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.
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.
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.
I attempt to forget you and escape you all at once; I will show you the wounds you have caused- but will no longer expect you to help them heal; I am hopeful- but not naive; I have been naive way too many times before; I am lying in my bed with you right next to me- and the world has never felt more lonely; these walls surrounding us hold the loneliness; these walls have seen way too much pain; these walls have been the home of all of this pain; I try to not be jealous of the love I see you give to others; I try to be understanding of all of the times you have hurt me; you say it so often I am beginning to believe- maybe you really do think you are helping me; the first time my body was taken from me- it happened so slow- yet so fast at the same time; your body so big compared to mine; I kept those clothes hidden in the back of my closet- too afraid to throw them away- but too afraid to ever wear them again; I try to scrub away any memories of you- but cannot seem to let go of it completely; thoughts of suicide become a kick-drum in my brain; who wants to live in a world- when all of the beauty has been taken out of it; the moon loves me through the darkness; it took me a long time to learn love is not supposed to hurt; I am still learning that when I say no- and even when I do not- it is supposed to mean something- it does mean something; I like to think the moon taught me all of this; the moon shows me- when bad things are not happening to me- I still exist; after my body is taken from me- the moon waits for me in the dark- she holds all the space in the universe for my sadness; when the moon begins to ignite the sky at dusk- I like to believe she is calling my name; sometimes- it is 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 so many days where it feels like everyone 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 do not 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; I tell the moon to wait for me; one day soon I will be with her; for now- she continues to shine her light on me in the darkness; she continues to be the only one who knows the whole truth; the moon is the only one there- to break up all of this darkness.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
In another world- I think maybe this all would have made sense; in another world- I may have been strong enough to actually leave; I stand at the casket of your love- your love that never really existed- but I convinced myself it did anyway; your love that is now just bone ground into dust; I convince myself of a lot of things when I am with you; I will turn into whatever you want me to be- which I know is sometimes the problem; my sexual orientation is still the loudest thing in the room whenever I am with you; to you I represent all of the sins of the land; to love the way I do- is to throw flames into an already burning fire; I know you see this love as a sacrifice; you see me as the greatest burden to enter every room; I watch you fall; I watch the whole world collapse around us; yet I still do not know how to leave; I know there is another world- in which I am unfazed by the fact that you do not love me back; there is another world where you tell me you may never love me- I learn to not hope for anything different; I learn to not chase something that does not exist in the first place; the thing I am learning about this love- is there is always a wrong way to be something; there is always a wrong way to live; in this world- I spend no more time convincing you to love me; I take the time you have granted me and put the hours back into myself; I take the hours and build a home out of what I love; without you in my life- I have so much time; and so many glorious things to fill it with.
*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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
I try to find safety within the walls of my own body; I know there will come a day where I will no longer see my body as the enemy; where I will no longer wake up and see my body in the shape of a knife- looking to cut out all of the broken parts of me; the secrets we keep from ourselves are often the most dangerous ones; we all want to think of our bodies as our homeland- as the place safety will always come home to; but some of us are not that lucky; I often find myself wondering whether or not you are one of the lucky ones; sometimes- I miss the version of you that existed when we first met; the version of you that seemed to understand me; now- I do not always know how to carry your love- most of the time it just feels too heavy; let me carve you the stories of my traumas as I pull them from the depths of my body; let me show you how everyday I bathe in the well of my own secrets; let me help you love me again; let me help me love me again; one day- I saw the sun set in your eyes- this sorrow connected us so deeply- it was hard to tell where your hatred for me ended and where mine began; your hatred for me- was supposed to be a secret- as is my hatred for myself; I do not always want to be the keeper of your secrets; this honesty lives somewhere deep in my chest; I do not know if I will ever tell anyone the whole truth- but I am hoping to tell parts of it; the scars on my arm tell me maybe the truth is not hidden so deep inside of me- maybe I am not as hard to read as I thought I was; one night we lie on the floor laughing together; right now you do not look as scary as usual; I want this moment to never end; my biggest hope is that you feel the same way.
Every morning the bright yellow ball caresses the earth- demanding everyone to be aware of its existence; always rising in the east and setting in the west- its presence will forever be counted on; but- with light- always follows darkness; when the light begins to fade- the darkness will shortly follow; this darkness creeps in ever so slightly; until- all in an instant there is nothing but blackness surrounding you; but- when the light fades to dark- there is one thing you can always count on; the magnificent ball of light will always rise again; and the beauty it beholds will take everyone’s breath away all over again.
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.
She felt like a flower wilted and alone- the way he undressed her with a single look; she felt like a flower- one that had been picked and left to die- he knew all of her insecurities and made sure to make them visible to every eye; she felt like a flower- but not the kind that everyone loves- he made her unlovable- yet she lusted after him even so; she felt like a flower- but not like a rose whose beauty is always alluring- he has taken all of her beauty as he touches her without care; she felt like a flower- whose petals have been ripped off one by one- he has taken every piece of her; including her soul; she felt like a flower- yet not so much anymore- he has taken the garden inside of her; leaving her vacant- with nothing but shattered petals- surrounding her whole.
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.
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.