Sitting in a room alone feeling crowded
The voices in the head screaming again
Yelling louder to try and drown them out
Nothing seems to be working anymore

Locking yourself in a vault seems plausible
Until they learn the combination
Escaping is near impossible
Locked in this cell with the voices lying once again

Blood curling screams deafening your ear drums
Goosebumps forming as the fear sets in
Four walls don’t surround
Yet you are trapped with nowhere to run

Grabbing anything you can find
You try and mute the sound
Another dying night in this purgatory
Balancing between the living and the dead

The voices deceiving you once more
Getting louder and louder to an almost unbearable volume
Not much more can you take
Before giving in and doing what they say or ending it all

Locked down against your will
You struggle to stay above water
Slowly slipping you do all in your power not to succumb
To demons powerfully dragging you down

©Writing the Rose
27 August 2019


Digital World

A split second decision can change a life forever. Do we ever really stop and think before we make a move? How many of us send something without thinking about where the image or message might end up? In our new way of living in this digital world, we have to think even more about the choices we make. A picture meant for fun, might be the thing that comes back and haunts you. A slew of words could be the factor that causes someone to end their life. All of these things must be considered very carefully when playing online, as it is quick to turn to fire if put into the wrong hands.
Make one wrong move and your reputation might be ruined forever. You might lose out on that dream job, dream person, or maybe more. You can erase all you want, but it will forever be embedded in the dark web, taunting you from a distance. You might think the person you are talking to across the screen is someone you can trust, but how can you really be sure. There are so many creeps and sickos lurking, looking for their next pray. Hoping to get someone to give them exactly what they want and then take it and use it against you. You might think it is an innocent sexy photo, until it ends up in hands you never wanted it to. Making you feel disgusted and violated, the picture misconstrued to be something it was not originally intended to and wishing you could go back in time and change your decision at that very moment that you pressed send. Making decisions like these in a split second might make you feel beautiful in the moment, but what about the next day, month or year? Would you still want to post this picture? Will it be worth it? Ninety-nine percent of you will agree, the answer is no. A moment of gratification has become our lives that we don’t stop and think about what happens later on, how we will feel, or how others will perceive us. I am guilty of that and have had to live with the disgust, my one split second action caused.
Feeling disgusted because someone screen shots a picture and tried to change it into something it wasn’t, all because I decided I no longer wanted to send sexy photos. I have felt the shame and regret and had to swallow a hard pill in the form of a lesson that could have cost me a lot. Beating myself up for making a mistake, no matter how stupid it was, still a mistake. A mistake I don’t like to give myself a break on. Reminding myself how I shouldn’t go along with the crowd and shouldn’t let others drag me into their wild games. I have had to kick myself for actions I have done, pictures sent, words said, all in the name of online fun. Except is it really fun when it can directly impact your daily life? Not so much. When I have to worry about a picture being safe, then it never really was fun. I was just caught up in the brief moment of weakness of playing along with the in crowd. A lesson that I had to learn and was not a pretty one either. The goal is that as long as you learn from your lesson, then you can give yourself a break from past mistakes. Right your wrongs, take back your self-respect and don’t let anyone try and drag you down with them. That is when, you can raise your head up high and walk on, even if they will keep trying to pull you down. A picture can be erased, but words can be imprinted forever.
