It’s hard to capture just how it felt during the time that I was struggling with such severe neurological and cognitive symptoms. I could no longer form cogent thoughts, write the way I used to or even find the words to speak because they simply weren’t there most of the time. For a period, I even forgot how to spell many common words and their meanings.
Any attempt I made to create fell flat and lifeless. I felt like I’d been turned into an automaton, secretly lobotomized like my grandmother. It was clear my intelligence and the skills that I had worked so hard to develop were dulled or even inaccessible to me. I lost support from other writers who couldn’t grasp the depths of the cognitive problems my conditions were causing and seemed to assume that I just didn’t want to work at it anymore or that I was suffering some sort of mental ailment or mid-life crisis.
There’s so much pressure in the writing community to live, eat and drink writing. If you don’t spend twelve hours a day at a keyboard, you can’t possibly be a writer or want it bad enough. But writing careers sometimes get interrupted just like everything else. There is more to life than success. This attitude robs those of us who are limited by our abilities a place at that table, despite the talents me may possess.
I will probably never speak to the people who turned their backs on me in disdain, people I had supported loyally without question. If I am never published again outside my blogs, it no longer bothers me. I’m just happy the words pour forth when they do and hope desperately that I will never again have to see such dark days as those I write about in this poem.
Thank you for taking the time to read it and support my efforts. Most importantly, thank you for believing in my right to have a voice, imperfect as it is.
Putting the halves of myself back together again,By Michelle Beltano Curtis
I never imagined one half would eat the other.
An ouroboros of the soul, choking
on the unraveled beauty of starlets
turning the floor in ball gowns, deep
throating beauty no one can see or hear;
squeezing out all color and adornment,
shredded like decency.
Broken In both mind and body, only
frocks like potato sacks now rally on my tongue.
The dammed and the damned join hands
As the music starts up again.
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