Of Magic and Madness

Early last year, I lost my mind.

I was trying to process losing my brother from gun violence. Still grieving from losing my dad in the same way 6 years prior. Still trying to forgive my body for losing a child. Still trying to heal from trauma after trauma.

And I lost it.

I remember going to bed that night, and as I lay there, I started trembling. I was shaking so badly my headboard was banging against the wall. I started hallucinating. I started remembering things that didn't happen. I felt physically ill and didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.

And I stayed that way, shaking and seeing things, until 7am the next morning. I know now that I had a mental breakdown back then. I felt like I was broken, but even after that night, people kept telling me that I was so strong and powerful to have endured so much and still push through.

I wanted everyone to stop telling me that I was powerful. They didn’t see the night terrors I suffered from. They didn’t see how my sweat soaked through my sheets and how my trembles caused my bed to shake and how I couldn’t decipher what was real from what was just in my head. I thought, when everyone told me I was powerful, they were lying.

Then I started writing. I wrote about losing my mind. I wrote about being hurt. I wrote about losing life. And I wrote about happiness, peace, joy, and love, too.

And somewhere in that cathartic process of writing out my ill and affirmative experiences in life I realized that power does not always equate to strength. Sometimes being powerful is having the ability to help others realize the strength they have in them.

The poems started off just being words of affirmation I felt I needed to get through my breakdown. Then I saw that I needed to also write about my breakdown to process it. Then I started writing about everything in between.

Before my brother was killed, I wrote a completely different poetry book. He was working on my book cover and was never able to finish what he started. After writing so many small affirmations and descriptions of my pain, I realized I had enough content for a completely new book. I decided to scratch my old book and I began compiling my work to create a new one.

On July 14th, what would be my dad’s 55th birthday, I held my debut poetry book in my hand. Releasing Of Magic and Madness meant more to me than checking off a goal on a bucket list. It meant being able to tell my story in its wholeness. Being able to show people that it is ok to be strong and broken. I could show people that yes, I am powerful, but I also hurt a lot .

I think we get so caught up in believing we can only embody one thing, we forget that humans are multidimensional with many modes of existences. We all live in the gray area of life, and that’s actually the most human thing to do.

I’m human, and something about that is powerful. I can endure inexplicable pain and suffering. Sometimes I make a mistake and enact that suffering on others. Sometimes I channel the hurt into something good. But all the time, I keep trying to get it right.

And there has to be some magic in that.