For My Fellow Survivors ❤️

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For my fellow survivors ❤️
 
It says on pill bottles as a disclaimer, do not operate heavy machinery. The irony in all of this, is trauma is heavy fucking machinery, which is to say, I’m not giving you permission. But if you ever decided it was too much and you wanted to rip yourself from the soil of this world, I would understand”
 
Sometimes, I feel like my heart is doing okay. And then, without warning, something wrenches it open and I come undone. I listened to this spoken word poem today and came completely and utterly undone. Because as people who have survived trauma, this is the kind of validation we need. We need to know it’s okay to feel what we feel, no matter how dark, no matter how terrifying, no matter how uncomfortable it makes others feel. Rarely do I allow myself that validation. Instead I tell myself I’m fine. I tell everyone else I’m fine. So goddamn fine. Except, some days I’m not fine.
 
Today I’m not fine.
 
There are days I still wake up so damn tired; beaten before the day has even begun. Beaten by the memories and the flashbacks and the triggers and the demons and the shame and the anxieties and the fears and the way these things seem to find me in the night while the rest of the world sleeps and leave me feeling like a small girl in a big world; so very alone and afraid. I woke up today like this; the graveyard of my heart dug open in the night and me, too weary to fight against it. To outrun it. To stay above it. To shovel the dirt upon it once more.
 
“You will feel broken. It is okay to feel broken. Broken is where the healing begins. This is where we begin. This is where we begin again, and again, and again.”
 
Healing doesn’t come in straight lines and even spaces. It is a wayward journey that brings us back to the places we need to be broken once again; that after the breaking, eventually, we will know the rising.
 
But for today, I am reminded it’s okay to be broken. It’s okay to feel this way. It’s okay to begin again. Today, I am reminded I am not alone in this.
 
“You, survivor, are still here.”
 
I am still here. You are still here.
 
And by god, the world will see us bloom.

She Might Be Beautiful, But She Will Never Compare To You

And she’s beautiful, the girl in the Instagram posts. All perfect smile and perfect tan and perfect proportions. You wonder what it would take to look like her.

If he would notice you more if you did.

In your head, you begin to calculate how many less calories you would need to become that thin. The amount of sit-ups it would take to get abs that defined. The cost of laser hair removal and breast enhancements and anti-wrinkle injections and teeth whitening.

Filled with inadequacy, your heart sinks. You know how much it would take to even come close to comparison; how much it would take to grasp a standard of beauty you know you’ll never measure up to. One you’re not sure you even want to try and measure up to.

Dear woman, you forget.

You forget she may be all those things.

But she isn’t you.

She isn’t the strength of your body that has brought forth life and risen above death; battle-scarred and weary but held together with the resilience and determination of the warrior spirit that blazes beneath your bones.

She isn’t the complexity of your mind, the paint strokes of colour and swirl like the starry night of Van Gogh’s imagination; the intelligence, the creativity, the emotion, but also the tangled knots of questions and doubts and fears; the blisters on your fingers from how much it has taken to unravel the distorted lies of your foundation to uncover the truth that now radiates from your existence.

She isn’t the beads of light behind your eyes that glimmer with the hidden mysteries of your soul. The quick wit you carry inside the cadence of your laughter. The words of courage you fearlessly speak to those who need them. The helpless tears that overflow from your heart for those who suffer around you.

She isn’t the love that rushes through your blood or the passion that douses your veins; the untamed wildfire that aches to be set alight by the strike of his fingers against your skin.

She isn’t vulnerability disguised as bravery.

She isn’t the taste of hope mingled with quiet apprehension as she learns to lean on trust once more.

She isn’t you.

And maybe he’ll never see that. Maybe he’ll never see beyond the surface of a woman’s skin; beyond an image on a screen, beyond a superficial ideal, beyond an unrealistic standard.

But maybe you deserve better anyway.

Because she might be beautiful.

But she will never compare to you.

And the only person who needs to see that, is you.

– ©️ Kathy Parker 2018 –

And I’m Not Sorry For Choosing Me

The more I begin to heal the less I find myself apologising for it.

It would be easy to say sorry.

Sorry for the ways I have pulled away.

Sorry for the ways I have let you down.

Sorry for the messages I have not replied to.

Sorry for the calls I have not answered.

Sorry for my absence.

Sorry for my silence.

Sorry I can no longer meet your expectations.

Sorry I can no longer meet your needs.

Sorry I can no longer put your needs above my own.

Except, I’m not sorry.

Because, the thing is, it isn’t me that needs to heal.

It’s the little girl within me; the wounded child that nobody protected. Or stood up for. Or put first. Or made to feel mattered.

The girl who was not heard, or seen.

The girl who grew up believing the needs of others were more important than her own.

That her body was not her own.

That her voice would never be heard.

That she wasn’t worth the respect of others.

That love was something to be earned.

That boundaries could be crossed by whoever so pleased.

That her value was not in what she could give, but only in what others could take.

I am fighting for her, because no one else ever did.

I am putting her first, because no one else ever did.

I am standing between her and the world; honouring her, protecting her, nurturing her, allowing her the time and space to mend the brokenness without more being taken when there is nothing left to give; without more of the world pulling her in every direction with its demands and expectations.

Because she matters. Because I matter.

I am choosing to heal the way I need to; my time, my way.

I am choosing me.

And I will no longer apologise for that.

– ©️ Kathy Parker 2018 –

My Name is Kathy Parker and Last Night I F*cked Up The Most Important Poem of The Year For Me (The Power of Shame)

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt.
 
