the girl with the guarded heart.

But every day you choose to love her, she’ll prove to you why she’s worth it.

Photo courtesy James Forbes via unsplash.com

Haunted Houses 

And beneath my skin lie the graves

Of past lives I have laid to rest

But still, the ghosts of my sorrows

Emerge from dust-filled crevices 

And rattle the cages of my bones  

“Hush,” I tell them 

For I have been taught to fear my darkness 

To bury it with guilt, cover it with shame 

My corrupt flesh, my blemished soul 

Yet I cannot fear the ghosts 

That steal amid my tombs of anguish 

Instead, their presence reminds me 

We’re all just haunted houses 

Yet to understand 

How frighteningly beautiful

We really are. 

© Kathy Parker 

The Veil Of Shame


Dear woman, pick up your heavy burdens
You have dwelled long enough
In your spaces of regret
In your shadows of remorse
Take off your clothes of mourning
Remove the veil from your eyes
And run barefoot through golden fields
Call out to the wind
Tell her to blow to the corners of the world
Gather all that was once yours
And bring it back to where it belongs
All you have lost
All you have given away
All you have sacrificed
All you have traded
In the name of the love you cast
To drought-stricken hearts
Feel it sweep upon you
Rush through your wild hair
Fall onto hungry skin
Filter through famished bones
Soak into hollow lungs
Until all the stars in the galaxies
And the particles of the universe
Are held inside your heartbeat once more
Then revel in your untamed beauty
And set the world afire with your glory
For you soul was not made to be hidden
Underneath a veil of shame
That was never yours to wear

~ © Kathy Parker ~

Creativity Matters: Jumping Without A Parachute

With the year still fresh and shiny I’ve been thinking lately about my goals and direction for the coming 12 months.

After much thought, I have decided I will no longer continue to write for Elephant Journal.

While having that kind of exposure can be of benefit, I can simply no longer advocate an organisation who do not pay their writers, yet still demand exclusive ownership and rights of their articles. Many other journals/websites have asked permission to republish my articles and I have not been able to allow them this, as I no longer own the rights to my own work. The ones who *have* published my articles unknowingly, have been threatened with legal action if the article is not removed in 24 hours. And so while I continue to receive no payment for my articles, I can no longer support an organisation who essentially don’t support me in allowing me the rights to my own work.

This is not about financial gratification for work submitted (because that is an entire subject within itself) but rather about the issue of writers being exploited to increase the platform of another at the detriment of their own career. Essentially, it is about writers being treated with fairness and not being taken advantage of for the sake of exposure.

Also, I have decided to step down from my HuffPost platform. This is partly due to feeling they do not have the best interests of their writers at heart, and partly because I feel my writing has evolved and changed and no longer suits their audience.

These decisions have not come easily, but after some soul searching have realised my only reason for holding onto both of these platforms is simply: vanity, pride and ego. The belief that to have ‘Huffpost’ attached to my byline means I am taken more seriously as a writer. It means I sound more important, and therefore *must* be more important, and obviously a far better writer because of it. Except, when something no longer sits well within your heart, you know it is no longer the right thing to do. It’s about being authentic to your values, your beliefs, and your truest self.

So from here I have decided jump without a parachute and write primarily for myself, and will only consider my work for publication in places I feel align with my values and have the best interest of their writers at heart. This will mostly mean I will still receive no payment for my articles, but will retain the ownership and rights to my own work.

I feel encouraged and supported by you all, and feel I have enough of my own readership now, and I’m excited at investing my time and energy into building my own career, not someone else’s.

The writing industry is no easy feat. Most of what is published is unpaid. The work that does get paid is rarely more than $20-$50 per article, and that is after you jump through endless hoops to get that work published. It is competitive and cut-throat, mostly tainted with hard work and rejection. It is constant self-promotion in the hope your voice will somehow be heard amidst the shouts of hundreds of thousands of others all trying to be heard too. It is having to pay money just for Facebook posts to show up in your news feed. It is hours of unseen work, of self-doubt and perseverance and fighting the constant voice in your head that tells you to get a *real* job and stop wasting your time at something that doesn’t even matter.

Except, it does matter. Creativity matters. Art matters. Beauty matters.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” ~ Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society.

