Pressure Sex (trigger warning) – Our Lady Of Lust And Grace

My girl, oh my feisty awesome girl, got sexually assaulted last year. What do you say? “I’ve been there, I love you, be brave, you got this.” It’s almost a rote response at this point. One i…

Source: Pressure Sex (trigger warning)

If I Could – Nicole on FC

A huge thank you to Julie Anderson and Feminine Collective for publishing one of my most personal pieces today. I wrote this one quite awhile back in response to people dismissing my illness.

If I Could

An Unlikely Compass

It was during my darkest moments
when I understood
that sometimes the light
is found in the most unlikely places.
Never forget
the ones who would choose
to light your way home.

© Nicole Lyons 2016

My Tribe

I love the heavy ones.

I feel the loud ones.

And I am the chaotic ones.

The ones who scream

to be heard

over their own raging thoughts,

while the boring ones

tell them to hush…

Those are my people.


Nourish Your Soul – Shareen Mansfield

I am so pleased to welcome the brilliant and beautiful Shareen Mansfield to The Lithium Chronicles. I absolutely love Shareen and everything that she does at Open Thought Vortex, and for everyone who crosses her path.

Welcome to TLC, Shareen.

Nourish Your Soul

by Shareen Mansfield

I haven’t written much the past few months. The last time I really wrote, my world imploded and extinguished my ability to cope with anything. Writing was supposed to be an outlet for me. In the past writing, reading, music, even watching television would snap me out of whatever this is. I don’t know what “this” is. I know I am miserable. I know I can’t keep doing this. I know I have to eat. I have to drink. I have to take care of my children. I have to take care of my husband. I have to care of my dog. I have to take care of my cat. I have to take care of my bills. I have to take care of everything. Problem is I don’t care at all right now. Maybe this is a nervous breakdown. My eating disorder is the worst it has been. I spent so much time taking care of so many people I lost the ability to recognize my own needs. Last week I was so dehydrated I lost my voice.


During the weeks prior, my time was spent researching a no sodium diet for my husband’s uncle. Everyone around me comes to me with questions or for support. I’m used to this. I love it, feeling wanted, appreciated, most especially recognized for what I do best. I fell apart when all my research was discarded. Ignored. Pushed away. Why ask me for help to only disregard it all? I stopped eating and drinking, driving my eating disorder back into a rock-bottom-go-to-the-emergency-room situation. I’m okay now. I’m not fantastic. I’m not wonderful.


To be honest, I ate a half piece of toast with a bottle of Gatorade today. That is still the bare minimum. Still unhealthy. If I continue at this rate, I will land myself back in a coma as I did several years ago. Why is this happening? I’ve had a lot of time to think about this while the doctors examined me. I’m lucky. Since my coma, collapsed lung, and that God awful septic shock ravished my body, I have been on a restricted “activity” order by the doctors. I gained weight when I stopped running. When my eating disorder reared its ugly head, this time I was overweight enough allowing me time to recognize what I was doing to myself. Why did I stop eating? Stop writing? Stop caring?


I blame myself for the actions/reactions of others around me. I failed to see something so simple. I always lend my support to others. Services I should charge for I provide out of kindness. I donate my time, even money to others who need it. I let myself get used. The truth is I am really pissed off right now. When someone asks a favor of me or advice, I go out of my way to make sure I am giving the best of me to them. I am pissed because I feel betrayed. I feel raped. I feel lost. I feel beaten. Turns out I do have feelings. Saying I don’t care is all a lie. I like to make people happy. No, I need to make people happy or better or sane or relaxed. My world revolves around everyone around me.


I’m going to be honest here. Only a few of my friends have ever done anything to actually help me. Two friends/family members knew I was hurting, wrote beautiful poems for me. Another friend texts me daily to make sure I am ok, even calls my husband if I don’t answer her right away. My oldest friend texts me “Wood” at least four times a day as an inside joke we’ve shared for over 15 years. I do feel used. I feel taken advantage of. I give so much of me so freely I forget I am disabling myself. One friend came to the hospital, even went to court with me when a friend I had to quit thought everything I wrote was about her. It wasn’t. It was creative nonfiction. I had to request a Protection From Stalking Order against her.


I care so much about not hurting others that on the day we went to court, despite all the “unfortunate incidents,” damage of my property, and harassing calls that had been going on for weeks, I asked the judge to dismiss my request for the PFS so that friend I quit could get well in order to have her children back in her life. She agreed to leave me alone, to not harass me only to have one of her friends later send me message on Facebook trying to extort and threaten me.


Let me come clean on a few things here: No one can hurt me if I tell the truth. The threats she levied against me don’t bother me because they are lies. Easily disproven by professionals and witnesses. Not even friends of mine. A random poll of people around me would disprove everything she thought she “had” on me. Why am I feeling so hurt? So lost?


