“it will be terrible”
(October 2019; issue 1)
curated by megan marie taira
in the beginning there was nothing, as with the beginning of every story. but this was boring and in no way a compelling adventure to embark on.
yet we press on.
in the beginning there was but a blank page, blank screen, or blank canvas (of any sort) and so begins our adventure away from nothingness.
every time we create we bring something new to life, something that did not and could not exist without us. and that’s what we’re here to celebrate.
the first chapter is always the hardest. the first draft. the first note. the first stroke of paint on a brand new canvas. it’s the most intimidating step.
yet we press on.
and so here sit our attempts at planting a garden – at procuring a more beautiful future.
here stand the thoughts, art, words, wisdom, insight, and healing powers that those who were brave enough to share their stories have left us with.
so here, we press on.
but why will it be terrible?
because firsts always are.
and so instead of dreading the idea of falling instead of flying we embrace the idea of a starting point – and yes, every starting point is different – but it gives us a place to begin. a place to grow from, a place to plant seeds of ideas.
sketches on napkins,
the first three notes of a song on loop,
anything and everything that gives us room to heal and grow.
so here lies my best intention and first try at a place to heal and grow with you all.
we begin in the winter of discontent.
during our last summer, we held happiness in the palm of our hands. we had everything. and yet, here we sit, at what we have deemed “rock bottom” for the ninth time. but we press on. we begin in the heart ache, in the pain, in the trenches. we begin where it hurts; so that we may heal through this work and this art. so here we begin
and we’ll follow the story of Space Girl as she fell to Earth. this collection, by Luna Margo Valentine, is a heart ache in itself. you can feel the pain that Space Girl must have felt as she was betrayed – by her family, her people, her planet, herself. but Space Girl lives on, Space Girl still believes. Space Girl has a story to tell.
accompanying this collection is a painting by Cirno Avery entitled “Plants”
i like to envision that this is where Space Girl landed when she fell; that she’ll find a new home here. that she’ll grow and flourish.
is still warm.
she still lives
with a little bit of hope.
even if it feels
she still has that twinkle
in her eyes. she still
remembers the good days
with her people and
with her mom.
she uses that
and she gets through
by an entire planet
and she’s still here
space girl feels
but she won’t
to let herself
like the stars
she’ll never stop
we stand after crashing “wearing crowns with heads held high and tears falling down.” (Luna Margo Valentine). we stand still as we try to gather ourselves. breathing heavily, chest aching. are we the monsters in this new land?
we feel “hopelessly doomed” we try so desperately to put ourselves back together. but it’s like trying to fall back in love with the unlovable.
“being in love with someone who is not a hopeless romantic is like driving a car with no destination. it’s like seeing the world without the beautiful colours. without love, I am colour blind but you see clearly.” (Demi Whitnell)
this next poem was crafted by Ennis Bashe and here we’ll follow the story of someone who struggles to fill the space around them. after crashing, we’re not always as capable as we were before the fall, before we were cursed. and here we discuss what it feels like to be a monster in a forgien land.
Southeast by Magpie
by Ennis Rook Bashe
after Jessica Townsend
“When we meet
I plan to hang onto you like a lapel pin on a tailcoat
Like an umbrella, if umbrellas could fly.
Amongst my other crimes I admit to being unremarkable; I am sullen and I slouch. Sallow is
another applicable S-word, or Dickensian as an overthought synonym for Sad. (Not Shy or
Sullen, though. That counts more than you might think.) You won’t find me wrestling bears or
riding dragons. Most of the time a flight of stairs
might as well be the squeezing passageway into another world where gravity tilts upwards
behind the underpass square: breathe and retreat.
the fact is that people who know their talents
and can unscroll conjured manifests of what makes them a wonder
never strive as diligently to be loveable. never hold on with both fists.
so here are the encyclopedias of reasons people like me are monsters
alphabetized annoying-through-aggravation, follies-through-flaws.
I will own up to a couple of the entries in Badly Behaved through Belligerent
but lie awake at night about the rest: when do you know if you are a monster? When do you hurt
someone too much to step back? When does everyone descend, a flock of birds, a wild hunt,
exile stamped in triplicate, it’s got shifty eyes, limbs that don’t fit together right, a willful limp,
Of Course It’s Cursed.
Find me an anecdote of someone like me but good. Someone who wasn’t a burden, who nobody
minded. I’ll be content with unmemorable when the starlings stop hinting I’m better off dead.
Just tell me you think I count as an example. Tell me you think I can be good
and I’ll trust you to see the glitter where everyone squints.
