I wrote this 10 years ago after my first onstage anxiety attack. It’s old. Thought I’d share it.
love someone and mean it,
your voice in the echo of nightmares/
comforts/ keeps fires burning/
heats hell/ like pain/in
hollowed halls/ remind me of home
home and happier nows/
the breath of lovers/
time and truth/
and heartbeats once consumed by/
passion/now passed on/acquainted
newly antiquated stares/ of
“so how are you”/
make this work/
prized consolations for a game/
i never permitted myself to play/
yet/i am losing horribly/i
want to disappear /
with anxious rumblings/
rekindled fires burn/
need to rest comfortably/
so through closed eyes/ i
burn in my memory/ there are
images of lips/ that spray words of
pain and love
hurt and love
hell and love
help me to
come here and leave me to burn
within the rigid boxes of this
across broken bottles
lying on sidewalks
invite bruises of painful memories
just be beautiful without permission/
like poems written when strength was common/
poems written for yesterdays devoid of words/
that cut and heal
then cut to heal
heal and hold familiar scents/
close to naked breasts and rotting stench
of wait and knowing when
and arms that hold and choke
to die and rot
and if not for love/then
for you/i ache
dangling on the lonely edge of truth/
truth lodged in the pit of something/that
was once beautiful/ something
fluid and persistent/like
you ran from me/like
i ran from you/like
in my nightmares i run
instead of living/i run
mercury spilling over surfaces/
time inching towards forever/
i’m too afraid of dying too young
so i ration breath/
and i redirect heartbeat towards/
something that resembles living
so many of my own contradictions
Dear Bloggers and Vloggers:
Thank you for you supporting The Siwe Project. If you would like to participate in our first annual No Shame Day on Monday, July 2nd, 2012, we encourage you to do what feels right and to share in a way that feels comfortable to you. Please include the following pertinent information: Who are you? What mental illness are you or your loved one living with? How were you or he/she diagnosed? What propels you to speak publicly about the illness? How are you or your loved one treating the illness (therapy, meds, support groups, exercise, etc) and what prompted you/them to seek treatment?
In the interest of uniformity and solidarity, please begin and end your stories with “My name is ____, and I have No Shame. Please close by encouraging your audience to visit www.thesiweproject.org to share their stories or to hear others’ accounts of their battles with mental illness and to check out @thesiweproject on twitter, hashtag #NoShame. We understand that some of you are not affected by this issue personally and are simply lending your voice in support. We thank you for sharing your words of encouragement in any way you choose and we ask that if you promote the event via twitter, that you also use the hashtag #NoShame.
Thank you again for your willingness to participate in this very important cause. We sincerely appreciate you. While you are free to say whatever you like in your stories, we would like to express that The Siwe Project will only promote those blogs/vlogs that are appropriate in content and context and that are consistent with our mission.
Finally, if you will be participating, please be sure to email Bassey Ikpi at firstname.lastname@example.org or Atrice Williams at email@example.com to let us know when your blog posts on July 2nd.
Thank you again.
I am Bassey Ikpi, and I have No Shame.
I’m trying to hit 100 supporters by noon. We only need 30 more. Please support #NoShame Day and The Siwe Project. July 2nd we can all do our small part to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness in our communities.
The Siwe Project’s first annual No Shame Day will be held on July 2, the first Monday of National Minority Mental Health Month. We are asking people to publicly share their mental health journeys or speak as allies for loved ones in their lives.
The Siwe Project, a global non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the international black community is launching a campaign that focuses on stigma reduction through storytelling and community building. Though The Siwe Project gears its efforts mainly toward people of African descent, we do realize that mental illness is an issue that affects EVERYONE and we hope that the first annual No Shame Day will be an opportunity for people of all nationalities, all around the world, to rally around mental health care. The Siwe Project website will host candid discussions about mental illness stigma, diagnoses, and treatment options. The purpose of No Shame Day is to encourage more people to seek treatment without shame.
Here’s where you come in: The Siwe Project believes that sharing stories not only fosters individual healing, but community transformation. The Siwe Project strategically uses new safe spaces to share new stories. To that end, we’re looking for bloggers (with their own blogs) YouTubers and podcasters to share their personal experiences with mental health for No Shame Day to open the dialogue on a broader public scale. If you’re interested in blogging, video blogging or hosting a podcast about your or a loved ones mental health journey, please email Bassey Ikpi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bassey Ikpi, the organization’s founder, has chronicled her illness for a variety of outlets such as Essence, The Huffington Post, XOJane.com and The Root. Please join her in keeping the conversation going by lending your voice to the cause. Let your readership know that when it comes to seeking help for mental health issues, there is No Shame.