Right now, I am not lost. I know exactly what is happening and why. I let myself be used. People I trusted never offered to donate their time to help me. Never did anything because it was the right thing to do. Never did it without tallying up what I owed if they did it. I wasn’t keeping tabs. The hours I spent, the energy, the research, even the inspiration I provided helped them while killing me.


What have I learned from this? I’ve learned that I stopped eating because my mouth is part of the communication process. I did not want to open or use my mouth at all. I felt I had to gag myself, even stop eating because if I don’t communicate in any way no one can use me anymore.


The deepest betrayal comes from those you trust the most. That’s what happened to me. I did not know how to ask for help. I reached out to another blogger/friend, a person so articulate, so brilliant, so compassionate. I reached out to say I need help. I don’t know how to ask. I don’t know what I need. I’m not eating. I am dying slowly. Within seconds she was shooting it straight. Take care of you. Whatever you need, I will help. Fuck writing, she said. Take care of you. Let’s see if we can work together to get you what you need.


I felt I had to ask permission to ask for help. To ask for a break. Permission to shut down, deal with my health. My fears, my pain, my real tragedies happening around me. My severe anxiety disorder off the charts as I was texting her, my heart raced to 155 BPM. I was still wearing my Garmin Heart Rate Monitor and Forerunner. I was pacing. I wasn’t chewing my nails. Chewing my nails would mean using my mouth. Instead I used nippers, shredding my fingers till they bled. Fingers like raw meat, blood on my nightgown, blood on my phone.


I had thrown my phone outside earlier in the evening. Placed my MacBook Pro in the composite bin shortly after that. I wasn’t going to write or communicate. I felt someone had raped me again; this time the rape was of my mind, my advice. I knew I was giving more than I was getting.
Luckily, my husband saw me sobbing in the corner of our bedroom. Watched as my dog whimpered, pawing at me, licking my tears as they gurgled and sputtered out of me. Luckily, I trusted my friend, I reached out to others who knew me, really knew me. I asked for help for the first time in my life. That’s it. I reached out to find several hands ready to pull me out of the fire I was burning in.


Today, today is an okay day. I know I am not “well.” I know I have to set alarms to eat, drink, sleep, rest, cook, thrive. I added “thrive” there at the end. In order for me to thrive I have to stop giving so much of me away. . . I’m an all or nothing person. I am working on the middle now. I want to thrive, see my children, feel them, connect with those that matter to me.


Starting today I end my fear of asking. I end my fear of saying “No.” I start fresh, expressing myself as I always have, with honesty and humor. I don’t have to throw myself away to be me. I just need to recognize that I am more than “useful.”


I am allowed to feel overwhelmed.


I am allowed to break.


I am resilient.
Shareen Mansfield is the founder and publisher of Open Thought Vortex Magazine. When she isn’t pounding the pavement into submission with her excessively lovely feet, she spends her days redefining what it means to be an ally, survivor, mother and friend. Basically, she’s all-around awesome. Her work has recently appeared in Role Reboot, Raising Mothers and The Honeyed Quill. You can find her every Friday on Facebook and Twitter co-hosting #LinkYourLife with the verve of a social media dominatrix.

The Ugliest War of You 

Absolutely amazing. This is exceptional.


I live in a place where people say “faggot”  as causal as one would say, “hello.” A passing respectful nod from a stranger  is common, although just under his brea…

Source: The Ugliest War of You 

You Don’t Know Me – Dianne Hoffmeyer



You think you know me?

You don’t.

You think I’m the same woman from a few years back?

Not even close.

You think I’m still quiet, subservient, timid and fragile?

Afraid Not.

You think I’m just going to let you do and say what you want to me?

Think again…


I can see through your lies and bullshit.

I was taught by the very best.

I know your game of manipulation, you’re a player, but now I am a coach.

I know how to be strong, because that’s all I’ve ever been since I put myself back together- alone.

I am neither quiet, nor am I timid.


I say it like it is, I am proud of who I am,

I do not like to fight, but I am not afraid to bleed.


I use my voice to rise above the lies and rumors and gossip that is said about me.


No, I know exactly who I am.


I am not scared to be myself, I am not scared to be alone, I am not scared for my future even though I don’t know what’s in store for me.


I stitched my pain, my tears, my blood,

my anger, my sadness and my loneliness together with such a durable string, that no matter how hard I am tugged on,

pulled on, stretched, dropped,

ignored, abandoned, and no longer loved

so well, that I have MADE the woman you see today.


I am everything you hate, I am all kinds of hurt, I draw strength from solitude, my ideas are formed from isolation. I am loved by myself, for myself, with no motives, with no deceptions, with no lies.


So before you think you know me,

Think again.

