5 poems by Linda M. Crate

stop harmful narratives

saw a video
where a woman was
blaming mental illness
on a lack of faith,
and insisting that it was
the fault of demons;

can we not push
harmful narratives that
aren’t true when mental health
is still a stigma no matter
how much we speak of it?

she said it was just her opinion
when people called her
out instead of owning up to
her mistake,

and it just is exhausting
to see people be so willfully ignorant;

inherited my anxiety and my
depression from my mother but that doesn’t
make me a bad person or unworthy
of love and care.

it’s so obvious

you said it was all the time
i spent alone that made me
but honestly it was you
making me feel like no matter
what i wouldn’t be good enough;

tried to be a good daughter
but you wouldn’t let me be anything
less than a burden to you and you made me
feel as everyone saw me that way—

when i stopped trying i was then
criticized for that, too, as if no matter what
i was going to be the villain in your story;

you were the adult and i was the child but
somehow your feelings were more valid than mine

in your eyes—

you always invalidated my stress,
my fears,
and my dreams;

then you wonder why we aren’t close?
it’s so obvious.

i didn’t need everyone to like me

i was bullied
even had a guidance counselor
tell me if i weren’t so weird
i would fit in with my
and it was that day i promised myself
i would always hold on and value
my weird;
because i decided i was worth being me
a long time ago—
because once i did try to fit in,
yet nothing i did ever earned the love
or respect from my peers
that i so craved;
and i realized that not everyone’s opinion
mattered and i didn’t need the friendship
of everyone.

i am worthy and i always have been

there are some people
who walked away
that still haunt me

used to think that i wasn’t
good enough to be loved,

but sometimes you just have
to pull yourself out of that bed
with that last bit of strength
you have and push on because
some people who promise
you forever walk away;

they don’t always give you
closure or a reason—

just disappear from your life
becoming a ghost whilst you’re both
still living,

and i have to admit that some days
i can ignore it and other days it weighs
heavy but i have realized it has nothing
to do with me but everything to do with them;

i am worthy and i always have been.

we didn’t choose it

every school is against bullying
until it comes to doing something
about the bullies

they won’t step in and help you,

and they’ll make you feel as if it is
your own fault that you’ve been bullied;

but it is not my fault that other
teenagers were riddled with insecurities
and decided to take it out on me—

i used to laugh and talk loudly
until they bullied me,
and now i am so soft spoken
that people complain;

i was asked out as a joke and ostracized one
day by my friends for no reason at all—

they told the guidance counselor that i
just followed them like a puppy dog and was
“so weird” and the guidance counselor blamed me, too;

it angers me that those that are wounded and hurt
are blamed for their own pain because we didn’t choose it.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Linda M. Crate

Several new poems by Linda M Crate

3 new poems from Linda M. Crate

2 Poems by Linda M. Crate : “Anyone Can Appreciate the Light” & “Until He Was Gone”

Several new poems by Linda M Crate

Plank, Choice, Home Or Lost, Home, Lost

if you knew how hard it was

i'm sick of always
having to be strong
i want to be able
to be vulnerable, to be
soft, to be every 
part of me;
you don't even like my
strength when i am a warrior
you only like that i am resilient
and that i keep coming back—
i am sick of taking hits
of being praised for how many
times i can rise from the ashes
of chaos,
i am sick of being expected
to solve all my problems because
i am strong and smart and capable;
because if you knew how hard it was
for me to reach out maybe you wouldn't be
so quick to dismiss me.

there's nothing wrong with feeling

i remember once
when i was crying,
and someone accused
me of faking it;
reminds me of the person
who said depression wasn't real
and meant it—

if depression weren't real
there wouldn't be so many people
who were and are suffering,

if depression weren't real
then my uncle wouldn't have taken
his own life and he would still be here;
there wouldn't be this guilt in me
for realizing when he died that i didn't
want death just the end of all this
pain and rage and sadness—

my depression makes me feel everything
so deeply,
and after years of apologizing for it;
no longer will i—

there's nothing wrong with feeling or being sensitive,
but there should be something concerning about
lack of compassion or empathy.

the last letter

i still have the last letter
from my uncle
before he took his own life,

and he encouraged me
to follow my dreams;

so here i am
working this job that i hate
striving hard to make my
dreams a reality—

i refuse to give up on my dreams
or on myself because i know
that i am worth it,

and i won't give up on me because
i have seen how miserable people are

especially those who have forgotten
their dreams and don't even know
who they are or what they like—

i refuse to let society make me numb
to my ambitions or swallow my aspirations

i refuse to be just be another cog in a machine
that doesn't work for anyone but the rich,
i refuse to be anyone less than me.

