Fundamentals of Forbidden Love with Tristan & Isolde

Literature Reviews, Mythology, Poetry, Psychology, Thoughts

Note: If you are a student, I don’t mind if you reference my work. Just cite your sources. Purdue has this amazing tool that you can use to copy and paste links, and automatically generate MLA (and other) formats for your source. Research and Citation Generator Purdue Owl

The themes of romance, love, and other aspects of medieval culture are found in the story of Tristan and Isolde. These themes that are historic yet contemporary fill the ancient tale of Tristan & Isolde. This epic story of forbidden love is perhaps one of my favorite love stories ever. Themes of romance, love, loyalty - and even betrayal, have carried over into contemporary media through generations and thousands of years. This media is given to us by the dozens in the form of books, operas, plays, comics, and movies. Tristan & Isolde, the 2006 film directed by Reynolds which features James Franco and Sophia Myles is a direct adaptation of the classic Celtic love story that features two beloved characters (Tristan and Isolde, 2006).
Tristan & Isolde, 2006 film

The themes of romance, love, and other aspects of medieval culture are found in the story of Tristan and Isolde. These themes that are historic yet contemporary fill the ancient tale of Tristan & Isolde. This epic story of forbidden love is perhaps one of my favorite love stories ever. Themes of romance, love, loyalty – and even betrayal, have carried over into contemporary media through generations and thousands of years. This media is given to us by the dozens in the form of books, operas, plays, comics, and movies. Tristan & Isolde, the 2006 film directed by Reynolds which features James Franco and Sophia Myles is a direct adaptation of the classic Celtic love story that features two beloved characters (Tristan and Isolde, 2006). The movie was inspired by the medieval literature version of the tale that was first popularized in the 12th century (Greenblatt, 2018). In this lesson on the Fundamentals of Forbidden Love, we will go over why forbidden love is just so extremely delicious and tempting, as well as how this timeless theme has survived over hundreds and thousands of years.

Tristan and Isolde. Schloss Nueschwanstein, August Spiess, 1881
Tristan and Isolde. Schloss Nueschwanstein, August Spiess, 1881

Picture this: The Roman Empire is in pieces, and chaos is in charge of the British Isles. Angles, Saxons, and Jutes live on the east side, while Irish King Donnchadh rules the west side. Tristan becomes an orphan at a very young age due to his village being attacked by the Irish. His parents were murdered in front of him, and at the same moment – Isolde was mourning the death of her mother, the Irish Queen of King Donnchadh. As time goes on, the orphan Tristan becomes a man and fights many battles. In a mysterious way, he finds himself swept up on the shores of Ireland all alone; that is until Princess Isolde finds him. Isolde nurses Tristan back to good health until he is well enough to set sail again. Isolde the Irish princess can’t escape her fate that she is to wed Lord Mark, the very man who brought up Tristan after his parents were murdered in cold blood during battle (Tristan and Isolde, 2006). Though this summary is of the 2006 film, I highly recommend all to read the original and much older versions of Tristan and Isolde.

“If things were different; if we lived in a place without duty, would you be with me?” Tristan says, “That place does not exist.”

In an instant, both of their hearts shatter as Isolde tells him, “I’ll pretend it’s you…” just before she disappears behind the royal chamber doors with her new King.

Tristan and Isolde, 2006
La Belle Dame Sans Merci, exh.1902 by Sir Frank Dicksee
La Belle Dame Sans Merci, exh.1902 by Sir Frank Dicksee

Tristan would be the one who would earn her hand in marriage during a tournament set up by Isolde’s father, King Donnchadh. Tristan would win her not for himself, but for his master and leader: the future King Mark of Cornwall. Without knowing who she truly is, Isolde was won by Tristan for Mark. Isolde hid her royalty from Tristan from the moment she found him on the shores. She never told him that she was the princess (Tristan and Isolde, 2006).  However, their romantic passion and love for each other would cause a schism that has devastating consequences as a highlighted case of forbidden love. Tristan and Isolde were subject to torture in the form of not legally being able to stay together. Since Isolde now belonged to the King, Tristan was devastated and the amount of pain and psychological suffering that he endured was enough for him to be completely broken and shattered. For Isolde, the feeling was of course the same. Imagine, you are forced to marry another with zero way out when your heart belongs to someone else. Long before Romeo and Juliet, there existed this sad and beautiful story based on legends from Cornwall, Ireland, and various characters from the British Isles. Some tales say Tristan was one of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table (Hodges, 1993), (Stevens 1973).

The young fairy-tale characters that are prohibited from being in love are only a small fraction of the romantic elements found in the 2006 movie, Tristan and Isolde. Ancient manuscript-based tales and contemporary films both incorporate the valiant hero and other more conventional components of chivalry-style romances. Forbidden love often walks hand in hand with “courtly love”. If you are unfamiliar, allow me to explain. What separates courtly love from romantic love? The majority of us associate romance and attraction with love. Romantic love may be frequently made public when there is a marriage or other public agreement. On the other hand, courtly love had nothing to do with getting married.

Courtly love, a highly conventionalized medieval tradition of love between a knight and a married noblewoman that was commonly employed in medieval European literature, was created by the troubadours (French medieval lyric poets) of southern France. Because love was regarded as an ennobling passion, the knight and his lady frequently did not marry. According to some academics, the term “courtly love” now refers to an idea of love that first appeared in the Middle Ages and caused a revolution in thought and emotion that reverberated throughout Western culture.

The courtly lord’s main goal was to please his lady, even though marriage was never an option. Courtly love was characterized by a series of stylized rites between a knight and a married, high-status lady in Europe during the Middle Ages. These idealized customs were based on the established codes of decency, courtesy, and valor associated with knights. So, though courtly love was and is a well-established concept, that does not mean it is widely accepted. Thus, we have Forbidden Love.


A forbidden love story’s famous characteristics and core components include romance, heroism, adultery, and doomed lovers who are categorically prohibited from being together (Stevens, 1973). Tristan, a valiant hero, confronts the adversary and kills him, but he subsequently sustains his own wounds. The fatal couple keeps their relationship a secret from their Kings and kingdoms (Tristan and Isolde, 2006). Romeo and Juliet have the same concepts. The notion of forbidden love—love that is outright banned by individuals, nations, or kingdoms—remains present not only in Romeo and Juliet but also in Spielberg’s most recent West Side Story film.

Both the medieval texts and the movie of Tristan and Isolde make extensive use of literary tropes and aspects. The story has a love-centered tone and mood, yet it also unfolds as a tragic drama. There are many parts of living in a royal environment that are quite pertinent, such as how Princess Isolde is compelled to hide the fact that she met Tristan; and the fact that she is made to marry against her will twice in the film (Tristan and Isolde, 2006). In the movie Tristan and Isolde, foreshadowing is a literary element that plays a key role. The philosophical underpinning of the entire movie is the foreshadowing of love and death. The film emphasizes how these two ideas are intertwined and can certainly be viewed as a single entity or concept. Due to his adoration, love, and respect for Tristan, King Mark downplayed the relationship between his wife Isolde, and his long-time companion Tristan. King Mark couldn’t accept the relationship and betrayal of the both of them, despite them having been in love long before Isolde was forced to marry him. This downplaying by King Mark is a prime example of an understatement being used and developed as a literary device within the movie (Tristan and Isolde, 2006).

Because it emphasizes an unbreakable love even when it leads to catastrophe, the Tristan and Isolde story has inspired artists since the middle ages. In addition to the surviving texts and film, Tristan and Isolde are portrayed in literature, music, paintings, and other various media. The medieval romance theme continues to be told today in all forms of storytelling and media (Stevens, 1973).
Rogelio de Egusquiza, Tristan and Isolde

Because it emphasizes an unbreakable love even when it leads to catastrophe, the Tristan and Isolde story has inspired artists since the middle ages. In addition to the surviving texts and film, Tristan and Isolde are portrayed in literature, music, paintings, and other various media. The medieval romance theme continues to be told today in all forms of storytelling and media (Stevens, 1973). Plays, poems, and operas have all been readapted with several different versions of this classic medieval tale. “Tristan and Isolde seem to have been drawn into the Arthurian orbit in the second half of the twelfth century. Marie de France wrote a lai (Chevrefoil) about them; another Anglo-Norman poet, Thomas, a long romance of which only fragments survive. From Thomas’s romance derives the greatest Tristan poem, Gottfried von Strassburg’s (c. 1210); and incidentally, a Norse version, Tristrams Saga (1226) (Stevens, 1973). Several great poems were composed during the 1800s and were based on the story. Matthew Arnold’s Tristram and Iseult; are one of them (Encyclopedia of World Mythology, 2022). The archetypes, motifs, and symbols of heroes, romance, forbidden love, and betrayal found within the movie have been repeated for as long as stories and poems have been written.

