skipping stones

some days

it comes easily —

tension-free,

my hand

guides

the

way,

eyes trained

across the water —

i’m a machine wired so

intricately, posed to

withstand any

factors

threatening

me in the distance —

focused on what matters:

the gleam of the ripples;

the sun’s warmth

stretching

down

my

shoulders,

beaming, i bask

in a day paced

for me, it

seems —

flat —

steady —

i rock softly

from foot to foot,

practicing, feeling the

fire swelling inside of me —

rising to meet the surrounding

scene; i feel in bloom, calmly matching

the puddles at feet; blending the colors i

sometimes struggle to mash into what

is being asked of me; i flick my

wrists in tune to the sway

of the water lapping,

licking me ever

so softly —

time ticks by

without my knowledge,

tocking through thoughts in

a way that doesn’t overwhelm

me — a gift, honestly, i

sometimes take

for granted —

woven —

serene —

i stack stones

before leaving so i

can get started, at least —

tomorrow may not

be free-flowing.

skipping stones

pull over.

and for a moment —

i could see it all.

everything

laid out

for me —

blinding —

it all makes

sense! i make

sense! the world —

oh, fuck, the world! —

what a mess! what have

we done to this earth,

oh, my god. earth,

you’re dying!

oh, we’re

killing you!

oh, my god, there’s

so much evil — i can see

evil! rape! racism! technology!

i can see hate! i can see it

all! we’re raping our

earth and each

other —

there’s so

much hate —

oh, my god, there’s

so much evil! technology

is evil! technology is taking us

away from ourselves!

technology is

raping

our

mother —

i can see it all!

and that‘s when i

jumped up into the air

and smashed my phone off

the pavement. that’s when i —

alone, on the side of a busy street in

the valley — Moorpark, maybe? i

can’t remember — without

hesitation cracked my

phone off the

concrete

so

hard

my otterbox

flew into traffic —

and i smiled.

im doing it!

i’m reading the

signs! technology

is evil! we have to kill

it before it kills us — more

than it already is! i — i’m doing

it! this is what i’m meant to do! it —

i make sense! everything makes sense!

my mind was racing faster than it ever

has — so fast i couldnt walk straight

or focus long enough to look

down and try to track

where my phone

went; i felt

alive.

i felt whole.

i could soak up

all of the rich energy

the world — the beautiful,

beautiful world — was feeding

into me — i could feel it all,

and i was whole, until —

okay! okay! now

what? you’ve

figured it

all out!

oh! i —

my god,

i knew we

were meant for

something big! you’ve

figured it out — i can see hate!

i can see where we’re going wrong!

i can steer! i ca— my car. fuck!

oh, fuck. my phone — shit!

fuck! fuck. oh, my god,

what am i — how

am i — fuck! oh,

my god — aw,

where’s — i —

don’t need it! this

is a test! i don’t need

technology! i can talk to

people with my thoughts! i’m

figuring it out and adapting!

because this is what we

do! this is what we

can do — this

is what

we’ve always

been able to do —

but we’re scared! and

no one’s ever done it before!

our brains — they can

do so much more

than we think

they can!

oh,

our

brains!

what a gift

our brains are!

what a gift this life

is! i’m so lucky to have

such a gift — i’m so

lucky for this

life! oh,

we

don’t

need it!

technology!

we don’t need

phones! i’m going

to be okay! we’re all

going to be okay! i

can see hate! i

can see it

all! i —

i —

i c—

i can

see it all!

i can see it!

fuck! fuck. oh,

fuck, i don’t know

how to start. i don’t

know what i have to do —

i can see the end, but

i can’t — i can’t —

i can’t see —

i can’t —

oh,

my god.

oh, my god —

my phone. where’s

my phone? look down.

look down. try to look down.

try to see. come on, rae,

homie — please —

come on. phone.

fuck! fuck.

is it

in the

street? be

careful. those

cars are going fast —

there are so many cars —

with people! they can see me!

they can see i have bipolar

disorder! and they can

see i’m not afraid to

show it! i’m not

scared! i’m

not! and

i can

show people

it’s okay to have

a mental disorder —

ech, my god — i fucking

hate that word! disorder! i

fucking hate that word! we’re

just people! i’m just a person! and

i’m not scared of being seen! and

i can’t find my phone! is it in

the street? don’t go in the

street. don’t. the cars —

my car! he’s right

here! right in

front of

me!

Arlo!

is he still

running? he’s

still running! oh,

no, that’s bad! oh, my

god — my keys! where are

my keys? if i could just

find my — fuck! if i

could just — if i

could just —

think —

fuck!

if i

could —

how am i

and that’s when

i saw ethan walking

toward me. and

that’s when

i knew i

was

going

to be okay.

