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The past is the past ... right?

I used to write slam poetry. Originally, it was just simple poetry. Actually, it started with songs. At one point I desperately wanted to be a singer/songwriter. The only issue with that was one which many people, I hope, experience: I can't sing.

So I wrote. I wrote terrible songs about middle school heartbreak. Terrible songs about the man I'd marry. Terrible songs about my best friend. But that's what I liked to do. That's how I expressed myself. Then it turned into poems. From then until about two years ago, poems just flowed out of me. I could cut open my abdomen and watch the words just pour onto the page. I didn't have to think. All I did was escape. Then the world pushed harder.

The world said, "This is too easy for you." And ripped the words out of me – never to be returned to me. I'd stare at a blank page and at the brand new gel pen I bought specifically to write with, but never to use for a poem.

Then I found slam poets on YouTube. The power behind their words. Nothing had to flow out of me. Memorize it. It's all muscle memory. Take a breath, and let it wash over you. The world will think it's just the power the original poet put into it – nobody will know it's all of your anger. All of your fear. All of your frustration.

Then life said, "Well, you have too much to do to even remember the poems." And there they went. But I didn't give up. There had to be something I could express myself through. And a new pencil fell into my grip. A 4H drawing pencil. Before I knew it, I was enrolled in a 6-hour college drawing course that was my safe haven. Six hours, once a week, I could sit and just draw. And think about nothing, but where the pencil will drag itself from here. Before I knew it, I was up texting my then boyfriend (now husband) at two or three in the morning, taunting him with hints of what I'm drawing now. Before he knew it, his mirror was plastered with my drawings specifically for him. Before we knew it, our first room together had a wall full of my drawings.

Before I knew it, the world ripped that from me, too.

You may be wondering why in the world I would tell you all this. This isn't my day today. This is my past. But, in order to truly see my day-to-day for what it is, you must see my past. I must reopen wounds and bleed out in front of you. You must see what I've been through, otherwise my day-to-day would just be complaints. I want you to see me. I want you to see my war. I want you to understand this didn't just happen. I didn't wake up last week with a mental illness.

I was traumatized by it.

It was bludgeoned into me.

It has tortured me all of my life.

But now, and only now, will I face it directly. And for what?

For you.

For those who are too afraid to do it themselves. For those who have been told to get over it. For those who have been on the floor in the middle of the day, suffering from a panic attack so horrifying they thought they'd die. For those who need to know it's not just them. For those who need to know they aren't crazy.

But, most importantly, for my son. He cannot lose his mom. I cannot lose the battle. I cannot abandon my son, no matter what demon latches itself to me, whispers in my ear what a horrible human being I am, and tries to take control.

I will continue to fight.

More of Jennifer's posts can be read at jennrooks.weebly.com