Tristan and Isolde, Death Rogelio de Egusquiza y Barrena (1845-1915) was a Spanish painter, known for his friendship with the German composer Richard Wagner, whose works he helped make familiar in Spain. Tristan and Isolde, Death (Oil on Canvas), by Rogelio de Egusquiza
Tristan and Isolde, Death Rogelio de Egusquiza y Barrena (1845-1915) was a Spanish painter, known for his friendship with the German composer Richard Wagner, whose works he helped make familiar in Spain. Tristan and Isolde, Death (Oil on Canvas), by Rogelio de Egusquiza

More often than not, Hollywood is criticized for its lack of creative movie plots. This is an understandable statement, yet one that overlooks the ageless nature of certain stories. Regardless of their distinct outward traits, these forbidden love stories will always have a lasting impression on audiences. Romantic dramas, such as the tale of Tristan and Isolde, are especially effective in this regard. The numerous versions and adaptations of Tristan and Isolde demonstrate how reinterpretation may manifest itself in diverse media. Heroes and damsels in distress are one of the oldest and most repetitive character archetypes of all time; both of which can be seen in the 2006 movie, manuscripts, and even contemporary fiction novels. Although Isolde is a princess, nothing can save her from the torture that she experiences internally through forced marriages to men that she doesn’t love. Her heart belongs to Tristan, and the both of them know it and as the movie goes on the devastation becomes clear (Tristan and Isolde, 2006).

“Yesterday at the market, I saw a couple holding hands and I realized we’ll never do that. Never anything like it; no picnics or unguarded smiles. No rings. Just stolen moments that leave too quickly”

Tristan and Isolde, 2006

“Yesterday at the market, I saw a couple holding hands and I realized we’ll never do that. Never anything like it; no picnics or unguarded smiles. No rings. Just stolen moments that leave too quickly” (Tristan and Isolde, 2006). This line takes place in a scene where Tristan and Isolde are talking in a common market and manage to exchange a few words while they hope and pray they aren’t being watched.

There are plenty of gut-wrenching and heartbreaking lines within the film that display aspects of medieval culture and even courtly love on top of the forbidden love theme. On the wedding night of Isolde and King Mark, Isolde manages to whisper to Tristan on the way to consummate the marriage, “If things were different; if we lived in a place without duty, would you be with me?” Tristan proceeds to tell her, “That place does not exist.” In an instant, both of their hearts shatter as she tells him, “I’ll pretend it’s you…” just before she disappears behind the royal chamber doors with her new King.

Herbert James Draper,(1864-1920), (Tristan and Isolde 1901)
Herbert James Draper,(1864-1920), (Tristan and Isolde 1901)

The 2006 movie which derives from medieval literature has made a large impact on contemporary Western culture. It is amazing to experience how the narrative has changed throughout time. The story even served as inspiration for Shakespeare, in which some versions of Tristan and Isolde utilize drinkable poison as an element of the story. We can directly relate various other love stories to Romeo and Juliet. If you’ve ever seen West Side Story, you know that William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet served as the basis for the musical.

Humanity can always relate to love, which is the one part of life that unites all living things. Until the end of time, stories of love, including those about unrequited love, lost love, and desire for such love will be told.

Humanity can always relate to love, which is the one part of life that unites all living things. Until the end of time, stories of love, including those about unrequited love, lost love, and desire for such love will be told.

A more recent adaptation of this particular story is set in the world of King Arthur in the 2009 book Twilight of Avalon. Isolde is the daughter of Guinevere and Mordred in this trilogy’s first book, which was written by Anna Elliott. In this version, Mark is the obvious and repugnant villain. Tristan is revealed to be Mark’s son—not his nephew—by a different woman. The internal conflict in Britain is a major source of drama in this book, as it was in the film. The story of Tristan and Isolde is a noteworthy example of how diverse media in Western culture can result in various interpretations of the same subject.

Photo by Pixabay

Richard Wagner’s opera Tristan und Isolde from 1865 also addresses this tragic love story, thus movies and books aren’t the only media for this narrative. Tristan and Isolde have the capacity to move viewers because it is a love story with a tragic and dramatic finish, regardless of the platform used to follow the adventure.

“But since I could not come in time and did not hear what had happened and have come and found you dead, I shall console myself by drinking of the same cup. You have forfeited your life on my account, and I shall do as a true lover: I will die for you in return!”

– Isolde on Tristan’s death. Tristan with the ‘Tristran’ of Thomas
Gottfried von Strassburg

“But since I could not come in time and did not hear what had happened and have come and found you dead, I shall console myself by drinking of the same cup. You have forfeited your life on my account, and I shall do as a true lover: I will die for you in return!” (Greenblatt, 2018). There’s just something that will forever be incredibly powerful about love that is so strong and so real that one would rather die than live without their lover – especially a forbidden love.

How on earth could someone say something like that? Would you rather die than live without your lover? Have you ever recalled feeling that way once, or more? What is it about this forbidden love that makes it so unique? The answer is that a forbidden romance offers you a sense of excitement. Forbidden love provides an adrenaline rush and a thrill that makes it highly appealing.

medieval mirror case depicting Lancelot and Guinevere
medieval mirror case depicting Lancelot and Guinevere

Think back to a time when someone warned you not to do something, but all it did was make you more eager to go ahead and do it anyway. We look for things that are risky and sworn as forbidden in the hope that doing so would make us happier and give us more power than the other people in our sphere of influence. Behavioral scientists make use of a concept known as the “forbidden fruit effect,” which describes the tendency to focus greater attention on topics that one has been told specifically not to think about.

Today, a popular motif in films is a love that is banned and forbidden. These stories are commonly used in literature and films for a very specific reason: it is because they are rife with melodrama and give audiences the opportunity to experience powerful feelings. The overall impact of Tristan & Isolde on contemporary ideas and Western culture is still relevant today and going strong. From von Strassburg’s Tristan and Isolt as well Joseph Bédier’s modern adaptation, all the way up to the University of Chicago presenting a live-stream concert series based on the Tristan saga (Rantala, 2021) – it is clear that this story (and the archetypes and themes found within) will be part of human history until the end of time. Themes of romance, love, devotion, and even betrayal have penetrated modern society and will continue to be found in a wide variety of literary works, including operas, plays, comic books, and movies.

And now, I will leave you with this beautiful poem that was recited in the movie titled “The Good-Morrow”.

The Good-Morrow

By John Donne

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

Works Cited:

Greenblatt, Stephen, and James Simpson. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. W.W. Norton, 2018. 

Shakespeare, William, et al. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet: Folger Edition. Demco Media, 2004.

Reynolds, Kevin, director. Tristan And Isolde. 2006., Encyclopedia of World Mythology. 2022.

Stevens, John. Medieval Romance: Themes and Approaches by John Stevens. Hutchinson, 1973.

Elliot, Anna. Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan & Isolde. Touchstone Books, 2009.

Hodges, Margaret, et al. Of Swords and Sorcerers: The Adventures of King Arthur and His Knights. Scribner, 1993.

Wagner, Richard, 1813-1883. Tristan Und Isolde. Leipzig :Druck und Verlag von Breitkopf und Härtel, 1859.

Spielberg, Steven, director. West Side Story. 2021.

Rantala, M.L. “Quince Bears Fruit with Tristan and Isolde Adaptation.” Hyde Park Herald, 27 May 2021

Donne, John. “The Good-Morrow by John Donne.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation,

A Smattering Selection of Lexical Analyses on Edgar Allan Poe & H.P. Lovecraft

Fiction Writing, Literature Reviews, Psychology
Photo credit: MCrassus Art

Note: If you are a student, I don’t mind if you reference my work. Just cite your sources. It’s too easy to NOT cite sources. Purdue has this amazing tool that you can use to copy and paste links, and automatically generate MLA (and other) formats for your source. Research and Citation Generator Purdue Owl

Lovecraft and Poe are two of the most well-known horror authors of all time. The two chosen pieces in this essay are classic examples of horror-themed literature. “Memory” by Lovecraft and “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Poe, each makes excellent use of various linguistic branches. Within the essay, you will uncover exactly how these authors mastered linguistic techniques such as syntax, semantics, morphology, and phonetics. Starting with Lovecraft’s Memory, it’s important to point out that he was directly influenced by Poe himself. Additionally, “Memory” by H.P. Lovecraft and “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe were published eighty years apart. American horror and science fiction author H. P. Lovecraft wrote “Memory” as a flash fiction short story in 1919, and it was published in May 1923 in The National Amateur. Unfamiliar with contemporary living, a genie and a demon question one another about societal developments in this short story. The narrative is about a demon’s ignorance of its past and shows how the current world disregards its own cultural history. Lovecraft’s story is brilliantly detailed. He didn’t extend the story, kept it short, and ended it on a quiet note, giving the audience time to absorb such a meaningful tale.

