Letters of Misery

You are my executioner

Your weapon of choice-

Twenty-six consequential characters

From which you construct your reign of terror


The most I can do is pray for a quick and painless end

Although I know you’d never allow me such a dignity


When you wield your weapon

Your words rip through me

Each syllable a hollow bullet

Tearing at my tender skin

Demanding a pound of flesh

For every letter fired

From your vicious voice


Your vocabulary spins a torture chamber

Carefully designed to lure me into false hope

Before shattering my spirit

Into shards of shame and bewilderment


When I’m at my most vulnerable

My life a reeling shipwreck

Me- barely keeping my head above the unforgiving sea

I think I see a glimmer of hope

A lifeboat in the distance

But your tongue reveals itself to be a Trojan horse

Manipulating my salvation into an anchor

Dragging me down

To the darkest parts of my soul

From which there seems to be no escape


And just as I’m about to surrender myself to the bitterness of your sea

Allowing your cruelty to force each and every breath out of my lungs

You release your stronghold and I struggle to the surface

Emerging, broken and bloodied

Desperately clinging to the promise

That this is the last time


My vow to love you unconditionally

Is making it impossible for me to love myself

But like an addict, I just can’t kick you

I’d rather inject your venom directly into my veins

Than allow myself to live without you


So I willfully consume your poison

Even though it withers the light and love within me to ashes

I will incinerate myself from the inside out

For just a flicker of your validation


I know my strength is finite

And I’m not sure how much longer I can walk on eggshells made of broken glass

Maybe one day I’ll be able to get clean

To purge myself of your vile dialect

But today is not that day

Because you’ve mutilated me to believe that this is how love works

And your words are the only thing that can mend me.



Bless me Martha, for I have sinned.

It’s been 32 years since my last confession.

It shames me to say my sins are plentiful.


The chicken and dumplings I made last week…

The broth I used was from a carton, even though your word proclaims “true love is expressed through the labors of homemade stock.”

I feel immense guilt for having dishonored my husband and daughters


And the herbs- I used dried instead of fresh.

I tried to keep true to the faith by building the windowsill herb garden you referenced in your blog

But I musn’t be worthy- for my garden wasn’t fruitful.


I have also violated one of your most sacred commandments

“Thou shalt wash the inside of all trash bins each and every week.”

Selfishly, I trespass against you and my family, as I only obey your edict once each month


And those nautical themed storage baskets in my bathroom- I did not do your bidding, for they are store-bought rather than hand-stenciled.

And I’m certain those who call upon my home are abhorred by my wickedness.


I poisoned the minds of my children with two hours of screen time yesterday

My tablescapes hail from the Dollar Tree

I never wash my baseboards

I can’t sew

I’m horrible at crafts

I don’t buy organic

My Thanksgiving stuffing came from a box


Hear my call, oh, Martha, as I atone for my sins

Shine your hand-dipped-soy-candle light of mercy upon me

So I may be worthy of your approval

And deserving of the titles Wife and Mother


I repent so I may be born-again.

Our Mother, who art in Kitchen, Martha be thy name…


This is bullshit.

All of it.


Your domestic dogma that shackles me to feelings of inadequacy.

Can it really be the only path to righteousness?


The Wife and the Mother who are built in your image, Martha

Force me into an intrinsic battle

Like a cartoon character having a conflict of conscious

Guilt on my right shoulder

Exhaustion on my left


Call this a crisis of faith, if you want

But I see you preaching there- on your literal soap box

And I can’t help but wonder

Why is my worth defined by who you say I have to be?


Am I not pious for filling my home with children’s laughter

Rather than fresh squeezed orange juice and hand-stamped place cards?


Must I be damned for believing that devotion to my family can be shown through Sunday morning snuggles and impromptu dance parties

Not sparkling bathtubs and dust-free light fixtures


And while all the Marthas and the sanctimommies of the world continue to inject guilt and self-doubt into my impressionable soul

They can save themselves the effort

For I already crucify myself each and every day for not achieving your definition of sainthood


So excommunicate me if you must

But I will stay strong in my faith

That happy kids are better than homemade bread

And love can be shown through kindness in lieu of crafts


I do not hold you in contempt for your unattainable expectations

Rather bid farewell as I say “Peace be with you.”


At least I’m not a felon.


The Trench

I’ve been to the Marianas Trench.

Many times, in fact.

I know- it sounds exotic and adventurous

but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be


My first visit to the trench caught me completely off guard.

There I was, just swimming along;

Unified with the bustling marine community-

Waves gently guiding me through the warm ocean waters.


And then I felt the pull- a slight tug at first

superficially annoying, albeit disregardable with some moderate effort.

But then the tug turned into a tow.

And the tow a yank.

And the yank an insurmountable drag

And before I could call out for help

I plummeted

into the bitter blackness of the trench.

36 thousand and 70 feet down, to be exact.


The first thing you need to know about the trench is its suffocating darkness.

An obsidian world so completely devoid of light…

you question if the sun ever actually existed.

In absolute darkness your senses become obscured.

There is no direction.

There is no up.

There is no escape.

And just when you think see a glimmer of hope pulling you into the light

You’re almost eaten by an Angler fish.


The trench is also cold.

Not the cryogenic insta-freeze kind of cold you might imagine

But a subtler cold, that envelops you-

A weighted blanket you just can’t escape.

It leaves your feelings just shy of numb,

mocking you so deeply with bleak awareness

that you’ll begin to envy Walt Disney.


But perhaps the worst thing about the trench is the pressure.

15 thousand 700 and 50 pounds per square inch.

The weight of the world is literally on your shoulders.

And no matter how hard you try

you just can’t seem to muster the spirit

to break free of the crushing embrace-

A shrouded anchor forbidding your liberation

From the grim canyon


And while those who have never been to the trench might say

“Just swim up.”


“You could leave if you really wanted to.”

They can never understand the profound yearning for escape.


I want to ascend.

More than anything.

But it’s not   my   choice

All I can do is wait

Until the trench releases me

And I slowly float toward the surface

My hope increasing with each new glint of sunlight.


And when I finally emerge and take my first breath…

My senses return

And the temperate waves welcome me with open arms

As I begin to comprehend my freedom,

Which at once seemed impossible.

But now I know

I’m going to be ok