What is Love?

We all have our own personal definition of love, what love means to us, what loving someone else intells. I’m not a hard-hearted person, meaning I’m a loving and kind individual. I like to believe there’s good in everyone. Lately, events in my life have caused me to question my definition of love. But I’m a hopeless romantic. Is there a Knight in shining armor in real life? Is there someone out there for everyone trying to find one another? I really don’t know.

My suggestion is to let go and let God. I know everyone does not believe in God. You must see that the beauty of love is brought upon by something other than ourselves though. So love must find you. By all means, believe that love exists for a reason. Hold on to what love is to you and the person with the same definition as yours will come. What is Love to me?? Keep reading.

Love is…

Love is being able to breathe in someone’s essence and when in their presence not being able to breathe at all
Love is looking deep into someone’s eyes and seeing their soul and feeling someone so much you’re unable to make eye contact
Love is taking notice of a person’s scent and wanting to bathe in it
Love is willing to be vulnerable and willing to secure vulnerability in someone else
Love is tapping into someone’s psyche and opening yourself up to theirs
Love is being able to see the best in someone when they cannot see the best themselves
Love is friendship, honesty, forgiveness, transparency, joy, kindness, peace, and hope
Love is everything good about this world, it is not perfect but it’s perfect peace.

Written by Valerie Collins

Loss Through Addiction

I spent the last years of my marriage in the late ’90s and early 2000s addicted to a migraine and pain medication. Like many others, I was trying to numb the pain from many things but mostly from a broken heart and failing marriage. I was able to get help through an outpatient rehab program and therapy. I never knew at that time that my big brother was suffering from the same thing. The only difference is that the depression, emotional and physical pain he experienced through the years overwhelmed him and would take his life.

Let me be clear, he did not kill himself. He lost a lot in life and often used medication thinking it would take the pain away but all it did was scare us and end him up in the hospital. The days before his death, he was experiencing the off the wall effects of the sleeping agent Ambien. The side effects mimic those of an overdose. Unfortunately, we had no idea. Because we saw him overdose so many times before, we thought he wasn’t listening to our pleas for him to stop again and my mom and I got upset with him. I was disappointed because after my dad’s death that March, my big brother promised to take care of me and Mom. His “overdose” led me to believe that he was not trying to get better. I didn’t want to say anything to him and didn’t for two days.

In the early morning hours of June 19, 2009, the police and homicide detectives knocked on our door. Because of the Ambien and other meds in his system, my brother didn’t remember taking his medicine that evening and decided to take it before walking to Walmart so he wouldn’t hurt as bad when he came home. Unfortunately, he never made it home. He died of an accidental overdose in a strangers yard two blocks from home. The abundance of medicine, especially Amitriptyline, Benadryl, and Phenergan in his system caused cardiac arrest as his heart, lungs, and brain filled with fluid. There was nothing anyone could do to save him. Today, ten years later, I still live with the guilt and hurt of not speaking to him the last two days of his life. I have found some peace with it through my faith, but I pray he knew I loved him more than life itself.

I’m only sharing his story so that if anyone out there who may be abusing their medications for any reason, reads this, they can get help before it kills them. Do not take a chance on leaving your family with the heartbreak and sadness of your death when it could’ve been prevented. By the way, my big brother had an appointment at Bradford Health Services the following Monday morning. But… It was too late.

The number to the National Substance Abuse Hotline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and the number to the Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Talk to someone, anyone. Call today.

If you feel as if you do not have anyone to talk to or you don’t want to call the hotlines, please email me at vfurrms@yahoo.com or dm me on my FB page Valerie Marie Collins and we can talk.

This is my poem dedicated to my big brother Arthur William Furt, Jr., entitled:

Friendship With Addiction

You took something from me
Something I can never get back
Your selfishness overwhelmed him
To me, there’s no forgiveness in that

How can you show up here?
After all the wrong you have done?
Where is your integrity?
A spirit like yours has none

Do you think we can be friends now?
Am I supposed to need you like that?
I admit I needed you in the past
But now my life is on track

Why did you have to come to live there?
You knew your purpose was to destroy
You snuck in, used us, stole from us
then discarded us like a child with a toy

You should have left him alone
Why didn’t you just take me instead?
You had plenty of chances while I slept
But now my big brother is dead

We were all helpless to stop you
We were afraid of what you would do
You played on all his weaknesses
He wasn’t strong enough to fight you