Photo credit: Beyond Easy

An example of phonetics is how the letter “b” in the word “moonbeam” is spoken – you start out with your lips together.  Here’s an example from “Memory” by H.P. Lovecraft. “The Genie that haunts the moonbeams spake to the Daemon of the Valley…” (Lovecraft, 1923) When speaking aloud, pushing your lips together causes the “b”, sound to emerge. The vocal cords vibrate and generate noise as a result of the air being pumped over them from your lungs. Your lips then split abruptly, letting the air out, creating a “b” sound. This is a simple example of phonological techniques within H.P. Lovecraft’s memory in comparison to his other works, such as the story of Cthulhu. H. P. Lovecraft frequently uses the adjectives “obscene” and “blasphemous” throughout his body of work to express a sense that something is the subject of revulsion or that it is in some way debased. “B” sounds are often found in his work and the word blasphemous or blasphemy has been discovered within his works almost 100 times making this a major phonetic example in his writing (Ruth). 

Photo credit: Andrew Mar

Moving on to Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a short story that was first published in 1843. In this work, the unnamed narrator of the tale attempts to persuade the reader of the narrator’s sanity. In doing so, he simultaneously narrates a murder that he has committed. “The Tell-Tale Heart” appears in the gothic and horror fiction categories. The narrator freely boasts about his intelligence and his cunning behavior. He insists that he is not mentally ill. He chooses to murder the elderly man despite his affection for him. Regardless of the fact that he has no malice toward the elderly man, for no apparent reason he resolves to kill him. Many examples within this story feature grammatical, syntactical, and morphological elements. “True! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?” (Poe).

Edgar Allan Poe Canvas Print
by Leah Saulnier The Painting Maniac

In linguistics, morphology is the study of how words are put together. For example, the word dreadfully is put together from three parts: dread, ful, and ly. Morphemes such as dreadful are used in Poe’s work to enhance the drama and suspense of the story. His ability to select the ideal word to express semantic intent provides morphological awareness in addition to fluency when choosing specific words for dramatic effect. The use of the chosen words found throughout each of these works relates to morphological and phonological concepts. The other author noted here, H.P. Lovecraft, is notorious for the use of his phonological techniques, particularly with the story of Cthulhu. Edgar Allen Poe may be considered more of a morpheme genius who utilizes repetition and specific word usage in his poems to get the idea of morphological words across, whether people are aware he is doing it or not. The below example shows morphemes within, “cautiously” as well as the repetition of the word; thus creating a poetic and dramatic suspense effect in writing. “And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously — oh, so cautiously — cautiously (for the hinges creaked) — I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.” 

Great writers employ a multitude of literary devices, branches, and techniques. Personification is one technique that writers use to capture the attention of their audiences. “Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow”, (Poe). The semantics used by these two authors and writers have a great effect on readers. “In the valley of Nis the accursed waning moon shines thinly, tearing a path for its light with feeble horns through the lethal foliage of a great upas-tree” (Lovecraft).  We know very well that death may not physically approach us as if it walking towards us. We also know that the moon cannot tear a path, unless its crescent tips are described metaphorically. Both writers used various techniques for semantics. Such techniques are found in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and H.P. Lovecraft’s “Memory”. Both are written in a fashion that allows them to be candidates for the subject of linguistic analysis.

Photo by IrenHorrors

Analysis of language, words, and stylistic elements are easily reviewed when examining the works of Lovecraft and Poe. Semantics connect language structures to non-linguistic concepts and mental models to explain how native speakers understand sentences. The use of registers in the language is also critical in terms of linguistic analysis. According to Linguistics for Everyone: An Introduction., a register is a “manner of speaking or writing style adopted for a particular audience (e.g., formal versus informal)”. There are several registers that we either consciously or unconsciously switch between each day depending on the nature of conversation or writing. Register types may include formal, frozen, intimate, casual, and consultative. “Every language in the world has five registers, or levels of formality: frozen, formal, consultative, casual, and intimate, according to Dutch linguist Martin Joos” (Language Registers OEYC).  At the formal and consultative levels, both require careful word choice and sentence structure. The register that Lovecraft and Poe primarily write in is formal, although the register may change within stories. An example from “Memory” is, “These beings were like the waters of the river Than, not to be understood. Their deeds I recall not, for they were but of the moment” (Lovecraft). This excerpt displays formal language usage. “Deeds that may not be recalled” are formal when compared to “actions that can’t be remembered”. This register appeals to the audience of Lovecraft who is composed of writers, readers, and horror and science lovers. The specific language choice by Lovecraft creates a conspicuous effect. 

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In Poe’s work, the narrative comes off as less formal, and more descriptive. “Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly — very, very slowly so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep” (Poe). The narrative confession of “The Tell-Tale Heart”, is created to sound as if the protagonist is speaking to a friend.  There are several instances of figurative language, repetition, and patterns, in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” that help inform the reader of the meaning behind the story. Hyperbole and specific syntax are employed to highlight the tension and paranoia the narrator is experiencing. The narrative structure and word arrangement are employed to justify the actions the narrator performs against the man. Another important signal is the unceasing heartbeat, which alludes to the sound of the narrator’s inner conscience or anxiety creating a pattern of suspense and repetition. Poe uses several terms repeatedly for emphasis throughout this short narrative, including louder and louder, very, very, and uneasy. There are numerous instances of the term “mad” used. These linguistic examples inspired H.P. Lovecraft’s future literary acknowledgments. 

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The word selections in “Memory”, by Lovecraft, are examples of linguistics that help readers understand the meaning of the story. “Daemon of the Valley”, a Lovecraft character, is one example. The spelling of Daemon was used instead of the modern American English dialect: demon. According to Etymology Online, the spelling and usage of the word “daemon” originated around c. 1200 and stemmed from the Latin version, “daemon” which meant “spirit,” and was translated from Greek “daimōn”. Lovecraft’s “Memory”, was initially published in 1919. By this time, the word “demon” was already in use in language and texts, indicating this choice of spelling was deliberate. Lovecraft’s choice of using “Daemon” instead of “Demon” for his character, “Daemon of the Valley” stems from the style of his writing which contains elements of Latin. Lovecraft was known to play with words and would later go on to create a fictional language. He was familiar with Latin and French despite American English being his primary dialect. The choice to use “daemon” gives the work a more ancient and mysterious quality, corresponding directly to the linguistics of his literature and the overall feel he presented to his audience through his writing. The overall style of each short horror tale by these authors adds suspense, drama, and beautifully demonstrated literary devices that convey the messages of each story to their respective audiences. 

When Poe utilizes repetition, he indeed makes the narrator look more and more insane throughout the passage. His lack of punctuation and instances of improper grammar also adds to the suspense of the story. In Lovecraft’s short horror story, his style, use of semantics, and register dramatize the tale. “Memory” was a reference and metaphor describing the ancient earth. The chaotic ancient planet indicates the presence of congestion in the contemporary world. These techniques and linguistic styles are what truly made these stories worth studying and worthy of reminiscing old gothic horror literature. Memory” features very specific word choices and grammar in a nonstandard way. What is standard about Lovecraft’s linguistic ability is the simple fact that he is deviant with his writing. The words “sooth” and “spake” are found in the story, both of which by modern definition are considered “archaic” forms of “truth”, and“spoke/speak”. “For all time did their builders erect them, and in sooth they yet serve nobly, for beneath them the grey toad makes his habitation.”

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The writing is poetic, full of imagery, and anything but basic. His grammar has subtle hints of the past. This sentence for example; “Their aspect I recall dimly, for it was like to that of the little apes in the trees” (Lovecraft). There is an inappropriate use of “to” within the former sentence according to modern American English grammar.  Despite dozens of missing commas, it’s still easy to redirect analysis to grammar instead of punctuation within, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, by Poe. An example of grammatical error in this classic piece can be found here, “Yes, he has been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim.” The underlined portion of the sentence shows improper grammar. When referring to “suppositions” of the narrator, “all in vain”, would appear proper, or standard if “of it” or “of them”, had been included in the sentence. Yet, in using repetition perhaps Poe excused himself politely from following grammar and punctuation rules for the sake of toying with syntax and semantics – which may be useful if you’re one of the greatest suspense writers of all time. 