© Dianne Hoffmeyer 2016


Dianne is an amazing woman; to call her “strong” or “brave” doesn’t cover the half of it. Dianne is a fighter. Blessed with nine beautiful children, she has lived through every mother’s worst nightmare, the death of her child, and she has done it twice.

As a survivor of domestic violence, Dianne found the courage to put her ex husband behind bars, after he shot and stabbed her.

Clean for seven years, Dianne is a recovering addict who in her words, “kept breaking out of handcuffs” until she realized it was time to stop.

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD, Dianne is also in advanced stages congestive heart failure. To say she is brave and strong doesn’t do her justice.

Dianne found happiness with her soul mate and was recently married. Her kids are her life, and every decision she makes is made in hope that it is the right one and guides them down the right path in their lives.

The life of love she tries to live each day is a legacy she hopes her kids will live, learn, and never forget.

Never Leave My Side – Abbie Zebrowski



It’s a war

that can’t be won

only fought

It’s a pain

that burns fresh

and it burns deep

It’s a disease

that hides behind

pretty smiles and

sparkling eyes

It’s a silent scream

with bloody talons

tearing through the soft flesh

of my still beating heart

It lurks just beneath

the surface of my


The darkness that

overwhelms my light

The fear that wakes

a child at night






© Abigail Zebrowski 2015



Abbie is a published writer and poet who creates with passion and conviction. She doesn’t shy away from the truth and often writes about her personal journey with depression and anxiety. Abbie is a fierce mental health advocate determined to promote awareness and fight stigmas, which inspired her to start Depression: Catalyst for Change. Connect with Abbie on Sidereal Catalyst, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

3am Thoughts – Matthew D. Eayre

There comes a time to say goodbye to who somebody is, and let go of who you wanted them to be.

My grandmother told me this when I was too young to understand, but I have remembered. I was heartbroken (I thought) over a girl who meant everything to me (I thought) and I asked,

“why won’t she let me love her?”


My grandmother patted me on my hands and looked into my eyes as she told me. I did not want to be alone, and that was the whole story for me. What I wanted, what I felt. It took me over twenty years to really understand, to see what she meant.


I have my feelings, my thoughts, my inescapable wants. I have my rules for life, my desires and my insane needs, I have only my own learned lessons to use, and what I needed to know then, as a teenage romantic, is the same thing I need to know now.


Other people have their own selves…they want. They need. They see from where they have hurt, they cry over their own unfulfilled urges, they choose their own rules and sometimes (all the time) they will choose not to give me what I want. I can give my real heart to whomever I choose but the choice to take that love and give love back is not mine to make


My sister just died, crossing the street late at night, hit by someone with no idea how that moment would change things for her, for her daughters and grandchildren, for her brothers and sisters. She did not want to die that night, of that I’m sure. She died almost immediately after being struck, on the blacktop of a city street, she never got to say goodbye to all of the people that loved her. When I was a child Ruane was my favorite, I know it’s not considered nice to have favorites but I did and she was. She was shiny, she was outspoken and fierce, she was loyal and loving. She looked out for me, almost eleven years older than me, she made me feel so special, to her, to her. I realized recently that was just her way, through her whole twisted life, she tried to make other people feel special, to feel loved, but when I was young I felt isolated and strange…I was not like anyone I knew and they knew it, I was too quiet or too different, she tried so hard to show me that I was good enough, better, she wanted me to feel secure in myself. As a teenager I lived with her and her husband, I cared for my nieces during the day and we had adventures together. She was the first person I looked up to, I wanted her fire. She had a way of immediately making friends with people that I was so envious of… She could read people and know how to approach them, like a heart-whisperer she could make anyone love her as soon as they talked to her. I wanted that.



When I came of legal age, I tried to figure out how to pretend to be a normal person, working and paying bills and going out with people to have fun, asking girls (women) to date me, trying to make friends with whoever I met and…I was terrible at it. I was once again too different from other people, I said things in a strange way, I couldn’t speak the language like everyone else, my accent wasn’t right so people could tell I wasn’t like them.




Ruane tried to help me, she spent time with me and we talked about me…she tried to understand who I was so she could explain to me what I couldn’t see. She taught me so much about myself that I had never known, just by seeing me. As she went through her own problems she always reached back to me when I called, she always listened. I decided so many times to kill myself and I could never do it without saying goodbye to her, and she talked me down over and over. Once she introduced me to her friend’s kids and showed me how quickly they loved me… They were calling me Uncle Matt after about five minutes. She told me how that had always been me, younger kids had always liked me and accepted me, even when kids my age (and adults my age) could not. She saved my life that night by showing me my value. Another time she got angry at me and called me out, showing me how my own bullshit was holding me back. She always knew the right way to get through to me.


