Voices

ive never gone fearlessly
putting pillows at the bottom of the staircase before sledding down them
trying not to bump and bruise my pasty skin trying not to bump and cut my pastel cheeks
i was afraid of pain and bleeding
spending too much time trying not to take up any space
or make the straight line of balance crooked or to speak quietly
as to not interrupt the present conversation

until i realized the conversation was lacking
that my voice was a color it did not hold
that no one really wanted to see it
“we already have three shades of blue, why do we need another?”
if we didnt have my blue how would i explain the color of your eyes
or the color of my chipped nail polish?
if we didnt have my voice how could i detail every second of falling in love
of falling in and out of pain of feeling that the world is biased and unfair
that the world is beautiful and takes my breath away
and that sometimes to get your voice heard you have to bump
bruise bleed make a mess scream be the loudest person in the room
listen
be quiet
wrap yourself up in a blanket go to sleep no alarms
be somewhere you dont want to be
then go home
and find your voice again
and let it be known

i stand in front of the mirror just
close enough that i can see the small scar on my face
that you can only see from certain angles
so i can see the pores on my nose
or the slight crookedness of my teeth
despite year of braces
my messy eyebrows because i can never be bothered to
spend too much time grooming myself
unless i panic about how everyone is moving forward
as i am quickly backpedaling
i dont always know how to brake
but i certainly know u-turns and distractions

i sigh
enough that my breath fogs up the glass and i enjoy
the way my vision is obscured
i whisper
i am always just someones secret
and i watch the way my eyebrows sort of cringe
those messy eyebrows
i notice how my frown starts to grow across
my crooked teeth and i try not to let
the boys who have ruined my stupid heart
ruin my stupid face
and that the confidence to find beauty in something
as ugly as dirt trapped in my skin
is a process and not a destination
and i want to create disasters and fix them
without flinching
i want to
look at my past and realize where
it started to go wrong
and i want to
learn that the ugliness is perfect
as long as its mine

Claws

i dont remember who told me they had discovered me
a rare metal
a precious secret
as if i had gone unnoticed until a different person laid
eyes on me

dont be flattered by the boys
whose breathe smells like alcohol and as they
call you beautiful you
call them genuine

you
you have stood stronger than the coastline of california
you have been braver than you once
thought was possible
you were not discovered
because you were born with wings and claws
and as you ripped your way through this world
with grace and mercy
and hunger
you did not need to be discovered
you were already your own
and please
please know
that is always going to be enough

Declarations

im trying to think of better metaphors
than the flames i feel underneath my skin
when i look at you and you look away
like i am a car accident
and you have always been sensitive to blood
and gore
i am the mess your life didnt allow for
and i will not apologize

fear creeps in
the cracks that it is known to occupy
i miss the way we used to write
where Fear and Fortune
were granted capital letters
before the world threw us together
before you fought all the Forces
that put us here
before i realized
i cannot prevent the car accident from happening
and i will not turn back around

i stand upon a stage
and i pretend i cannot see the audience
i am singing in a language that i must know
but cannot remember ever learning
i am singing louder than i ever have
and i am so afraid
that i can feel every muscle in my body
vibrating slightly
i am the car accident waiting to happen
and i am unashamed even if i am afraid

i once dated a boy who believed he
could save my day simply by existing
and i will never be able to explain to you
the hurt he felt when he realized he was wrong
he wasnt born wearing a superheroes cape
and that i
also never needed saving
i will not apologize

So Be It

he said he liked you but isnt the
relationship kind of guy
and then he gets some girlfriend
who you admit is much cuter
and more talented she has a better laugh
than yours and you know he smiles
at least ten times more with her than he ever did with you
so be it

and you didnt get an A
even though being smart and doing well in school
was always your thing
and you feel like jumping off a cliff
down just like your GPA
until you cant breathe and that last paper
is irrelevant as yesterdays news
so be it

and youre not as pretty or as funny
or as smart as you ever thought you should be
you dont feel like sleeping
or showering
or eating and sometimes
the mere thought of existence makes
you so tired that you
curl into a ball and fall asleep without an alarm
so be it

so be it
so be it
so be it
you say it so many times that you hear
SOVIET
and you think of Russia

and cold winters and cracked lips
and half used chapsticks and love letters you never wrote
and love songs you never sang
with words literally cracking on your lips
that everything hurts
everything is shattering and already shattered
frozen in that position because
you still need to learn

you still need to learn that your body is yours
its all you have
and to stop getting so tired at the thought of living

you need to learn that youre probably
not better off without him but hes better off without
the mess you called you
and you will move on with dignity and grace
and without finishing that last drink at that party
and calling him

you need to think in green lights
instead of stop signs
and in coffee stained good mornings and love letters you did
write and send a million times over

you need to accept
so be it.

