Thursday, November 27, 2014


Sent this email to a cherished friend early this morning and thought it was worth sharing because it applies to each one of my dear friends, hopefully some of whom will see this.
Life is so fucking hard and so frequently awful but I have finally learned to be grateful for it, even in my darkest moments. It sure as hell beats being dead (or so I'd imagine). 
I am grateful for hope and growth and the opportunity that comes with each new day to make the world better, not only for others (usually my focus) but also for myself.
I appreciate that in spite of every obstacle in my way, all the loss and the fact that every single day I wake up wearing an imagined noose, standing on a chair, deciding whether I should take a step or yank that fucker off my neck and live another day, I somehow manage to keep making the right decision.
I am utterly thankful for those I love, the beautiful, strong, fragile, damaged, supportive, amazing souls who love me for exactly who I am and that, of course, includes you, in such an immeasurable way.
Happy thanksgiving.
With love, 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Nothing hurts
like the truth
but I prefer it
bandaid-pull quick
to the meandering stroll
of condescension.
Not always
but now
when I am strong enough
to listen
without self-condemnation

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What's in a Name?

What's in a name?  A lot, apparently.  I mean, think about it, what is the first thing perspective parents consider upon learning the sex of their child (or even before)?  A name, generally, is something one is stuck with for the rest of one's life.  It helps define a person (or thing), giving others an immediate impression.

This blog was "born" under the name "Kari On".  It seemed clever, seeing as my name is Kari (and it helped clear up the whole "Carrie" vs. "Car-ree" pronunciation thing, usually).  Plus, really, "carrying on" is something I have been trying to do since birth, not in the rowdy sense but in the simple, "continuing to exist" kinda sense.  Which brings me to my new blog name.

When I joined twitter (what seems like 109 years ago), my original handle was the oh-so creative Kari_Murphy (because, of course, KariMurphy was taken).  It worked for me, for years in fact, but it never felt special.

Eventually, I decided on the perfect new handle, PerseveringLilly.  I decided that "persevering" defined my newly-adopted spirit of recovery.  Lilly was chosen for a character in John Irving's book "The Hotel New Hampshire".  She is a character who defined perseverance, at least to me; a writer, overcoming seemingly unconquerable odds until, sadly, she no longer could.  Alas, PerseveringLilly was one character too many for a twitter handle.

So, I was persevering but a persevering what?  Which brings me to a manatee. Yes, you read that right, a manatee. Manatees have long been my favorite animals in the world.  Slow, lumbering, peaceful and gentle (and, in my eyes, completely beautiful).  I have been an "adoptive parent" to many manatees over the years through the Save the Manatee Club but my very first was a female named Star (so named for her star-shaped markings).  Sadly, she passed away before my year's adoption was up but she will forever remain special to me, a beacon of light.  What, I ask you, could symbolize perseverance more?  To me, nothing.  Thus, my twitter handle became PerseveringStar. The name defines me, my hopes, my recovery, my insistence on survival, no matter how difficult the struggle may be. This blog is an outlet, a tool, my escape, my salvation.

What's in a name?  A lot.  And henceforth, Persevering Star will be this blog's name.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


In darkness
lies the whole
of who I once was.
in shadows
seemingly allergic
to the light.
Wearing fear
like a blanket
draped over my soul.
Even now
I find myself
in that familiar place
all too often.
But occasionally
there is color
and laughter
and for just a moment
life ceases
to mock me.
I wish
that I could
name that place
and claim it
for a while
or forever.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Six Words

silently screaming
ceaselessly beating
hopefully breathing

Monday, November 3, 2014


great and small
or bullet-quick
but always
leading me home.


I will not be afraid
to sing loudly
or dance badly
but alas
is not that day.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


I realize now that I never shared with you the fact that I am, albeit temporarily, a student again.  This coming Wednesday, sadly, will be my final session of five in a continuing ed. writing workshop I've been taking at a local college.  It has been such a wonderful experience.  As you may or may not realize, I have not held a job in seven years.  It shames me to say this but my last attempt in 2010 ended quite badly, with me in hysterics every morning before reporting for work and giving up after only four days.  I have had big plans in my head ever since, to volunteer, take a class, do something but alas, it was not to be.  My depression and anxiety were literally paralyzing.  Just the mere thought of making a commitment, to anything, terrified me and I just couldn't overcome it. Until now.  Granted, this is just a tiny baby step back into the land of the living, reentry into the world of the functioning adult, but I am insanely proud of myself for having taken it. I truly hope it leads to more and better.  I definitely know, if nothing else, I WILL be taking another class this spring, hopefully with many of the same classmates.

Anyway, this preamble was leading to this, my sharing of my final class assignment.  Each week, our professor (who prefers to think of herself as a fellow workshop participant, very cool) gives us a selection of writing prompts to choose from and we are then given carte blanche to write about them in whatever form we wish, poetry, prose, memoir, etc.  In our fourth class, I was introduced to a form of poetry called the pantoum.  (I would not be able to adequately explain it to you, I generally write free verse in a stream of consciousness style but I suggest you google pantoum.  Fascinating!  The repetitive nature is all part of the format.) As I implied, my poetry rarely has a set structure (aside from the occasional haiku) so this was a true challenge for me.  I completed my very first pantoum in class with my peers and decided, for my final assignment, to challenge myself to write another. The result is what follows.  Not surprisingly, it is called, "Depression".

how to unleash this heavy burden
it is a monster many encounter but few understand
the darkness may lie dormant but it never leaves
it is weighty and it is cumbersome

it is a monster many encounter but few understand
i am so afraid
it is weighty and it is cumbersome
there is no escape

i am so afraid
surrender means death
there is no escape
i will fight on

surrender means death
blue skies break through black clouds
i will fight on
my strength is my salvation

blue skies break through black clouds
i am tethered to hope
my strength is my salvation
despite all i will prevail

i am tethered to hope
the darkness may lie dormant but it never leaves
despite all i will prevail
how to unleash this heavy burden