I have suffered from anxiety & depression for over 25 years. Most days, I find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. Writing is my touchstone, my beacon through my pain. I write poetry daily for others & sometimes for myself to help me navigate through destructive emotions.

June 24th is Mia St. John’s birthday. Here is a birthday poem that I wrote for her. Mia is a passionate, tireless champion for the rights of people suffering from mental illness.

The voice of strength, a birthday poem for @MiaStJohnBoxer by Tracy Diane Miller

The greatest strength is not in the desire to overpower, but to empower.

The greatest strength is not in avoidance and looking pass those in pain, sentencing them to societal disdain.

That voice of strength is the loudest and resonates in the soul through the sound of compassion: we give a piece of our hearts, we give our voices have fallen silent, muted by the arms of mental illness.

Don’t turn away from them.
Embrace them.
Remember them.
Fight for them.
Never stop for them.

The voice of strength is beautiful, undaunted.

It can be heard in the sound of a mother’s unbreakable bond for her son.
For the innocent laughter of a baby,
For the young man in pain, who still, through his art,
continues to shine light along the path of others who can’t find their way,
Bitter vines of despair.

The voice of strength is beautiful, undaunted.
Always there.

Sorrow is not a badge of shame.
Alas, what truth exists in that refrain of pain?
When tears are not shielded nor hoarded from view,
Yes…that’s the clue.

No shame in compassion,
To willingly embrace,
And even carrying grief, even wearing grief on one’s face,
The voice of strength is beautiful, undaunted.

Full of grace.

A mother reaches her arms towards Heaven,
Her eyes fixed towards the sky,
Her son extends his arms towards her, to wipe her tears
when she cries.

He says, “I see you. I feel you. And in Paradise where I now rest. Even in my sorrow. Even in my pain. Please know that I gave the world my best.”

She smiles at him. She whispers. “I know.”

And she does know.

She remembers the little boy and his laughter.