//

i write a lot about feeling alone bc it’s really hard to live in a different reality from those around me.

it’s really fucking hard to feel understood by the people who understand me best, but not, like, understood,

i guess.

and it’s partially my fault bc i haven’t sought out a circle of people who can relate to this part of me,

but i will. and even still i might feel really alone,

and that’s okay.

but also it’s not my fault bc brains are a tricky thing, and i didnt choose to have mine wired a little differently.

sometimes i feel really alone bc not one of my loved ones can be in the same place i’m in.

sometimes i feel really alone bc not one of my loved ones can understand fully what place i’m describing —

and sometimes i wonder if that’s why i describe it so much.

and it’s really hard.

but it’s massively important to note that i’m so far from actually being alone —

i have the best support system i could ask for.

the people in my life make me strong, and they keep me safe, and i wouldn’t be able to live the life i lead with the brain i have if it weren’t for them.

and so — yes, i very frequently write about being alone, bc i so often feel that i am.

but i’m lucky enough that i’m never actually alone. i’m never going through any of this alone.

i’m so lucky, and i would never want to paint a picture of myself and my mental health without them in it, bc i would be nowhere without them.

often times my mental health does not feel like a blessing, but, my god, my life so often does.

pull over.

hot air balloon

i flitter

and wane,

surveying the

scene beneath me —

looking down —

how sturdy it

must feel

to be

on the

ground —

how serene —

that concrete —

firmly under foot,

a route to follow at

ease; i shudder as the

wind picks up and my

view is shifted; now,

the trees, strong

and standing

against

the

breeze —

their roots

locked in place;

freedom rippling

through their leaves —

i’m stifled, somehow,

though i can go

anywhere i

please,

seemingly —

a dream dressed in

colors billowing through

the sky with sails set in any

direction; a sight that

brings smiles to

faces below,

maybe —

if so,

i can’t

see them —

oh, what a life

this is shaping up

to be; my rope hangs

by my side, too short to

tether; nothing within view,

and the clouds seem to

be mocking me: ‘you

can go anywhere,

only you can’t

choose!’ —

weary,

i waft on —

listlessly —

i have

no

choice

but to be.

floating, i am

lost with no real

direction; it’s just me.

hot air balloon

talk over tea

seriously, stop —

i think between sips

as i edge into bed.

sighing, i stop

swallowing —

english breakfast,

my security blanket;

still strong after steeping

so many times today/

i set down my yeti

and try to relax

as i twist off

not one/

two/

three\

but four

separate bottles

in front of me —

wreckage —

if i keep up the caffeine,

i’ll never fall asleep,

i muse to myself

as i take each

pill with

tea —

//

i

jolt

awake

suddenly —

the last hour

so clearly splayed

out in front of me —

to my horror —

not a detail

forgotten,

expertly/

reeling —

shaking —

rae, breathe —

i remind myself

as i aim to slow the

pools running down

both my cheeks —

i’m a monster,

i think —

no,

i truly believe —

i’m the one dreaming

them! i must be! —

petrified —

biting —

i give

in

and cry

hard over the

reels in my head,

unraveling —

weeping —

i cant

see

a way

out of the

hell i’m keeping

locked up; threads

i cant help but follow,

apparently — i’m

so tired; i just

want to

sleep,

i

sob —

seeping —

saturated —

it’s been a week

of the same theme —

i’m exhausted —

terrorized —

i lie in the

dark,

bleeding —

squandered —

seated closer to

myself than i’d like

anyone to be —

i’m scared —

teeming —

alone —

i pose

the

question

as the answer

prods at me: how

close to the surface

are our dreams,

actually?

talk over tea

lithium

i rest my head

in my hands

as i sit

by

the toilet

for the sixth

consecutive night —

keep breathing;

keep it all

down,

i

think

to myself —

my stomach

lurches

and

i

swallow

hard, strapping

myself in for another

set of seconds

that cant

pass

soon enough —

i cant do

this

again —

i have to

do this again —

i lose focus and am

caught by surprise —

this concoction —

the cocktail

mixed

just

for me —

unconcerned

and unphased by

pleads for my guts to

return to normalcy —

im cornered —

convulsing —

i press my forehead

into my palms; i’m dizzy

and tired of fighting the surges

ripping through my body —

you have to keep it

down; you need

this in your

system —

i sit,

betrayed and alone,

surmising life would be

much more liveable if my

stomach or my brain

listened to me.

//

i lost a week of my life to mania.

i hallucinated through a week of my life, unaware of my surroundings and unable to care for myself.

i have pockets of 30 second memories across an entire week —

i dont remember days of my life.

i asked my family to stop telling me what i did and said bc hearing accounts of my behavior is too painful —

i wasnt myself. or i was too much myself — i dont know.

//

now i have to fight my way through new medications and its a nightly struggle —

in a lot of ways it feels like its killing me.

//

i lost a week of my life to mania.

//

fuck mania.

fuck bipolar disorder.

fuck lithium.

lithium