Am I Safe?

“Every time I heard someone say, “I am safe,”
the child in me hid.

When asked what safety meant to me, I replied, “complete trust and vulnerability.” I had the idea of safety in my head, but it couldn’t reach
my body and my heart…”

Lauren A. Jennings is teacher, writer and advocate for mental healing. She received her B.A. in English and Master of Arts in Teaching from Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, GA. 

When she’s not in the classroom, you can find her hiking, singing and giving piggy-back rides to her daughter.

Connect with Lauren on Facebook at Lauren A. Jennings @deephealbipolar and on Instagram, her favorite share space, @healbipolarandbeyond.

Here’s where you can read some of Lauren’s work.

Lovestruck Lesions:

“When two paths cross
Words and eyes drop
Swiftly…”
The Thorn 2010 (p. 10)


Yellow Raincoat
:

“yellow
raincoat
bobs,

lopsided,
downhill
in the afternoon…”
The Thorn
2010 (p. 15)


Gift:

“Your bread turned to stones,
The bottle of formula
Like rock in your gut…”
ELLA Library’s Reflections on Generosity and Thanks: A Collection of Poems.


9 Tips If Depression Has You Down This Winter:                                            

“The earth lies dormant in winter, and I want to hibernate, too…”
 
The Mighty


Parking Lot Prophet:

“As soon as he said it,
I knew what it was…”

Fathom Magazine


Nightwatch:

“I follow crumbs at
Dusk along the damp
Earth. Will tomorrow’s
Materialize?”
 
The Mudroom

Jailbreak:

“Love sings out
Where I am shackled.
I would cast down these walls…”
The Fallow House

Sunglow:

“I am slowly layering
A tamer tan line…”
The Amethyst Review

Starfall:

“When I look up,
Fog veils the mountain
Outside the cafe
Window, an ethereal
Blanket enfolding trust…”
The Amethyst Review

The following piece was written in response to acts of racial violence perpetuated during the spring and summer of 2020. Since its conception, I have learned the danger of equating or equalizing different kinds of suffering, especially suffering in which I am more witness than victim. I have mental illness, but I am not a person of color. I have been subject to social discrimination and injustice in the healthcare system, but I don’t fear for my life every time I leave my home.

I need to listen far more than I speak. Please forgive me. I have a lot to learn. When you read this, look to the beauty that remains: our dignity and our lament. We have made, and we will bear. Our daughters will weep too.

 –LHW

 

Litany for Our Daughters

ALL:

Baby girl, don’t sleep now.
Keep them eyes awake.
Keep your ears a-listening,
Loud enough to break.
Now’s no time for tremble-hiding.
You got war and time for crying.
Dream the Dream and keep on flying:
‘Til you feel Earth quake.

 

MOTHER I:

Open alabaster eyes
And see your mama drain,
Breathing death daily, dye in her lungs.
We’ve swallowed pills,
Offered our arms to injections,
And still the mind shatters, joints swollen, skin flakes.
Our children, if born, wail without nursing,
For our breasts can’t sustain with the drugs in our veins.

 

MOTHER II:

Open curled ebony ears
And hear your mama’s pain,
Bleeding death daily, hounded and hung.
We’ve swallowed kills,
Offered our thighs to subjections,
And still the welts fester, fears hinder, skin bakes.
Our children, if born, die without justice,
For our love can’t protect from the wolves at the reins.

 

ALL:

When you’re grown, you’ll realize

Grief will flow like water.
When you’re grown, you’ll realize
Tears have known you, daughter.

 

MOTHER I:

Sometimes a trickle, thin sliver of rain.
Sometimes a breaker slams knees to grit’s grain.

 

MOTHER II:

Sometimes a drink in the stars shows the way.
Sometimes a hurricane flattens the hay.

 

ALL:

So baby girl, don’t quit now.
Keep them eyes awake.
Keep your ears a-listening,
Soft enough to break.
Now’s no time to be caught sleeping.
You got peace and time for weeping.
Keep on praying long as reaping
‘Til the Heavens shake.

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@healbipolarandbeyond

Email

hello@laurenajennings.com

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