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The Truth

I picture what could have happened when I told you the truth- my truth; the story that has kept a hold on me for as long as I can remember; I imagined the moment so many times; I wrote a narrative and created a character you would never be able to play; being upset at your reaction-was my fault really; I set you to impossibly high standards; my mind created a version of you that will never exist; when I told you the first time- and you hardly reacted- I should have just left it there; I should have buried the secret back down and never brought it up again; it was my fault really- for thinking you would rally behind me- when you never really cared for my presence in the first place- at one point you did though- which is why I tried to tell you the truth; I honestly thought you forgot I even told you; until one night you bring it up again; once again- it is my fault for feeling hopeful; my heart beating uncontrollably fast when I think you might try to help me; just the thought of you believing me makes the darkness feel less vast; instead- you ask me why I would make up something like that- why I would even say such a thing; I feel the darkness swallow me whole; that night I read a book- the main character tells her truth; everyone she tells believes her; everyone she tells wants to help her; at one point I started crying so hard I could not even see the pages anymore; when I finish the book I throw it against the wall- as the words- why would you make this up- echo throughout my mind; the first time I watched my body being taken I felt like I was not even in the room; afterwards, the pain I felt- felt like it could not possibly be mine; it felt as if it should belong to someone else; I now picture what I wanted to happen when I told you the truth; you listen to every word I say; you ask questions- but do not get angry when I choose not to answer; you tell me you believe me; when I cry- you just let me; you tell me you believe me; it is so good to finally feel at home.

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New Beginnings

The moon never apologizes for how much-or how little light she decides to cast upon the night; so I will learn from her and try to stop apologizing for the way I show up in my life; it was a Tuesday afternoon and I was crying; I was not crying from anything bad-for what felt like the first time in forever- I was crying from laughing so hard; we both started laughing and at some point it developed into tears and now neither of us can breathe in the best way; it is in these moments I realize the strongest things always make it through; there are so many days where the sadness camps itself inside of my heart and I cannot get her to go away; but the happiness is determined to push through; and when I really need her to show up- somehow she always does; there are bad things- but I am working on not letting it dictate the good; my happiness is all there is to separate him from me; he may have taken many things from me the night he took my body; but I will work on not letting him take it all away; I am standing in the middle of my new apartment- the one I worked hard for- the one so many people told me I would not be able to get- and I think of all of the people who have told me I would never be successful; I envision all of the nights where giving up seemed like the best option- sometimes the only option- and right now I am so glad I never gave up; I am learning there will always be people who will doubt your ability; there will always be people who want more from you than you are able to give; but in the end the right people will always show up; the right people will always be happy for you and support every decision you make; it is a Tuesday afternoon and the world does not feel like it is closing in around me; it is a Tuesday afternoon and I will accept the happiness and try to not diminish it; the moon never apologizes for how she shows up; and from now on- I will try to not either.

The Road Home

Sometimes, it feels the more something happens- the less it should bother you; the more it happens- the less it should intrude in your dreams- make it so every time you close your eyes- all you see are nightmares; all you see is the stuff you never want to talk about; the pain starts somewhere deep in my body; it travels slowly- making sure to hit every surface; there are so many days- my whole world exists in this one single room; these walls become a confidant and an enemy; the sheets entangle me in all of the secrets they hold; this pain will always live in these walls- in this room; I can never seem to run far enough away- the truth will always follow me no matter what; I wear a key with the word strength engraved on it around my neck every day- in hopes I will one day feel the strength to build a house out of my bones; I hope to feel the strength bloom inside of me; I hope one day they will be able to see this strength; maybe then- they will no longer be able to hurt me; one day- I am hopefully going to look back on these moments- and see the strength was always with me- even when I did not feel it; this loneliness right now- is a boat stranded in the middle of the sea; it is the light at the end of a desolate road; but one day- this strength will be what is lighting that road; that road- some days I can see it so clearly; I am slowly working on building that road; that road is somewhere far far away; that road is home; and I am aiming straight for it.

