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  • Writer's picturet.seguritan.abalos

lyrics for wellness

Of all the art forms, poetry is the most economical. It is the one which is the most secret... the one which can be done between shifts, in the hospital pantry, on the subway, & on scraps of surplus paper... As we reclaim our literature, poetry has been the major voice of poor, working class, & Colored women.

~ Audre Lorde, from "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference" (1980)

A rose in a capuccino! Art by my coworker Felirose.

Where I work at a bakery counter, most customers use "How are you?" as a greeting. This feels unbearable when

  1. you have to answer this repeatedly, and

  2. you aren’t doing well.

Each time, you lie.

You say, “Doing well, and you?” — even though you aren’t well, and you don’t want to hear the customer’s answer (chances are, they’re lying too).

A greeting is functional. But the more you brush away the hurt — because you have to, because you’re at work, because you’re performing — the more it erodes you.

The more it scrapes raw the urge to express, “No. I am not okay.”

Next time a customer asks me, “How are you?” here’s what I would say, if I wanted to disrupt the flow of my workplace and upend others' schedules:

"How are you?"

i am


waking up

from three months inside

a cold, darkening cocoon.

(it is / quiet in

here but / there is

life in / here.)

i am drowsy, a drooping

sunflower transplanted

from the west coast

where i was raised in

an abundance of sunlight

that never hid its face

the way the sun hides

from this city.

the concept of a long winter

(the concept of winter)

is still taking root

in me.

i am still reel-

ing from the

recent anniversary of

a childhood friend’s

death. it has been five

years, it was going to be

fine, i thought i would

be fine, then i read a

poem born two years ago

in between my faith & his


then, grief took me

deep down where i had no

way of breathing, no

way of recollecting

the joy i had left. then,

grief took me.

(months / in a

cocoon / there is

life / what about

months / in grief)

i am

crushed by the pressure

to create by the standards of

what is enough

imagining the judgment of

this audience i stepped before

of my own volition

paying this endless toll

of vulnerability &

calling it a career.

last week, i called a dear friend who

called my creative work “vibrant.”

does that mean "enough" lately, my creativity has sprung

from sadness. insecurity. confusion.

when will it be enough?

lately, creative work is where

(i hide

from the non-


work of healing.)

i am warm-

ing up to the


of my own well-

ness, dreaming

of joy as more

than memory, how

it must have felt

under my skin,

through my veins, spill-

ing from unpainted lips in

chords of (effortless)


i am tasting

the sweetness of

a notion i don’t have

to be over-worked, sleep-

deprived, steeped in sadness,

to create work that is worthy

& build my dreams

from the ground.

(yes, i am blessed to have the

support of so many on Patreon.

yes, to some extent, it cost me

my mental health.)

i am wel-

coming the bitterness

of healing, committing

to it again & again.

i am not well, well-past

pretending, welding this

unsettling tendency

towards vulnerability

with the beginning of hope to

be well like the people whose

care has opened my eyes

to the possibility of

my own joy

(is not merely

the ghost that sparks

a lyric of mourning)

my own joy i am

here this morning, chest rising &

falling, eyes opening & closing,

like the doors to other worlds

painted inside my eyelids, like the

oceans unspoken in my breath

(so much to say, not all of

it will be said), but i am awakening,

i am breathing

slowly, that is (that

always will be) enough.

At the risk of dampening the mood of my blog beyond repair, I'll end by sharing excerpts from the poem mentioned above.

I wrote this poem two years ago, torn between the reality of my friend's suicide & a faith in which some go to Heaven, others are damned.

This month, I'll share the full poem & the journey behind it with subscribers of Watch a poem grow.

excerpts of a poem by theresa seguritan abalos, 2019.
excerpts of a poem by theresa seguritan abalos, 2019.


Hello there! Thank you for taking the time to read and/or listen!

If you find the content on my blog meaningful, please consider supporting my work on Patreon.

That way, I can continue to create all of this for free, while balancing part-time jobs to pay rent & student loans :)

Thank you for considering! Take care. ~ Theresa

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