But my brother didn’t die in vain
He taught us to pay attention
To always look out for the signs
associated with you, Addiction

Now as we live in our soberness
You can never steal from us again
My brother paid the ultimate price
to teach us to be family, not friends

Friends like you Addiction will fail
You are evil and deranged
YOU should have died that morning
Only death runs through your veins

These years without my brother
have been reflective lonesome years
It hurts so bad that he is gone
When I dream of him, I dream in tears

Addiction is a thief in disguise
Lurking but pretending to be true
He stole from us my brother’s life
Don’t wait until he steals yours too

By Valerie Collins
August 21, 2018

Family first

I just got home about four hours ago from a famcation road trip to Illinois and St. Louis MO for my Uncle Walters gorgeous wedding to his beautiful bride Rosemary. We traveled with my Uncle and my mom, who are all siblings of the groom, my Uncle’s beautiful wife Auntie Catherine and their wonderful daughter in law Lisa. After prayer, we embarked on this 8 or 9-hour journey in comfort, a third row SUV with a small Uhaul attached for luggage. I can’t really describe the entire trip there because I fell asleep. 😃🤣😂 But we didn’t have any car trouble and stopped at the best places for gas. But God! Once we arrived in Illinois our hotel was set back off the highway. It was wonderful to have reservations and get into a room quickly, shower and get to the church for rehearsal.

To continue, I had to get a few days to rest after such a wonderful and happy weekend. The pictures say it all!! My Uncle Walter Clemons, Sr. and his beautiful bride Rosemary literally and figuratively jumped the broom this past Saturday in Illinois. The bridal parties consisted of her sisters and his brothers. All six of my uncles looked very dapper in their suits. I know you all agree. My mom (in the blue), myself (the dark gray), and my Aunt and Uncle posing together alone, plus my cousin’s wife had a wonderful three days with family and friends. The happy couple is from Kansas where my Uncle Walter is known as The Soup Guy as he makes and distributes soup to the homeless.


Embrace the Journey

We all try to achieve certain things in life whether it be a job promotion, a successful relationship, higher education, or writing a book. One thing we all learn is to embrace the Journey. In order to be successful, we must allow time for the unexpected such as mistakes, setbacks and losing patience. This is how we embrace the journey. Right now in my journey, I’m ahead of the game when it comes to self-publishing.

I ought to be, considering I began wanting to be published in 2008. According to my present research with Publishabookas.com, I’m in the stage of launching my book and gathering my launch team. My WordPress website, these words you are currently reading act as my launch site. As I’ve mentioned, I have been writing all my life but lost a lot of my work in moves especially after my divorce. A lot of my things were discarded. I know I’m never going to stop writing so I feel those that ideas or pieces of poetry that I couldn’t retrieve will turn up in something else I write in the future. So for now, I am gathering what I do have and writing a preface to each poem. Why? I want my readers to understand what I was going through at the time the poem was written. My goal with this book is not to sell a million copies because I know from research that poetry books do not sell as well. But I want to reach people and touch their hearts. That’s my biggest goal.

I’ve lived an eventful life. I know I’ve got a lot of life left in me, with the good Lord willing. I’ve been asked what triggers me to write. Perhaps you have been as well. In the past, tragedy used to trigger my poetic juices. If I was really hurting emotionally, I could put it on paper better than talk about it. And that’s okay. Now that I’m older, I can’t say one specific thing inspires me. I can write hurting or happy. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and write. Then there are those times when I’m not in a writing mode and can’t rhyme to save my life. But I continue to embrace the journey because I know I have more to say. I suggest no inspirational moments are our body’s way of telling us to rest.

I do not have a specific style of writing. Please don’t let anyone tell you how to express yourself when writing. With some poems, I stick to a particular rhythm and in others, I mix styles. Then there are spoken word pieces that don’t rhyme at all or go in and out of rhyming. The style often depends on the point I’m getting across. Sometimes lighter toned messages may rhyme and heavier toned pieces may be in spoken word format. I think it’s important to understand your writing style and why you use certain styles in order to stay true to yourself and the journey.

Because only you know what you are really trying to say, it should be important to you, as the writer, to make sure your readers get your point too. You don’t want anyone to be confused or try to guess what you’re talking about. Because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, your writing should be clear enough that readers get an idea of what you’re saying even if they don’t get the complete gist of it. Take your readers on the journey with you whether just sharing one poem or becoming a published author. Others will want nothing but success for you.

