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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
I explained to her once
how sometimes I feel
I’m the shoreline
just longing for the ocean
to come kiss me goodnight,
when she did not run away
I knew I felt something for her,
when I admitted to her
how I hold death like a prayer
in between my palms
she quietly whispered how she did too,
and it almost felt like we were one;
her sadness has a home inside of me
and even though she often
holds back her laughter
I know it is what’s lighting my soul-
this emptiness has become too much to bear on most days
but she always reminds me
I’m never alone
she once told me
her soul looked like a well
with no water waiting at the bottom-
how her voice
gets lost in there,
suddenly my whole life made sense.
I convince myself
the sky is calling me home
she asks me
if I want to build a house
out of the clouds,
she asks me why
I won’t call her by her name
why I won’t introduce her to my family;
she wants to know if I love her,
and I do.
I love her like you’re supposed
to love yourself
except loving yourself
isn’t that easy,
I still refer to her
as a separate person
even though she is a part of me
I still refer to her as her
instead of by what she really is;
but depression will do that to you,
she will move into
the dark house of your bones
she will tell you
there is not enough room
for all of this shame and sadness
she will leave you longing
for the girl you never quite were
as you struggle to create space
for her to live comfortably-
she moved into my heart last week,
as she carved her initials into my soul
I knew her and anxiety would get along just fine
I always feel them dancing in my rib cage,
running up and down the stairs of my chest
and not a day goes by where
they don’t hold a party in my brain,
she and anxiety have become
a powerhouse couple
who use my body as their refuge,
every day I drown in the well
of her secrets
as the blood of her shame
washes over me once again.
This was a poem I wrote in March of 2018. I wanted to go back and edit and be able to bring this poem back to life. This poem lives deep within me. I both loved and hated writing it. It is heavy, but it also is important.
I’ll never forget the way
January wrapped her arms around me
as she kept me safe from my own mind,
seems to be calling for death-
I see casket and February
as two words with the same meaning
but when I read more suicides
happen in spring
than any other time of year,
I felt the bones of my soul breaking-
How do you grieve a body
that has never actually left?
especially when that body
belongs to you;
will March hold me in her arms
just as January did,
will casket and April
begin their transition into one,
will the little hope
I possess begin to
dwindle from my body
only to become lifeless in May
as June gently places
me into her soil;
perhaps I will make it through the spring
to feel the gentle touch of July
as she begs me to
just give August a chance
will September be just as kind as February
will October love me like nobody else does
will November, the month of my birth,
be able to keep me from death
as she passes me safely off to December
only to have January wrap me in her arms
once again as she promises me:
this year will be better,
this year will be different,
this year will be less lonely;
these months pass me from one to the next
they whisper how their soil
is not good enough for my bones yet
I tell them I want to be a tree-
I know spring is the best time for planting.
but today I will listen to March
as she quietly pleads
to let her pass me to April unharmed
so April can tell me
how the twelve of them love me
even though nobody else does,
so tonight I will let March hug me
and love me like nobody else does
and with tears streaming down my face
I will try to hold on
even if it is just for the night.
Last week I started to write my suicide note
so far all it says is:
I can’t bear to tell you about the pain
that has consumed me,
how my body is no longer mine
how it hasn’t been for a while now.
I picked out the date for my death,
it’s not for a few more months
my heart feels like a weight
I have never been trained to carry
I’m sorry that I never told you
who I really am
my body has become a casket;
I bury my secrets inside of me
hoping that the ghost
is not too noticeable.
The other day you asked me
why my smile looks so different,
why my eyes look so tired all the time,
I didn’t know how to answer.
Loneliness has become my closest friend-
isolation my only defense mechanism,
I stopped going to counseling
after I brought up the assault
and sexual abuse
because suddenly I was too exposed,
the pain became too raw-
everything too real.
I thought my counselor would hate me
just as much as I hate myself.
Guilt and shame crush my soul everyday,
they grind my bones to dust
my skin is a canvas for pain;
I draw the hurt I feel inside
onto my body hoping you understand
how deep this sadness runs;
sadness is an indescribable pain-
all five oceans live in my chest,
they drown me in their waves
as they throw me into their shore;
I cry for help-
but no sound ever comes out.