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Poe’s writing style may be extremely infuriating (to some), despite the fact that we admire his precision and his densely packed, elegantly phrased, yet oddly harsh lines; each of which is subject to a lengthy discussion. There are no dialogues in the ever-famous “The Tell-Tale Heart”, and it reads more like a confession than a conversation. The old man’s vulture eye, a sign of the narrator’s conflict between his mind and heart, is one of the most crucial emblems. Poe’s use of language may hinder the original text due to the fact that the syntax utilized in the era he wrote is far less common now. Because our culture has become considerably less formal in regards to communication over the course of these years, our syntax has altered a great deal as a result of this shift to contemporary English. By analyzing an excerpt from “The Tell-Tale Heart”, it is evident that a dramatic shift in word use and placement within writing has transformed over the last few centuries since, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, was originally published. The following example will reveal such evidence. 

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Excerpt: II. 7-15, by Edgar Allan Poe: “It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture — a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so, by degrees — very gradually — I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever (Poe). 

Here is a rewritten excerpt suited for contemporary audiences. “I’m not quite sure how I first came up with the idea, but once I did, the thought haunted me day and night. There was no objection, no passion. It’s true, I did love the old man. He had never done me wrong. He never insulted me at all. He had money sure, but I never had a desire for that. I think, it was his eye. Yes, it had to be his eye… His eye was bright and blue, with a strange film over it. His eye looked just like a vulture’s eye. Whenever he looked at me, I felt sick. So, over time I decided to kill him. If I could kill him, I’d never have to look at that eye again.”

Photo credit: Welchtoons

The first change was to rewrite the excerpt in a modern form of American English. Poe was a notorious Gothic literature writer. His form and style of writing focused primarily on tone, figurative language, punctuation, and sentence structure (which I’ve now rearranged.) Poe’s tendency to add suspense is expressed through the use of specific punctuation. There are many dashes and choppy sentences. The rewritten version has full sentences yet the idea of the excerpt is still comprehended the same. Instead of a dash, quotations like so “…” are utilized. These quotations are more common in this era in terms of written communication. The largest change is the syntax of the excerpt. The tone is quite similar even though the sentences rewritten sentences have more fluidity. Despite the changes, the overall theme remains – horror. The semantics are fairly unchanged in the updated version. To better suit the present audience, specific changes were considered for the passage. We do not generally say “by degrees” nowadays, so the sentence is reworded with similar words or a synonym phrase to say, “So, over time”.

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The horrific elements that made Poe famous are evident in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” which was first printed in 1843 in The Pioneer (Britannica). Poe participated in the 19th-century American gothic literary movement, which rose to prominence at the same time as Romanticism. American gothic literature addressed the human experience via irrationality, lunacy, tragedy, and otherworldly horror in contrast to Romanticism, which placed an emphasis on the individual’s power and the magnificent reality of nature (Hume). The barrier between fiction and actuality is frequently blurred by the presence of characters who are afflicted with melancholy, madness, and obsession.

Photo credit: Deposit Photos

Lovecraft’s use of language in the narrative, “Memory”, may also be viewed by some as difficult to understand due to the nature of the words and syntax being used. In this short quote from “Memory”, we can observe how much language has changed since the narrative was originally written in 1919. “Vast are the stones which sleep beneath coverlets of dank moss, and mighty were the walls from which they fell. For all time did their builders erect them, and in sooth they yet serve nobly, for beneath them the grey toad makes his habitation” (Lovecraft).  If this were reworded to modern syntax it might say, “Many stones rest underneath a bed of damp moss. The stones fell from the walls that long ago, were mighty. The walls were built to last, but now have become the home of the small gray toad.”

Photo credit: Simon and Schuster

In comparison to the worlds Poe and Lovecraft are from, ours is vastly different. In contemporary literature, there is now an ever-expanding body of past writings by authors from all walks of life that has made American literature more complex and inclusive than it was at the beginning of the twenty-first century (Britannica). With the sheer differences in word use, syntax, tone, and structure there is clear evidence of how historical and cultural influences have made their mark on the way we write, read, and communicate today. 

Works Cited

Ganguly, Rohit. “Memory by HP Lovecraft.” Wordbred, 26 Sept. 2017, 

Master List of Morphemes Suffixes, Prefixes, Roots Suffix Meaning … 

“Memory” by H. P. Lovecraft, 

A Narrative Discourse Analysis of Poe’s Short Story The Tell … – Eric.  . 

Denham, Kristin E., and Anne C. Lobeck. Linguistics for Everyone: An Introduction. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.

Zakyoung. “The Tell-Tale Heart.” The Poe Museum, 28 Dec. 2021,

 “[PDF] Language Registers OEYC .” [PDF] Language Registers OEYC,

 “Daemon (n.).” Etymology,

“Sooth (n.).” Etymology,

“Spake.” Etymology,

“The Tell-Tale Heart.” The Poe Museum, 28 Dec. 2021,

“The Tell-Tale Heart | Story by Poe.” Encyclopedia Britannica,,  Accessed 27 July 2022. 

Hume, Robert D. “Gothic Versus Romantic: A Revaluation of The Gothic Novel.” PMLA/Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 84, no. 2, 1969, pp. 282–290., doi:10.2307/1261285    

“Periods of American Literature | Britannica.” Encyclopedia Britannica,  Accessed 27 July 2022. 

X, Ruth. “It’s Not Squamous. the 10 Words H.P. Lovecraft Used Most Often.”, 6 Mar. 2015

T-Shirt For Your Thoughts

Experiences, Poetry, Psychology
I'm wearing your t-shirt again. 
It hangs off my body
Flows down past my hips,
And covers barely enough.

I'm In your t-shirt again.
Lying in bed.
There's lots of room,
More than enough.

I'm wearing your t-shirt again .
It's the only thing I've got.
To help me feel like I'm not alone.
But it's never enough.

I'm In your t-shirt again.
Pondering to myself
How All of it happened;
Wishing you were here.
It's just Way too much.

I'm wearing your t-shirt again.
I washed it the other day,
Put some extra bleach to keep it white.
Just how you like.

It doesn't smell like you.
Not anymore.
But it brings me solace,
While I lay on the floor.
The bed is too empty,
Unlike my head.

By myself -
Yet another night.
The snow is dancing around.
Like powdered sugar,
It's soft and bright.
Glowing in the night.

Just like this t-shirt
That you gave me.
So, I could always have it,
To remind myself of you.

Staring in the mirror,
At the curves of my legs,
Looking at these threads,
That cover me, just me -
As I count the days.

But it's simply not enough.
It isn't.
It won't be until you can
Be here with me.

With how the seasons
Have passed.
I wonder.
If it will ever be enough.

Until then,
I will be here.
Sitting accompanied
With only Thought and Memory.
Trying to reason.
The Loneliest of heathens.
Wearing your t-shirt again,
Until it becomes almost like skin.

Tragedies As A Catapult

Experiences, Psychology, Thoughts

Endings almost always lead to beginnings. In my experience, it seems that way. There’s been a few times in my life where something ending has put me on a completely different path, leading me to brand new and often exciting experiences. Whether these endings came in the form of relationships, jobs, or even the deaths of loved ones, they transformed me as an individual in their own different ways. Each experience contributed to the web that is my life.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors.

Tragedies and new beginnings are often interwoven like an intricate web of fibers bearing all different kinds of colors. Each color and each fiber represent a different aspect of life. Life has this way about it that can leave us confused, questioning everything, or really trying to find our purpose. Ironically, its counterpart, Death, leaves us wondering many of the same things.

Part of our purpose, I believe, is to learn and grow while we are here on earth. We cannot grasp new ideas and flourish if we do the same routine things every day of our life. That must be why we suffer tragedies and have pain and sorrow. It must be why, right? Without these tragedies would we truly be ourselves? Who would be? We become stronger and more resilient with each new beginning that is presented to us by a tragedy. 

In my last post, I discussed grief and people who I’ve lost that have impacted my life tremendously. When thinking of them, there is someone who I lost that comes to mind specifically, and losing this person really was a catapult for me to enter into a new beginning. After experiencing such a devastating loss, I was transformed.

In a way, I entirely reshaped my existence and what I’ve done with my time. The tragedy was my catapult to start endless amounts of creation in the form of art and writing, and just simply living my life the exact and precise way that I wanted to; with absolutely nothing holding me back.

