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.

Redemption

It is my body against yours; always has been; forever you will win; grind my bones to nothing; I fight for the redemption; fight to one day belong completely and wholly to myself; this fight feels like an impossible dream; the reminder of you is a throb throughout my body; a dull pain- a forgetfulness- questioning how and where the pain even started in the first place; I hope my body will one day forgive me for everything I have put her through; I hope she will forgive me- for everything I have not stopped you from doing; you enter- I watch the fight leave my body; I watch her disappear into nothing; I watch while the whole world forgets I exist; inside of these walls- I am nothing; my soul floats above me- I send her into the clouds; hide her away from the pain that will inevitably ensue; sometimes, it takes the sky to remind you that life is worth living; when the moon and sun live in unity; when the clouds remind you- you are home now; there are days I am just as scared of dying- as I am of living; I yield to the pain you provide; sending all of my bones to sacrifice myself- for your protection; there is a river not far from here- where the truths of all you have done- float through; I write the truths to the river- let her stream help carry the weight of these secrets; these secrets hold everything I have lost; everything my body has lost; I worship the apologies you lay on my body; find redemption for myself in your forgiveness; it is my body against yours; always has been; forever you will win.

The Shame this Body Inherits

I stare at my body in the mirror; tracing all of the parts of me I hate; I take all of the negative comments that have been laid on me- and carry them like my life depends on it; when the night comes- I will not cry like I usually do; I will not think of all of the ways I can try to morph myself into looking like someone else; anyone else; when I catch anyone staring at the scars on my back- I will pretend to not notice; when the woman tells me I could be so pretty- if it were not for the acne- I pretend I will not cry myself to sleep that night; when someone else comments on the excess hair on my body- I start to shave myself from head to toe; a ritual I do everyday- but pretend not too; a ritual I think is so fucked up I have to even do it in the first place- but am too scared not to; one night I stand in front of the mirror for twenty minutes trying to figure out if I have cellulite or not; trying to figure out why I am so ashamed to have a body; when they laugh at my body- I know this shame is something I will live with forever; when the doctor told me I had polycystic ovary syndrome- I was not surprised the first emotion I felt was shame; before I can even process the diagnosis- the doctor is telling me all of the things I can do to help prevent weight gain; the doctor tells me to be thankful that at least for now I am thin- because that might help me out in the long-run; people wonder why women are so full of rage; the diagnosis had barely slipped through the doctors lips before I was being lectured on weight I may or may not gain; as if that would be the worst thing to come out of all of this; one night I trace the scars on my back; one night I decide to only shave the hair that I want to shave; I am slowly taking my body back; there are days I still do not want it; there are days where all I can see is what is wrong with it; where all I can feel is what he did to me; but I have some days now- where I am not so ashamed of it; when they laugh at my body- I will try to not hear their laughter as the truth; I will try to not let the shame live in the home they have built; Instead I will work on building my own home.

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.

Narrative on Love

*Updated Version of The Words That Create Us

We are lying together one night- I notice her staring at the books piled on my nightstand and I know the questions that are about to come; I know she will never understand my love of reading- she will always make fun of me for it; she tells me I am reading my life away; she laughs as she tells me I act as if I can read myself into another life- I would be lying if I said I never tried; I collect books and follow them like a map- follow them until I am able to find myself; one night she rips a page out of my favorite book- she tells me she wants to keep it as a memory- each night she rips a new page out; it feels like she is ripping pieces out of my life; one day I write a poem for her; when she destroys that too- I do not know why I am surprised- why the sadness rolls over me like a wave in a lake that is usually so still; when I tell her I do not love her- she asks me if that is what the books are telling me to say- she says the books are giving me an unrealistic expectation of what life is supposed to be; she gets mad- accuses me of reading so much so I can become smarter than her; she tells me that no one will ever love me the way that she does; I know then- the lies she feeds me is what has been keeping us together; I have lost so much by loving her; when she tells me she does not think she loves me- I wonder why it seems to mean so much more when it is coming out of her mouth; why when I say it- it always seems to fall flat; my love for reading goes against the narrative she has created; the one where she is always smarter than me; the one where I am not supposed to have any thoughts of my own; there was a time I used to worship her love; I used to think her love would be what saved me; I still worship it to an extent; when the nights are long and lonely- I still wait for her love; I still look for it every night when the fear starts to move into my mind; I still hope it will one day feel like what I read it can feel like; words are what we are created from- they are what create us; which is why when she tells me no one will ever love me- I sometimes worry those words will become the last lines of my story- I worry she will create a truth from those words; maybe I am trying too hard to read myself into another life; the trouble is I will never be able to read her into a different person; no matter how many books I read- she still may never love me; and I may always love her too much.

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.

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.

A Promise to Myself

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.

An Elegy for the Truth

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.

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.

