6.22.18

Remembering who I am is a hot-cheeked, sinking feeling.

Pins and needles, butterflies in the ventricles.

Blood flow returning to areas that had lost feeling,

that had been presumed dead.

 

Have you ever been thirsty and drank much water so fast that your stomach hurt?

Things that you need are not always comfortable.

Sometimes things that you need happen all at once.

 

Sometimes they do not feel like giddiness,

but like the dizzying disorientation of being up too high on a tall building.

I am crashing back to reality.

You revel in my fall.

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4.6.18 (white cars, late beginnings, and the uncertainly of the tightrope)

The tension evaporates

or collects in droplets,

beading on the leather of my boots

or muddying the ground beneath my feet.

 

Sometimes openness

does not feel like freedom,

and the anticipation framing your face

reads like disappointment.

 

I will collect myself.

Try not to swat or kill anything

before it lands.

Even if that thing scares me.

 

I will write belonging as a fleeting thought,

before the page moistens, limpens, and corrodes.

I think I am meant for an existence,

and am driven to unearth rather than tread above it.

 

But my wrist aches.

I will splint it until tomorrow.

 

 

 

11.27.17

I remember telling him

I remember saying

 

I told him I was dying

And I put it in pounds

And he told me he was almost impressed

And then we laughed and smoked a bowl and he took off my clothes and I forgot that I was deteriorating because he always had this way of making my nothing feel like too much

 

He turned a blind eye, everything my thighs were saying didn’t matter

My wrists were not loud enough for him

So I painted myself indifferent, if indifferent is the color of hospital walls

 

He called me a few times

So he could ask me about my body

My hipbone rib cage spine and no ass to speak of

My no tits to speak of

 

Even when I left him, he didn’t leave

He was already moved into my body and mind, key twisting into my sternum like I open only for him, I open only for people like him

That my definition is the one that he wrote

The one that he carved into his own leg

 

I told him it was over and it didn’t graze his ear

I told him that we were stuck, and he cried until I was weak enough to kiss away his tears

I told him it was killing me and he said he was almost impressed

11.8.17

When I was a kid I wanted glasses

 

This was read as school age hypochondriac, finger on the pulse of her own anxieties or like

You just probably want attention or like

You probably just think they’re cute

 

I think I always just wanted to be pretty

There’s this scene from Princess Diaries where the main character takes off her glasses and becomes a princess

I think I wanted the glasses just so I could take them off again

 

Prove that the underneath wasn’t so bad after all

Prove that the grass was greener,

Or at least that the color of my eyes was a little more blue jay than storm

 

But my brain didn’t know how to process this

So I named the desire glasses, and never thought much about how glasses are like a disguise

And that I’ve wanted one since I was old enough to know what it was

 

And though I’d argue that a girl in a prom dress is more camouflaged than a kid on Halloween

I think that particular kind of costume never fit quite right

 

Femininity never fit me quite right

It was a skirt that I was always yanking down to hit the tips of my fingers, like the dress code required

Or a bra that didn’t round out my chest in the prescribed way

It was seven days, always seven days, of a reminder that I was not living up to my own definition

 

But yesterday, my dark roots and acne told the mirror that they thought I was growing into myself

The mirror laughed, like only that kind of glass can — in glittering, shimmering waves

 

I was not discouraged, because though we are old acquaintances we have never seen eye to eye

I have since stopped trying to internalize our relationship

It has never been about me, it’s always been about angles and lighting and the physics of perception and I have given up on math

 

I don’t want to be a Woman

I want Woman to be me

I want Woman to walk in my shoes

 

Feel the friction of the ballet flat or stiletto on the back of Her heel

Feel the dig of the brassiere and the dig of the stares

Bear the awareness that She is object or She is nothing

 

And then I want to break Her, until Her criteria crumble like the powder in a compact

Falling into my lap, only to be shaken onto the hardwood floor

I want Her to mean nothing without me

 

She will bear a unique name that sounds an awful lot like rain hitting an umbrella overhead

Suspended from impact

Although a glance at my unshaven legs may still elicit the bitter hiss of some 1950s propaganda within my own mind

 

I decided to major in gender studies instead of self-deprecation

Stop spending ice cream money on cigarettes

Think about things more controversial than mirrors

 

The girl in the Princess Diaries let femininity limpen her hair and cover her legs, take off her glasses

She gave up her own sight so that she would be easier on everyone else’s

 

This week I got my first pair of glasses

My eyes are open

6.17.17

I will wear this vulnerability if you ask me to

I am not concerned about finding traces of it beneath my eyes in the morning

And days later

 

I’m not yet sure of how I want to grow

Which objective I want to direct my elongating stem and unfurling leaves towards

Can a flower bloom in a pressurized environment?

Does it enjoy the sunlight if it does?

 

I spent so much time wishing away the cold, but am finding the heat to be equally unbearable

I do not wish to plot my retreat

But I would like its facilitation

 

I still daydream about how it might feel to be ash

4.19.17

This is not ego-driven

 

My waistline does not say vanity

It says you can experience the sweetness as long as it is the leftovers

Don’t indulge, but hold on to the goodness so that it is there

When you think you deserve it

Set constraints for your hunger cues – as if hunger is a battle, or a game to be won

 

And when you feel unsure

When your body is a shapeshifting mirage, projection of anxiety and dysphoria

Find your measuring tape

But don’t write anything down

Research scales, but do not buy them

 

You are recovered

 

Even when shrinking feels more like preservation than self-sacrifice

Even when you’re not sure of the difference

4.3.17

Insecurity

Of stature, positioning

Word choice and identity

 

There is no cosmetic modification, superficial alteration

Capable of providing relief

No respite from dysphoria

 

But embellish me with glittering distractions from inner turmoil

Paint me, contour my surfaces

Hide me below layers of adornment

 

I am trying to stay hidden

Underneath eyelash

Underneath straightened, curled, and brushed

Primed, powdered, set

Disguised

 

But beneath, I shift

And even when my movement is not seen, it is felt

Seismic energy creating quivering pretense