How I Got Here

Thanks to Taco Bell Quarterly for offering me my second nomination for the Best Of The Net for poetry.

For the first time, I’ve dedicated most of my efforts not just to creating, but to trying to share what I create. That part has always been the wrench for me.

About two years ago, I left my job. When I say I left my job, what I mean is that I got onto a bus, rode it to the subway station, got out and stood on the platform

and

could

not

go

inside.

My body rebelled. I full-on froze. My mouth tasted like I was chewing tinfoil. My heart was a wind-up toy from the flea market let loose under my ribs. I called HR and told them I couldn’t do it. I quit.

You don’t need to know the details of what happened at my job to spin me out. It was an echo of a recurring trauma, played out like a house of mirrors and it triggered my flight or flight. (And I’ve never had fight. Not ever.)

I left. I got a part time job to help with the bills and started sending words out.

I live in a neurodiverse bubble that makes enjoying my own accomplishments complicated — even impossible. I’m sharing my nominations because I want them to stay in my brain. I want them to imprint as deeply as the bad stuff. I want to remember how I felt when I heard. How my body reacted. What my mouth tasted like. What my heart did.

A poem I wrote about a place that gave me something when I had nothing is out in the world. Thanks for that, TBQ. Thanks for giving my story a home. Thanks for giving me a reason to pay attention to what my heart does.

Best of the Net

I first wrote my poem, In Patient, while I was hospitalized because of debilitating symptoms that hit at my intersection of mental illnesses. The poem has lived on my computer for about 20 years, a small moment in a long relationship with my disability. Literary magazine Serotonin not only gave it a home, but they gave it a loving home. Now they’ve nominated it, along with 7 others, for the Best of the Net 2020. I’m heartened by the changing conversation around neurodiversity and mental illness and I’m grateful that my experiences are a part of it.