The Dogwood Tree

Author: Bryson Hays

Sometimes… I forget. I lose my memory of what it is like. I have forgotten what drowning feels like. Afloat on a lifeboat of medications, I forget what my world used to be. I barely remember the thrill of adrenaline that comes with inhaling after running through the neighborhood at 1:00 AM, high off my brain’s chemicals. I forget the spinning of my head, the alcohol, and the scars on my arm. I have forgotten what’s happened. It just doesn’t affect me like it used to. I’m genuinely not afraid of the demons that once ruled my life, of the hallucination named Jake, that sat with me during class, and encouraged me to harm people. Long gone from life, I kinda miss these people, habits, and traits. They are what really cemented me in the game of life. They filled the cracks in my armor, and made me invincible to this world. Now I’ve got to live with myself, the pain, the mania, as real as it all is.

I try, so hard, so encapsulate my feelings into words. But it seems as though, at this time in my life I can only write when I am on as low of a dose of medication as I can go. Seeping from my wounds leaks the golden flow, which I did my pen in, to write the calligraphy I have tattooed on my arm. It’s the name of my favorite book. A book that gives me hope. That builds my resiliency. A book that convinced me to stay on my medications.

“Cracked Not Broken” it reads.

So many people choose to judge me for how I live, the mistakes I make, and the shortcomings in my life. I don’t blame them, they are calling me blue, when I am pink as a dogwood. It does not matter how much they complain, it won’t change who I am. “Oh, he blames it all on Bipolar disorder.” My dear, when you have stared in the face of the demon that lives in your closet, and not blinked. When you have seen people stuck inside of trees. When your delusions destroy your relationships. When you get back up, every, single, day, to fight again…

Then you can judge me,

Until then, I won’t care.

Then maybe, you will understand half of the battle I fight. And it’s a battle every day. I don’t fight to win them all, I fight to win the war. You might call your life a blessing. Mine is a battlefield. I rest the days they don’t come, but when the enemies horn sounds, you know exactly where I will be. Front line, leaking blood, with the resolve unseen to anyone in my eyes.

But the dark times, those are far behind me. I fight because I have what I did not have back then:


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