My Body

I watch you make decisions about my body; we all watch them making decisions about our bodies; waiting until we leave the room; building mountains no body wants behind closed doors; what is the sense in a future- when your whole future could be decided by others; the night I was raped- my first thought was hoping he did not make me pregnant; he took my body from me and in an instant he could have left me in charge of another life; a life where I would be blamed if I did not see it through; he took everything from me- but in that moment I could have easily become the monster; I could have become the one who did something wrong; the one who will one day end up in prison longer than he ever will; I learned long ago to hide my body; because even when they are the ones who did something wrong; the blame will always be placed on my back; after they burn us- they will ask us where the scars came from; they will tell us we need to hide them; I have been hiding my whole life; sometimes- I get tired of always hiding; always being afraid of what is around the corner; the problem is- I have never learned how to not hide; the decisions about my body have always been made for me; I want to create a home out of my body; make it a home that does not belong to anyone else; build a home I am not afraid of; I learned long ago to not fight back; if I were to accidentally hurt the person who was was hurting me- most likely I would be the one in trouble; the system has always been built against women; the system has always been built in favor of white men; I watch you make decisions about my body; I want to fight these decisions- but there are so many days where I am just too tired; there are days where the system has been stacked against me so much- I do not even know how to begin fighting it; there are days where I am okay with hiding; but I will never stop fighting- in any way I can; I hope one day I will get my body back; I hope so many others will too; I hope the mountains will shrink; even if only a little bit; I watch you make decisions about my body; we all watch them making decisions about our bodies; yet we will continue to fight for our right to choose.

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.

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.

Part Three

I live in a body that was never really mine; I count backwards from ten- try to find the number that will make all of this mean something; try to find the number that will convince me that all of this is okay; my assault is a story told in three parts; part one- your love is unconditional; you come to save me from the wreckage- you promise me you love me; you promise me you will not hurt me; I believe every word you say- even when I know better; part two- your anger begins to explode into small moments throughout the day; your dislike for me slowly becoming the loudest thing in the room; you tell me you know what is best for me; tell me you are helping me; you tell me I am always wrong- yet you still tell me that you love me; still promise me you will never hurt me; I still believe every word you say; part three- you steal my body from me- claim it as your own; when I feel you inside of me- I have to pretend to just not; I spend hours in the shower scrubbing away your touch; call a rape crisis hotline- hang up on the first ring; call again and again- only to just keep hanging up; I write down all of the reasons it is my fault; I ice the bruises- wash all of the wounds you left behind; try to call the hotline just one more time- but the fear and shame are just too persistent; the walls collapse around me- I see your face every time I close my eyes; there is a forgetfulness that takes over the memories- a wall that closes around my mind; I wish to forget every detail- yet I am fighting to remember any of the details; I call the hotline one last time- when the person on the other end reminds me I am not alone- I want to tell her that that is the problem- instead I just hang up; I check all of the locks three times; I look for the moon through my window- make sure she can see inside; I promise the moon I will make it to the morning; I follow the moon on my drive every morning; I thank her for getting me through another night; before I start my day- I count backwards from ten- try to find the number that will make all of this mean something; try to find the number that will convince me that all of this is okay- learn to accept- that maybe I will never be okay.

Silent Ache

I trace the flowers planted out front; breathe in the love you once so seamlessly provided; it was just a spilled glass of water- yet always so much more to you; I return to the site of ache every night my foot touches the doorstep; I open the front door- careful not to keep it open for too long- for fear all of the bones of trauma that live here will tumble out; my body covered by the hands of your shame; I pray to the stars in the night sky- pray one day there will be a way out; behind these walls- only loneliness exists; I drown over and over again in the secrets I keep for you; I feel the ache between my thighs- the only proof I have you were ever here; my rib snaps in half; I offer you a part of it- I give you pieces of me in hopes it will feel less like you are taking all of me; guilt builds a home inside of my body- she invites shame to occupy every space you have not touched; when the blood comes- I will ignore it for as long as possible; the door to your love has been locked for a long time now; I follow the destruction you always leave behind; I carve more pieces out of my body for you; I spend nights scrubbing away your touch; to live in a body that has been raped- is to live with a silent ache only I will ever know is there; some of us can build a house made of stone- turn the trauma into strength; but what are you supposed to do- when the trauma seems to be breaking you- instead of making you stronger; what happens when you cannot build a house out of stone; what happens when you are simply too tired to rebuild what once was; how do you rebuild yourself- when you cannot follow the narrative everyone else has written; my body hollow and bruised; loneliness lives in every corner; I say goodnight- and I try to not mean goodbye; I watch my body being taken from me night after night; day after day; I watch the shame wash over me- she haunts me through every room I enter; my nightmares occupied by your face; I try to scream- but no sound ever seems to come; I cling to the idea that this is all just a dream- but the quiet ache always returns; I am bruised and broken; my soul damaged; I return to the site of ache- breathe in once- quietly push the door open- careful not to keep it open for too long- for fear all of my secrets- your secrets- will tumble out; my body always covered by the hands of your shame; to live in a body that has been raped- is to never fully own your body again.

