• Tealight Press

For My Birthday I Gifted Myself Therapy by Lexi Locket

For My Birthday I Gifted Myself Therapy

I'm 28 now. Can you believe it?

I started seeing you when I was what, 22?

You must have thought I was the saddest girl.

One of the most human moments I have ever experienced

was when I called you after he died, and the first thing that crashed

out of your mouth was, How much can you take?

Even you faltering for a moment

to give perspective in tragedy. That's when I knew

I could never have another therapist.

You had been there through every detour. By my side

as I tried to pry my eyes from

the wreckage of the unsung wedding bells,

coaxing me to keep going when his death

left me broken down,

helping me to find my way after each unexpected turn.

I've never told you this,

I've never told anyone this,

but I set a date.

I was 23 when he died and it was exactly 2 months past

his 25th birthday. So I decided that if, by 2 months past my 25th birthday,

every path forward was still road blocked by grief,

I would simply use my emergency exit,

following him in his pursuit of relief.

But I wanted it to be a fair fight.

So I bought a pair of rollerskates on Craigslist

and spent hours each week sweating out the sadness in hopes

of getting on a roller derby team; paid a man to pierce

my back so I could fly, releasing one pain in favor of another,

desperately seeking a different perspective; and moved to the other

side of the world to see what the grief would look like

if no one knew I was grieving.

And then my 25th birthday passed,

And 2 months after my 25th birthday passed.

I didn't even realize it until weeks later,

as another anxiety attack threatened to run me off the road,

when I thought to check the date.

Six weeks had passed before I thought about it.

Do you know what that's like? To plan a route

and get so distracted by the beauty in front of you

that you completely miss your exit?

Do you know what it's like to be living so well

that you forgot you had set a date to die?

It wasn't even that I was happy, yet,

but my roller derby team was counting on me,

my tiny dogs were eager to lead me out the door

finding new paths to explore, and there was

a beautiful girl whose laughter could fuel me for days.

Now here I am sitting across from you

and I just turned 28,

I still can't believe I made it here.

I think I want to get off the road

and stretch my legs for a while.

Enjoy this little life I've made for myself.

My family loves to tease me for claiming

a whole week to celebrate my birthday,

but each one feels like a surprise

when it's one you never planned for.

Each morning seems worthy of celebration

when the golden gift of the sunrise sparks

you with curiosity for what the day may bring.

Talk about progress, right?

Lexi Locket is a creative in Phoenix, AZ. She enjoys the art of storytelling through poetry, prose, music, and performance art. When not creating, Lexi works as a music therapist in the mental health field. Lexi also enjoys playing roller derby, spending time with her family and friends, and raising her fur babies. She self-published her first chapbook, 'The After Life', in the fall of 2019. She can be found on Twitter @punkiepie394 and Instagram @poetrywithlexi

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