Congruent

I told the moon about you; that is how I know all of this is real; your love waited for me at my doorstep- it was not forceful- it was gentle and patient; at least, that is how it started; one night- the moon warned me about you; she told me your love was not genuine; she told me to be careful; I ignored her warnings- because how great it would feel to finally be loved; the moon knows more than anyone- because she shines her light through my windows in the darkest hours- she is the only one who can see the destruction going on inside; one night I am crying- and I swear her light shines brighter- she reminds me- even when I am alone- I am never really alone; one day- I watch their love walk out the door- never to return again; I do not know why I spend so much time waiting for it to come back; why I thought if I just gave them my body; maybe that would finally make them love me; my hopes of congruency flicker through the halls; they haunt all of my dreams; to be congruent with your home- is to be loved; my home and my body are the two things I should have complete control over- yet never seem too; the shame corners me in every room; every where I turn there are reminders of everything they have done; every part of me they have touched- has died in some way; when I told the moon what was going on inside the walls of my body- she listened to every word I said without judgement; when I told the moon about the weight of the shame- how most days it is simply just too heavy to carry- she did not blame me for it; the moon saves me night after night; when the world feels too much; when the weight of everything is just too heavy; her light reminds me she is out there- there is more out there; when I cry tonight- I know the moon will be there; when I show her the bruises- I know she will not run away; the moon will help me hold on for another night; and another night; and hopefully every night after that; the moon will help me see there is so much more to the world; she will guide me to a place- where everything will finally be- congruent.

Convincing Love

It was the night where I convinced myself that this is what love is supposed to feel like; the more I convince myself this is all okay- the less I question how wrong this all feels; there is so much chaos running through us; so much anger filling up all of the empty spaces in the room; when I am with you- I watch my body float above us- I watch it fly away into the sky as I hope it comes back for me one day; this love feels like a giant ending I never even knew I wanted to begin; one night my dog gets stung by a bee; I drop the jar I am holding- glass flying everywhere as I run to her; she runs just as fast to me; we meet in the middle as she jumps into my arms and lays her head on my shoulder; it was in this moment that I realized the love you give- is wrong; because when someone you love is hurt- you will never blame them for the pain; even if it is their fault; instead- you will do everything in your power to help stop it; above all- when you love someone- you will never hurt them and label it as love; label it a sacrifice; label it as a necessary pain; that is not what love is supposed to be; amidst all of this turmoil is where real love used to lie; one night I cry in your arms; you do not say anything- you just let me cry; and in this moment it really feels like you love me; and in this moment the confusion comes back full force; in this moment I convince myself- you really do love me; I convince myself this is what love is supposed to feel like; I convince myself this is all okay.

When Anger Visits

I tell her I am sorry- she has to leave now because I do not want her around; she refuses to leave, tells me it is not true; she says the truth is I have always wanted to be with her; she is not wrong; I always wondered what she would feel like, but I was never allowed to get to know her; my body carved hollow to only feel what they want me to feel; I think they may have forgotten about the grave- somewhere deep inside of me- holding all of the secrets- their secrets; she follows me every where some days- no matter what I do I can just not get rid of her; I hear whispers of her presence in every hallway I walk through; my chest tightens; heart beats faster; I beg her to just leave me alone- yet she still will not leave; she tells me she will not leave- because clearly I do not want her to; one day- I ask her what she wants- I ask her to explain to me why I cannot get her to leave me alone; I ask her- why is she here now; why did she not bother to show up when I was being raped- because if she showed up then- maybe together we would have been able to stop it; we sit in silence for a while; I tell her if she is going to stay she needs to give me time to get used to her; that is the thing about emotions- anger specifically; when you are not used to feeling them- when you are told you are wrong for feeling them- you will do everything in your power to send them away; which will just make them come back stronger; I look anger in the eye- tell her it is okay if she wants to stay around for a while; maybe letting her live in me will not be such a bad thing; maybe feeling different emotions- no matter how uncomfortable- can be a good thing; maybe with anger on my side- I will finally learn how to not just back down; I will finally learn it is okay to fight if you need to.

