Autobiography · Poetry


Light explosion” © Theophilos Papadopoulos, 2012. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The breakdown was more
brutal than it usually is.

All screams and punches and sobbing.
A car crash disguised as a human being.

Weeks of sliding in.
Forty-five minutes of destruction.

Then I dressed and put my make up on.
Walked to work blasting rap music.

Just like that, a switch flipped.
Anger and frustration turned cool and purposeful.

I wonder if that’s how it feels
to be born.

Violently thrust into a new world
you’re not sure you’re ready for.

You can’t go back.
Jump in.



"sleeping cat" © pmin00o, 2001. CC BY-ND 2.0.
sleeping cat” © pmin00o, 2001. CC BY-ND 2.0.
Fever dreams without the sleep.
Some days are just made for
dragging knuckles across concrete.

Walk the city for hours only to
collapse in a heap on
the rug where we wipe our feet
when we come home at night.

Leave on my shoes, coat, and backpack.
Stare straight ahead into the dark,
lying on my belly.

For hours I gasp for air.

My husband gets home and helps me into bed.
I sleep only partially and
wake up regularly to reach out into the night.
Press my palm against his shoulder and
my feet into the curve of the back of his knees.




"Rubble Inukshuk" © maegon02, 2009. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Rubble Inukshuk” © Maegan Pauls, 2009. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Sink into stillness.

Cancel appointments with doctors
wanting to discuss diagnoses and
possible plans of treatment.

Taper off medication and
put supplements back
in the freezer.

Plot out a schedule to serve me for the
next six months with
minimal modification.

Hands on my husband’s hips I ask him,
“Will you please just tell me if
what we’re doing isn’t working?
Can it please be safe for me to assume,
unless I hear otherwise,
things are running smoothly?”

Always try to improve.
To change.
Plan a different way to do
everything long before I have proof the
current approach busted.

Every tendon, muscle, nerve, and neuron
from toes to temples is
begging for a break.
“Please. Just let me settle.”

Tread water.
We do not need to push forward constantly.

Those safe places and
longed-for ease perhaps only present themselves
when we let ourselves go and
just be.