Morning’s Arrival, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Morning’s Arrival


Jennifer Angelina Petro



The tree leans in,

Taps the window.

The one inside

Rises slowly,

Moves, touches the pane.


Suddenly it’s gone—

Dissolving into vast, open spaces;

And the freshness of the air

Fills the body, lifts the spirits,

Calms the mind, frees the soul.


The one inside

Breathes for the first time

In years, allowing the fingers of the tree

To dance over them

With the utmost tenderness,

Spreading a joy so clean,

So almost unimaginably sweet–

Yet there it is—rivering through them.


And as the tree continues its feather-light

Touches, the one inside

Moves further, closer, and climbs

Into its branches, settles

Into its arms, and the tree—

Rooted deeply in the cool, delicious earth,

Cradles the one inside, who is now

The one outside, and lifts them up

Towards the moon and the stars,

Holding them aloft—a new born

Child—and sways, and hums

Freedom songs into the sky, and waves as gently

As morning’s sun-filled arrival.





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Suicide and the Illusion of Choice

Suicide and the Illusion of Choice


Jennifer Angelina Petro


A year ago yesterday (January 17, 2017), I got released from the psyche ward for the second time in two months for suicidality, a bipolar crash, and clinical depression, among other things.  That same day, a year later, a dear friend’s brother was claimed by suicide.  What is the difference between us?  Did I make a choice to live?  Did he make a choice to die?  Does someone who takes their own life have freedom of choice?  I argue no.  They don’t.

Freedom of choice involves the ability to make conscious, awake choices.  It involves clarity of mind and heart.  It involves a healthy mental, emotional, spiritual state.  People who are claimed by suicide do not have these things.  No one, in their right (meaning healthy) mind does such a tragic act willingly.  It may look like they made a choice.  They may even believe they are making a choice.  But they didn’t.

Someone high, someone drunk, someone under siege, someone under attack, someone in extreme pain of any kind cannot make conscious, clear choices.  And for some people, the depression, inner pain, outer pain, PTSD, bipolarity, and other mental illnesses are simply too strong to leave someone clear of mind and awake enough to make such a choice.  Depression is a monster that speaks lies in your head.  Well, sometimes it speaks, sometimes it whispers insidiously, sometimes it screams and drowns out all rationality.  And sometimes all it screams over and over is: “I can’t take this anymore.  I need to die.  This needs to end.”  And the disease of depression convinces that person that they are making a free choice—THAT’S part of the symptomology of depression and mental illness—it makes you think you are well.  It makes you think everyone else just doesn’t understand.  It makes you think you are in your rightful power as an individual to control your actions.  And these are all lies, these are symptoms of a disease.

I knew someone once who, when a friend was claimed by suicide, said: “That selfish sonofabitch.”  The victim had left two children.  To the outsider, this person committed a selfish act.  He was essentially an asshole.

Part of the problem with believing suicide is a choice is the definition of the word and the language surrounding it.

Suicide, as defined in most dictionaries goes something like this: the intentional and voluntarily choice to take one’s own life.

The words surrounding this definition are ones like: committed, took their own life, chose to end it all.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say, “suicide claims the life of a suffering person.”  Perhaps words like the following might be more appropriate:

Tyrannicide—which may sound insulting, but a person who becomes ill enough to kill themselves is not killing THEMSELVES, they are attempting to kill the pain, the monster, the tyrant inside.  The person claimed by suicide is a victim, and in no way a willing victim. It is analogous to being possessed by a monster.  It’s the monster that pulls the trigger, it’s the monster that takes the fatal leap.  The person unwillingly and unwittingly hosting such a creature essentially—if untreated (and sometimes even if they are treated)—becomes powerless over the depression.

Some would say this analogy doesn’t work because possession implies a spiritual, demonic force.  I am not suggesting that—although, I believe that is possible (there are physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual diseases), I am more using the image to help people see that the person claimed by suicide did not make the conscious choice to end their own lives.  If the possession analogy doesn’t work for you—try thinking of the person with fatal cancer as being possessed by a monster that eats its host from the inside out.

Fideicide—the killing of faith. Someone overwhelmed by a disease can easily lose faith.  Someone claimed by suicide is trying to end their hopelessness, not themselves.  The disease has swallowed their faith.

Facticide—the killing of facts.  The monster of depression distorts the fact the ill person is worthy of living, is worthy of help, has the ability to choose otherwise.

Claim—the word “claim,” comes from the roots of words meaning, the act of shouting out, to demand, and to take sometimes by force.  This seems far more accurate than the deliberate and voluntary choice to take one’s own life.

Cancer claims lives, heart attacks claim lives, strokes claim lives, diabetes claims lives, Alzheimer’s claims lives.  Depression is every bit as much an illness as any of these.  Bipolarity is, PTSD is, and so on.  So is addiction.

