What is safety- if not an illusion of what will never be; it is a light on the horizon; a flame that will never quite catch; when he breaks into you- steals your soul right from your chest- you will be left weeping silently; as the room you have come to name solace- holds all of the pain within you; every time you close your eyes- you will see his face; you will feel his touch; sometimes you will cry- and that is okay- even when others tell you it is not; he will do things to you that you will never be able to utter to another being; fight, flight, freeze; become the songs of your emptiness; the shame will follow you everywhere for a while- she will be what wakes you in the night; healing will begin with a soft forgiveness; not for him- you will never have to forgive him if you do not want to- even if others tell you that you do; especially if others tell you that you do; every day you wake- those first moments in the morning- when you remember the truth of it all for the first time that day- those moments will be the worst; but you will get through them- even when you do not believe you can; each day will be scary and hard- it will feel like a battle you were never prepared to fight; but you will do it all again; oh how you will do it all again; let your body fall apart if it needs to; just never forget to pick yourself up again; and most importantly- the most important thing to remember- is this is your life- not his- not anyone else’s; this is your body- not once did it ever belong to him- or anyone else who believes they have a say in it.
The world will leave you behind if you do not fit into it; the moon though- she will always pay attention; she will love you through the brokenness; she will follow you through the abandonment; my voice will forever fail me- but the moon will not mind; she will not anger because of my silence; there appears to be a sleeping beast in everyone- my silence the key to awakening; he touched me and took everything from me; he moved inside of me and took my voice away with him; I lie in the loneliness of it all; my silence a religion I was baptized into without a choice; I stare into the bleakness willing someone to understand- my voice is gone- I am worried it may never come back; I pray this time my silence will not bring any beast to life; I hope someone will understand this silence; people say my silence speaks volumes; I just do not think it is speaking the same language everyone seems to believe in; there never seems to be a right way for trauma to come to life; the moon my only companion; the only one who never seems to expect anything from me; my body betraying me once again as she locks all of the words inside; when someone demands me to speak- I see his face; the world goes black; my breath gone; the beast is coming to life in front of me; I fail to keep the terror away; everyday I find more and more things he has taken from me; maybe one day I will no longer fear everyone who has control over their voice; maybe one day I will no longer fear the ones who demand to hear mine; I search for the moon in the night; she whispers to me that everything will be okay; I breathe in her light until my breath is steady; as my tears slow I sit with the moon; I know even without hearing my voice- she is listening to every word I am saying; the moon does not demand anything from me; she will not care if I never speak another word again; I fall asleep under the moonlight- in this moment I know- this is the safest I will ever feel.
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 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.
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.
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.
*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 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 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.
When the wind blows- I can hear the whispers of my true heart beating against the sky; salvation lays her head on the backs of the broken- she beckons me to come with her as she patiently helps me wash the shame off of all of me; she smiles as she tells me stories of my true heart; she tells me there will come a day where my true heart will hold all of this shame in her palms- not her fists- because she will not hide it away because she will no longer be afraid of it; I will no longer be afraid of it; I try to remember a dream I had- one of a girl who was well; she resembled me- but her life was full of light; I know this version of me exists somewhere; I know she is out there holding onto my true heart; how lucky we are to have a heart somewhere out there still pouring out love even when we do not always feel it- or see it; I know there are multiple versions of my heart that exist; I separate them by categorizing them as before the bad things happened- and after the bad things happened; I do not think one heart is less deserving than the other- I just think they are different- the way there are different versions of yourself for everyone in your life- there are different versions of your heart for every moment throughout your life; sometimes- I wonder about his true heart- I wonder if it was with him the day he raped me- I really hope that it was not; I hope like me- he was searching for his true heart too; I hope he found it; I know evil is never born- it is always created; salvation visits me regularly- she shows me there is more out there to live for; she tells me who I am now is not who I will always be; I spend my days trying to figure out how to go home to a body I no longer want- I spend my days trying to figure out how to run away from this body; I know my true heart will not have to spend her days doing this; I know my true heart will not see victim as her only trait that still lives; I know my true heart will not let the shame and grief take over all of who she is; I know there will be a day where the world will not feel as small- or as big- as the space my body takes up; and try not to worry- because I know my true heart will be coming home so soon.
