So many people question why I never said anything; it always feels to simple to say- I really did not know; we bottled these moments not knowing how important they would be later; I wonder what our goodbye would have looked like; had we only had the chance; after that year together I could not go anywhere without thinking about her; our love was all hidden- which sometimes made it seem so much more real; most of our time together was spent hiding in her car; because neither of us had yet to come out; we hid our love in the closet along with all of the secrets we had both hidden in for years; our secrets tracing us back to each other; our secrets connecting us in a way- sometimes it felt we were the same; the irony of her dying on the second to last night of pride month has never been lost on me; it was the month we were supposed to be celebrating who we are; the month we were supposed to be proud of who we are; the month we were supposed to be celebrating our love; it was not the month she was supposed to die; the month she was supposed to die should not have come for many more years; the first time she told me she loved me- I knew she meant it; it took me longer to tell her- but when I told her I loved her I meant it too; I had never been more sure of anything in my whole life; she is the only person I have ever given my body to willingly; one afternoon we sat in her car talking about all of the things we would do if we were not scared to be who we are; the freedom we both felt in that moment could be felt throughout her entire car; the freedom echoed through the empty parking lot we were sitting in; I told her I could not wait to one day experience that freedom; she asked me what happens if we never do; the silence that fell over us reverberated throughout the car; quietly I told her- I was still proud of who I was; she smiled as she grabbed my hand and told me she was too; she died two nights later; the pressure of the whole world just became too much for her; I play our last moments together over and over trying to figure out if I missed something; trying to figure out how I really did not know; I think about that one afternoon in her car often; I hope she got the freedom that she always dreamt of; I hope now she is celebrating in the biggest pride parades there are; no longer afraid or ashamed of who she is; in the same way I am no longer afraid or ashamed of who I am.
I search for home in places it does not live- I search for it in places it does not build; I have been searching ever since the day I lost my body- ever since the day my body was taken from me; this grief is unlike any other; the way it wraps itself around my heart and kisses my soul; this grief- it is an echo- a silence- a sound that never quite seems to be finished; I dissolve away into it- my body desperately begging to be mine- and mine alone- again; I see her staring at me one day- and I know we are thinking the same thing- I know we both see the broken pieces of myself I am leaving behind; she always is there to help me hide my body away- I know she is just as ashamed of it as I am; she collects the broken pieces of me- ties them up and hides them away in a dark closet; I wonder if she realizes- I was the one who was raped- not her; she has always seemed to be so good at erasing my pain and carrying it as her own- making my pain the biggest burden in her life; one day she asked me- how could I write poems about all of the bad things- how could I just put it all out there for the world to see; I looked her right in the eye as I asked her- how could I not; this grief- it is an echo- a silence- a sound that never quite seems to be finished; this grief is begging to be written about.
I see her trying; I see the heart she wants to have- but just does not know how to own; I gave my body to her over a year ago- I wish to have it back now, but am too afraid to ask; I know there are times where she wishes me to be different- probably in the same ways I wish she were different; her kindness used to be the last thing I would look for each night- as I set the day down I would pray to some power that I am not sure I believe in- asking for her to feel forgiveness- asking for her to feel my love; when I am with her- the darkness can be vast at times- it can take over all of my soul; most days I am with her all of the time- but I am not sure I want to be; I gave my body to her a few months ago- I am still not sure how to ask for it back; it is too easy to think of all the times when someone hurt you- and let that become all you are; it is too simple to think of all of the bad things that have happened to you and let it swallow you whole; when she tells me she does not love me- I have to learn to believe her; I gave my body to her a week ago- I write a poem for her- asking if I will ever be able to have it back; being with her is always begging to be a part of something important- I let my body dissolve into whatever she wants me to be- somehow I am still always wrong; it is hard to love someone who on most days they seem to love being right more than they love you; I gave my body to her yesterday- I want to ask her why she keeps taking it from me- I need to know what she wants with it; I write out the definition of consent over and over again until I have it memorized word for word- even then she is still able to convince me that I have the meaning wrong; I gave my body to her this morning; I gave my body to her a few hours ago; I gave my body to her an hour ago; she took my body a few minutes ago- I no longer wish to have it back.