Who I Am

I am not quite sure who I am; I think I lost myself the second he touched me; I leave pieces of who I want to be- who I think I could have been- scattered around me; when they ask me- if this is why I am so quiet- I pretend not to be offended; I do not think that being quiet is the worst thing to come out of this; the thing I am learning about shame- is that it is something you do not feel- until other people tell you that you are supposed to; the therapist tells me I need to start talking more- when I ask her why- she replies with- don’t you want to be happy?- I cannot remember telling her that I was not; I never understood why me being quiet bothers others so much- why they think this is the root of all of my sadness; why everyone wants to fix me so badly- without even asking me if I want to be fixed; I do not need to be fixed; this is not something I blame him for; he did not do this too me; this is just who I am; it feels like everyone wants my shyness to be something inherited from the trauma- if it was inherited than I can work on changing it; somehow- even with being quiet- I have always been too much; the way it has always been too easy to be too much; I picture myself in another life; one where none of the bad things have happened; one where I never met him; when I picture this life- I hope I am still quiet; I hope I still get to be the one part of me I always knew I was supposed to be; I hope I get to still be the one part of me that was never altered by him- the one part of me that had nothing to do with him.

The Weight of Pain

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.

This Grief

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.

Dark Days

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.

I Gave (She Took)

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.

Small Moments

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.

My True Heart

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.

The Books Save Me all Over Again

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.

The Moon Helps Me Guide You Home

I will never forget the feeling from the first time you told me that you loved me; it was October and the sky was lost somewhere transitioning between darkness and light- it was my favorite time of the day where the moon and sun both grace the sky and live in unity; it was the first time I think I really truly knew what love was; you did not say it because you had to, you did not say it because you felt that it was expected in the moment- you said it because I think for the first time- you really meant it; before you let the words slowly walk through your lips- we were revealing our deepest secrets to each other- we were tracing the scars of our traumas back as far as we could remember them; we sat in silence for a few moments before you finally let the words out; they hung in the air for a moment before I felt them carefully lay themselves on my soul and inside my heart; that night I opened my bedroom window and told the moon the story over and over again as she listened to every detail and smiled along with me; I told the moon goodnight and as I fell asleep I bottled the feeling of your love and stored it in my heart so I could feel it forever; every night as I fall asleep I pull that feeling back out and clutch it as tightly as I can- so I can fall asleep feeling your love wash over me all over again; even though things are not the same between us anymore and I had to let you go- I never have to let that feeling go; I still tell the moon the story over and over again most nights and she still smiles along with me; except- I no longer close the window when I am done talking to the moon; I leave it open hoping I can help you find your way back to me; the moon shines her light over me as she helps me guide you home; I hear the wind whisper your name and I know we are together; I see the shape of your body in my dreams- your gentle touch a not so distant memory; I saw you the other day and you looked so different from that October night; I do not tell the moon the story of that night as often anymore; I cannot keep living on a memory that does not represent who we both are any longer; I stopped leaving the window open for you as well; I do still hope the moon helps me guide you home; but I do not think I want her guiding you to my home.

Reverence

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; in the beginning I just felt confused- 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; I wonder if he thinks about what happened as often as I do; I hope he thinks about what happened as often as I do; the details 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; there are times I begin to write about him- but I always have to stop because how can I write about the pain he caused in a way you will understand? there are days where it feels like once I disclose this secret to someone- it should no longer hurt me- it should no longer matter; yet it continues to hurt- I worry that you do not understand this pain; this is not the type of pain that hurts until it no longer hurts anymore- it is the type that hurts until it hurts even more- and when I feel that it cannot possibly hurt any more- it somehow always does; I have been told that forgiving means growth- forgiving means forgetting- forgiving means moving on; but he came in and fucked up my life and for that I will not forgive- I do not have to forgive; I am slowly learning how to grieve the loss of my own body; I kneel in reverence to the pain; the scars on my body a constant reminder of the sacrifice I give; forever I yield.