It is the small cracks in the ceiling that always bring me back home; a light flickers; the sun shines through; now my breath is steady; I hear the water running and I do not quite remember when it started; you might be here- but you might not be- the tightness in my chest tells me at one point you were here though; at one point this was all caused because of you; there are days I watch my body float by me- she flutters through the air so broken yet whole all at the same time- I always have to remind myself that she is me- remind myself that feeling safe and feeling stuck can often be the same thing; there are pieces of you left inside of me forever- I would try to carve them away- but I worry afterwards there will be nothing left; someone once told me- maybe you should stop writing about him so much- if you stop talking about him- maybe it will not matter as much anymore- if you stop writing about him, maybe you will be able to just move on; I think what they were really trying to say is that they are tired of hearing about you- they are tired of reading about you; I did not bother to tell them about the grave inside of me holding all of the details of you; I did not tell them that I will not stop writing about you just because it makes other people uncomfortable; that I will not stop writing about you because this is my chance to take control of the story; I did not tell them how I envy them for never having their own body taken away- I envy them for never having to rebuild a home inside of their own being; how do you grieve the loss of your own body; how do you grieve the loss of the biggest part of you there is- I try to run away from her- but she is always with me; the wreckage lines me from the inside out- I wonder- if other people are able to see the damage; one early morning in December your face shows up in my dreams- except this time I do not try to call for help- I do not fight- I have learned from my mistakes- when I awake in a panic I stare at the three small lines carved into the ceiling above me; I trace them with my eyes until I can breathe again- it is these small cracks in the ceiling that always bring me back home; a light flickers; the sun shines through; now my breath is steady.
I will never forget the feeling from the first time you told me that you loved me; it was October and the sky was lost somewhere transitioning between darkness and light- it was my favorite time of the day where the moon and sun both grace the sky and live in unity; it was the first time I think I really truly knew what love was; you did not say it because you had to, you did not say it because you felt that it was expected in the moment- you said it because I think for the first time- you really meant it; before you let the words slowly walk through your lips- we were revealing our deepest secrets to each other- we were tracing the scars of our traumas back as far as we could remember them; we sat in silence for a few moments before you finally let the words out; they hung in the air for a moment before I felt them carefully lay themselves on my soul and inside my heart; that night I opened my bedroom window and told the moon the story over and over again as she listened to every detail and smiled along with me; I told the moon goodnight and as I fell asleep I bottled the feeling of your love and stored it in my heart so I could feel it forever; every night as I fall asleep I pull that feeling back out and clutch it as tightly as I can- so I can fall asleep feeling your love wash over me all over again; even though things are not the same between us anymore and I had to let you go- I never have to let that feeling go; I still tell the moon the story over and over again most nights and she still smiles along with me; except- I no longer close the window when I am done talking to the moon; I leave it open hoping I can help you find your way back to me; the moon shines her light over me as she helps me guide you home; I hear the wind whisper your name and I know we are together; I see the shape of your body in my dreams- your gentle touch a not so distant memory; I saw you the other day and you looked so different from that October night; I do not tell the moon the story of that night as often anymore; I cannot keep living on a memory that does not represent who we both are any longer; I stopped leaving the window open for you as well; I do still hope the moon helps me guide you home; but I do not think I want her guiding you to my home.