when i am drowning

imagine, for a moment,
that you are suffering;
and you need a life boat 
but people insist you 
are a strong swimmer and only
throw you life preserver rings
when your legs are tired
from all the swimming you have
done prior to them arriving—
that is what depression is
because even when you give
them subtle hints that you are 
the help they provide is rarely
i hate being told to just smile
and i'll be happier
because smiling is proof of nothing
i can smile even when i am completely
broken and numb inside and you
wouldn't know unless you looked into my eyes—
i don't think people are good at reading
emotions because they always miss
when i am drowning.

i'm not wrong

there's no right way to
be human,
and yet society still expects me
to want to fit into their narrow
point of view
of what a woman should be;

i am me
and it's a freeing feeling
not to have to worry
about the status quo—

they don't see women as people
just property and broodmares,

but we have ambitions and we 
have dreams and we have magic
and power they could never
dream of which is why they try to 
silence us at every turn—

but i am not the woman that will be
quiet because i am tired of being made
out to be in the wrong just because

i want more than this world we've been given.

it's really you that's ugly

i saw them bully a kid
until he took his own 
and people wonder why
depression runs so rampant?

any one who is seen as different
becomes othered,

i have been a misfit my entire life;

used to wound me but i have 
learned to love myself and my own
company because people can be
vexing with all their demands—

what i really wanted as a kid was
love and acceptance,

the sad thing is i had to turn to myself to find it;

i know now that i am worth it and so 
are my dreams

but little me believed that i was
a burden and incapable of being loved and 
unworthy of having friends—

to everyone who bullied me and those
who continue to do so i hope you know
it's really you who is ugly,
so maybe work on your own insecurities
and heal your own broken heart.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Linda M. Crate

3 new poems from Linda M. Crate

hope he found joy
thought one day
maybe my uncle
could teach me how,
to paint,
always admired his art;
didn't know how
tortured his soul was-
he was thirty six
when he passed,
he had his whole life
ahead of him;
yet his mind had become 
a prison that wouldn't give
him peace -
so i hope now that he gets
to paint sunsets,
and sculpt stars and flowers;
i hope that he is able to
know joy as he couldn't know
on earth.

my beaches aren't for everyone
i was made to feel like
that nothing i ever did
would be good enough,

and i struggled on my own
to navigate my oceans of emotions;

there was so many tears and so
much anger and so much pain and the
constant question that gnawed at me:
why wasn't i worthy of love?

all i ever wanted was
to be loved,
all i ever wanted was
to be appreciated;
all i wanted was to be seen
for who i was-

& yet everyone wanted me to be
someone i wasn't so they could be comfortable,

but now that i have found my magic
and my power and understand the language
of my heart and soul and know the mythology of
my bones

i have left behind my shallows;
and if they cannot swim in my oceans
then let them sit on the sand and remain there

my beaches aren't for everyone.

beauty in my feathers
i have never belonged,
and there was once a time
i tried;
but i have always been
a wild bird
that never accepted the confines
of the cage nor the necessary

my music wasn't like those
of the songbirds,
and my colors weren't the same
as the canaries and parrots;

i was a raven in a sea
of birds that were taught
never to trust me

just because i was different-
i used to cry thinking i wasn't worthy
of love

but now i realize my weird
has and always will be beautiful
even if i am not always appreciated
there is beauty in my feathers.

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Linda M. Crate

2 Poems by Linda M. Crate : “Anyone Can Appreciate the Light” & “Until He Was Gone”

Bridge, Forest, Fantasy, Trees, Light

anyone can appreciate the light

no one checks
on the strong ones
not even when
you remind them to,
beg them to or subtly
cry out for help;

i know that i am strong
but why can’t you allow
me to be vulnerable?

sometimes even i need
to cry without feeling i will
be judged,
and always i am just expected
to shove my emotions down
so that others can be comfortable
in my presence;

but there are days where i am aching
i don’t need or want to wear a mask—

if you cannot handle my rain then
don’t stand with me and celebrate my
rainbows because anyone can appreciate
the light.

until he was gone

i still think of my uncle
twenty years later,
it will be twenty one
this october;

his depression was too strong
to hold at bay and he took
his own life because the demons
of this world were stronger
than he could endure—

i wish that people could’ve
known him and his art,

it was his dream that he could
just work on and sell his art;
had he held on a little longer maybe
with the internet he could’ve sold some
of his pieces—

i still have the last letter he gave me,
and he speaks of getting more bills than
personal mail and how he was grateful
for my letter;

i didn’t realize he had depression
until he was gone.

bio below:

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Linda M. Crate

Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate

Linda M. Crate (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian writer. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has seven published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017),  splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019), and the samurai (Yellow Arrowing Publishing, October 2020), and three micro-chapbooks Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018), moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020), and & so i believe (Origami Poems Project, April 2021). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). She also has three full-length poetry collections, the latest being You Will Not Control Me (Cyberwit, March 2021).