Addiction and depression tell lies—it’s part of their symptomology.  So does bipolarity.  As someone who suffers from several mental illnesses, I know as soon as my head says, “You’re doing better, stop taking your meds,” that that is the disease talking.

Depression (and to be clear, I do not mean sadness, or the blues—I mean clinical depression) and addiction have the ability to smother rationality and the ability to ask for realistic help.  Just as Alzheimer’s takes away the memory piece by piece, depression takes away freedom, hope, the ability to seek help piece by piece.  Just as cancer little by little eats the body away, so does depression and other mental illnesses eat away at the ability to think clearly and rationally.

Saying someone chose to take their own lives—in addition to being inaccurate, is harmful to everyone involved.  It puts us in the power of blame, of judgment, and of the ability to slide into the need to protect ourselves from pain and the reality that depression is real, that depression stalks people, that depression is fatal.  Some people would much rather believe suicide is a choice because it separates themselves from the possibility to being devoured by a monster.  Lastly, it is crushing to the family of the victim to say they choose such a thing.  It implies deep self-centeredness, it implies they loved themselves more than their families and friends. It implies they didn’t care about others.  People who die from cancer are not abandoning their loved ones or choosing their own lives over theirs. They are not being selfish by dying.

When someone we love is claimed by suicide, the world collapses for the survivors.  It is devastating.  And people close to them often say things like: “Well, at least they are not suffering anymore,” which is exactly what one says when a loved one dies of cancer.  Inside we know suicide is a disease.  And combined with depression can be fatal.

People whose disease compels them to attempt suicide are not crying for help.  Attempting suicide is an expression of mental illness—a bursting of a cyst, the manifestation of a sickness.  And, also tragic, is the fact that many people cannot afford mental healthcare before its too late.

Suicide is also not a sin just as dying of cancer is not a sin.

Compassion, understanding, and an ability to listen openly and face reality is what we must offer when someone we love dies of suicide. No blame, no judgment.

And what of someone like me who suffers from depression and suicidality and is still alive?  Before my symptoms became overwhelming, I was able to seek and accept help.  My mental cancer was advancing in strength and severity, but it hadn’t gotten to the point of no return.  I was still able to have just enough measure of mental clarity and freedom of choice, to get help.

And that is the only difference between my friend’s brother and myself.  I am not better than him, stronger, I am not less selfish, or anything of the sort.

I am lucky.  I simply don’t have as severe an illness as him.  And that is of no credit to me.  Some people survive cancer.  Many don’t.  I survived depression and suicidality.  He was taken—claimed—cut short.  He was murdered by a cruel disease.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call 1-800-273-8255

Trans LifeLine: US: (877) 565-8860 CANADA: (877) 330-6366




All donations to this post go to suicide prevention.

Thank Goodness Eve, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Thank Goodness Eve
Jennifer Angelina Petro



Thank goodness Eve had the good sense

To follow her hunger—to touch sweetness

And bring it to her lips;

Thank goodness Eve understood perishing

In return for gaining wisdom

Was well worth the extinguishing;

Thank goodness Eve saw rules made by cowards

Were meant to be broken;

Thank goodness Eve was open minded enough

To talk with a serpent–to reason and to know

Desire is holy and so is nakedness;

Thank goodness Eve did not judge by appearances

And instead saw the light in the serpent’s eyes;

Thank goodness Eve knew partaking in and sharing bliss at the risk

Of losing it all was delicious and full of grace;

Thank goodness Eve walked out of that garden—

Left being controlled by fear

And a patriarchal god

Behind her, and became one of us—

A sister, a daughter, a mother, a woman—

Thank goodness Eve took paradise back

By living deeply with the earth

And the moon, and community, and her own soul;

Thank goodness Eve understood—once–and for all—

That the knowledge of good and evil

Was different from the actions of good and evil–

That the ability to think for oneself

Did not imprison, did not condemn–

It liberated—liberated us to become the true goddesses

We were meant to be–

The kind that would gladly struggle

To bring heaven down and share it with the earth—

Without condition, without thought–

For all beings, for all time, for all dreams, for all passions–

To rejoice and be fulfilled—Thank goodness Eve

Allowed divine indulgences to bloom from between her legs–

Thank goodness we all stream from one undismayed woman

Whose single act of rebellion—inspires in us still today

The single-minded desire to be free.



All donations go to my continued transition and to keeping the Wonder Child Blog up and running.  Thank you.