There is another time when a friend and I were on separate paths in life for about seven or eight years. We did not speak for the entire duration of those years. Something magical happened that suddenly brought us together, and from that tragedy (separation), we were able to start a new beginning. The fibers of our webs once again became intertwined, thus causing a new bond. New beginnings are quite possibly one of my favorite things. I even have a tattoo dedicated to such meaning. Similar to the balance of darkness and light, fortune and misfortune are opposite yet closely related. There is an awakening that happens with new beginnings, like the break of dawn after a long dark night. You cannot have one without the other. Maintaining balance is important. 

There have been plenty of times where I’ve had a fresh start. One of the most recent situations I can recall where I’ve had to “start over” was after getting married in a rush, and then getting divorced. When I think of it now, it seems so ridiculous. The choice I made could be considered a mistake. However, if I did not choose to get married, and then go through a divorce, I would certainly not be where I am now. So like those little colorful fibers are woven into the web of my life, how could this be a mistake? The divorce led me to another new beginning and I’m now at a point in my life where I know exactly who I am mentally and spiritually, and exactly where I’m going. Gratitude for the entirety of the situation is a complete understatement of my feelings. Whereas, before, I was just kind of going through the motions of life and not exactly sure about anything. I was still learning how to be me. This tragedy that I suffered through, and the fact that I went through my own depression was absolutely worth it. I wouldn’t wish the pain on anyone, or the confusion, or just downright nastiness of what I’d experienced, but everything that has happened has made me such a better person than I was before. 

Breathe. It will all work out in the end. 

In my experience, when things don’t work out it is a sign that things are actually working out. It may sound kind of crazy or silly, but I promise it is true. Some doors are just meant to be closed, and that is okay. In one of my favorite books, by Icelandic author Gunnar Andri, something he said in the book has stood out in my mind for several years now. “When one door closes, another opens. And sometimes many of them open at the same time.” Correct! I do agree with him on this statement, as well as much of the wisdom inside of his book. (5/5 stars, I definitely recommend)  

And when those doors do open, taking the opportunity to walk through them can seem frightening or challenging. The thing is, with a new start, you must not be afraid. Of course, being scared of change or doing something new is a natural human emotion. Humans don’t like change. It’s been proven. Sometimes though, change is exactly what we need. A new path is given to us at the worst time, which in reality often can be the best time. There have been so many positive things that have happened to me since my divorce or other designated tragedies, and I recall the feeling of starting new friendships and relationships with other people after these terrible situations happened. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and I truly do believe that if the tragedies didn’t happen, I really wouldn’t be on the path I am now. It’s an amazing feeling.

If you’re ever feeling like you are living in total despair, or you just simply can’t move on from a situation or a certain someone, I’m here to tell you that you certainly can. It’s absolutely possible. When your tragedy hits, surely there will be flowers that will bloom shortly after. 

Things to Remember: 

  1. Don’t be scared to end something 
  2. Don’t be nervous about experiencing your own tragedy (It will make you stronger)
  3. Don’t be intimidated about trying something new 
  4. Do try to meet new people, learn from them
  5. Change is a good thing sometimes 
  6. Take every opportunity presented to you (It’s there for a reason)
  7. Find your balance between dark and light 
  8. Remember that everything will work out in the end 
  9. Tragedies and new beginnings are interwoven; everything is connected

New beginnings can be hard, and learning something new that you’ve never done before certainly can be a challenge. In the garden of your life, just make sure to tend to the flowers that bloom after the storm; not the weeds.


Grief: An Honest Confession

Experiences, Psychology

Grief: An Honest Confession 

There have been two times in my life where I’ve been absolutely ashamed of the last words I said to someone before they died. Two different people. Two different occasions. When I think about my actions, I feel a burning inside of myself that represents shame, embarrassment, and pain. I think to myself of how wrong I truly was and how utterly disappointed I am for allowing myself to say such words and have those words be the very last things I’d say to those people before they died.

 A younger version of me was angry, spiteful, and I felt like an outcast. Sure, I had plenty of reasons to be mad considering the lifestyle I was in, but it did not give me a right to speak how I did. I was miserable at the way my life was and I had nothing to lose and zero shame whatsoever in many of my life choices including my word usage. 

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Thankfully now, I realize the power of words. Words are magic after all, and that’s why it’s important to be extremely careful with them. I absolutely despise ending phone calls and conversations on a bad note. It makes me very uncomfortable considering the experiences mentioned above, which still bother me today. I try to avoid confrontation now unless heavily provoked, because there’s that little voice in the back of my mind, saying, “Hey. Don’t be an ass. Remember what happened before?”. Yes, I say to my conscience and myself. Yes, I remember. I dislike ending things on bad terms. If things must end now, I try to say, “I wish you all the best.” Inside of myself, I simply cannot bear losing another person to this mysterious creature called death, and having my last words to them be something terrible. I’m trying to really work on it now in my adult life. I think much of being an adult is self-improvement anyway, so this is just another area to focus on.

I have now tried to instill this belief in my child as well. Never go to bed angry, never say rude last words. You may never know when or if you will see someone again. Even if you are mad at someone, you should not say something you will regret if the worst were to happen. It can literally eat you alive for years. Trust me, I would know. 

Never go to bed angry and never say rude last words.

The first time I remember grief as a feeling was when I was about 4 years old. Maybe it was not so much grief, but disappointment. My grandpa was sick and I overheard my parents talking about it in the kitchen. My dad was planning to fly to the West Coast to see him because they had a feeling he would pass soon considering his condition and he was not doing so well. My brother was about 2 years old at the time, and for some reason, my dad took my brother on the trip. I remember telling my dad that I wanted to go, and my 4-year-old logic was: “What if this is the last time I see grandpa?”. Naturally, I was brushed off and my parents told me not to worry.

Shortly after the trip, my grandpa passed away and I remember the feeling of disappointment, grief, the satisfaction of being right, and anger because my dad did not allow me to go on the trip. It was one of the first times I can truly remember such a whirlwind of emotions. A short time later, my maternal grandfather died, and I vividly remember that too. 

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I’m pretty familiar with death. I’ve even written a Letter to Death before. There have been quite a few deaths that have impacted me like I’ve run face-first into a poll on the street because I’m looking down at my phone instead of looking up. Boom! Now my head hurts, and I’m trying to figure out what the hell just happened. I don’t speak about it often, but my dad passed when I was a teenager. My first love died several years ago. Most recently, I lost a very good friend who was more genuine than anything at all. She was incredibly supportive and one of the people in my life who was supportive for no reason at all. People who support you, for no reason are the most special. They don’t ask for anything in return. They just truly want to see you happy and succeed – yeah, she was one of those; a rare gem to find in this day and age for sure. I love and miss her greatly. 

People who support you for no reason are the most special.

The death that hit me hardest was losing my high school sweetheart. Even though we were not together when he passed it shook me terribly and then and only then did I realize how much I did love him still. When he died, my world changed forever. I questioned everything about my life at that moment. I even questioned the love I had for the person who I had just married. Sometimes, it takes losing someone for you to truly realize how deeply they made an impression on you and your life.

Sometimes, it takes losing someone for you to truly realize how deeply they made an impression on you and your life.

That old saying, “You don’t know what you got til’ it’s gone.”, is more true than I can ever describe. I cried for two years after he died. Sometimes it was spontaneous. The pain I felt from losing him is the worst grief I’ve ever felt in my life. I remember some nights just sitting at the edge of my bed and crying, and just screaming into my pillow. His words would echo in my mind. “Let’s go to Naples, baby.”, I’d hear him say. I’d dream of him often and sometimes I still do. In my dreams, we fight like lovers. Like we once did. I tell him, “Okay, I have to go now. Come on, let’s go”. He sits near the windowsill and looks outside at the rain. His sketchbook is in his hand and he is drawing, just like I remember him. He looks at me, annoyed, “Kim”, he sighs, “You know I can’t go back with you. I have to stay here.” A couple of times, he asked me to stay, but I told him I have far too much to complete here in this realm yet. He understands, and occasionally we meet up still. If you know me, you know who I’m speaking about and I’ve spoken of him before. Rob was one the most influential people in my life, and somehow, in some ways he still is. 

After his death I did anything and everything to connect with him. He was an artist, a writer, a poet, a spoken word lyrical genius, and he made music. He was so creative, and I loved him. He called me his muse. The irony of that is after he passed, he would become a muse of sorts to me, if the definition we use is: a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist; instead of the mythological definition. I created so much art. I started writing more. I became inspired to make it my personal mission to not let creativity die, in my own world and that of everyone else’s too. 