Do you think about the words you say in a message to someone? Maybe you think it is a cute joke, but your cruel words may be what sends them over the edge. Their day so bad and feeling like they have no escape, you put the final dagger in their back, and they break. Not realizing your words have power online is the most dangerous crime. People always present themselves as something they may not be online, feeling either safe to be themselves or be someone else. You never know what someone is dealing with, and with so many attention seekers in this world, you can’t be sure who is real and who is out for the glory. People always trying to seem more important than they are because they feel inadequate in the real world are the ones who seem to spew the most venom without worry about consequences. Making it their mission to appear to be someone important, they are usually the individuals that are the most lost. They don’t care about others and will go out of their way to embarrass or expose them. Only exposing their insecurities in the process.
Words they write that flash across the screen, words of disrespect and belittling, can not be erased from the mind of the person they are directed towards. Words cut deeper than physical wounds because we internalize them. We twist them to make our insecurities true and tear at ourselves deeper, letting the wound penetrate to the soul. These kinds of actions are despicable and the words even more so. Your decision to post a nasty message with a cruel insult may trigger someone who has been bullied all their lives. It might drive them to become bitter and angry, or worse make them continue the trend. Rethink the message and try to address all you encounter with positivity and understanding. It will make everything better and will make you feel better inside as well. You cannot take back the words you say, once you hit send. There is no retract button, once it is out in the inner web, it stays there. Delude yourself all you want by deleting the message, someone has seen them, someone can spread your original message. Make the decision not to send the message, if you don’t want to be responsible for the consequences that might occur if it goes sour. Walk away from the drama and don’t incite it, it will make your life so much better.
We make decisions all day, every day, yet the ones we make online tend to be the ones we don’t put as much thought into as the others. You wouldn’t walk down the street in your lingerie or shout racial slurs and death threats at everyone who walked by. At least I hope you would have better sense than to do those things. You wouldn’t knowingly break the law because you know the end result could very well be you behind bars, your freedom taken away. Yet the decisions we make online are so haphazard, not thinking about anything other than the instant gratification we will receive if someone likes our photo, leaves a comment, or shares our post. That is not living, that is existing for the purpose of likes. A whole world is outside the internet, yet we spend so much time making bad decisions that we get trapped into its appeal. You can be a keyboard warrior trying to make others feel worse about themselves, while you get some sick pleasure out of the experience. You can be a sex kitten who always posts sexy photos and has no sense of caring that these photos might end up in the wrong hands, leading to a black mail situation or worse, a stalker. Thinking you are safe because a screen separates you, when reality that screen is not very protective at all.
Thinking twice about what you do and say in life, will make you a better person and a more thoughtful one. Paying close attention to what you post online will help you as well, because it will keep you protected from all the predators that are out there. A decision only takes a second to make, but you need to be sure that you are comforted by the decision’s outcome. You don’t want to have to worry nonstop about ramifications for the things you are doing online. Being smart is your greatest weapon when it comes to keeping yourself safe in this digital world we live in. Making sure photos we post don’t reveal too much of ourselves or accidentally reveal our locations will help keep you from the dangers of online stalkers turning into real nightmares. Keeping your identity safe by watching what kinds of pictures you post will also keep you from having your life potentially destroyed if those photos ever fall into the wrong hands. Being cautious about the words you say, will help protect you and others from unnecessary drama and stress. Going online should be one way you get a break from the day to day monotony of work, school, etc. Let your online time be used for a positive escape, rather than a negative one. Making steadfast decisions will keep you from enduring what could end up a lifetime of torment and harassment. So, think twice before you just post hastily, not thinking of what could come in the following, days, weeks, months, or years. Your online footprint lasts longer than your analog one. Make sure it’s a good one, full of good and positive decisions, making not only the real world better but also the digital one.