Last night I competed in the final heat of the 2018 Australian Poetry Slam competition, fighting for a place in the top 10 of the South Australian final next week. There’s not really any words that would do more justice to my performance than to say I totally, totally fucked it up. I forgot a line, and it threw me in a way I struggled to recover from which left me unable to regain focus and stumbling my way to the end of possibly the worst performance of my life. Granted, it may have remained slightly short of a complete train wreck, perhaps just a single car crash with no fatalities to speak of, but either way, it was devastating to see something I had worked so hard for fall through my fingers in such a way; kind of like a naked dream or falling off a cliff – horrifying to watch unfold yet powerless to do anything but pray everyone will have drunk enough they may not remember it in the morning.
 
I could sit here and blame any number of factors – it had been a stretch just to get there, I had only managed to give myself a matter of a days to learn a new two-minute spoken word piece, it came at the end of a week that had been stressful and hard, I hadn’t slept well for the week leading up to it, I’d driven four hours to get there and was already fatigued before it started etc etc. But the fact is, I could have stood in front of that mic completely prepared and still messed up because that kind of shit happens to the best of us sometimes, no matter what.
 
It would be easy to spiral down the rabbit hole of failure and self-loathing about now; to believe the old voices that are busting for a chance to remind me how much of a loser I am. Instead, today I remind myself I am human. That means I fall, and I fail, and I fuck up. But it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that I get up and brush the dirt from my knees and carry on. Giving up is not an option. Believing I am worthless because I didn’t meet my self-imposed standards is not an option. Hating on myself because of my humanity is not an option. And hiding from the world because part of me believes I’m no longer good enough or worthy enough to call myself a performance poet is not an option, as much as shame would have me believe that. But I’ve done the shame thing, and it didn’t end well, so I no longer allow that bitch to have any power over my life and worth anymore. What I now understand about shame is that it thrives in the dark places of our lives – the moment we expose it, the moment we speak it out loud, it loses its power over us.
 
So. My name is Kathy Parker and last night I totally fucked up the most important poem of the year for me because I’m flawed and messy and imperfect and make mistakes and fall often and fail often and that’s cool because that’s what makes me human. I’m also brave, and strong, and resilient, and determined, and fervent, hold no pretence and refuse to quit. And last night, I finished my poem. In spite of everything, I got to the end of that goddamn poem and did what I came to do. Because that’s all that mattered to me. Not winning. Not being the best. But showing up with the courage to be vulnerable and do something that scares me, simply because it scares me, simply because I choose to overcome my fear and be braver than I was yesterday. And knowing that even if I fail, at least I fail while daring greatly.
 
Congratulations to the ten incredible, well deserving finalists who will compete next week for a place at the national final in Sydney – I am in awe of the talent that Adelaide has lurking in these spoken word corners, and also props to the guys at Spoken Word SA who foster and nurture this talent through the opportunities and events they organise and make happen. So thankful to know, and be part of, such an amazing group of people.
 
Get your tickets to the SA Poetry Slam State Final here – will be a brilliant night!
 
Much love x

I Am Not Interested In Fast Love

I am not interested in fast love

in this world which moves at the speed

of alarm clocks and bullet trains.

I desire to be unhurried;

idle summer and vinyl reminiscence,

where the only measure of time is

the count of your pulse; my breath.

Love me not with haste, but

make me wane with anticipation

until my skin is parched, then

soak red-wine kisses

into every pore,

slowly,

so I am still drunk when the dawn arrives.

Unearth me with deliberate fingers;

count every rib, memorise every slope

and surge,

work your hands through the dark soil

of my body, leave nowhere unturned.

Tell me stories of days before we met

while I fall in love with the sound

of your voice whispered against my neck.

Love me with the music of Sunday morning lovers,

adagio;

carve symphonies of desire into my bones

before time takes from us once more.

Love me with the illusion of forever

pressed between our mouths,

for I have grown so distant of this life

filled with fast promise and pretence,

that all I desire is to be loved

long enough

to feel it.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker ~

And Sometimes This Is Healing

And sometimes healing is oceans upon shorelines; tides that crash upon the thirst of empty sands, replenishing all the midday sun has scorched from our dry bones, made full once more until the moon calls the tide back again and suddenly we, too, feel pulled back to where we once came from. We clench our toes into sand that crumbles beneath our feet, powerless to fight against the grip of the tide; once again at the mercy of waves we can no longer find the strength to keep our head above anymore.

But here’s the thing about the ocean. She is forever a contradiction; wild yet gentle, fierce yet calm, rising yet falling, taking; yet always giving back. A coming together and pulling apart; the universe as it dances to the music of the night sky.

This, too, is how we heal; forward, then back again.

Such is the ebb and flow of our existence.

There is no right way to heal. We will rise, and fall. We will triumph, and fail. One day we will stand on shorelines, soaking saltwater healing into our pores; the next, we will find ourselves pulled below by our pain once more.

We must allow ourselves these undulations; forgive ourselves for the frailty of which we cling to at times. For it’s when we resist these laws of nature we struggle the most; yet is this not what the ocean comes to teach us, whispering her secrets to our parched souls: healing comes the moment we surrender to grace.

~ ©️ Kathy Parker ~

I Am Learning How To Be Lonely

I am learning how to be lonely.

How to not reach for another to lessen this ache in my ribs when I have known no other way.

I am learning how to not fear the silence; to be still with this hollow chest and no longer fill the space you once belonged with shallow distraction.

I am learning things I should already know, but was not taught; instead raised to hold a man’s sovereignty before my own.

I am learning I am more than what I was taught.

I am learning what I am worth.

I am learning I am worth these hard things.