Driven, impatient and judgmental person that I am, I constantly work to hold myself in check. Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle*, I remind myself. Every time I’m about to walk into a room, a classroom especially, because teachers have enormous power and please, please do not ever let me abuse that power, I recite those words to myself. Be gentle, Alison. Be kind. Keep the lesser angels of your nature in check, because you don’t know the whole story. You will never know the whole story.
A Good Day
– Kait Rokowski
Yesterday, I spent 60 dollars on groceries,
took the bus home,
carried both bags with two good arms back to my studio apartment
and cooked myself dinner.
You and I may have different definitions of a good day.
This week, I paid my rent and my credit card bill,
worked 60 hours between my two jobs,
only saw the sun on my cigarette breaks
and slept like a rock.
Flossed in the morning,
locked my door,
and remembered to buy eggs.
My mother is proud of me.
It is not the kind of pride she brags about at the golf course.
She doesn’t combat topics like, ”My daughter got into Yale”
with, ”Oh yeah, my daughter remembered to buy eggs”
But she is proud.
See, she remembers what came before this.
The weeks where I forgot how to use my muscles,
how I would stay as silent as a thick fog for weeks.
She thought each phone call from an unknown number was the notice of my suicide.
These were the bad days.
My life was a gift that I wanted to return.
My head was a house of leaking faucets and burnt-out lightbulbs.
Depression, is a good lover.
So attentive; has this innate way of making everything about you.
And it is easy to forget that your bedroom is not the world,
That the dark shadows your pain casts is not mood-lighting.
It is easier to stay in this abusive relationship than fix the problems it has created.
Today, I slept in until 10,
cleaned every dish I own,
fought with the bank,
took care of paperwork.
You and I might have different definitions of adulthood.
I don’t work for salary, I didn’t graduate from college,
but I don’t speak for others anymore,
and I don’t regret anything I can’t genuinely apologize for.
And my mother is proud of me.
I burned down a house of depression,
I painted over murals of greyscale,
and it was hard to rewrite my life into one I wanted to live
But today, I want to live.
I didn’t salivate over sharp knives,
or envy the boy who tossed himself off the Brooklyn bridge.
I just cleaned my bathroom,
did the laundry,
called my brother.
Told him, “it was a good day.”
For more information on Kait Rokowski, please click here.
*Wise words attributed, variously, to Philo of Alexandria or Plato or Ian MacLaren.
Agreed. Wow. Thanks, Tessa.
I’ve re-read this poem so so many times. Growing up with a mother with clinical depression, myself having been depressed at times… I felt this. Thank you for sharing such beautiful and amazing poetry. ❤
I didn’t know you’d been through that experience, Nicole. I’m sorry – and I’m glad that it speaks to you. This poem still takes my breath away, every time I read it. XO