How do you explain to the people you love- that even though your heart loves differently, you are still the same person you always have been; how are you supposed to ask for forgiveness for just being who you are? And, if in some way, I end up being wrong- who do I apologize to? If I am wrong, do I have to give a piece of my heart to every single person I came out to? When the therapist told me that being gay is a choice- if I just decided to be straight- all of my problems would just go away- I wanted to tell her about all of the times I pretended to love a boy just to please others; I wanted to tell her about all of the days I spent questioning my own validity; how are you supposed to tell the people you care about- who you really are- when the one person who was supposed to help you thinks you are disgusting; how do I explain that being gay is not a choice; that my heart may love differently from theirs- but that does not mean it is wrong.
It was not until much later that I realized I think I may hate him; or at least not all of him, but part of him; most of him probably; in the beginning I just felt confused- I create a story where maybe in it- he is more broken than I am; or, maybe- neither of us is broken- more like just lost; but also probably broken; sometimes it feels like you cannot be one without the other; I wonder if he thinks about what happened as often as I do; I hope he thinks about what happened as often as I do; the details live in the dark house of my bones- sometimes I find shelter in this darkness; I cannot escape it- so instead I create a home out of it; there are times I begin to write about him- but I always have to stop because how can I write about the pain he caused in a way you will understand? there are days where it feels like once I disclose this secret to someone- it should no longer hurt me- it should no longer matter; yet it continues to hurt- I worry that you do not understand this pain; this is not the type of pain that hurts until it no longer hurts anymore- it is the type that hurts until it hurts even more- and when I feel that it cannot possibly hurt any more- it somehow always does; I have been told that forgiving means growth- forgiving means forgetting- forgiving means moving on; but he came in and fucked up my life and for that I will not forgive- I do not have to forgive; I am slowly learning how to grieve the loss of my own body; I kneel in reverence to the pain; the scars on my body a constant reminder of the sacrifice I give; forever I yield.
They pull a girl from a river somewhere- and I cannot help but wonder- will that ever be me? I am sitting here trembling as I tell you the darkest secret I have ever held on to- and you ask me if I ever actually said no- you wonder- out loud- if maybe I did not fight as hard as I could have; I want to tell you about the river and the girl they just pulled out of it- how everyone is trying to figure out what she did wrong, what she could have done better; they put more effort into blaming her than actually trying to find the person who did it; there are days where I feel my shame walks into the room before I do- where the world feels no bigger than the house I hide myself away in; when the boy calls me a dyke- all I can see is that river; there have been many rivers in my life; when the man told me I would be prettier if I would just smile; when the man told me if I just relaxed it would not hurt; when the man laughed and told me- you know you are so small; and I realize- I am so small- and this world is so big; and there are so many many men; and even more rivers.
It was the day you told me you loved me; except it sounded more like you were trying to remind yourself that is what you are supposed to say- what you are supposed to feel; it always seems to feel like that- like asking you to love me is asking for way too much; every day I break my ribs to try to fit them perfectly within yours; showing you I will do anything for you- showing myself that the world shatters around me everyday, but so far- I have yet to shatter with it- but maybe I am breaking with it little by little; this loneliness floats through the room carrying whispers of abandonment; one night I ask you to tell me the story of your first love; to tell me the story of how wrong it seemed to others- but how right it felt to you- every time you tell the story- I hope to find myself somewhere in there; I don’t know how I got here most days- why I am so hell-bent on getting you to love me; one day you tell me- it’s pathetic really, how I will follow you anywhere- like a lost dog just looking for some place to turn- when you laugh I try not to cry; loving you has been the loneliest thing I have ever done; one night you trace the tattoos on my arms- you ask me how I could do something that will plague my body forever; I look away as I realize you do not understand the weight of your question; this is the only place on my body that you have never been- it is the only place that has not been plagued by you.
I take the ashes from all of the times you have burned me with your words- and I scatter them around my body; the ashes always seem to fall into place so perfectly- almost resembling their own kind of poetry; after sitting with them for hours, I gently scoop them into a jar; It is not long until all of these jars are taking up space in the spare room down the hall; some nights when I cannot sleep I quietly creep into the spare room and pick up one of the jars- I carefully sit down and place it on the floor in front of me; I stare at it for hours trying to recreate the exact feelings of the moment those ashes were created from- and for a few seconds, I think I understand you more than I ever have before.
