Drawing myself

From the inside out

Sheltered by bone,

Veiled in

Cream colored Flesh,

My hand holds my pencil

And draws,

A shell.


A dark,





Bound to flesh

Moving and flowing with

The rhythm of a body

Clinging on as an extension

Of myself but so

tightly it overpowers.

I am no longer in the picture.


I visualize

Many shells

Layered one over another

Both shielding and invading

My personal space at the

Same time.


My wrist glides as I trace one shell.

When I accidently scraped my back sliding down

The tall twisting tree in my grandma's front

Yard, showed my mother who gasped and called

Her friends to let them know I had made myself bleed.

I stood there embarrassed and confused because

I couldn't understand how I had made her unhappy

When I truly didn't mean to.


My shaking hand outlines a second.

When I was young, naive, and loyal to the wrong people,

My unknowingly artificial “best friends”

Went on vacation together, without me

And kept it a bottled up secret for ten months

Only telling me the truth because it slipped out

On the very special night of my 13th Birthday.


I can barely touch pencil to paper

To shape a third shell because

When I looked at my grandpa as his

Soul left his broken-down body

Some freak had the nerve to play the song

“Happy Holidays” on the radio at

12:53 pm Christmas eve 2010 while

My family witnessed our loved one

End a horrific battle to brain cancer.


I try to take a break

But there's more Shells to draw.

A fourth appears line by line

From when a woman I idolized as my mentor sat

In front of me and told me she was leaving,

I realized she had only ever made me happy

Because she was preparing to take my smile

And bend it into the frown that started

My abusive relationship with depression


There's a fifth shell, a powerful shell,

For when it all came crashing down.

When he did not love me.

When he did not want me anymore.

When I waited to see him and he fell asleep on the

Couch and told me I should just go home

Though I had been there for hours wanting and

Waiting to feel the care I had felt before.

A fifth shell for when once again

I was left behind

…                             ...                             …           

Each and every shell

Is a physiological connection to

My anxiety and past depression

Because of the emotional oppression

Made possible by the feelings of

Confusion and rejection

And my avoidance of the confession

That my aggression could be fixed

When asked one simple question,


“Did you have a plan, when you wanted to kill yourself?”



…                             ...                             …       


18 months and 8 days later

I am new

I received the help I

Had been begging for.


In my mind I have gained intelligence.

In my body I have found confidence.

My beautiful bold, dark chocolate eyes

No longer see the world as a danger

Or life as an enemy, instead chances

To improve, love, and experience

My true self for finally

I have calmed

My overbearing thoughts.

…                             ...                             …        


Looking at the drawing

I recognize the care from my mother who

Motivates me.

I trust the friendships I have made as they

Encourage me.

I spend time with the people who can

Teach me.

I let my roommates endless smile

Empower me.

I enjoy the attention of my new beloved

Supporting me.


Every shell erased

The layers shed

Without resistance.


Drawing myself,

I see me,

And I smile.

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