this self

I remember this self.
This self is a lover, is kind,
Is forever apologizing
For existing in the way it does,
Causing the pain it did;
This self is a lover, a fire,
But not wild; collected and contained
In a brick prison,
Thawing your frozen toes
When Winter bites at your bones.
It isn’t easy.
This self was not easy.
This self is constantly questioning its worth,
Because for once,
Its worth matters to an outsider;
This self is a lover,
In love with the thought
Of your arms and your lips,
Your skin under its fingertips.
Your eyes, and your mind,
Are the finest treasures in this self’s life.
It isn’t easy.
Accepting that the former being,
A deity,
Has gone to rest – perhaps permanent –
And good riddance!
What a sad existence
To wish to be alone.
This self doesn’t want to be alone.
That goddess has resigned;
This self wants to give,
To love,
And to be alive.

-s.f. (2016)


to my past self;

To the sixteen-year-old on the couch:

Allow me to introduce you to yourself;
You’re twenty-two and finished college,
Months away from moving out, and
Everybody’s proud of you, and
You have gotten help.
The boy who yelled & threw your phone
Is sad and ugly and alone,
And you are everything you never knew
You wanted.
You will meet boys
Who will take buses and trains, cross seas in planes
To see you;
And you will hate them all.
Though you are much stronger now,
You’re still learning how to crawl;

And that is the most important thing.

Nothing really matters now
From when you were sixteen;
You’ll wake up on Sunday mornings
From vivid, lucid dreams;
Those thoughts might still scare you,
But you are tough.
You are smart.
And yes, you have a heart –
It’s in there, I swear,
Though the fire has flickered out,

Just know that things are looking up.

s.f. (2016)



A collection of small compartments,
Missed appointments,
Messages, voicemails,
Disappointed humans
With sharp fingers and tongues;
Say goodbye to feeling young.
Once the train leaves, it’s gone,
A minute late and it’s gone,
At least until the next one
In the next compartment
With more missed calls
And missed appointments,
Concerned therapists, worried parents,
No more excuses.
No more sorry’s.
All goodbyes, pale-white lies –
Smile like you’re having fun.
In a crowd of bodies, having fun,

(Keep breathing,)

Missing appointments
Because you’re “better”
In a new compartment,
Having fun, until it’s gone.
Just smile like you’re alive –

Keep trying,

Pounding your fists against the walls
Of each prison square.
Break them down
Until life is real and flows,
Ripples and dominoes,
And you are whole –
Not a collection
Of missed appointments
In small compartments,
A mosaic of pale-white.


From gray to gold,
Lackluster to bold,
To whole.

s.f. (8/26/17)


Babbles: saturday coffee & not knowing what to do with your life

I’m doing a bit better being back in Bucks County. I’m still a little scattered and there’s still a billion things to organize all over my floor, but I’m feeling more myself again. I decided to go to the Coffee Room and work on some Bloaty comics – of course, I forgot my tablet pen. Because I have no brain. Apparently.

I asked the girl at the counter for a “weird request;” a vanilla-lavender latte, a concoction Jenn got me hooked on a couple weeks ago. She said that wasn’t weird at all and we somehow got to talking about how people in Newtown compare to people in Philly. “‘Can I have an iced latte with foam on top?’ That’s weird. That’s how people here are.”
She told me she used to live in Philly but left her “good job” to pursue a business opportunity – which ended up failing, so she had to move back in with her parents and work at a coffee shop. She shrugged it off, but good lord. I can’t imagine giving up so much only to have it fall apart. She said it wasn’t so bad because now she has stories to tell people. Her attitude reminded me of 2013 Steph; I felt like my life was just one giant story that I wanted to tell people. I thought the meaning of life was to live as interestingly as possible. Then I got old, selfish, and boring.
The barista on bar heard me mention I went to Jefferson and asked if I liked it. I didn’t, I admitted, but I told her it was a great school. We ended up talking for a good 10 minutes about where she could apply for nursing and what kind of programs I’d recommend for her; I was shocked at how much I was able to help. She said she’d been going to our town’s community college for awhile and was tired of it. She felt old and wanted out, but didn’t know where to go. It was reassuring to know that there were people older than me who still didn’t know what they wanted out of their lives.

Most of my friends are still in school and they all seem like they’re in the right field. They all love what they do. And I guess I was there once, studying hard night and day, loving learning and feeling proud when I did well… Real life is so different, isn’t it? School doesn’t actually prep you for much. It’s the piece of paper that counts. A $33,000 piece of paper, in my case. Plus interest.

I work in fertility. Me, a 23 year-old devoid of any maternal instinct who would prefer it if we all stopped reproducing for 4 years to control the population. I think babies look like squishy old men. I have absolutely no idea how I ended up where I am – all I ever wanted to do was research microbes and teach. But we hardly ever get what we want, don’t we? Maybe it’s more about getting what we need, and maybe the universe works all that out for us. Not sure why the universe thinks I need to count sperm and prick 30 year-old women all day right now. But I guess that’s fine.