I am sitting on her bed watching her stand in front of her mirror as she examines every inch of her body; it has only been five minutes since she told me she does not know if she will ever be able to love anyone; I wonder if maybe in her mind it sounded gentle- I wonder if it was supposed to sound gentle- I wonder if she is even talking about me at all; I do not know why I am still here- why I am not sitting on my own bed- or standing in front of my own mirror; there are many days I wish I never met her; the ashes of her love haunt the halls- as the ghost of what was- the ghost of what will never be; I cannot stop thinking about how two hours before this moment my therapist asked me if I knew what love was- if I knew what it is supposed to be; she wanted to know if I have ever felt it before; I know now why everyone always wanted to point out the bad about her; they would say to forget the good times- because even monsters can look beautiful in certain light; in the beginning- I tried to see what everyone else saw; the way her anger splintered the walls- the way every morning I would slowly try to place them back together- the way I always told myself, we are not broken- I am not broken- I repeat it over an over like a promise I was trying to keep; but maybe being broken is okay- things do not always have to be pieced together so perfectly- it is okay for things to be apart sometimes; there are days where she has burned me so badly- yet, I still do not hate her; sometimes- the weight of her words causes bruises to bloom all over my soul and to spill out onto my body; one night we lie together crying; one night we lie together laughing; one night we just lie together; I want these moments to be the most important things I do in all my life.
I did not quite know what to do the day after; when the sun still rose- I guess, I was almost surprised; surprised the world seems to just move on without us sometimes; it was the day I truly realized everything we could lose in an instant; it was the day I stopped looking at my body; it was not until much later that I realized I think I may hate him; or at least not all of him, but part of him; most of him probably; from the beginning they told me I was too quiet- which is why most days I blame myself for what happened; I thought I must have somehow consented to what he did to me- I thought my silence must have somehow meant yes; I create a story where maybe in it he is more broken than I am; or maybe neither of us is broken- more like just lost; but also probably broken; sometimes it feels like you cannot be one without the other; the details of what happened live in the dark house of my bones- sometimes I find shelter in this darkness; I cannot escape it- so instead I create a home out of it; the pain he caused will live inside of me forever; there are days where trying to heal feels way too much like being punished for what he did; I am slowly learning how to grieve the loss of my own body; I have thought about leaving forever, but I never want to give him the satisfaction- he has taken so much from me already; when the night gets lonely- and the world seems no bigger than the space inside of my mind- I write over and over again that I will be okay; when the world feels like it is shattering around me- I promise myself I will not shatter along with it; on the days when all I can think about are the details of what he did- I remind myself I am not the broken one; there are days- where it feels like he is still trying to take the power away- on these days I promise myself I will never let him take all of me away with it- I promise myself I will not shrink away to what he wants me to become; and on the days- when this body feels like it no longer belongs to me- I remind myself that this body never belonged to him; I never belonged to him; I kneel in reverence to the pain; the scars on my body a constant reminder of the sacrifice I give; forever I yield- but no longer to him.
Sometimes- the people who say they love you the most, do not really understand what love is- or what it is supposed to be; they want you to break yourself for them- but they would never think of breaking their own self for you; sometimes- love can mean sacrifice, but it does not always have to; there are times when we are laughing and I can almost see everything being put back together; these moments always seem to fall apart at the suggestion of love entering the room; I write an elegy for this love- hoping I will no longer let it call me back; I tried to tell you the truth once- the same truth I tried to tell the counselor; you both shut me down the same way; the truth has a hold on everyone; we all carry our own secrets somewhere on our body; I write an elegy for my truth- hoping I will no longer create a home for it- hoping it will no longer be the home I want to crawl back to every night- but I am learning you cannot just write the truth away- and hope that it no longer exists; the same way I cannot just write you away; the counselor wants me to tell her about this truth; sometimes I think she wanted an interesting story more than she actually wanted to help me; I write an elegy for this counselor- hoping that I will no longer miss her- hoping I will no longer be angry at her for not always believing me; I write an elegy for everything I no longer want to feel or remember- I leave them everywhere I go- but you cannot just write memories away; you cannot just run away from memories; the counselor asked me one day why she should believe me; I did not know how to answer her- you see- that is the thing about the truth- you cannot see the truth; you just have to believe it.