Love Yourself

we create spaces for others and kick ourselves out of our own hearts and we want happiness for everyone when we forget to find happiness for ourselves
why do we forget that self love is as important
as love
of music and your best friend
and love of your mother and father
and love of your favorite food
and favorite teacher
favorite band and artist and author
why do we forget to love ourselves
when we so passionately love fictional characters
perfect quotes
and perfect photographs
our hearts will melt as we watch the sunset even though
we will cringe when we look in the mirror
and we are always saying
“wow I love your dress” to our best girl friends
who wear pretty dresses with a warped confidence that speaks volumes
but
we will never say that we love the dresses we are in
the clothes we drape across our beautiful bodies are nothing more
than the way we hide
and why cant we love our skin
with all its birthmarks
scars tattoos and wrinkles

i love you and him and her
my best friend
a boy i never met
a sister a cousin a brother and a family
dogs
chocolate bars and hot tea
i love movies that make me laugh and cry
and yet the words i love myself
stay solidified in doubt and painful memories but i want them to be true
and i want to shout them louder than ive ever spoke in my life

Stream of Consciousness: On Self Forgiveness, A Personal Narrative

I wake up in the morning to a bitter taste in my mouth, the result of exhaustion and the way I fell asleep reading and never brushed my teeth. I cringe because I already know that I’m late. Apparently a sixth alarm really would have been necessary because everything in me is so tired. I begin to question what it would mean for my grade, and my knowledge, if I skip just this one class this one time. As always, I encourage myself out of bed- don’t forget how lost you will be if you don’t go. Don’t forget that you literally talk to no one and will not be able to get the notes. Don’t forget that you have yet to manage your stupid insecurities about talking to people..I almost let the voice continue but I swing myself out of bed. Sometimes that is enough for the stream of thought to stop. You are shy, it’s okay, it happens. The chants of my life are repeated and make my stomach hurt. They are as redundant as my personality. I tell the same stories because they are the only ones I have to tell. I do not want to fall prey to the incalculable dullness of the person I am, I want to create myself to be better but I am so tired and my creative energy is so dependent upon the full night sleeps I cannot get no matter how hard I try.
I am awake and conscious, slow to start as I like to call it. I pull on clothes and practice the art of mocking myself by putting on makeup. I do it because people are noticing me, I say, but really I do it because otherwise the insecurity of appearances will get me. As if the static nature of appearances even matters, it really never does. I will get caught in the rain and my straightened hair will devolve into frizziness and my makeup will run and I will be just as ugly as I was before but this time I will know it. I will not be in denial. That stream of thought clogs my brain. I burn my hand on the hair straightener. The light is too dim to see clearly, that’s my secret- denial runs deep in my veins.
I try not to tell myself I am a failure. I encourage myself that I even got out of bed “Congratulations, you are almost functioning like a normal human being, way to go.” The nice voice in my head is really more of a mocking voice. I should know better by now to stop trying.
I tell myself I am a failure because I don’t love people in general, because I love so infrequently. Because I have so few friends, because sometimes I’m really terrible to the friends I have left. I tell myself I am a failure because I’m not particularly anything- not funny, nor smart, nor athletic. I try to praise myself for what is average, instead I linger on what is not. The grasping effect of wanting what I will not pursue.
I tell myself I am a failure because I stared at the ceiling for three hours last night while I was trying to fall asleep. How easily I crumble to the ideals of perfection. Anxiety loves me because I am weak and I acknowledge this weakness without being able to destroy it.
This is my narrative.
But you see, I am learning that at the center of happiness is knowing that you are a worthy person. And the birth of this feeling is through forgiveness. So maybe it’s okay that approximately three people in this world actually care about me. And maybe it’s okay that I will get a few B’s this semester, that sometimes I can’t catch up and I just feel stupid. I forgive myself for the naps I need to take and the sleeping aids I have used too often. I forgive myself for writing this instead of studying. I forgive myself for the vicious cycles and I inhale deeply.
No exhale, not yet.