The following is a collection of survivor inspired poems from some of our guest writers here at CPTSD Foundation. We are so grateful for each person who shares their voice using the written word, to help encourage, validate, and inspire every person who is continuing to heal from their past. 

The following poems were created by Kaylene Carter.

I’m Different

I’m different, but that doesn’t make me crazy.

I hurt, but that doesn’t make me weak.

I’m emotional, but that doesn’t make me unstable.


Seeing is Believing

I miss the girl I used to be,

before they took it all away from me.

But when I look at you…

I believe.



Day by Day

Every one of us has problems,

Some are big and some are small.

Every one of us has different ways

To make it through the fall.

When you’re down,

sometimes people try to help.

Your friends all have something to say.

But when it comes right down to it,

You just have to take it day by day.



The Unexpected Visitor

The doorbell rings.
I look up from my laptop,
Tearing myself away for a moment
From the deadline looming overhead.
My calico kitten runs away from the sound.
She curls up in the windowsill,
Flooded with light,
The sun’s last attempt to mark its territory.

I set my work on the crimson sofa.
I always thought it looked so perfect
Against the brick walls.
The sharp melody resounds
Through my loft once again.

I open the door and it catches my eye,
The same familiar uniform,
An image blurred in my memory
Since the last day my father came to pick me up.
I was only two years old.

“Brown is such a warm color,”
I think, as my eye travels
Towards three letters,
Stitched in cheerful yellow on his shirt.
His shoes are worn,
From long, hard hours on his feet.
His hands, strong and chapped,
Golden brown from overexposure to the sun.

His eyes are wide and sparkling, but tired,
As if they’ve looked into a million faces.
Mine is the last stop he’ll make today.
I sign for my package and thank him, taking one last look at the chocolate pants and collared shirt with socks and shoes to match.

He tips his hat with polite respect,
The old-fashioned kind that I’ve read about in books.
Then he turns and walks away,
His work shoes making a sound all their own.
The sound gets softer,
And fades with each step he takes,
Until finally, he is gone.

I turn and walk back across the cold, tile floor, sitting down in my empty, picture perfect room.

The sun has given up now,
The shadows creep in,
And swallow up all my things with darkness.


Face in the Mirror

So many avenues to take,

So many costumes to wear,

So many views I see,

So many people I could be.


So many precious things at stake,

So many places I want to be.

Things changing all around me,

But in the mirror, it’s the same face I see.


Scars stay constantly with me.

The sense of wonder slowly fades.

I grow weary of these trials.


But year after year,

That same familiar smile stays put.

The silliness often spills out.


After all the changes, I often stop to see…

If I’ve kept my inner soul intact after all the storms.


Hearing My Call

Is there hope for those who take the road less traveled,

Who choose to take a chance?

Others give me advice I don’t want to receive.

I don’t want to hear their stance.


I am the one who is chasing my rainbow, no matter how long it might take.

I am the one wishing on a star,

Believing in one lucky break.

I am the one with my life on the line, no future planned out,

No place to call mine.


But this couch is soft and I work hard each day.

I hope if I cross my fingers and pray…

That I’ll break my way out of this cage,

That I’ll make my way onto the stage.


Then maybe I’ll get your support and respect I just didn’t need after all.

Because I’ll know it was the determination that won and God guiding me Towards my call.


Life Takes You on a Journey

 Life takes you on a journey,

And never lets you go.


You’re constantly relearning

Everything you think you know.


You’re painting a new picture

In every place you go.


One day, you’ll take them all out

And admire them.


Price Tags

You can’t put a price on beauty,

Because you can’t put a price on someone’s eyes.


The very peak of your rise

Just might be the point of your demise.


Just because you think she’s lovely

Doesn’t mean you’re not in for a big surprise.


You can’t put a price on true love.

Because everything good and perfect

Comes from above.


You can’t put a price on music,

Because it resides in a different realm.

It mustn’t be bought, but felt…possessed.