When ever something bad happens I always go searching for the poetry that will be able to bring what I am feeling alive in to words; now I no longer turn to others words for the comfort- Instead I craft them in my own soul and let them spill out on to paper; for a long time- I refused to write about you; how your laughter always could bring me home; how our love was as close to perfection I think anyone could dream of reaching; how this love was not enough to save us- to save you; when the sadness begins to ignite itself in the dark of the night- that is when I feel most close to you; I know that darkness has a home inside of us all- which is why I do not blame you for wanting to leave; for actually leaving; you often spoke of the sin of our love- the way the innocence of it angered you; how could something that felt so natural- be deemed so wrong- so disgusting; I think we both knew that our love was not wrong- that we are not wrong; but you can only have the judgement of others hatred carved down your spine so many times- before you start to believe- we might be broken; when you left- there was an aching emptiness lighting up every room I walked into; every night I talk to the stars- hoping maybe we are still looking up at the same sky; hoping that the moon and the sun are able to keep you safe; I still write love letters to you- leaving them everywhere I go- hoping that- wherever you are- you are able to find them; I think we both knew we would not always be together; we both knew our love was not meant to last forever; but- is that not what young love is supposed to be- stupid and unforgiving; we both would promise that we would never burn in the fire right in front of us- that we would not let this love go up in flames- and in a way- I guess we did that; in the end I was the only one to get burned; sometimes- I still do not understand how you could just walk away- why you never did really say goodbye; when the wind blows- I can still hear your whispers in the night- I wish you were here now; this loneliness lives in every room I enter; I am sorry this loneliness lived with you too; I am sorry that it lied to you about who you are and about who you could become; I am sorry that I could not save you from it; I am sorry that some days I am still mad at you for leaving; for leaving; for leaving; for- never being able to come back.
When the wind blows- I can hear the whispers of my true heart beating against the sky; salvation lays her head on the backs of the broken- she beckons me to come with her as she patiently helps me wash the shame off of all of me; she smiles as she tells me stories of my true heart; she tells me there will come a day where my true heart will hold all of this shame in her palms- not her fists- because she will not hide it away because she will no longer be afraid of it; I will no longer be afraid of it; I try to remember a dream I had- one of a girl who was well; she resembled me- but her life was full of light; I know this version of me exists somewhere; I know she is out there holding onto my true heart; how lucky we are to have a heart somewhere out there still pouring out love even when we do not always feel it- or see it; I know there are multiple versions of my heart that exist; I separate them by categorizing them as before the bad things happened- and after the bad things happened; I do not think one heart is less deserving than the other- I just think they are different- the way there are different versions of yourself for everyone in your life- there are different versions of your heart for every moment throughout your life; sometimes- I wonder about his true heart- I wonder if it was with him the day he raped me- I really hope that it was not; I hope like me- he was searching for his true heart too; I hope he found it; I know evil is never born- it is always created; salvation visits me regularly- she shows me there is more out there to live for; she tells me who I am now is not who I will always be; I spend my days trying to figure out how to go home to a body I no longer want- I spend my days trying to figure out how to run away from this body; I know my true heart will not have to spend her days doing this; I know my true heart will not see victim as her only trait that still lives; I know my true heart will not let the shame and grief take over all of who she is; I know there will be a day where the world will not feel as small- or as big- as the space my body takes up; and try not to worry- because I know my true heart will be coming home so soon.