When we lose someone we love sometimes these magical things happen where our life is forever changed, but it’s not all bad. We become more caring, hopeful, or optimistic in some respect. We remember them. We learn to love differently. We learn to be more kind to ourselves and to people around us. When comparing Rob’s death to one of my friends who passed recently, there are certainly differences in emotion and feeling but the impact they made on my life will forever be unforgettable. Through every loss we experience, we also gain something. It’s almost like a trade of emotion and energy.

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Through every loss we experience, we also gain something.

When losing friends in this life, we gain them in another, or in a spiritual realm, or hall – whatever it is that you believe. Having those people in my life helped shaped me for sure, but also by not losing them, would I be who I am now? Probably not.  Death is another human experience in which we learn and grow. After everything that has happened, it is easy for me now to look at death in a different way than I did say 10 or 15 years ago. Do you think there is any goodness associated with death? Can death be seen from an optimist perspective? Or is that only achievable after you have recovered from all stages of grief? If you take anything from this post, I hope it’s that you always remember to never go to bed angry, and never say a harsh last word.

Street tacos outside of the Foster the People show at the Aragon Ballroom, Dec 2017 – “Kim n’ Rob”

Elements of Eros

Experiences, Mythology, Psychology, Thoughts

Elements of Eros 

Isn’t it fascinating that in many pantheons of mythology, there are gods and goddesses strictly for LOVE? Personifications of human feelings and emotions via deities are nothing new to discuss. We have all heard of them before. Freyja, Aphrodite, Cupid, Juno, Parvati, and Eros just to name a few. Eros was the son of Chaos (in some variations). Interesting how love and turmoil have been intertwined since ancient times, isn’t it?

Eros was a Greek god of love. He was the embodiment of passion and desire. Some may recognize him better as the Roman Cupid. Without warning, he selects his prey, the innocent and the lonely. He targets the unexpected. With great force and might he strikes their hearts and they are left feeling fluttery and confused. As quoted by Hesiod, he ‘loosens the limbs and weakens the mind’ (Theogony, 120)

Photo by: Kimberly Anne – St.Louis, MO 2021 (Eros Bendato, a massive sculpture by artist Igor Mitoraj)

As quoted by Hesiod, he ‘loosens the limbs and weakens the mind’ (Theogony, 120)

Hesiod, theogony

If you have fallen in love, you know exactly the feeling that is described. 

I certainly know the feeling very well. When thinking of love, I think of also my own solitude as of the last few years. I’ve been so accustomed to life without that significant other now that sometimes I believe it all to be a myth. A real partner surely does not exist in my world. The only people who exist in my world in that respect are people who do not want to stay around. (Please hear: “People Disappear Here” by Halsey) I’ve often found that I am good enough for a little while, but not for anything long-term. But whose fault is that?

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Photo credit: Halsey

That’s how it feels, it seems. Sometimes. The same ones who crave me for just a little while, are the ones who will not give me monogamy when I ask; but they always return. They always come back. Every single one of my “exes” has always come back at some point or another. Considering I’m “alone” it’s like they think I will just be there for them forever – just for them – even though they do not offer me the same in return. It’s a vicious cycle. Satisfying, but rather annoying as well. It’s one of the most contradictory things I think a woman can experience. I’m sure I’m not alone. 

To have one solid person who can just go through life with me and only me would be a dream. I wish I had someone to build with. We’d probably be a great team. I imagine it often! Other than that I do not think anything else is missing from my life. Just a true love. Not lovers. Lovers are easy to find. A true love is not. A consistent love. One that I can make sacrifices for, and one that will do it in return for me. One love that does not hold things over my head. One that does not want to fight, but one that wants to build and go through this very short life together. 

If there is something that I wish I still had that was from my past it would probably be my high school sweetheart, but he is long gone now. That’s a pretty morbid statement considering I am just in the earliest portion of my 30’s. We had our ups and downs, but I miss him all of the time. He was a love that I could write a whole book on, I think. 

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Sometimes it does feel like I’m destined to not have certain things. For example, once I had my son – the only thing I really craved was normalcy. I wanted a “normal life”, which I don’t know if I even knew what that meant. I don’t know if I even know what that consists of. All I knew is that I wanted life to be different than what I witnessed in my childhood. At one point, someone told me, “You can’t have a normal life. You’d be bored with it.” 

Sometimes, I think that is true. But as life’s circumstances have caught up with me and I’ve finally realized the extent of my anxiety – I now disagree heavily, even more than before with that particular quoted statement. All I want now is simplicity. That is really it. The belief that I’m not destined to have certain things probably stems from my experiences. Failed relationships are to blame for the belief, but I am personally to blame for failed relationships. I’ve purposely chosen (in the past) people who were not good for me. Trying to solve childhood trauma via adult relationships will never end well. That is something I’ve learned. I have also learned it is okay to be alone, and it’s okay to be quiet. My solitude now is my joy. 

After three major long-term relationships, all of which so far have not worked out completely for a variety of reasons, I guess I thought at some point that having “the one” just is not possible for me. I did think that before, but I do not think that now. Thoughts change over time of course. If I was in pain and mourning the death of a relationship or marriage, of course, the “woe is me” mentality would be in effect. It’s easy to be bitter when you are hurt! It’s natural to feel that way. But feelings are a temporary state. Love is a choice.

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on


Thinking of people around me, there is one couple that stands out in my mind. I will not name names, for obvious reasons. But they have been married for many years now and are actually happy. They have a sense of teamwork in their household. There is no misery or hostility. They celebrate their love quietly. They don’t blast all of the social media with their love. They keep it within the home. They get mad at each other of course, but it’s not something publicized. They have balance! I am now thinking about another couple I know just like the first I mentioned. The two couples each have something in common. They are not from the United States! Is this a coincidence? It could be. I’m also partially biased now because I’ve been reading more and more about the differences in mentality of Americans vs. Non-Americans. The differences in thought processes, relationships, and methods of raising children are ASTONISHING. I love this country, but many of the things we have learned are very questionable and should always be questioned! 

Personally, I think my “true love” is missing because I have not been able to experience, or meet that person yet (at this phase in my life). I believe I have had “true loves”, before. I’m also questioning, like mentioned before if “true love” is even a concept that exists or makes sense. What is even a true love? Is it possible to have several over a lifetime? Of course. Is a true love something you feel from another person, is it another person themselves? Or could it be the actions taken by someone who can prove in a sense, that this “true love” thing is not just a fallacy? Is it all of what is mentioned, combined? I’m sure I could put more effort into “finding” this “true love”, and recently I believe I have put more effort. The only one who really knows the answer as to whether or not my effort will work is time. Time knows all things. I like to imagine that, at least. 

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

As humans, it is in our DNA and very existence to crave love and desire and the want and need to be connected to people around us. In many ways, I feel connected to people “around” me. That is mostly due to social media. If social media is taken out of the equation, then will I be as connected? Certainly not. There seems to be a drought in my life and country (it feels to me at least) that there is a giant lack of community and family (outside) of social media. In the future, if time allows, I would love to start an organization of my own that can help people establish a sense of family and community – without social media being involved. 

In the last 15-20 years, technology has been both a blessing and a curse to us all. However, before technology, meaning apps like Facebook, IG, and TikTok took over our lives, things were so different. I just remember not knowing where my friends were. I remember not having cell phones. I remember going outside to find them. I remember randomly running into them at random bus stops, parks, or at the train stations in Chicago. That is what I remember. We felt more connected back then, and we actually met up and made plans. Not everyone was easily accessible via social media. We were more connected back then than we are now in a sense. Things were more personal. They were face to face. It’s such a strange time we are living in now. We are connected, yet so disconnected. 

Photo by Darrel Und on

In a world full of disconnection, it can be a struggle to exhibit values. Values correlate to community, family, and love. When thinking of values, I think many of my own values that I learned in my childhood and teen years still resonate with me today despite the many changes in our world. The values that I believe in, are ones that I’m also still trying to perfect. Lately, I am trying to practice kindness, empathy within my parenting, and as always – being courageous. Not that I lack any major values (I don’t think), but it’s my personal belief that as humans we must constantly strive to improve ourselves in every single area. Nobody is perfect, and this I know, but room for improvement will never hurt anyone. Unless you of course pull a muscle at the gym! Shit happens. When I catch myself having a negative thought or a serious case of road rage, I try to stop myself and redirect my thoughts. It is the least I can do, for my own mental well-being. 

Focusing on well-being, I feel is a good decision and does make me feel like I’m headed in the right direction. Mental health and well-being are important factors for any individual and also for the success of relationships. When things around us go haywire, sometimes the best thing we can do is look within, instead of outward. Look within, right within your heart – right where Eros strikes. 