Support those who create. Not just writers, but all artists. Follow their social media accounts. Like their work, share their work, encourage them in their work. Subscribe to their blogs, share their website with a friend. These are people who are creating art to bring beauty to this world, to bring healing, to bring joy and light and to make us stop and think and feel. Usually at the sacrifice of income, sleep, time with their family, and often their sanity. We need the poets and the painters and the music makers and the sculptors and all the artists between. Don’t let the small voices who are struggling to be heard lose heart and fall by the wayside. Give them your love and support, they need it.

From my heart to yours <3


How We Are Changed In The Aftermath Of Trauma

Loneliness_by_mehrdadart 2.jpg

Morning sun radiates its warmth into my skin.

There is only me in this place where gentle waves caress my feet and golden sand stretches for miles, untouched in soft light and daybreak silence.

Once, I would have revelled in a moment like this. My hopeful blue eyes would have taken in every remnant of the scene before me, my heart unable to do anything more than burst wide open at the delight of it all.

But today, I am unmoved by beauty. Just as I was yesterday. As I have been every day for longer than I care to remember. Where beauty would have once soaked into my bones and renewed my soul, it no longer reaches me.

I am untouchable.

This is the aftermath of trauma; the way it has changed me, broken me.

My life now exists behind a glass pane. I see the world around me, but it is muted, dulled. Once upon a time I felt too much, I now feel too little, if anything at all. Emotions overwhelm me, I am not able to process them anymore. Behind the glass I am protected from the onslaught of them. I observe them. But I am not ready to feel them. Not yet.

I try to hear the words my heart used to speak but they elude me. My heart remains silent, as does my mind, both of them worn out from the fight, loyal soldiers who spent too long on the frontline and no longer have the will to persevere. “Courage, dear heart,” I say, but my heart is not ready to listen. It is not ready to trust. It is not ready to once again believe the world is good, people are good. In the absence of its voice, I hear only the faint murmur of disconnected beats. Though not dead, I am anything but alive.

Disoriented, I find no rest in the spaces my presence once filled. I wonder who this woman is. She is no longer who she used to be, yet does not know what she is supposed to become. I am lost and confused as I wander through this no-man’s land; homesick and in search of a place to find shelter and rest, yet I continue to find only paths lined with thistle and thorns and my soul longs for a place that is not promised to me anyway.

My heart no longer lies upon my sleeve, I am a patchwork frame, gaping holes roughly sewn with clinical sutures. No longer will I wear my heart for the world to see. No longer will the world destroy it with razor-sharp tongues and cruel-intentioned hands while I am left to pick up the mess though I can barely pick myself up off the floor. I am withdrawn. Insular. I trust no-one, let no-one close, reach out for no-one in the night when the silence becomes so frighteningly loud I cannot stand it.

I have forgotten how to create, for my creativity was nurtured through beauty. And while beauty no longer touches me, neither can creativity emerge. My page is filled with scrawls and scribbles, useless words with no heart and no meaning, angry lines drawn through even angrier words.

I am exhausted but never sleep, instead caught in this bitter paradox that only exacerbates my inability to function. I am preoccupied by thoughts that lack clarity, distracted by fears that lack certainty.

Trauma. The emotional response to an extremely negative event.

Those around me are uncomfortable with my response. They would rather I just find a way to deal with it, get over it. Mess on the floor makes people nervous. But I refuse to force myself to smile to please a world that likes everything to look pretty.

Trauma has no rules. We grasp our way through the darkness and reach for whatever we can to steady ourselves. We cannot rush the work of healing. We cannot rush our hearts to find their courage once more.

For now, life behind the glass pane is where I cannot be touched, hurt, broken. It is where I watch the world with cautious eyes until the day comes when I feel safe once more to exist within it. And on that day, I will step out from behind the glass. The sun will warm my weary limbs and beauty will graze my tentative soul.

And in that moment, I will know the healing has begun.

Image: Loneliness, courtesy mehrdadart.

Dandelion Heart


Your dandelion heart blows in the breeze
Pieces scattered amongst all you meet
In the hope a seed will fall upon one
Who longs to nurture the beauty of your soul
Instead the pieces land upon barren fields
And wither in the parched soil
Of shallow hearts and thoughtless hands
Dear heart, gather the seeds back to yourself
They were never made for those who trample
Their careless strides upon fragile birth
Place them inside your empty chest
Until once more your heart is complete
Until all you are set apart to be
Begins to burst forth
In the rich earth of your glorious flesh and bones.