The River

They pull a girl from a river somewhere- and I cannot help but wonder- will that ever be me? I am sitting here trembling as I tell you the darkest secret I have ever held on to- and you ask me if I ever actually said no- you wonder- out loud- if maybe I did not fight as hard as I could have; I want to tell you about the river and the girl they just pulled out of it- how everyone is trying to figure out what she did wrong, what she could have done better; they put more effort into blaming her than actually trying to find the person who did it; there are days where I feel my shame walks into the room before I do- where the world feels no bigger than the house I hide myself away in; when the boy calls me a dyke- all I can see is that river; there have been many rivers in my life; when the man told me I would be prettier if I would just smile; when the man told me if I just relaxed it would not hurt; when the man laughed and told me- you know you are so small; and I realize- I am so small- and this world is so big; and there are so many many men; and even more rivers.

Ashes and Memories

I take the ashes from all of the times you have burned me with your words- and I scatter them around my body; the ashes always seem to fall into place so perfectly- almost resembling their own kind of poetry; after sitting with them for hours, I gently scoop them into a jar; It is not long until all of these jars are taking up space in the spare room down the hall; some nights when I cannot sleep I quietly creep into the spare room and pick up one of the jars- I carefully sit down and place it on the floor in front of me; I stare at it for hours trying to recreate the exact feelings of the moment those ashes were created from- and for a few seconds, I think I understand you more than I ever have before.

Alternate Universe Where I Think I May Love You

The sun is beginning to rise and your love is the first thing I feel; when we share our bodies with each other I will not cry- and even when I do you love me anyway; which makes me love you more; sometimes, I feel your sadness pounding it’s fists against the walls- just begging for a way out- in these moments I feel like you understand me more than anyone- I feel like we can almost be the same person; when your anger starts to glow through your body and out into the world- I do not get scared- because in this world your anger is not directed at me; in this world I like to think you really truly do love me; which is to say- I don’t think I love you, but I also don’t hate you- but in this alternate universe I think there’s a chance I may love you; in this alternate universe we can be anything we want; which is why one day- when the sun is beginning to rise and your love is the first thing I feel; I will crawl out of bed slowly- as I pick up the bags I packed days before- I will not look back, I will not say goodbye; because my leaving is my way of saying- I think I may love you.

Moments

Everyone always wants to point out the bad about you; they 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 your 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; but maybe being broken is okay- things do not always have to be pieced together so perfectly, it is okay for things to be a part sometimes; there are days where you have burned me so badly- yet I still do not hate you; sometimes, the weight of your words causes bruises to bloom all over my soul and 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.

Secrets Always Lead to Apologies

I think he may have forgotten about the grave, somewhere deep inside of me, holding all of the secrets- his secrets; I don’t think he ever saw me as a person, I was simply just a means to his end; when he laughed at my body I knew shame was something I was going to live with forever; sometimes, when I close my eyes- his face is all I see- someone puts their hand on my back and it’s as if my world is ending all over again; shame and grief often times live on the same street- and almost always in the same house; I promise him I will not tell anyone what happened- it does not matter that I broke that promise anyway, because when I tell the counselor what he did- she says she does not believe me; sometimes, trying to heal feels way too much like being punished for what he did- because of him I’ve become part apology and part shame- these parts always seem to take up too much space; I look up to see the counselor staring at me- asking me, why would I make something like this up; why would I lie to her; as I apologize once again and bury these secrets back into their grave- all I can think about is what she’s really trying to say- why am I trying to take up so much space; what could I possibly do with all of that space.