A Man Gives Birth

A Man Gives Birth
Jennifer Angelina Petro



Who says men can’t give birth?
This body carried a woman
For forty seven years. This body
Loved a woman in secret—secret even
Unto himself—he did not even know
She was there being loved by secret parts
Of himself, surrounded by angels,
And this secret man tended her nest,
Fed her with everything he had.
And when she was ready
To be born, to spread elegant
And vulnerable wings, he opened
Himself with grace, sacrificed himself
With genuine humility, and sang her
Into being, wrote her into form,
Tracing the lines of her face
With wonder-filled fingers. And
She spread wings made of light woven with night,
And he made room for her to settle
Into them, and overtime he coaxed her out,
Although she didn’t need much coaxing really,
But he encouraged her to move closer to the edge,
And with eyes full of joyous tears, watched her begin
To fly, and he has done nothing
Except cheer as she began circling, soaring,
Singing to the sun and the moon with her wings
And her heart and her whole being free
And unencumbered. And he knows
He will diminish as she increases,
And he knows his form will fade from view,
And he
To have been the one chosen
To bear this secret beauty,
This hidden treasure,
This pearl of great price,
This Bird of Great Rejoicing,
And she
For everything he has done
And has yet to do–
For his tender, artistic hands
That hold and groom her wings,
For his willingness to risk everything
That she may live. And now,
She flies and sings her world
Into being, inviting you to go with her
Into a morning of beautiful
And dangerous possibilities.
You are being called
To be doulas for them both,
For they are going to need you,
They are going to need time
To rest in each other’s arms,
And sleep without interruption,
He will need understanding
And sustenance, she will need places
To fly with acceptance and celebration,
He will need you to remember
He didn’t have a choice in this.
She was meant to be born,
She was conceived by stars and the moon,
And he was chosen to carry
This little galaxy of wonder,
And he could not pick the time for her arrival.
And now she is here, flying–wings singing softly
And with incredible power,
Through a blue sky full of unknown spaces,
Through the night sky full of magic and yellow eyes
Watching from the shadows,
Through a soul sky full of blessed calm.
So come, you too were given wings,
You too have secret angels tending beings
Aching to be born, and of course, not necessarily
Like mine—a being of a new gender–no, you have your own
Hidden treasure, your own secret owl or nightingale,
Your own hidden being who nevertheless longs for freedom,
So come, I know what it’s like
To be born unexpectedly, let’s be each other’s midwives,
Let’s nurse one another
With holy fire.







Please help support my transition.  All donations will go towards medical expenses.  Thank you so very much. <3

Storm of Joy

Storm of Joy
Joseph Anthony Petro



We all have a place
Inside where our truest self
Lives, where our truest self awaits
Manifestation through veils
And layers of years, and veils and layers
Of public opinion, old ideas, and misguided
Social constructs. For some,
Their truest self is an animal,
For others it is a lotus,
For others it is a river, a tree, or a song.
Then there are those
Whose truest self is a body
Aching to break free from years
Of dying inside someone else’s
Tired, cramped, and lonely body.
No matter who you really are,
Or where the place is you truly live—
Go there. It is not too late.
Time is not running out, time is running in, flowing
Through skin and masks,
Through hidden fissures and coves,
It is revealing you–So be ready.
Step out into the cool stream,
Astonish yourself with yourself.
Grace the world with the gift of you,
And that place inside will open, like
A storm of joy, and you will finally be able
To breathe.








Joseph Anthony Petro


You have broken my heart again.
I see your staccato signals,
I know you are rogue stars
Who let go of their moorings and escaped.
Oh how I long to be like you.

I know caterpillars dissolve
Into a hiding place of their own making.
I know all about that.
What I don’t know is: do they have faith in wings?
Do they believe they carry within themselves
A drop of air waiting to be freed?

I see flowers blooming at night,
I see the pink and purple sunsets
That were hiding all day behind the blue.
I know it is the coming darkness
Combined with dust and the disappearing sun
That makes the watercolor skies.

I hope when I am free of this cage—
When I am not beholden to what anyone thinks or says
Or what the mirror has been telling me
All these years—I hope I will shine, like
A galaxy of fireflies on a hot summer night,
I hope I will dance among the flowers—
Wings fluttering flamboyantly, baptized
By the clear, open light of day.
I hope when the stars of truth separate
From the backdrop void of lies
That I will find a place among the trees
And dazzle the world.







Joseph Anthony Petro



The longer I live, the more I realize flamboyant pink flamingoes
Splash in the shallow, blue water of my being.
The more I move the more I sense my bones house a marrow of light.
Somewhere in my cells and those elegant strands of DNA,
The sun, the moon, and all the stars in between weave
Into one rippling tapestry of aliveness.
The more I breathe with my whole body the more I wash my hands
Of the tiresome dualities and ever-expanding binaries.
The more I take mischievous delight in skirting the margins and bathing
In a spectrum of sensual possibilities, the more I dance with recherché impulses
And experience in between spaces opening like songs on which I can ride, like
Magic carpets, and be lifted to liberated places.
The more I participate in the unclouded awareness of sheer potential,
Where authenticity breeds and freedom spirals in satins and silks,
The more I dream of angels who embrace me and whisper in my ear:
“It’s not too late. Come. There are many of us.
Glide while walking home.”