I’m Not Sex-Starved or Suicidal: Tips For Channeling Your Dark Side

tips for channeling your dark side

I was listening to Eminem the other day (yeah, you heard me right) and started thinking about public persona. Eminem, like many artists, especially poets and lyricists, get a bad rep for being negative, dramatic, and sometimes violent. Is that who Marshall Mathers is? Or is that just what he writes about? If it’s not who he is, does he have the right to make music about it? I mean, it kinda sounds fake. >___>

Thing is, if you judged me on my art alone, particularly my poetry, you’d be convinced I’m sex-starved and suicidal.

You’ll be pleased to learn I’m neither of those things. *Cheshire cat grin* So what’s the deal?

Creative Outlet

If you’re an artist, you likely know what the deal is, even if you’ve never put it into words. But then, of course you have. And if not, you’ve put it into imagery. You get it. Dark creative work does not equal a dark person. Dark thoughts? Most definitely.

So take a seat. Let’s chat for a minute.

There are two Me’s. Well, really there are about eight Me’s, but let’s not complicate things. The first Me is a social, smiling, strong woman who can lead a mass of people out of crisis without breaking a sweat. The second Me is a somber, thoughtful, delicate hermit, broken at the smallest rejection.

exercise bikingThere’s a place in the world for both sides of me. But there are reasons I aim for the first in most of my business and personal dealings. She is a more pleasant person to be around. She gets things done. She’s easier to love. And she enjoys life.


However, suppressing the second would only be harmful to myself and others in my life because, without a safe place to exist, she will rear her ugly head at the most inopportune time.  

Hence, an outlet.

There are plenty of other outlets—sports, heavy machinery, exercise, eating, etc. My outlet of choice just happens to be creative. Well, honestly, sometimes it’s eating. But I’m working on that.

If you get what I’m talking about and are in search of a way to better manage the two halves of your soul, join me on…

The Dark Side

Come to the dark side. We really do have cookies.We really do have cookies. Why do you think you feel so guilty when you eat them? 😛

Punching holes in walls, ripping your friend’s head off over something stupid, and self-destructive behavior (eating disorders, chemical addictions, self-sabotage) are all good signs you’re not managing your dark side well.

Let’s see if we can channel all that negative energy into a safe place. For the sake of this article, I’ll focus on poetry because it can be done anywhere and doesn’t require expensive supplies, unlike other creative outlets like painting and photography.

I typically use one of the two following methods.

Method One

When something is bothering me, nagging at my conscience, or interrupting my thoughts too often throughout the day, it needs a safe place to escape. So I start by figuring out what the issue is (if it isn’t blatantly obvious). Let’s say I feel hurt.

Hurt is much too broad of a topic to create anything that isn’t cliche. We need to go deeper. I will continue to ask myself questions (much like a therapist might) until I hit the flaming hot center of the issue.

focus dictionary writingFollow me on this exercise:

Why do I feel hurt?
My relationship with someone isn’t going the way I thought it would

What’s different about it?
I thought I could trust him.

Why don’t you trust him?
He started off so sweet. Now he’s kind of pushy.

Pushy about what?
Physical affection.

How is he pushy?
He just…expects it. Like I owe him.

How does that make you feel?
Like a slut.

hurt → lack of trust → sexually pushy → blames me → slut-shamed

This internal conversation can happen in a matter of seconds or it could take days. Once I’ve narrowed down the original feeling into something more definable, I encourage the concept to tumble around my mind for a few more hours or days.

I’ll end up with bits and pieces coming together slowly. Sometimes I write them down just so I don’t lose them or so they don’t keep me up at night. Other times, especially when they develop quickly, they do just fine in my head.

When I’ve got enough pieces to work with, I sit down and write it, including edits, until it’s ready to share. This is where focus helps. Write your bits and pieces down, rearrange them, connect them, swap words out for better ones (there’s no shame in using a thesaurus!) and don’t stop until it’s done.

The result:

he said poem by Greta Stone

 

Well, dang. That was a bit…intense. You might be thinking, “Is that really what he said?” The answer is no. He said a lot of things like it so it’s not far off. 