For Ellie

She’s the only one there to save me from my nightmares; there are so many nightmares- she looks at me with her big brown eyes and gently lays her head on mine, her heartbeat is always what brings me back to safety; I love her more than I love anything- she has saved me more than she will ever know; you see no one wanted Ellie- she was the last one left in her litter all because her back legs didn’t work- all because she wasn’t perfect; from the moment I first held her I knew I was never letting her go, her heart now has a home in mine; her love is a light in the middle of a dark forest- in the center of a broken home; on the days where happiness feels like an emotion that exists nowhere in my body- she still can make me laugh; while the waves of my life drown me over and over again, me and Ellie continue to save each other everyday; I know we really truly love each other- in the most forgiving way; the morning comes, and once again I do not know how I will make it out of my bed- how to make it through another day- Ellie lays her head on my chest and looks at me once again with her big brown eyes reminding me we will get through it together, reminding me I’m no longer alone; her heartbeat once again brings me back to safety, telling me we have to get up- the day is calling; and once more we will save each other all over again- like we do every single day.

Victim/Survivor

I never knew darkness could be so loud- how powerful memories can be when you can’t quite remember them; he embodies every trauma I have ever experienced- when the front door of the house inside of your soul has been broken down so many times it is easy to feel abandoned- like no one in the world will ever be on your side; I know victim and survivor are just two words with the same meaning- but one is just so much more powerful than the other- more respected; I wonder which one you see me as- I wonder which one I see myself as; I want to know when I’ll stop apologizing for what happened, when will safety make its much awaited debut back into my life again; the counselor tells me I can tell her what happened- the counselor begs me to tell her what happened- the counselor constantly calls me a victim; it’s only when I stop talking to her about it does she refer to me as a survivor- I wonder if she realizes that she’s the one who begged me to talk about it in the first place.

I Want You to Love Me

While lying in bed at night I see your face and wonder how deep the darkness lives; the pain goes through to my bones, a constant reminder of where you once were; I wonder, does the moon envy the sun for their brightness, I hope she knows her light is just as powerful; I know you understand the shame more than I understand it myself- you are the reason for it even being alive in the first place- I confess all of my sins to you, even though I don’t really believe they are sins, but I know you do- and I will do anything you want me to; just so I can feel your love; I will do anything you say because I want you to love me- you believe my scars are disgusting- I know this because of the way you look at them; because of the way you look at me- I agree with you; but I do not know if I love you or not; but I want you to love me; so I believe every word you say.

You Could be my Father

When an older customer informed me

that he liked skinny girls and

he wanted me to come to his house,

if no one else heard,

could I pretend it never happened?

But when the woman behind him laughed

as I stood there hearing nothing

but his comments,

her laugh,

and my heartbeat clawing its way up my chest

I could no longer pretend it did not happen

it became as real as the sun shining outside

and the blaze was terrifying

as it took my breath away and made me feel faint-

in that moment I loathed him.

and her.

and myself.

I hated myself for having a body

and I hated myself merely

for hating myself.

this feeling was all too familiar

it was the same feeling I had when

the man told me my jeans were too tight

or when the delivery guy hugged me

or when countless other men

provided me with unwanted comments and touch.

In these moments I wanted my

flesh to become one with the walls

and I thought maybe if I stared hard enough

at the ground I could become it.

I did not realize that having

a body was an invitation

for others to say or do whatever they pleased.

Society Says

When the moon begins
to ignite the sky at dusk

I like to believe
she is calling my name,

sometimes it’s just nice to know
there is something out there

that can break up the darkness;

in some lights we all look the same-

he no longer resembles a monster-

I no longer his victim,

there are days where it feels like every one knows

exactly what happened,

like a chandelier where crystals shine in the light,
my secrets shine in the sun

my brokenness on display for all,

he told me no one would believe me

now there are days-
I don’t always believe it myself;

no one teaches you how to grieve
the loss of your own body,

but as a girl you are taught many
different ways to prepare for it-

which only makes the weight of
the blame heavier,

I should have fought more,

I should have said no,

I should have done something,

because then and only then

this really would not be

my fault.

Secret Shame

I explained to her once
how sometimes I feel
I’m the shoreline

just longing for the ocean
to come kiss me goodnight,

when she did not run away
I knew I felt something for her,

when I admitted to her
how I hold death like a prayer
in between my palms

she quietly whispered how she did too,
and it almost felt like we were one;

her sadness has a home inside of me
and even though she often
holds back her laughter
I know it is what’s lighting my soul-

this emptiness has become too much to bear on most days

but she always reminds me
I’m never alone

she once told me
her soul looked like a well

with no water waiting at the bottom-
just emptiness

how her voice
gets lost in there,

suddenly my whole life made sense.