Once, while I was drawing a patient’s blood, she asked me suddenly, “Do you like your job?” I really didn’t know what to say. Yes? I do? In theory? It didn’t seem smart to tell someone you’re unsure about your job when you’ve got a needle in their vein. She was unhappy with hers; she was a lawyer who worked for a firm with a verbally abusive boss. I’ll never forget her. She was the only patient I had who was openly unhappy with her situation. No “I’m fine, how are you?” or “Work is work, we all just deal with it.” I loved her honesty and I empathized with her. I wish more people were that honest, cause it would make me feel way less alone.

I guess this just ended up being a long babble about women I’ve met who felt lost. Maybe we’re all lost – and if you aren’t, please message me and tell me your secret. Take care of yourselves and remember that you are in control of your life. And if you feel out of control, find someone to talk it out with. Every problem has a solution, and if it doesn’t, then it isn’t a problem.



I want to tell you everything now:
How your fingers feel along my skin,
How your hair nestles against my chin,
How the world stops – how time stops –
How everything just
I don’t know how we got where we got,
But if what you say is true,
Then yes, I think I love you too.
I love looking at you when you’re smiling,
Like every bad part of the earth resigns and kneels down,
And leaves imprints on the sides of your mouth –
The mouth I trace with kisses coddled in laughter,
Intermittent whispers, then more laughter –
These are the moments I think about
When I’m lying in a bed for two
And missing you.
These are the moments I replay on my darkest days,
The moments that lift me up again.
I know you’ll be back again.
And when you are, I’ll pour myself into you
Just like before,
Like nothing has changed.
Because time stops – everything stops
When I wrap myself into your arms,
And pull you close –
But it’s never close enough, is it?
It never feels close enough.
Our limbs could be intertwined, skin-to-skin,
Breath-to-neck and hand-in-hand,

And it wouldn’t be close enough.
And I think that’s love.

-s.f. (8/31/16)


Babbles: being by yourself & depression

I just moved out of Manayunk and I’m having a really hard time transitioning back.

Manayunk wasn’t a super busynoisy place, but it pretty much had everything I needed. A bustling main street, a quiet towpath for running, good dogs EVERYWHERE – I was content there. Coming back home to the suburbs is strange and overwhelmingly lonely. I was so used to having people around me – just close enough so that my personal space wasn’t invaded but I didn’t feel lonely. And having Tyler with me in the mornings and evenings was the ultimate comfort. I always had someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of. My brain seldom ran off the deep-end since it never really had the chance – I had the perfect amount of distractions to keep me from losing it (usually).

I think this kind of loneliness happens when you stop living for yourself. And maybe you guys with depression would agree – when your days get dark, you don’t really pull through it for yourself so much as for the people around you. Not healthy, I know. But it’s the reality of it (for me, anyways).

So today I came home from work and unpacked my mountain of clothes, organized here and there, threw some things out, gave some things away – until, all of a sudden, I was pacing around not getting anything done. Then I started shaking, and then came the inexplicable crying, and then I realized I was back to being alone with myself again. No distractions. Just me. And I never really liked me.

Now, if this ever happens to you, you have to let yourself cry. You just have to. If you don’t, all that anxious energy is gonna keep balling up in your chest and your throat and you might do something you’ll regret. Sometimes it’ll feel like it’s never going to stop, but I promise you it will. Nothing is forever. It might take a few minutes or a few hours, or maybe all night on your worst days. After I calmed down and texted a friend, I found the energy to start typing about it. And here we are. Functioning again.
Toxic thoughts are hard to combat when they start snowballing, so if that’s something you have trouble with when you’re all alone with your brain, it’s important to stop them in their tracks. It takes a lot of cognitive strength (which I’m clearly lacking), and it gets even harder the more abstract the toxicity gets. I often think “every day is the same and it’s all meaningless” – well, yeah, it is, but you can change that. Dummy.

I guess when I come home now, I have nothing to look forward to. No dog to greet me with kisses and a happy snoot, no Tyler to smack my butt and say “what’reyoudoing?”, no roommates watching shitty TV shows – just me and my big attic in my grandma’s house.
My best friend Jenn – who I grew up with here – has been 1000% supportive of me and almost always comes to my rescue – and she’s probably the best part about being back in Bucks County. But the fact is that I need to learn to be by myself. I need to learn to live for myself. And I don’t know how.

If waking up every morning hurts, I know how you feel and I’m sorry. Keep pushing through, every day, no matter what. Nothing is forever.

Take care of yourselves! More Bloaty to come this week, and I have some poems on the way.