It is the small cracks in the ceiling that always bring me back home; a light flickers; the sun shines through; now my breath is steady; I hear the water running and I do not quite remember when it started; you might be here- but you might not be- the tightness in my chest tells me at one point you were here though; at one point this was all caused because of you; there are days I watch my body float by me- she flutters through the air so broken yet whole all at the same time- I always have to remind myself that she is me- remind myself that feeling safe and feeling stuck can often be the same thing; there are pieces of you left inside of me forever- I would try to carve them away- but I worry afterwards there will be nothing left; someone once told me- maybe you should stop writing about him so much- if you stop talking about him- maybe it will not matter as much anymore- if you stop writing about him, maybe you will be able to just move on; I think what they were really trying to say is that they are tired of hearing about you- they are tired of reading about you; I did not bother to tell them about the grave inside of me holding all of the details of you; I did not tell them that I will not stop writing about you just because it makes other people uncomfortable; that I will not stop writing about you because this is my chance to take control of the story; I did not tell them how I envy them for never having their own body taken away- I envy them for never having to rebuild a home inside of their own being; how do you grieve the loss of your own body; how do you grieve the loss of the biggest part of you there is- I try to run away from her- but she is always with me; the wreckage lines me from the inside out- I wonder- if other people are able to see the damage; one early morning in December your face shows up in my dreams- except this time I do not try to call for help- I do not fight- I have learned from my mistakes- when I awake in a panic I stare at the three small lines carved into the ceiling above me; I trace them with my eyes until I can breathe again- it is these small cracks in the ceiling that always bring me back home; a light flickers; the sun shines through; now my breath is steady.
I have tried to send this part of me away- so I will never have to feel the weight of your disappointment tearing into my back; I thought if I was able to disappear- it might make you love me; this ghost floats through my body- floats through every room I walk into; I am sorry I am filled with the wrong kind of love- the second I came out I knew I would be spending the rest of my life chasing your forgiveness; I do not think there is anything more painful than having to live a life where you never get to be who you truly are; I never wanted this sadness to build a house out of my body- to call my bones its refuge; I never wanted to be gay in a world where to be anything different is to ask for a death sentence; whether it be by my own hands that end it- or someone else’s; I beg my limbs for forgiveness- tell them I need someone else to help me carry the weight of all of this pain; I have never known a sadness to be so heavy; I have never known a love to be so light.
It was the first real day of summer; there was not a cloud in the sky and everything seemed to be going just right; when you asked me how I could still be sad on days like this- I knew my depression would always be a burden to you- my anxiety an unwanted guest; I do not know how to explain to you that so many days are dark days for me; they consume me whole as they tell me I am not important; which is to say- I do not always know why I am here; one day you ask me why I cannot just go back to the way I used to be; the problem is- I do not quite know who that is anymore; on my darkest days- the rain forests move into my heart; all the thunder cracks in my chest- as forest fires erupt in my stomach; all of the water in the world takes over my own body- drowning me in my own thoughts; on these days- my own bones turn against me- the unwanted voices do not stop; on my dark days- I am not asking you to fix me; I do not need you to tell me not to worry or to not be sad; I do not need you to play god- because that is too much to ask of the both of us; we both know this depression and anxiety are here to stay- even if you cannot accept that; when the dark days come- and I promise you they are going to come- all I need is for you to sit with me- to please just accept my sadness for what it is; to offer me a life raft- but please, do not be mad when I do not always want to take it; to ask me where does the quiet live; and how long will it take to get us there.
Books have been the safest home I have ever known; when I read I can be anything I want- the outside world no longer matters; I open a book and it casts away all of the darkness the universe holds in its fists; as I read I find myself in the details- through books I find the strength in being quiet- I find the strength in being who I am- you see, the books never judge me for who I was or what I am or who I will be; they open their pages for all of me; I cast forth my hopes into these books and let the pages hold them as a prayer; reading has become my religion because these books are the only thing that can keep me safe from my own mind; when my body is no longer the safe place I want it to be- I drop to my knees and worship my bookshelf as I search for the story of a girl like me; my body dissolves into the words each night begging to be a part of something- pleading for someone or something to understand me; I read a book about a girl who is lost; two about a girl who has been raped; I absorb the words as best I can- I store them in my bones throughout my body; each night as I open a book the pages tell me- welcome home, we have been waiting for you- and together we will save you all over again.