Then why the drama?

Because you weren’t there to experience it, my words have to magnify the situation in order to bring you even remotely close to what I felt in the moment. Even though these aren’t his exact words and they didn’t happen all in one conversation (or even all with one specific guy,) it gives you the feel of the situation. That’s what poetry does. It packs a lot of punch in very few words.

Method Two

With this method, I start with a prompt, often just one word. (@TastyPoems on Twitter are my favorite!) For this example, let’s say the word is bereft.

Hm. It doesn’t do much for me initially other than give me a general concept of lacking something. My instinct leans toward a lack of affection. I need lots of it, so this makes sense.

In search of further inspiration, I look the word up in the dictionary. Some of you smarter folk (*cough*vocabulary nerds*cough*) may be able to skip this step.

bereft
(adjective)
deprived of or lacking something, especially a non-material asset.

“Deprived” adds to my original line of inspiration, but nothing else grabs me. That’s not always the case. Sometimes other words in the definition or even synonyms can kickstart my inspiration.

From this point, I use a similar process as Method One, but draw on different areas of my mind. Here’s what I’ve got so far: Bereft of affection.

What are some other words for affection? Hugs, kisses, passion. Okay, I guess I’m going with physical affection here.

Passion. I like it. Bereft of passion. Phrased as such, it gives me the feeling like I could never be satisfied. Insatiable is another good word. I jot these down and begin to explore in more detail what it is I want and how I feel when I don’t get it. Bits and pieces, rearrange, upgrade words, and bang! I’ve materialized another dark part of me.

The result:

poem by Greta Stone

In The End

Method One poems tend to be the darkest because those are the thoughts that haunt me. Whereas Method Two poems help keep the visible surfaces of my mind clean and dust-free. Maintenance, you could say. I’m glad to have conquered both and feel better for it.

Once the thoughts have been immortalized in words, I am free of them. It’s as if my pen and paper (or keyboard and Google doc) are a scapegoat for my troubles. Now I can go about my business with a smile and it’s not fake. It’s real because I’ve escaped a dark moment.

What is your outlet for dark thoughts? Do you have a process?

Acquiesce

I’m drawing hearts
in my doodles
when I’ve always
hated hearts,
wearing pink
when black’s
more my color,
answering to
cutie pie
when it used
to be demeaning,
and forfeiting a
night out
for a night of
cuddling on the couch.
Like an ooey gooey
marshmallow
melting in a
steaming bath
of chocolate
I surrender to you.

 

For sharing:

aquiesce-poem-by-greta-stone

YA Book Review: What We Saw

5-star

What I loved about What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler:

  • What We Saw by Aaron HartzlerIt discussed a relevant issue for teens (and adults!) today—rape and consent.
  • The MC, Kate, was not directly involved with the incident, which gave this story fresh perspective. Watching things from the outside and choosing how involved she should get, Kate was easy to relate to.
  • Kate’s family dynamic was beautifully balanced. Not glossy fake. Not cliche.
  • We know very little about Stacey, the girl who was attacked, but I absolutely love her. I’m not even sure why. ❤
  • I loved the comparison between Kate and Stacey. Society viewed them differently because one was from the wrong side of town and the other wasn’t, but they were the same in a lot of ways. And they should have been treated the same. They both went to the party. They both dressed up for it. They both got drunk. Kate could easily have been a victim just like Stacey but she wasn’t. Why? Because their classmates respected her more? This sub-issue surprised and delighted me in how it was addressed.
  • This wasn’t a fairy tale story. It was very real. Right down to the end. I found this to be quite refreshing.

What I didn’t like:

  • At times, it was a bit didactic, but the overall issues addressed were important enough that I was willing to forgive it.

Quotes

Christy laughs, and I shoot her a look. “What?” she says. “Boys will be boys.”
“That’s bullshit.” All three of us turn to look at Lindsey.
“Lighten up,” says Rachel.
Lindsey isn’t having it. “‘Boys will be boys’ is what people say to excuse guys when they do something awful.”