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Psychology & Literature

Psychology, Thoughts

The older I become, the more aware I become. I think this is a sign that I may actually be a normal human; if there is such a thing. When I speak of becoming aware, I mean seeing things, realizing things, or understanding things differently than I did when I was a younger person, for example. I’m 31 years old right now. Looking back, it’s easy to see how my thought process was so much different 15 years ago, compared to today. What pains me though, is that my young brain and self were loaded up with circumstances that should be considered unbearable for a child or young person to have to endure. I’m able to look back and see that now. I knew then that many things were wrong with certain aspects of my life. 

As a child, you use your peers or childhood friends and playmates as a comparison. I’d often look at the other kids I knew, and view their families through a very observant lens. Comparing, and contrasting, and even as far as discussing the differences between families. We’d talk and say things like, “Do your parents smoke too?”. Basic and simple observances were made to figure out ourselves and our own community. The difference now though, is when you make certain comparisons as an adult – you are able to find more reasoning behind why certain situations happen. Instead of, “Do your parents smoke too?”, it becomes – Why? (A very in depth “why”, if you think on a critical level).

As children, and humans, we are able to observe and see. We are able to absorb. But we don’t question the depths of what we are seeing. In my adult life, I’m able to dig deep. I’m able to fully analyze and comprehend things in my day-to-day life, and things about my childhood too. The fact that my knowledge and experience have increased over the years has helped me tremendously to process events that many consider painful. Of course, not everything in life is so gloomy or down. Don’t be fooled completely by my words. But the topic I want to discuss is in fact, not so bright – but may lead people to a better understanding of what is happening in their own lives, or around them; which in return can create a figurative or metaphorical brightness. 

Over the last several years, I’ve been really trying to find myself more so than ever before. There’s been many things I’ve done to try and better myself and my life. I feel like, considering my earlier years, I owe it to myself and to my child to be the best version of me that I possibly can. I enrolled back in school, and I studied Psychology/Social psychology initially but changed my major to Creative Writing and English instead. The change came this year after some tough thinking, but it was a decision that I felt was best for me and the lifestyle I’m trying to create for myself. I was unsure what it would be like trying to obtain a Creative Writing and English degree, but now I’m finally experiencing it. “Words are magic”, is a belief that I will always hold true and near to my heart and my life! Of course, they are! How can they not be? 

This term I am currently taking a World Mythology class, and a Critical Approach to Lit class – which is basically a class about different types of Literary Theories. Literary Theory is a term that I’d like to think is a title that we use to describe different ways of analyzing literature. Some have written books on “Literary Theory”, itself, stating that it can be a number of things. I can’t give you a book on the subject at this time, so I’ve only provided a short definition written in a simple way that makes it easy to understand. At first, I really disliked this class. It shocked me to dislike this class. I thought to myself, maybe something is wrong with me? I’m obsessed with books, and stories, and fairy tales, mythology, and legends of all kinds; but this Critical Lit class was boring me more than anything. That is until we started talking about the Psychoanalytical approach of criticizing and viewing literature. I did not care about Structuralism, Marxist theory, Formalism, or New Criticism. I’m not downplaying their importance, they just were not something I was immensely interested in. The Psychoanalytical approach, however, piqued my interest instantly. I’ve studied the works of Freud before, and of course Jung. I studied them before I was even in school again and I admire their thoughts as well as their contributions to humanity. Studying this psychoanalytical approach and how it can be applied to literature was eye-opening for me. Not just due to the way this approach can be used in literature, but because of how this psychoanalytical approach could be applied to life and many of those situations that just leave us thinking: “What the hell just happened?” 

You know, those situations, don’t you? The ones where you are experiencing a moment with a person and although it’s a memorable moment, it’s not necessarily a good one. If you have seen some of my poems on my blog, you will realize that the majority have a certain theme. The theme is not something that I have entire control over. Most of it stems from my unconscious as I’m just simply writing experiences that I’ve witnessed in some form or another that have tremendously impacted my life in a significant way. 

Applying the Psychoanalytic approach was genius to me. I’ve always wondered why people do the things that they do. People, or characters! I feel like every action we take, or every single thing we do is caused by a deeper thought or feeling inside of us that we may not consciously even be aware of. Freud was able to prove this theory, and I think this is why I fell in love with his ideas. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only halfway read through, “The Interpretation of Dreams”, by Sigmund Freud. Someday I hope I can finish the book all the way through, in between my studies. I can only hope to read all of the books on my to-read list, in this lifetime! Freud, the creator of the psychoanalytic approach, left us with some amazing and valuable information. So much that I can only fit a tiny bit into this blog post. 

From him, my own viewpoints have been confirmed and reassured. He believed that our minds had a way of pushing unconscious feelings to the surface through a variety of actions or circumstances. This goes back to the “Why?”, that I mentioned earlier. When thinking of Literature in general, and analyzing characters or stories, we ask the same question – “Why?” Why is a character doing or saying ______? Literature is full of stories that are left to our own interpretation and this is where critical literary theories come from. Freud taught us that, “the conscious mind often performed significant transformations on unconscious material”, (Michael, 2017) I want to dig a little deeper into what this actually means. Our conscious behavior is highly influenced by thoughts, feelings, or emotions within us that we simply cannot even grasp because they are stuck in a realm of our unconscious. So even if we do not realize something is affecting us, it certainly can be. 

The Freud family gifted us with the concept of defense mechanisms. Finally, as an adult, I have learned what to call these mechanisms that I’ve witnessed for so many years from a multitude of situations and human experiences in my life. The defense mechanisms that we are all too familiar with are actions that come from thoughts that have been repressed within us. It shook me to learn that these behaviors are actually named. These behaviors, many of us have witnessed, and some of us of course have even acted out. It is human nature, and none of us are perfect. If the behaviors are witnessed by a child, you have to realize that those experiences are locked away within the child and may influence behaviors as an adult. Making this connection of literature, psychology, childhood and adulthood, is kind of like the same feeling you get when you walk into your own surprise birthday party, or unwrap a special present that was unexpected. It was a wow moment! I will now discuss in a bit more detail, intellectualization, projection, reaction formation, regression, suppression, sublimation, and rationalization. These are the defense mechanisms that humans use in a variety of situations. If you are unfamiliar with these, you may experience that surprise birthday party feeling I was mentioning. Now let’s unwrap this gift. 

What is projection? – Projection is a defense mechanism in which an individual will reflect their own thoughts or actions onto someone else. An example of what this could look like would be an extremely jealous partner who is a cheater, but accuses their spouse of cheating. The cheater is projecting what he dislikes about himself, and what he/she knows is wrong onto their significant other. Another example of projection could be a person who is overweight, but is constantly ridiculing how other people look, or the eating habits of other people. Projection comes in many forms and can be found in romantic relationships, friendships, and even family dynamics. Projection takes place most often when a person has a serious dislike about something within themselves, but tries to put a spotlight on another in order to deflect their own thoughts, behaviors, and actions. 

What is reaction formation? – Reaction formation is when a person wishes to hide their true thoughts or feelings on a subject; and instead, they display opposite thoughts and feelings in response to what they truly think. An example of this would be a person who is homosexual in secrecy, but on a surface level, they preach to everyone they know about how they despise gay and homosexual people. Have you ever heard the term, “Kill them with kindness”? This is another example of reaction formation. Instead of literally killing a person you don’t like, we use this term to cover up true feelings and insist that we are nice to them; so nice to them in fact that it may make them sick! That is reaction formation. 

What is regression? – Regress means to return to a previous or lower state. When regression is at hand, it means we are reversing into a backward or more immature mind state or thought process. When this occurs, a person may display behaviors that seem juvenile in comparison to their actual age. An example of this would be an adult who has a major meltdown over something that is not so major. A parent has just got home from a hard day at work, they are tired, angry and unhappy with their day – and maybe even part of their life; their child accidentally breaks something or spills something. The parent reacts in a big way, when in reality the problem is quite small and can be fixed or cleaned up. This is regression. We return to a thought process that has us respond quickly, often angrily, or temper tantrum like – without thinking. What kind of people have temper tantrums? Toddlers. The answer is toddlers. We are all guilty of this in some way or another perhaps. 