So as I close this blog post, by thanking my current readers. They are few in number right now but that is okay. Still, I am grateful! I ask them and others to come along on this ride to publication with me and support me as I embrace this journey. At the top of the front page is a menu. There are two options on the menu. Please choose Contact and leave me your name and email address and comment if you like. I will keep you updated on when the book will launch and where I’ll be doing book signings. I hope to see you real soon!

#embracethejourney #embracetheprocess #mypoeticlifebook


Never finishing stuff comes full circle

Today is Saturday, August 4, 2018, and I’m feeling a little fretful. You see when I was in my early 20’s, on August 4, 1996, I could do anything! Everything I touched turned to gold. I successfully graduated from nursing school and passed my boards, I had a beautiful little girl on the way and a job I loved. My marriage wasn’t by any means good, but I loved him beyond all understanding. I was enrolled in RN school and working full time! The entire world was at my fingers tips! So why did it all just get yanked from under me? You see during my early twenties, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I still worked and even went through a second pregnancy with my handsome son before fibromyalgia took everything from me. Let me make this clear. Fibromyalgia didn’t really take anything. I was so mentally exhausted from emotional abuse of my childhood and marriage that I physically and completely gave up. I gave in to the pain and to the doctors and their prescriptions. I lost my license, my marriage, my home, my sense of security, my self-esteem and most importantly myself. From that point on even when I called myself getting “back on my feet”, I would start projects and whether someone would talk me out of it or I would put it down myself, I stopped finishing stuff. I started several books but didn’t finish one. I started several businesses but didn’t stick with one. I went to business school and graduated Cuma Laude. I never picked up another business. I was in on the ground floor of Herbalife when they first started but let someone talk me out of sticking with them. I worked for Melaleuca, Avon, Mary Kay, etc. But never stuck with them. I began to acquire a social phobia and couldn’t be around more than a few strangers at a time. I stopped going outside. Even the simplest thing of going to get my mail, I stopped doing.

Now, was this all my fault? Were these medical conditions? Was I mentally ill? I didn’t know. So I did what I thought was best to get on track and went to therapy. I had to stay in therapy or go back to therapy for a few years to get through all the things I had lost and to find a way to love this different version of myself. Y’all it’s alright to change and it’s okay to do this, to get to know the new you. That was back in the early to mid-2000s. Now so many years later, I still have a small fear of going places but go when I need to. The thing about it is I’m scared to go but once I leave the driveway I don’t even think about being afraid. I don’t have panic attacks anymore either unless there are cats around, but that’s another blog story. Today, I’m stronger and most of my, “not leaving the house”, is more about not feeling like it than being scared. I know that in itself is a problem, but I’m talking to my pain specialist about it and it’s getting better. So now those things that I stopped finishing back then are coming full circle. I have this need to feel like I’m contributing to my family, to this life I’ve been blessed with, so I have begun writing again. I’ve entered a poetry contest and I’m compiling a poetry book which I have mostly together but just need to complete the intros to my new poetry pieces. Being that I’ve been writing since a child, there’s a lot left unsaid within me. I’m glad I can channel it at will. Life often comes full circle. I think that’s why we’re not supposed to worry about anything but pray about everything.

Did the fibromyalgia come full circle?? Well, I will tell you like this. When I was first diagnosed I would go into weeks of remission before becoming sick again. After a few years, that stopped and I was just sick all the time. But today, instead of being sick every day, I go back into weeks of remission again. So yes, I think it’s come full circle but I hope they find a cure someday. It’s tougher as I get older to survive the sick days but I’m grateful for the days I’m not completely ill and unable to function. I’ve been going none stop for weeks and now I’m back sick. It’s ok because I know I’ll take complete advantage of my remission days regardless of how many or how few. I take this sick time to rest and write and of course, tell people what to do…Lol! I hope this has shed some light on someone else’s life who may be suffering in silence. You can make it! You can continue to push through. Don’t worry about not finishing stuff. It will come back around to you when you need it most. And if you ever get bored, write about your life, day to day and when you get enough pages to get them published. Everyone’s struggle is different, just like there are different forms of fibromyalgia. People will be interested to hear about how you get through and overcome your struggle. My next book will be about that same topic. The noble thing is that I always wanted to be a writer.

Look for my book My Poetic Life coming October 2019!!