©Writing the Rose
3 September 2019


Sept 9th

As I glanced at my phone this morning, I realized it was almost the ninth of September. Now for most, that may just be an upcoming Monday or the beginning of the work week. For me the 9th of September represents something greater than that. It is my dad’s birthday, a day I can no longer spend with him, as he has passed on to the other side. Every year as it gets closer to this date, it makes me reflect on my dad and reminds me how much I miss him. When I say miss him, I miss the real him, before his disease and addiction took over him and changed him.
My dad was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was 4 years old, he was actually a year older than I am now. I remember him as a superhero at this time. He was a black belt in karate, he hit the gym every single morning and he was always challenging my brother and I physically. I had no idea he was battling anything because he never showed a sign of weakness. I just thought he was a strong and unbeatable force. I was a daddy’s girl, so like all daddy’s girl you never see anything wrong with your dad because the image you have is of a protector who would never let anyone hurt you.
I was my dad’s pride and joy. He would always bring me to work and I would roam the halls of his office building. I would follow him to karate, and I wanted to be like him. He worked hard but knew how to balance work and play. He was always bragging about my latest story and grades to everyone. Always telling me not to listen to others who judge me, because they are only jealous of the talents I have. He taught me to be strong and he always understood me. He was there to rescue me from my mom who did not understand my creative mind and would always try to bring me down. He was my number 1 fan for the longest time.
I gained a love of football because I would always plant myself in the living room when he was watching on Sunday. Even though we were divided house because he was a Raiders fan and I was a 49ers fan, that didn’t keep us from bonding and having a good time. Laughing and making jokes about the other teams players. My dad always making fun of me because I thought Steve Young was cute and had a small crush. I also became a huge fan of sci fi because of him. He introduced me to Star Wars, which might have been bad since at the age of 5, I watched one episode every day after school. I remember him trying to explain Star Trek to me but never understanding but being fantasized by the characters and scenery. He was the one who taught me to ride a bike, play football and soccer, swim, and to be independent. He was the right kind of parenting, being there when I needed him but giving me space to learn out lessons on my own time.
Even when everything fell apart in my childhood, he was still there for me. More so, than my mom and brother, which was surprising to me after I learned about everything. He never turned his back to me, and he never abused me. His discipline was fair, and it made me question why I was acting out in the first place. He made me feel safe and was always telling me what I deserved and that I should accept nothing less. I grew up knowing that no matter what mistakes I made or what I went through he would be there. This was all true until about my sophomore year of high school.
Like I mentioned previously, he was diagnosed with MS and as the years went on, the disease took hold of him. When we moved to Georgia, after several years, he started having more and more incidents. He was hospitalized several times and he could barely walk without the help of a cane or wheelchair. I get my stubbornness to give in to physical ailments from him, because even though he knew he needed help to walk, he didn’t want to give in to not having control of his body. The pain got worse and he could barely function without his own personal pharmacy of drugs. At first, it didn’t seem like a big deal because the doctors were trying to help him stay independent and help the pain. However, soon he started to change.
He turned into an addict, never knowing how he was going to act. His day revolved around his timed medications and going to work. I respect him for the fact that through everything he was able to hold down the job he had been at for over 30 years. He still worked to provide for the family, while he was battling multiple illnesses. In my sophomore year of high school, I was going through a lot and he had always been there for me. The only parent I had to turn to for anything, I slowly lost that. He was no longer coherent. If he was, it was not the same resilience and advice he once had to give. I felt as if the roles had changed and now I had to be the parent of him because he was constantly coming to me with his problems. This was so overwhelming because I was barely holding on to life at the time. Depressed and hating my own life, this threw me over the edge.
I remember I spent a year not wanting to be around him, trying to destroy the image from my childhood of this hero who had my back and kept me safe. I became bitter and my darkness grew filling the entire house. My brother off at college, I was the only there who had to deal and watch my father turn into addict and slowly kill himself. Ironically, this pissed off my suicidal self. Here I was wishing the cut would be deep enough but yet I thought he was a coward for hurting himself with pain meds. Never realizing that part of his demise was actually partially my fault. So many times, he tried to save me from myself. In moments of clarity he would try and reach me, but I was so engulfed by my negativity I couldn’t see it. Instead of trying to understand him and have empathy, my darkness made me turn my emotions of grief into hate. The hate causing me to get into fights with him over nothing and pushing his limits. Actions occurred that I wish I could take back and I was pushing him to the edge because I couldn’t deal with my own life and watch his go down the drain as well. For someone who wanted to be gone from this world so badly, I was never one who could sit by idly and watch another do the same. This caused a big rift in our relationship because we were one and the same. We both were fighting demons and it seemed like whenever we encountered one another, we were lining them up to do battle against one another.
