An open letter from a suicide survivor

“You tryna die?”, said to me with a chuckle, right before we sparked up a j of something called “Ebola #7”. I proceeded to sleep like I have never slept before, for hours. Woke up refreshed and ready to face the day, though at the time the day consisted mostly of waiting. Sometimes that’s what my entire life feels like, just time spent waiting, in transit, or asleep.
I have never wanted to leave this world. My first and only serious- and by serious I mean that I saw no other way to freedom but through death- attempt was just a desperate climb to a another place. I hoped this other place would have less pain, less cold. Less loneliness. I just wanted to be able to feel at home in my own home. To do things, eat things, sleep, have friends over. Go on adventures. Live a full life with my family.
I don’t want to die, but living is exhausting. Everything we do as humans serves to either wake us up, take us to sleep, or help us keep going.It’s that simple for me. We all have our vices and d…

Transformation Hurts!

My life has been defined by turbulent change. The most familiar feeling to me is a strong panic. Sometimes I could just be sitting still but then be hit by an indescribable emptiness in my chest and no matter how deeply I breathe I can’t seem to fill that space. I feel like I can even hear a bit of a whistle, like my chest had been a solid thing but now is full of holes. I was born on a cold Tuesday in November in Odessa, Ukraine. My mother was the only black woman on her maternity ward, and most likely in the whole hospital. She was very young and alone, a shaky 23 years old trying to balance this terrifying thing called motherhood with fast paced college classes taught in Russian. My birth itself-my arrival in this world- was a disruption. By the age of 4 I spoke a blend of Russian, French and a tiny bit of Kinyarwanda. My mother and I had spent nearly a year in Switzerland while escaping the 1994 genocide, and it was around this time that I began to develop a stutter. It became a st…

I live

CLOSE your mouth!” I stop smiling. I accept that the gap in my teeth ruins our family photo. It has always been my fault. When I was younger I was terrified and Did not tell my parents another tooth had gone loose. Over time the adult tooth grew in anyway, Pushing itself into life. But growing UP, angled, slanted towards the roof of my mouth. Giving my smile the semblance of a gap, a fake imperfection, Significant enough to matter more than my smile itself.
“Look at that gut! How it folds over your seatbelt… whos going to marry you, looking like that?” She pokes my belly with a sharp finger. The pain means nothing. I am almost completely numb at this point. I believe her when she beats her reality into me.
“mmm… no thanks! I prefer keeping it up!” The woman in the seat next to me on a tiny Spirit Airlines plane Forces the cleaving arm rest back down. She says “no thanks” as if my polite request was for HER benefit. She looks mildly nauseated. My mother was right, I think. Fatness is di…


I can run like water, My presence a sweet rush, Falls clinging to wet rocks Little birds and bright fish swimming in and out. Harmonious.
I can be as earth, Softly sinking in Warm. Enveloping. Smooth tunnels, air currents moist and fragrant, Leading you to previously unknown depths, A hidden cavern full of stone teeth and jewels. Enchanting.
I can burn like fire, My words stir you up as I cook, Mixing emotions and similes, Pain, memories and alliteration, Sending you on a sweetly inspired surrender, Luminous.

I can flow like air, Take me in, breathe deep, Fill your lungs on my smoky passion. Release all misgivings. All tightness, all stress. Let me infuse your soul with my lavender tones, Eucalyptus stories, lemon lights. Fragrant.

                                                                                    Drink my harmonies, let my earthly magic work,                                                                                     Allow me to light you up, and then rest,                  …

Culinary Class

I went into job corps wanting to do the culinary arts program. I thought this was such an example of emotional growth for me! Years before I’d made a vow to myself to never again work in food service. I was tired of the stress and the easiest way I could “deal” with that stress was by just eating all the free food I could.I’d made my way through the fast food chain with McDonalds, Subway, Dunkins, and a Jimmy Johns and I felt like that was all the experience I needed with that for several lifetimes.
     So I felt a deep excitement within myself about doing the culinary program and having the word “chef” added to my name.But when I got there and went through what they call “shadow days”—basically trial days in each program you want to try-I couldn’t believe how much I did NOT want to be a chef! It was so insane that I ended up picking my backup plan, and that I followed that into a nursing program. There was, however, a 5-6 month period between the CNA and the LPN courses where I …

The Garden

This is a journal entry I wrote on 11-28-2016.