Choose carefully what you invest in

As you spend your dough today.

If it doesn’t touch your spirit,

you’re squandering it away.


Be careful what you wish for,

You can’t put a price on fame

They get you in the end

And they critique you to shame.


Keep your eyes on God

And your feet on the ground, or

You might go up and come crashing down.


You can’t put a price on knowledge

It can get you out of everything.


And staying true to yourself

Will cost you more than anything…


But you’re worth it!




What label do I give this emptiness I feel?


As if suddenly, I am stepping back and away from my life,

I see it all clearer now.


Pieces are fitting together, yet so many are nowhere to be found.

In these past few moments, I’ve realized how shallow my life is right now, Or perhaps, that life in itself is nothing

But a meaningless, monotonous, vicious cycle.


People, places, wealth, fame, darkness, light, headaches, and stress.

You can trust no one.

You don’t even have time to get to know yourself,

Yet you try to find the time to get to know others…


But for what?

Hidden intentions, resentments, secrets, and lies,

All the nature of every individual.


They destroy trust and hope, and friendship and happiness,

And every false joy or meaning we have in our pathetic existence.


People rule the world.
People rule people.

But people are not to be trusted.


A whole wide world of countless paths and options

Take shape before our eyes.


What do we envision for ourselves?


Even those who strive for the capacity to create an ideal environment,

We become content, yet forever discontent

With our daily rituals, habits, and weaknesses.

We become blind and only fulfill the minimum.

But soon, one day…

I will break away.

What is a Day?

What is a day?

Is it simply a way to measure time?


Yes, the clock says it’s twenty-four hours long,

But we all know that the numbers, they lie.

Because one day can feel like an eternity.

And the next one you might slip right on by.


A day can hold so many surprises.

It hides such twists and turns.

So many of our days are mundane and alike.

But some days we never forget.

Weddings, graduations, the birth of a child.

What about the day you meet the love of your life?


These are days you look forward to for years.

And when they arrive, they come and pass

And you’re back to mundane days again.

Why are some days more special than others?

The answer, of course, is they’re not.


For a day is just what we make of it.

Each day has potential.

Each day is a gift.


It’s all up to you what you do with it.

The following poem was created by Lisa Taylor.

Little Girl Within

It has taken me 43 years to be able to have the strength to write the words I did get out below, it ends abruptly because I could not go any further at that moment, however, I like each of you, am still healing from trauma. I will continue to dig deep and work on a more complete story. It is part of my healing process so just wanted to share it with each of you. You are not alone, I am facing it too. The struggle, the negative voices, and forgiving those that I never received an apology from because I am enough, I am loved, I am still here and I am trying every single day to be better and do better.

Little Girl Within 

It was time to feel it all

Knowing the journey had been ignored far too long

The pit of her stomach-wrenching in angst

Shallow breaths increased

Heart racing

Hands shaking

Her body remembering

In an effort to soothe the anxiety

She focused on her breathing

The pace and depth

The rise and fall of her chest

Inhaling deeply

Slow purposeful release

A mantra melody replaying in her mind

“You are alright right now”

“You are safe in this space”

“Breathe in positivity, exhale negativity”

After a few minutes, a calmness washed over her

Heart, soul, and body

Almost a therapeutic cleansing

It was so intense her eyes welled up with tears

Tears of strength

A mindful release

Her hands now steady

Fingers aggressively tapping on the keys

Aiding in her determination to write the words she couldn’t speak

This time she would dig down deep instead of running

She had paid the price for far too long and would no longer allow that evilness to steal her sanity

She had already escaped death, countless times, so this was possible in her mind

Beloved little girl within you are safe now and stronger than you think

I will protect you just as you have hidden away the memories to shield me

Please tell me what you have seen

Let me help you speak the misery

Shackled to the trauma lost in me

I am ready to remember

It’s my turn to bear the burden of our childhood tragedy

Sifting through the scattered and mangled pieces of reality

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