Wounded Love

We live with trust printed on the back of our hearts; drowning in all of your words hoping to believe the truth lies somewhere in them; your words left wounds; the same way your love does; it is not that I do not believe in your love; it is more that I stopped believing you when you told me you loved me; I think about your family often; I wonder if they miss you; or at least miss who you once were; but will never be again; I try to scrub myself clean of the memories of you; try to make all of the parts of me you have touched disappear; when the light comes shining in through my window just right- it almost does look like you love me; I do not know why I want you to love me; it would be much easier if you did not; it would be much easier if I would not let myself drown in all of the lies you cover me in; it is not that it always feels so impossible to fully love you; it is more that it feels like you want me to love you more than anything; yet you never want to reciprocate any of this love; I drag your love onto the grave site that sits on my heart; I worship the ghosts of the love that you were at one time able to provide; I wish over and over that you will one day turn back into the person you once were; I still drown in all of your words while I tirelessly search for the truth; believing it has to be hidden somewhere in there; no matter how far it is hidden- there are so many days where I am still determined to find it; determined to turn the wounds your love leaves back into anything else; I still look for the light to shine through just right- to prove the person you once were- still exists somewhere; even if it is hard to find.

Broken Sadness

This sadness is the gospel I worship every night; thoughts of ending it all race through my mind- more often than I would ever care to admit; I know too many people believe I choose this; there are so many days where I question whether or not I am making it all up; I worry what if I do like the suffering; maybe all of this suffering is what makes me interesting; I wonder what I would be without this sadness; what would happen if the trauma were to disappear; there are different things that make us whole; so many parts that make up who we are; what are you supposed to do when the parts of you that scare everyone else- make up most of who you are; I do not know who I would be without the skeletons of my trauma following me into every room I enter; the brokenness builds a home out of me; making me whole in a way others will never understand; when you have been broken for so long- sometimes it feels as if there is no other way too be; I am saying all of this to tell you- I am sorry if all of this is too much for you; I am sorry if my sadness makes you uncomfortable; I am working on building homes out of the happy moments; but it will take some time; the body has to build a tolerance to everything; and for now- my body is trying to figure out how to hold happiness.

My Ocean of Secrets

Sometimes I feel the more I think about it the more control he has over me; if I pretend it never happened- maybe I can convince myself it never actually happened; no matter what the scars on my soul tell me; no matter how many nightmares I have; if you keep hiding from the truth- you might be able to convince yourself of anything; I convince myself that something else happened that night- anything else happened that night; except convincing yourself never really works- but what is the harm in pretending; what is the harm in ripping the truth out of yourself and throwing it into the ocean; hoping with each wave the truth of what happened will drown a little bit more; my truths cover the entire ocean floor now; when you swim in the ocean- be careful not to cut yourself on the shards of my secrets.

Timmy

When I was 8 years old every girl in my class had a crush on a boy named Timmy; of course I said I did too- because the way they talked about him made it seem like he placed all the stars in the night sky; made it seem like if I did not like him- there was something wrong with me; I stared at him everyday of second grade trying to figure out why I could not see it; trying to figure out why I could not feel what every other girl so easily felt; that was the year I realized I was different; people do not always like different; from that year on I have buried myself so far into the closet there are days where sometimes I have to make sure that the door is still able to open; I have hidden this secret in the dark house of my bones and have let the shame of it nearly kill me; there are so many days I promise myself I will take this secret to the grave with me; from that year on I have become a girl who is made up of apologies; this closet keeps getting darker and darker; I cannot quite decide if I am more terrified of the dark; or the guilt and shame that always seem to come with it.

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.

Dreams and Rituals

I am lying in my bed and surrounding myself with as many pillows as I possibly can- I am trying to make sure if he shows up in my dreams tonight- I will be prepared; my dog sleeps by my head most nights- and I like to think it is because she knows I can use all of the protection I can get; every night I carry out a ritual of made up safety; a ritual that is slowly turning into obsessions that I think may never really help- but I may never be able to stop; I will sleep under as many blankets as it takes to stop feeling so exposed; I will hide from him; I will hide from him until hiding no longer feels safe- and when it no longer feels safe I am not quite sure what I will do; the day he took my body from me- he also took my home; the day he took my body- he took everything; most nights I read until my eyes are burning- because the thought of going to sleep is just too scary; I do not want to see his face ever again if I do not have to; I wake one night to the sound of a scream and my dog frantically licking my face- it takes me a minute to realize that scream came out of me; I clutch the stuffed animal everyone makes fun of me for still sleeping with- as I try to slow my breath; my dog lays on my chest- we have been here too many times before- she knows exactly what to do; the more days that pass- the more I realize everything he has taken from me; the anger sits somewhere inside of me; each night I will add another step to the ritual; each night I will check the lock one more time than I did the night before; each night I will hate him a little bit more for making me do all of this; each night I will hope that carrying out this ritual does not make me more of a victim; I will hope that when I see him in my dreams tonight- this time I will finally learn how to run.

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.