The fact is I can be worth apologizing for, a fondant layer cake, an aviary of jeweled birds, a sofa
on a subway train, hydrangeas and cinnamon, a blown-glass chandelier.”
we retreat into ourselves – burdened by the weight of others indifference and confusion. they create an illusion of ourselves for our own minds. they paint a new picture of us. we see ourselves as broken when we look through other’s eyes. we begin to rely on imaginary friends again.
When I was really little
I became best friends with my shadows
so I’d never be lonely.
She became my voice of reason, my sounding board.
She was the keeper of my smiles,
all watery and broken.
I gave her a name and the life I was being robbed of.
– Imaginary friend. Invisible friend. best friend.
(Luna Margo Valentine)
we hide in our anxiety. we feel trampled and weighed down by our own thoughts and fears.
is like peeling skin,
burnt and scorched from my sinister thoughts
and the people i allow to hurt me.
it’s like i’m floating,
invisible to the naked eye,
flying a plane on autopilot,
shuffling from place to place through sweet molasses.
it’s my brain
stapled against the walls in my skull
but i feel the parts loosen up.
when i’m not panicking
is feeling okay
when i’m really not.
- anxiety without the frenzy
they ship us off. diagnose us. treat us. send us into the spiral they call treatment. yet we press on.
this next poem is one from Katrina Loos’ debut collection and i think it’ll resonate with anyone who has ever been abandoned in a mental health office alone:
they notice, but they don’t say anything. at least not out loud.
i keep checking my heartbeat, furiously pressing two fingers in my neck. i need to keep reminding myself that i’m still here. that i’m still alive.
my heart is
S C R E E C H I N G
under my chest, like a wild beast buried alive.
so why am i worrying so much?
my blood is rushing through my skinny veins like the river nile.
i can remember my anxious thoughts. my love for life. the past and the future. taste the chocolate chip cookies i baked salivating on my tongue. our hips spooned together as you kissed the back of my neck. the craft beer i drank an hour ago.
even with all of these feelings and thoughts and love, i still dread the day my heart stops
S C R E E C H I N G.
“existential thoughts at the doctor’s office”
but what about when winter breaks and the sun peeks through? not all of us bloom in the summer. Demi Whittnell’s poem “My Summer Friend” tells about the flip side to seasonal affective disorder. while the doom and gloom of winter haunts a lot of us, we forget that the harsh summers scorch the life out of our companions.
I think my summer friend has come back.
She likes to come when the sun begins to rise, when trousers become shorts and skin smells of
tanning lotion. She likes to hold my hand, not in the comforting “let’s go” hold of a friend in
summer but rather she holds me back and says “you don’t want to do those things” She doesn’t
let me stay out all night or go swimming, she says an early night alone is best. She doesn’t let me
laugh amongst my friends but stare into my phone screen hoping for some interaction through the pixels. She doesn’t let me have fun, get tanned or drink because she prefers me pale and drunk on my own sadness. I wonder if my best friend is anyone else’s friend, when they are all out having the summer of their young lives, does she visit any of them? Or is this a platonic
relationship of possession. I at her will. She drills thoughts into my head with her sharp tongue
and doesn’t let me see through the clouds of my own fears and anxieties. She’d rather lay in bed
beside me day and night, rather listen to my tears roll down my cheeks than the waves against
I think my summer friend has come back.
how we convey these thoughts, feelings, and tidal waves of emotions vary. but one thing stays the same – we press on. we sit in doctor’s office lighting; hands tangled together. waiting, waiting, waiting. but eventually we spill our thoughts in ink or tears or a cacophony of emotions as they breach the flood gates and spiral out –
then, a tsunami of language gushed between my lips.
i feel this emptiness inside. a hollowness i can’t explain, like a juicy melon scooped clean of its sweet flavor. my body is caved in like something got ripped out of me. when i breathe, my heart beats in my ears. when i cry, i feel the earth in my feet. when i feel any sort of pain, i think i’m about to meet death on the other side.
and when i want to cry, i can’t.
it’s like i’m a prisoner of my thoughts,
and nothing is making me stay
but nothing is making me leave either.
“therapy session: October 10, 2018”
but, again, we press on. we ache as we grow but we keep striving to be better – to heal.
a heavy chest
and aching heart
is the beautiful mess
of the parts
“we hurt before we change”
we remind ourselves that healing isn’t linear; that our paths my curve and bend and twist and turn – but they will never break. we learn to be strong in new ways.
store bought neurotransmitters
are just as good as homemade
not being able to make your own
does not make you weak
and taking the steps to receive the added help
doesn’t make you broken
it makes you strong as hell
– medicated and mighty
(megan marie taira)
and as mentioned above, we find new paths to follow.