I convince myself
the sky is calling me home

she asks me
if I want to build a house
out of the clouds,

she asks me why
I won’t call her by her name

why I won’t introduce her to my family;

she wants to know if I love her,

and I do.

I love her like you’re supposed
to love yourself

except loving yourself
isn’t that easy,

I still refer to her
as a separate person

even though she is a part of me

I still refer to her as her
instead of by what she really is;

but depression will do that to you,

she will move into
the dark house of your bones

she will tell you
there is not enough room
for all of this shame and sadness

she will leave you longing
for the girl you never quite were

as you struggle to create space
for her to live comfortably-

she moved into my heart last week,

as she carved her initials into my soul
I knew her and anxiety would get along just fine

I always feel them dancing in my rib cage,
running up and down the stairs of my chest

and not a day goes by where
they don’t hold a party in my brain,

she and anxiety have become
a powerhouse couple
who use my body as their refuge,

every day I drown in the well
of her secrets

as the blood of her shame
washes over me once again.

Death and Her Seasons

This was a poem I wrote in March of 2018. I wanted to go back and edit and be able to bring this poem back to life. This poem lives deep within me. I both loved and hated writing it. It is heavy, but it also is important.

I’ll never forget the way
January wrapped her arms around me
as she kept me safe from my own mind,

winter always
seems to be calling for death-

I see casket and February
as two words with the same meaning

but when I read more suicides
happen in spring
than any other time of year,

I felt the bones of my soul breaking-

How do you grieve a body
that has never actually left?

especially when that body
belongs to you;

I wonder
will March hold me in her arms
just as January did,

will casket and April
begin their transition into one,

will the little hope
I possess begin to
dwindle from my body

only to become lifeless in May

as June gently places
me into her soil;

perhaps I will make it through the spring
to feel the gentle touch of July

as she begs me to
just give August a chance

will September be just as kind as February

will October love me like nobody else does

will November, the month of my birth,
be able to keep me from death

as she passes me safely off to December
only to have January wrap me in her arms

once again as she promises me:

this year will be better,

this year will be different,

this year will be less lonely;

these months pass me from one to the next

they whisper how their soil
is not good enough for my bones yet

I tell them I want to be a tree-
I know spring is the best time for planting.

but today I will listen to March
as she quietly pleads
to let her pass me to April unharmed

so April can tell me
how the twelve of them love me
even though nobody else does,

so tonight I will let March hug me
and love me like nobody else does

and with tears streaming down my face
I will try to hold on

even if it is just for the night.

Oceans

Last week I started to write my suicide note

so far all it says is:
‘I’m sorry’

I can’t bear to tell you about the pain
that has consumed me,

how my body is no longer mine

how it hasn’t been for a while now.

I picked out the date for my death,

don’t worry,
it’s not for a few more months

my heart feels like a weight
I have never been trained to carry

I’m sorry that I never told you
who I really am

my body has become a casket;
I bury my secrets inside of me

hoping that the ghost
is not too noticeable.

The other day you asked me
why my smile looks so different,

why my eyes look so tired all the time,

I didn’t know how to answer.

Loneliness has become my closest friend-

isolation my only defense mechanism,

I stopped going to counseling
after I brought up the assault
and sexual abuse

because suddenly I was too exposed,
the pain became too raw-
everything too real.

I thought my counselor would hate me
just as much as I hate myself.

Guilt and shame crush my soul everyday,
they grind my bones to dust

my skin is a canvas for pain;

I draw the hurt I feel inside
onto my body hoping you understand

how deep this sadness runs;

sadness is an indescribable pain-

all five oceans live in my chest,

they drown me in their waves

as they throw me into their shore;

I cry for help-

but no sound ever comes out.