Still he was my dad, and I couldn’t give up on him. When I ran away in senior year, my dad scoured my room looking for clues as to where I might be. When I returned, he was the first one to pull me aside and encourage me to continue publishing my writing. Telling me that my gift was one that needed to be shared, no matter how dark the subject material was. For that moment, he was the father I remembered. While I did feel exposed because I always hating people cracking into my writing sanctuary and reading anything without my permission. I took his words to heart and started publishing more stuff. I entered contests left and write with poetry and short stories, winning some and losing others. It gave me a drive to succeed. I started up my writing business again, making some nice side cash. It helped me focus on the alternative magazine I created with a best friend while interning with others. It pushed me to make connections in the literary and music world and really work towards what I wanted to do. So, while I felt exposed and violated by his infiltration into my literary world, his words pushed me to get back on track. He was once again, full of inspiration and telling me not to listen to the haters and just push through and do what I need to do to be happy in this world.
He was the one who supported me when I decided to postpone college to live a dream. His support far outweighing the cries of me being a failure by my mom. Once I left though, everything went downhill fast. I was lost in my own world. Surrounding by friends and colleagues, shows almost every night, working and having fun. My dad was spiraling into a worst state. I never called, not even to check in. I mean when you are 19, you always think your parents will be fine without you around. Plus, I was selfish and living my own life without them, so I didn’t see the need to expose myself to the toxicity of the household.
When I came to visit, my dad was worse off. He was slurring words, could barely walk. At first I thought it was the MS taking hold of his brain, as this happens as it spreads through the body. However, I realized this wasn’t the case when he overdosed on opiates. That was when I realized the drugs were starting to win and he couldn’t survive without pain killers and was abusing them. I tried to help him, as I had watched friends slip into this vicious cycle. There was no helping him, he didn’t want it. Relapses and overdoses became a way of life. I grew tired, and when I moved back in, it was too much to bare. My want to help him started to turn into a sense of wanting to control him from hurting others. I would drive him to appointments to keep him off the road, often rearranging my schedule to do this. He became selfish and more childlike, our relationship straining.
At night, I would think about the past and the happy images of us playing games, me following along at karate next to him. Watching him get awards at work. I focused on the positivity, while in reality he was slipping. I always remember the day he told me to leave my ex because he was not the type of guy he taught me to look for or marry. How those words held true, but I was too far in that cycle to really process it until later. Eventually I went overseas to Korea, he was having issues, but he had cheated death so many times, I figured he would still be there when I got back. Unfortunately, that was not the case. After a legal issue and my mom throwing him into a home, refusing to give anyone the contact information to get ahold of him. I felt sad. He was my dad and though he had changed over the years, he will always be the positive influence from my childhood. I learned of his passing and it made me angry that no one had told me. I felt it though. I felt his presence change, and I could feel him around me. I had a sense he was no longer in the physical world but didn’t find out until later. I felt numb when I found out. Having been away for years, it didn’t hit me until later. I was writing and I broke down. He was gone and all I had were memories. Now was he perfect? Is anyone perfect? No. Did he leave me with issues? No, even though people think he should have because of his behavior. Why did I get away in life without the infamous daddy issues? I focused on the positive. I don’t look at his drug addiction days as him, I look at them as someone else inhabiting his body. Is that healthy? Um, psychology would probably say I was deflecting and ignoring the truth, but it was only part of the truth. You get to choose how you remember people. For me, I have chosen to remember him as the hero from my childhood who was an example of how a man should be. His unconditional love for my mom was amazing to watch as I grew up. The fact that no matter what they went through, he always went out of his way to make her special, even though she was too cold to receive it most of the time. He never stopped. He showed me how men are supposed to treat women and making sure that I knew I was special. I focus on those times. On the times he taught me I was one of a kind, and that I shouldn’t care what others think of me. I learned how to be strong because of him and how to push myself physically. He taught me how to not give up and to keep going. He taught me what unconditional love is. No matter how sick he got or how bad our fights were, he always loved me.
So, as his birthday comes up, I remember him as my hero. I choose to erase all the negative scenes and focus on the positive ones. Sad I can’t spend it with him in the physical scene but can celebrate with him in the spiritual sense. So, I will light a candle and watch the reruns of my childhood with him, embracing the smiles and laughter that fill my mind. Looking over pictures that I salvaged and remembering the better times with him. Watching our favorite movie and listening to our favorite bands. While starting a new fitness challenge that will push my body and mind, just like he showed me to do. Remembering all the happy childhood moments that I still cherish that I keep in the back of my head. All while missing him and wishing his life hadn’t been so tragic in the end. Learning from his mistakes and making my life better by watching his example and changing negatives into learning experiences and using them as guides as what not to give in to during my life. Missing him and hoping he is doing well in the spiritual world while I know he looks over me and keeps me safe. So, for some September 9th is another day, but for me it is a day to embrace memories and remember the man who helped shape me. Miss you dad!