We’re all soul-searching,
into the depths
of those tenebrous hollows—
where we have
to espy significant resolutions
beyond the shit
So we peruse pages,
sanguine to unearth
some bygone juncture.
(A. I. Myles)
we grow. we learn. we heal. we forgive. we forgive others for the pain they inflicted on us. and we forgive – and learn to love – ourselves again.
I held my heart in both hands
and desperately tried to collect all the pieces
I worked tirelessly
Day and night
To put it back together again
I held my heart in both hands
And let my tears fall into the cracks
Let my sorrow flow through its veins
So it knew i was still alive
I held my heart in both hands
And gently whispered
Everything I had needed to hear
I spoke delicately to the aching piece of my soul
So that it may know
How truly sorry I was for breaking it
Time and time again
(Megan Marie Taira)
but the hardest part, in my humble opinion, is staying soft. not letting the world turn your scars into jagged edges that tear at the flesh of others. we stay soft – soft and powerful.
with wide eyes
don’t give up hope
with a big heart
don’t stop dreaming
soft girl says
things will never be the same
but they’ll improve
things will be different
on light up stars
soft girl with
stardust in your body
and hope in your heart
– i pray all your dreams come true
(Luna Margo Valentine)
we peek through the dirt, covered from head to toe, and start to grow upwards. start to climb. we learn more and more about ourselves each and every day. we learn the nest ways to fall in love with ourselves.
let in your peace
your anxious thoughts
let them in.
let them in
to your body
of a home
“welcome every part of you”
and here, we find ourselves. in our soul work. our heart work. our love for our damn selves. in our creations and our triumphs. whether we fall or fly we know we are here and we are unmoving and we are love.
I found myself
In lines of free verse poetry
And lyrics of my favorite songs
I found myself in the chapters of old books
And brush strokes in modern paintings
I found myself in these beautiful creations
And tried to recreate them for my own
I poured myself in poetry
Crafted myself on canvas
And hummed the tune of my old melody
I spent all my time trying to create beautiful art
And then i finally realized
I am art
(megan marie taira)
and here, agina, we press on.
we know that our recovery process will not be linear, but we will continue to put one foot in front of the other. we will strive for better tomorrows and better futures. we will heal ourselves through our work, through our passions, and we will heal from the inside out.
so, we press on.
About the Artists
i would like to thank all of these lovely individuals for sharing their soul work with me. the best compliment i have ever received was through this project. the idea that the pieces here are more personal than we might share elsewhere but here, they find a home. thank you for your work and i hope we can continue to heal, grow, create, and strive for better tomorrows together.
Cirno Avery can be found on Artstation under Vallanto — which is a mistranslation of Vol Lanto meaning “to fly”. a fitting name for an artist of such dreamy paintings like the ones exhibited in this collection. I highly recommend clicking the link above and browsing their other pieces. i am no art critic, so i can not tell you much about their structure and composition, but i can tell you how they make me feel.
these pieces are so, as i mentioned above, dreamy, surreal even. these paintings have such visual realism that the world that’s displayed holds tightly to an air of mysticism and magick.
Cirno Avery is a practitioner of Chaos Magick and a student of the Wiccan philosophy and i feel as though this is truly relayed in their art. the pieces we’ve displayed here detail the concept of a “Mind Alter”.
it is so easy to get lost and meditate in these paintings. you can hold it in your mind’s eye so closely and truly feel the nature of the piece. Cirno Avery describes this as “the aloof freedom, but also trap, of the mind altar”. a place to visit; to stay? a place to worship and practice and be truly open but never at full peace?
i like it here, do i really have to go?
to create such visual artistry Cirno Avery describes their process as a healing and meditative process. at the end of a stressful day they can rely on this practice to help them “recap, rethink and understand the connections of the day. [this] flushes negativity out. I realise what I did wrong and make sure I keep active constant thinking up. this openness allows me learn-”
Cirno Avery honestly captures healing and meditating through art in its purest form. i feel blessed to have been able to share their soul work here.