The sun is beginning to rise and your love is the first thing I feel; when we share our bodies with each other I will not cry- and even when I do you love me anyway; which makes me love you more; sometimes, I feel your sadness pounding it’s fists against the walls- just begging for a way out- in these moments I feel like you understand me more than anyone- I feel like we can almost be the same person; when your anger starts to glow through your body and out into the world- I do not get scared- because in this world your anger is not directed at me; in this world I like to think you really truly do love me; which is to say- I don’t think I love you, but I also don’t hate you- but in this alternate universe I think there’s a chance I may love you; in this alternate universe we can be anything we want; which is why one day- when the sun is beginning to rise and your love is the first thing I feel; I will crawl out of bed slowly- as I pick up the bags I packed days before- I will not look back, I will not say goodbye; because my leaving is my way of saying- I think I may love you.
Everyone always wants to point out the bad about you; they say to forget the good times because even monsters can look beautiful in certain light; in the beginning- I tried to see what everyone else saw; the way your anger splintered the walls- the way every morning I would slowly try to place them back together- the way I always told myself, we are not broken- I am not broken; but maybe being broken is okay- things do not always have to be pieced together so perfectly, it is okay for things to be a part sometimes; there are days where you have burned me so badly- yet I still do not hate you; sometimes, the weight of your words causes bruises to bloom all over my soul and spill out onto my body; one night we lie together crying; one night we lie together laughing; one night we just lie together; I want these moments to be the most important things I do in all my life.
I hold the shame in the palm of my hands- I press them together as a sign of prayer, I beg for your forgiveness- I gently place my hand to my heart and let the shame light up my entire body; I carry out this ritual every night- hoping for salvation to come visit me in the day light- hoping that if you see who I really am; that maybe- you will not run away.
I think he may have forgotten about the grave, somewhere deep inside of me, holding all of the secrets- his secrets; I don’t think he ever saw me as a person, I was simply just a means to his end; when he laughed at my body I knew shame was something I was going to live with forever; sometimes, when I close my eyes- his face is all I see- someone puts their hand on my back and it’s as if my world is ending all over again; shame and grief often times live on the same street- and almost always in the same house; I promise him I will not tell anyone what happened- it does not matter that I broke that promise anyway, because when I tell the counselor what he did- she says she does not believe me; sometimes, trying to heal feels way too much like being punished for what he did- because of him I’ve become part apology and part shame- these parts always seem to take up too much space; I look up to see the counselor staring at me- asking me, why would I make something like this up; why would I lie to her; as I apologize once again and bury these secrets back into their grave- all I can think about is what she’s really trying to say- why am I trying to take up so much space; what could I possibly do with all of that space.
She’s the only one there to save me from my nightmares; there are so many nightmares- she looks at me with her big brown eyes and gently lays her head on mine, her heartbeat is always what brings me back to safety; I love her more than I love anything- she has saved me more than she will ever know; you see no one wanted Ellie- she was the last one left in her litter all because her back legs didn’t work- all because she wasn’t perfect; from the moment I first held her I knew I was never letting her go, her heart now has a home in mine; her love is a light in the middle of a dark forest- in the center of a broken home; on the days where happiness feels like an emotion that exists nowhere in my body- she still can make me laugh; while the waves of my life drown me over and over again, me and Ellie continue to save each other everyday; I know we really truly love each other- in the most forgiving way; the morning comes, and once again I do not know how I will make it out of my bed- how to make it through another day- Ellie lays her head on my chest and looks at me once again with her big brown eyes reminding me we will get through it together, reminding me I’m no longer alone; her heartbeat once again brings me back to safety, telling me we have to get up- the day is calling; and once more we will save each other all over again- like we do every single day.
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 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.
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.