When she became an addict and started fucking her own life up, she tried to shut me out because she said she couldn’t deal with the disappointment I must have felt for her. I turned the tables that day and showed her what she had done for me…she showed me how to love, to support someone that is going through hard times. I tried to, anyway…


For years she was my lost angel, and she stayed away because she wanted to, and every time I thought of her I would think…maybe, maybe, she can feel me thinking of her and she’ll try to reach back…she never did. I never did. She couldn’t be what I wanted her to be, and I had to let go of that…I wonder now, two weeks after it’s too late to ask, did she want to come back to me? Was she waiting for me to call her or apologize or something else?


I wish I would have tried harder. I wish she would have. The day is gone now, the words are unsaid and that’s something I need to learn how to deal with…

There comes a time to say goodbye to who somebody is, and let go of who you wanted them to be.

Some day…

© Matthew D. Eayre


Matthew D. Eayre is a writer living in Denver with his wife and children. Refusing to exist as only one thing, he works as a supervisor in a delivery company while pursuing his BA in Accounting and chasing his dreams of making his voice heard in the world.

You can connect find more of Matthew’s stunning words at Matthew D. Eayre, Poetry of Monsters and on Instagram.

Purchase a copy of his extraordinary book here.


Closed Doors & Open Hearts – Jason King

Jason's Truth2


People come into and out of our lives at exactly the right moment…..


This saying used to make my skin crawl and want to chew steel….no they don’t….I would howl….it’s all about choice I would say….now….I’m not sure I believe that….don’t get me wrong I think effort is of the upmost importance….as well as choosing your person everyday….but sometimes you can choose them….but they aren’t meant to keep you nor you them….so you staying is only going to upset the balance of your world.


People come into and out of our lives at exactly the right moment.


I often give my advice on things when asked….sometimes when not….it can be really great advice too….other times I question if I’m the best choice to do this….I am a stubborn man sometimes and won’t heed the same advice I give….recently I took many people on my journey into a new relationship….


I am going to share my truth of it from my perspective….we started out as friends….became very good friends….we run in the same circle so we knew many of the same people….they knew us….somewhere along the way we thought oh okay….you know this could be a thing….I mean we enjoy each other’s company….back to not taking my own advice….


It wasn’t lightning….it was a wonderful little fire….and it was comfortable….so we ran with it….why not….I’m one of the most logically impulsive people you’ll ever meet….we got to do the things we’d been denied in the past….share with the world!….talk about it….come one come all to the show!…it was fun….it also became this wild horse that took off with us on top because we didn’t really know how to ride and basically just had to hang on….it wasn’t ever going to be though….her heart was with someone else….mine was still waiting for the one to cradle it gently and fuck it stupid….


We liked the idea….again….not taking my own advice….not listening to our gut….we tried because it seemed like it should work….that doesn’t mean it will….or should….I will forever be grateful she had the courage to say hey….this just isn’t it….for all my bravado and courage I think it would’ve taken me longer….and I’m stubborn….she expected a backlash that never really came….neither of us were hurt really….just disappointed….however so many revaluations came from it….


We started listening to our gut….our intuition….we learned more about ourselves….and what it is we truly want….it’s not to share with the world….it’s not for the status updates or pictures together on social media….all those things could fall away….then what do you have….burn it all to the fucking ground….it’s not real….it showed me more about who I am and the things I desire in a relationship….and they involve me and one person holding each other at night….I even wrote about it….


My heart isn’t nearly as reckless as it seems….I’m not going from one thing to the next or constantly searching….I’m not….my eyes are always open….they just aren’t always looking in the right place….I am just willing to jump off a cliff to see what it feels like….but my gut always knows….this isn’t the time you fly either….but I must try….I hate what ifs.


People come into and out of our lives at exactly the right moment.


So tonight we are saying goodbye to each other….I know many won’t get this….but it’s part of our language and makes sense to us….she is in love with someone else….and I won’t ever do anything to threaten that….we are always two friends that should’ve stayed that way….but at least no what ifs….so we will say goodbye and part ways as friends….because she wants me to be clean too….because I like someone….she would never threaten that….our guts tell us it’s the right thing….


I don’t fall in like easy….despite how it looks….I’m an openly guarded book….but I do like someone….I owe it to myself to see what’s there….my eyes were open….I saw them….I just wasn’t looking hard enough….I’m a stubborn man sometimes….


I saw her riding the bumper cars….I just moved a little slow getting to the ferris wheel….now I’m listening to my gut….my intuition knows….follow your path….see where it’s taking you….so tonight I’ll tell my friend goodbye….she has to go see about a boy….and I have a ferris wheel to go climb.


People come into and out of our lives at exactly the right moment.

© Jason King 2016


Jason King


Jason King is a storyteller, seeker of passion, hopeless romantic, cynic, and possibly completely mad. You can find more of his exquisite writing at Jason King.

Follow Jason’s journey here on The Lithium Chronicles at The Poets