Can I read you a poem?

by c.k.ohare

I said this book is for you and I. But you are who I’m writing to. You are who I’m spilling my guts to. You are who I’m clutching my throat for as I scream “you are not your diagnosis, you are not that 1-in-3, you are not the medication prescribed to you, you are person!” My god please, please hear me. You are a person. You are not their statistics, you are not their experiment with psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, you are not one of their 12 steps. You are flesh, you are feelings, you are friend, you are child, you are beautiful, you are person. You are mad. 

But. There is so much beauty in your madness. Live it. Write the book. Make this your masterpiece. Let go of it all. Forget all those questions you have. Let the madness come. Let it come organically and wash over you. Learn from it each time. You will. Every time it comes you will learn a small something. Perhaps so minute you won’t realize it until later, but you will learn from it. When it comes, let it take you the way the tides take back the shells with the moon. Let there be waves! Let them wash over you with their white caps and thundering crashes! Let there be madness and chaos and disorganized thoughts and stustustuttered speech! Live, live. Live this. Because this has been given to you and it does not have to be your curse. It can be your harvester of creative action. It can be your masterpiece. Please, live it. Give it a chance. Give it one thousand chances. Give it 8 days ’til Sunday. Give it your all. But do not give yourself to it. 

You are never alone. If I have to I will stand at the end of your tunnel with 3,000 candles screaming “light, light, light, live!” I will never let the wind blow them out. I will guard them the way the mother grizzly guards her cub. I will keep them lit for you. I will leave them only to rip that white flag from your hand, that half finished, tear-stained note that says “I’m just tired. I tried my -” 

You will keep going. Through it all. The bottom will fall out. Your hands are your own though and they are so strong. My god are they strong. Hold on to the rip cord. Hold on to the hope. Hold on to your name. You have a name. It is not “schizophrenia,” it is not “bipolar disorder,” it is not “schizoaffective.” Your name is yours. Nothing can take it from you. You are person. And look, look at how beautiful you are. Look at what you can do with your hands. Look at what your hands have made out of your madness. This is your masterpiece. Write it down, and don’t you ever look down because you’ll miss the sunrise. You’ll miss all those candles I’ve lit for you. My God, don’t look down. You’ll miss it all. When those tears come, let them fall. You will not drown in them. Because you have to have a soul-crushing hope that one day your roots will grow and the bottom won’t fall out on you to cry so hard. Hold firm to your rip cord. You’ll pull it at just the right moment. 

Your moment is now. Right now. Live it.