©Writing the Rose
7 September 2019

Relationships, Uncategorized

Valentine’s Day is just another day

A day of love. Yet shouldn’t everyday be a day of love?  Do we really need a holiday to prove we care for another person? Is that how shallow our society has truly become?

Valentine’s Day the one time of the year people in relationships love because they think their partner will shower them with gifts. The holiday is catered to those in relationships. It is also the day that corporate American reminds single people how much they fail for not being in a relationship. However, if you really take a look at what this holiday has become, it is really just a sham. I mean why on one day of the year should you expect your partner to be going above and beyond to show you how they feel. This should be happening on a regular occurrence, and Valentine’s Day should just be another day. It is a day of love but why is it only focused on the love of couples?  Why can’t this just be a day of love for all? Who cares if you are single, maybe you enjoy not having to deal with the struggles of a relationship or maybe you just don’t have time.

Being single is not a bad thing, nor is being in a relationship. However, I have seen way too many people use Valentines Day as a way to go overboard to prove they really care for their partner. Yet when February 15th rolls around, the fights start again, and they question why they are still together. I always believed the ones that got the most on this day, were always overcompensating for something wrong in the relationship, or something they have done. I can’t count the amount of times, a girl comes crying a week after getting a huge display, having just found out her boyfriend has been cheating for months. Corporate greed has made us believe the more we spend, the more our partner will love us. This is farther from the truth. Stop fretting if your significant other doesn’t go all out or forgets. The holiday is overrated anyway.

All over social media you see people either bragging or complaining about how their life sucks. Singles feel left out, and restaurants make deals for single people. I am not sure my take on this because I don’t want pity for being single. I mean a discount is nice, but do I really want to go to restaurant and say I am single, so give me a discount today. Forget that. Do I want to go to a bar and wait for another lonely guy to take me home to fill our void together? No! You don’t have to be with someone to feel complete. You should be enough for yourself. Wait until you find the person that will treat every day like Valentine’s and not wait for the calendar to tell him or her to celebrate and appreciate you.

So often we are made to feel incomplete if we are not in a relationship and this is no more present than on Valentine’s Day. However, it will also make you question your own relationship. I always advise staying away from social media on this day. Don’t compare your relationship and your gifts or activities to others. Everyone is different. Some put more importance on the time spent together than on the money drained from their account. I would much rather have a guy spend an uninterrupted evening with me with no distractions, meaning turning our phones off and having a real conversation, than being showered with superficial gifts. Though we have become a superficial society, so I can understand why some feel compelled to go all out. I won’t hop on that train though. A home cooked dinner, candles, wine and some good music will always beat a fancy 5-star restaurant. Plus, who really wants to fight to get reservations? Too much stress.

Does one day really make a difference? Does buying a gift make your relationship last longer? Does this day make up for the rest of the year? No, is the answer. If you say yes, you are just deluding yourself because one day does not make up for every other day. Can you make it a day of a fresh start, of course! Just don’t use Valentine’s Day as a way to try and make up for all the bad things that have occurred. A holiday cannot replace those memories or actions taken. Sure, you can go spend a lot of money and shower someone with a falsehood of security, but if it is only done on this day, that façade will disappear quickly. Use today as just another day to appreciate all of those around that you love. If you are single, get together will your other single friends and celebrate your freedom to go out and do whatever you like on this day catered to lovers. If you are in a relationship, celebrate in the way that works for you and your partner. Forget the hallmark cards and lifetime movies. Only you know what your partner likes, and if you don’t, well that is a whole other subject. What I am trying to say is don’t put pressure on yourself to match what has been ingrained in our brains since elementary school. Enjoy your day and at the end of the day, it really is just another day in the scheme of life. Don’t waste your time worrying about 24 hours and just do what works for you.


©Writing the Rose


14 February 2019