You forget that “Summer Lovin'” is the story of how hot and heavy Sandy and Danny got before school started. You forget that after exaggerating to the T-Birds how far they went “under the dock,” Danny basically blows Sandy off. You forget that later, he tries to get her to have sex in his car when she doesn’t want to.
You forget that at the end of the show, Sandy gives in.
[…]
By curtain call, this music has made you forget the whole point of the plot—the takeaway of this entire story—which is that Sandy decides that what Danny wants is more important than what she wants.’

There’s something fierce in this kiss, something raw & unguarded. Something that says PLEASE CATCH ME. I’M FALLING.

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

15717943Let’s talk about Hopeless. I finished reading it over a month ago and the images Colleen has stamped on my brain refuse to go away. Thanks for that, by the way. If you haven’t read it yet and you’re undecided, read on. Please. This review might settle the decision for you. If you’re sure you want to read and no persuasion otherwise will change your mind, don’t go on. There are semi-spoilers here. (If that’s a thing.)

I give this story four out of five stars.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s dig in.

What I loved about this book:

  1. I had no freaking clue what I was getting into. Seriously. I thought this was one of those “everyone has secrets they’re too embarrassed to tell” stories. It…was not. And that was cool because, with every new surprise discovery, I felt like messaging the author with a “Kudos! I totally wasn’t expecting that.”
  2. I loved (still love) Holder. He’s sweet. And he’s a thinker. And while he was thinking and just staring at Sky, I was dying to get inside his head. (Big surprise. I love the inside of heads.) I kept thinking, ‘He wants to say something, but he can’t.  What does he want to say? And why can’t he?’ When I finally found out…gah!! Refer to #1 of this list.
  3. It has a happy ending without being all gushy and Hallmarky. It’s realistic. This is so, so, so important to me as a reader (and a writer.) Justice is served (mostly), but it doesn’t negate the damage which needs to healed.
  4. Sky is the perfect amount of strong and insecure. There’s a lesson for all of us in the way she handles bullies. (Or stupid high school girls.) And once the weight of the world is on her shoulders (without warning), she stands tall and faces it. You go, girl!

What I hated about this book: (I don’t usually say hate, but I will this time.)

  1. Sky didn’t just learn one thing about her past that was shocking and life-altering, she learned at least five!! (I read this a long time ago and sort of lost count of the exact number. Sorry. :/ ) One thing she learned was sweet (like aaaawww), another was bittersweet, but the three others were gut-wrenching horrid. Like…hor. rid. Jeez, Colleen. Give the girl a break.
  2. After discovering said horrid things about her past, she confronts one of them, which results in a holy freaking shit moment. (Excuse my French.) I’m not talking one of those the-clock-is-ticking-and-you’re-worried-if-she’s-going-to-escape-before-he-catches-her-snooping sort of scenes. I’m talking images-that-will-scar-my-brain-forever kind of horrid scenes. Unnecessary. Completely uncalled for. Take it back, Colleen!

So what was your take on it? Am I alone on this?

Anorexia

You used to watch me dance.
I hated it.
My body was your habit.
You captured me
with your power,
manipulation…
And you, like Satan,
entered every soul.
You were always there.
I had no control.
Like mold that spreads,
you were everywhere.
That’s when I stopped eating.

 

anorexia_poem_by_greta_stone

Epitome

You defy
everything I know
all I’ve learned
all that’s hurt me
you’ve loved me
patiently
conditioning me
to selflessness
spoiling me with
attentiveness
as I lie
in your arms
the safest place
I’ve been
a place I only
thought I’d
been before
I find myself
grasping at air
attempting to
secure a firm grip
as you turn my
world upside down

epitome_poem_by_greta_stone

Deceived*

I am beautiful
Just like he said
When we first met
I am deep
Just like he said
When we first spoke
I am sexy
Just like he said
When we first fucked

I am not a slut

He loved me
He still does
He just forgot.

deceived_poem_by_greta_stone