     The garden where I stay. The garden that is me. The grass and leaves are a dark, delicious green that is perpetually healthy and moist but never cold.
     Looking at it from far up in the sky my garden resembles a sundial. There is one central circle of green, within which a slight golden haze breathes out. We’ll talk about that later.
     All around the circle are smaller circles of green bush. As you get closer and closer down the details become clearer and you see that the circles around the bigger one are in fact rooms. Alcoves.
     So that’s where I stay.
     In each of the rooms a different Self of mine has made a home.
     There is the Self that loves the arts. She is the one writing this today.
     There is the Self that dances, and wants to learn how to box. The Self that for so long fed on an anger and became deathly sick.
    There is a sensual Self that is really JUST beginning to understand her own existence. Her al…


I have found transparency and vulnerability to be such gifts. It’s terrifying, the idea of opening up and letting anyone take a look at your insides, at all the ways you fit into yourself. Pointing a flashlight at all the cobwebs, in all the dusty corners. All the things that you’ve tried to clean up but no matter how hard you work at them they just won’t go away. It’s a huge blessing to find release in art because it gives you ways to be okay with all that you are. You get to learn that it’s not so much about cleaning up all that mess but opening doorways and windows to let more light in, to shine some clarity in the space and see that… it’s not really not that bad. It’s livable, and that’s a fact that you become surprised to learn even though this whole time you HAVE been living in it. Through honesty in art you get to learn that the things you used to be so scared and ashamed of are actually structures that shape you into who you are. And while some things DO need to be cleane…


I feel light, so light I could just float up and be carried away by the wind if it wasn’t for my body tethering me down.
     I am feeling this massive relief because I felt an important truth last night. It came to me SUDDENLY and from the passing of one second to the next I became almost a different person. It’s a truth that has been revealed itself to me before… I just keep forgetting. But conveniently my Highest Self and Power loves me enough to keep telling it to me to my FACE. I’m saying this here and now because I’m human and I might need this again later on.
    That truth is the simplicity, authority and just plain audacity of the statement, “So what?” The last couple of weeks I had been feeling such a heavy. Fucking. Misery. I was finding it hard to do more than breathe some moments. I wrote about it. Trust me, I wrote different pieces of different lengths about what was affecting me but then I was still left with the FEELING. It’s a mixture of guilt, perfectionism, maj…

Before and After

For as long as I can remember, there has existed a “Before” and “After” timeline in my mind. The “before” was me being fat, uneducated, unloved, unfunny, poor and just generally physically uncomfortable. The “after” would be the complete opposite of that! I LOVED letting my mind wander into the “after”. I would be 25 always. I would get older, of course, but pretty much just stay looking and feeling 25. I would be thin but not too thin. I would have a cute apartment in a cute red brick city like Pittsburgh. I would have a cute little animal friend, maybe two. I would have a real life, serious boyfriend who I may or may not have known in my “before” days but that wouldn’t matter because this is “after” and I would be perfect. In the after I would be famous and my job would be to inspire people with my bright cheerfulness.      I do not remember the exact thing that caused me to start thinking of my life in terms of before and after I lost a significant amount of weight, but I remember …

Breaking up with 2018

Breakup letter to 2018.
     2018, thank you. I truly do thank you, from the deepest darkest bottom corner of my heart.
     You taught me to be selfish. I think even now you’re still attempting to teach me this, even though your time is done and you should relax and let 2019 take over.
     I’m glad you’re done. Your lessons were painful and I wish I would have known just how bad they would be because I might have wanted a different teacher. One with an easier, softer teaching method.
     I had to learn to be selfish because otherwise I would have burnt myself out. I would have used all the energy in me to fight events that were doomed to happen anyway, and I would have done that until it killed me.
     It was during your time, 2018, that I began learning that it is not my duty to save my sister. It is not my duty to save anyone, that I could grasp, but I was not able to let go of the responsibility of it till now. “I wondered why you saved all those girls but you never came back fo…