Ennis Rook Bashe
Ennis Rook Bashe can be found on twitter @EnnisRookBashe and is a future social worker from the New York area. their chapbook Glitter Blood was a 2018 Elgin Award nominee. their latest collection, Not Girl But Knife can be found on amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Not-Girl-But-Knife-poetic-ebook/dp/B07PJ1Q7X5/
the poem displayed in this issue is a beautiful think piece about living life with a disability. inspired by a fantasy novel with a “cursed” main character, Ennis Rook Bashe brings to life the realities of day-to-day, routine tasks, that others may take for granted and write off as dismissable in the light of someone with an illness or disability.
the real life images and ideas of struggling to accomplish what others deem mundane is seen here and brought to life so well that it resonates with anyone who has ever been seen as “less than” because their disability is limiting.
you are not your illness
Katrina Loos is a top writer on Medium, the editor in chief of The Weed Bible and The Personal Growth Bible, and a published poet – her debut novel Let’s Talk About It. can be found on amazon is an excellent example of modern poetry and mental health awareness.
Katrina Loos is a conversation starter and an advocate of mental health awareness. the collections of poetry that are exhibited here are all from Let’s Talk About It and they’re a refreshly honest look at life with mental illnesses. topics that some shy away from are displayed boldly, proudly, unashamed; and it’s sure to become a staple in the mental health writing community.
as mentioned above, Katrina Loos also writes about CBD and hemp products. what i admire the most is the emphasis on health. she creates informative and eloquent pieces that exhibit the benefits that CBD can have on anxiety. natural health of mind, body, and soul – i appreciate the work she shared here.
Alice Mao can be found under the handle @alicemaoart on instagram and she is an emerging visual artists in the greater Seattle area.
Her works explore concepts such as identity, anxiety, and digital distortion. i felt she was a great contributor to this issue with her visual artistry and what it looks and feels like to heal through your creative process.
the piece we displayed here is entitled To Heal and it was the ideal image for the healing section of this issue.
displayed in her work is the visual representation of healing through your art. ink splotches appear as bruises that were then pressed into the image to smudge and fade and blend them – truly healing inner wounds by creating something visual and artistic.
i appreciate Alice Mao’s openness in sharing her soul work here.
Andre Miles can be found under the handle @athenaeumthoughts on instagram. here, they showcase an array of art, and poetry specifically. he describes his writing style as being sporadic. writing down the snippets that pop into his mind until they can be fleshed out later. an appropriate and inspiring way to get across themes and images.
the poem showcased here about finding your own path through life. it’s about the choices we make and where they’ll take us. it’s about self discovery.
this poem fit in perfectly with the other pieces showcased in this issue. it was a great example of growing and finding your own way through your creative expression. i appreciate you sharing your art here.
other passions of his include writing and playing music and hopefully in the future we’ll get to showcase that as well!
Megan Marie Taira
Megan Marie Taira can be found everywhere under the handle @freelovingwitch. she primarily writes about topics such as mental health, recovery, and self-love.
when she’s not writing, she can be found anywhere with her nose in a book and a pen in her hand.
she’s an author first, and a clumsy artist second. she even runs a lifestyle blog and a small etsy shop which you can find links to on her website – freelovingwitch.com.
writing in third person is weird so i’m going to stop now.
it was an absolute blessing to create this first issue and host some of my own thoughts in it. i hope this place i’m trying to cultivate feels safe and inviting to everyone – of all walks of life. let’s continue to celebrate healing through art.
Luna Margo Valentine
Luna Margo Valentine can be found everywhere under the name @imaginarymargo. a poetess, dreamer, soft girl, space girl, and strange woman all in one. black girl magick at its finest.
her writing is so astonishingly beautiful, it’s truly breathtaking. she can write about the most gut-wrenching topics in such a way that you can only describe it as soft-girl magic. it’s powerful. it’s empowering.
the collections found here are from twitter and wattpad. and i highly encourage you all to read the rest of the series
Luna is a passionate soul. a reader of words and visions and moods. she has over a handful of tumblogs and collections dedicated to the aesthetics — the feelings — they evoke. it’s beautiful to scroll through her work and admire it for all that it is. personal; truly passionate.
after all, she says, “I write poetry because it’s magical. Words have so much power and I think everything should be done with passion and with purpose behind it.
Demi Whitnell is an up-and-coming poetess from london. she can be found under the handle @smol_dee and on facebook by her given name. a practicing wiccan, her poetry comes with balance and equanimity.
when discussing her writing practices she notes “I think expressing yourself through poetry is very important for the soul. I write whenever I can, things will come to me and I’ll note them down, nothing is every planned… everything happens for a reason.
she admits that writing, reading, and studying different practices can be a challenge because of her dyslexia,but she proudly resounds with “I push through because I love words.”
and so here we are, pushing on with you,Demi Whitnell. thank you for your words, your thoughts, and your insight.