What is rationalization? – Rationalizing involves trying to make sense of a situation. Rationalization as a defense mechanism is when an individual tries to explain or justify their behaviors in a logical way. Think of this: Person A. slaps Person B.. Person B. then says, “Why did you do that?”, to which Person A. responds with, “YOU MADE me mad, so that is why I slapped you. It’s your fault.” Person A. is trying to rationalize their abuse by blaming Person B. the one who actually received the abuse. Person B. does not control Person A, and has zero control over the thoughts or actions of Person A. Person B. is not responsible for this behavior, no matter what Person A. says. Rationalization can include blame shifting, and Person A. will try to make sense of their behavior by reassuring themselves that they have a good reason for acting as such, even if the reason is incorrect. This is, according to Freud, an attempt to make the action acceptable according to the ego. 

There are more defense mechanisms that we, as human beings use whether we realize it or not. Intellectualization and suppression are also on the list. Suppression obviously includes suppressing thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. When you suppress something it is bound to come out at some point or another. This can lead a person to “bottle up” and then “explode”. The worst part of this, is since we are all different, there is no telling exactly how or when a person will “explode” and what their actions will consist of. Intellectualization is a more logical defense mechanism, and leads us back to that question: “Why?”  When you use intellectualization as a defense mechanism, you try to think of a logical and accurate reason as to why something has happened. When you intellectualize a situation, you will be better off because you will be using logic to find an answer, instead of reacting in such a way that leads you to something else, like, regression, for example. 

If you are still reading, thank you so much. Now that we have covered these, I hope you are able to see how the psychoanalytic theory can not only be applied to literature but of course, also to life itself. Literature is a big part of our lives and every time we read a good work of literature, we are using our mind to piece together the story, and make sense of it in our world. Just like we are doing with our day-to-day situations. Most of our actions, or the actions of others have a tendency to come from our unconscious mind. To tie this back in with literature, Macbeth, by Shakespeare shows us exactly what Freud is talking about when it comes to the unconscious mind playing a part in our conscious thoughts and behaviors. In Macbeth, handwashing is a symbol of trying to cleanse what subconsciously cannot be cleansed. I won’t go into much more detail than that, but if you know the story, you will know what I mean. The handwashing soliloquy has also become a meme, thanks to coronavirus. 

If you learned something new, or enjoyed reading this – give me a like and a follow. My goal is to help other people, so we can all learn and grow together. 


‘Out damned spot’: the hand-washing scene that became a Coronavirus meme (

Ryan, Michael. Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction. Available from: MBS Direct, (3rd Edition). Wiley Global Research (STMS), 2017.

So I Should, Right?

Experiences, Poetry, Psychology

Trigger Warning! This poem has been written out of wanting to spread awareness of the cruel and real issue of domestic violence. I chose to post this for Domestic Violence Awareness month.

The experiences discussed in this poem are ones that many people may relate to and do not directly indicate the incrimination of anyone specific. Art needs to be left to interpretation. This poem is art and is a representation of stories and situations that have happened over many lifetimes.

This poem has been written with young females in mind, those who are particularly vulnerable to domestic abuse. I have been hesitant about posting this poem due to my own personal experiences, but I firmly believe that the only way to truly stop the chaos of these types of behaviors is to expose them and discuss them.

I know that many women, men, and people all over the world are victims of domestic violence which I find to be an umbrella term for a variation of different abuse such as; verbal abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, isolation and so on.

If you have ever experienced any of those, please know that you are not alone. If you are currently experiencing any of those mentioned above you are not alone. It can be hard to cope and you might feel like you have nobody to turn to. The truth is that there are organizations who can help you escape from the chaotic prison of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is in danger please contact

But He's My Boyfriend So I Should....  

I can let him use my car. 

In fact, he can have it because I have two. 

I can watch his kids while he goes to work. 

Isn’t that a woman is supposed to do? 

I can have sex with him, even when I don’t want to. 

He’s my boyfriend, so I should, right? 

Late at night when I’m tired after the fight, after the fright. 

After the work, the chores, the responsibility. I can let him finish in me. 

He’s my boyfriend so I should, right? 

He got arrested and sent to jail. It was a mess, yeah. 

I’ll meet him at the station, for his mini vacation. 

I’ll pick him up and bail him out.

He’s my boyfriend so I should, right? 

One time he crashed the car into a local bar. 

He was in trouble again. I took the gun and fled. 

I’ll take the charge. He’s my boyfriend, so I should. Right? 

I told him once it was that time of the month. 

I wasn’t feeling well, he told me to go to hell. 

Just because one part of you doesn’t work tonight. 

That doesn’t mean your mouth can’t do the job. 

He’s my boyfriend, so I should, right? 

Is my purpose on this earth only for him? 

Gonna go out on a whim, I can bet that 

I’m not the only one he is swimming in. 

It’s okay though. Can’t it all be forgiven? 

The time he went to bed with a homeless chick and then stuck his -

In me on the same night? STDs are now part of my life. 

It’s alright. He’s my boyfriend, so I should, right? 

Male aggression is a weapon often used by those who were abused, 

Don’t know how to handle their power so they cower in fear 

Take it out on any woman near because they think of us as lesser. 

They think of us as weak. 

In fact, we are not. We are strong, and many of us sing the same song 

Even if we don’t speak about it. 

We know. 

We know what it means to be a “woman”.

We wear our womanly title with pride. This time.  

He lied to me again. It’s been hundreds of times. 

He wants me to need him, and believe him. 

He’s my boyfriend, so I should, right? 

I tried to exercise today but he wanted me to stay. 

Home. Without My Phone near. 

He says that if I leave to take care of myself, it means 

I don’t care about him. 

I need to prove myself to him, so I stay home. 

He’s my boyfriend, so I should. Right? 

My self-care is not important. He is my world. 

If I don’t listen then he says I won’t be his girl. 

He likes to go through my phone. 

He checks my messages but gets mad when he sees 

That my tone is appropriate when I speak to others. 

He gets mad that I’m so perfect. He told me that once. 

Upset that he couldn’t find any dirt. 

I couldn’t understand it, but I said damn it - 

This is me. I’m loyal, don’t you remember, I’m your Queen. 

But Queens do not get treated like peasants. 

Remembering now I see how unpleasant it really was. 

He made my son cry. I wanted to die. 

I felt like a useless mother, one who could not protect another. 

He left, but I forgave him. He always comes back if I let him. 

He’s my boyfriend so I should, right? 

He threatened my life while holding a knife. 

Locked himself in the bathroom all night. 

He said if he died it would be my fault. I would be blamed. 

He talks about me publicly and I am victim-shamed. 

But it’s all okay. I can tolerate it for love. 

I wear rose-colored glasses for him. 

He’s my boyfriend, so I should. Right? 

It’s hard to go to the store. Now sometimes I wish for more. 

Normalcy must hate me. This is my new reality. 

Walking down the aisles, it feels like miles 

He stares angrily and wants to yell at me. 

We are in public so he starts his shit with another man. 

He makes me hold his hand, 

He grabs me by the wrist and often I flinch, 

Because I don’t know what he will do. 

I accept him though. 

Because he is my boyfriend and I should, right? 

If I become upset or show any emotion,

Or ask him Why -

He starts to pry.

He will yell and tell 

Me that I’m overreacting.

That he loves me more than life itself.

And since his life is miserable 

I take pity and accept his words.

Because he is my boyfriend and I should, right? 

Tonight he blew up on me and the kids.

He lost his lid.

I jumped in front of the smallest one, 

To prevent him from the turmoil.

The physical impact,

I took it for him.

He slammed me down 

After picking me up and holding me high above his head.

The pain I felt was nothing,

Compared to the feeling of just wanting to be dead.

I was swollen for two weeks.

He promised after that to keep his hands off me.

He apologized but blamed everyone but himself,

Again I accepted.

Because he is my boyfriend and I should, right? 

Tonight I did cocaine;

To numb me from the pain.

I just didn’t want to feel anything.

When he asked me where I got it.

I told him it was from a friend.

He told me now that I would never see that friend again,

Or the light of day. 

He beat my ass so hard that if I would have survived, 

Doctors would have to reconstruct my face.

He threatened me all the way.

Through his words, his actions,

His choices,

I was nothing to him.

A toy.

A punching bag.

To Him, I was not even a human -

Just an outlet so he could 

Do to me what they did to him.

The only difference is I didn’t survive.

Because physically and mentally I am no longer alive,

Writing this from the other side. 

I hope the words I say pave the way

And Clear a path 

For those who might be lost.

If you’re reading this it’s not too late

To Escape and start over new even if it’s just you.

It’s better to be alone and discover yourself,

Build your wealth and take care of your health,

Put yourself first

Before the worst happens.

You don’t need to accept anything less.

Just because he is your boyfriend, and you think you should. Right?