we swallow the things that hurt us most
and if we never spit them out
they could kill us
but most of us choose to force them down
chase them with whatever vice comes to hand easiest
and even when presented with a way
to release them
we still choose to hold every ounce of
them deep within ourselves
they burn holes in our guts
and eat away at our hearts
like battery acid
eaten by a stupid puppy dog
who was too dumb not to
even though everyone told her it was poison
and to stay far away from it
lest she die
from swallowing all the dangerous things
it’s like we don’t even speak the same
like we’re strangers
who’ve always known each other
but pretend not to
because being true
telling the truth
we would risk getting hurt
i used to be able to take that risk with
used to let you in
but maybe i did it for the wrong reason
i thought if i let you in
that you would do the same for me
how do i let go
of wanting you to love me?
And suddenly I loved you.
I know I should have always,
I just didn’t though.
You loved me too soon
and I loved you too late.
If only we could have met in the middle.
And suddenly we are finding out what we mean
to each other.
I can’t hear the truth because it will break
I hold on too tight;
teach me to let go.
Self: Brain, why are you broken?
Brain: i was born this way.
Self: could you have been helped long ago?
Brain: perhaps, but no one believed there was anything wrong with me.
Self: i did.
Brain: but even you doubted.
Self: what can i do now?
Brain: the only way is to work against me. fight me.
Self: why can’t you just let me win?
Brain: that’s not how i work.
i saw him on a Thursday
found out his story was tragic on Friday
knew why on Saturday
his birthday was Tuesday
i didn’t know then
he was beautiful
beautiful boy, what are you running from?
i don’t think he even knows the answer to that question
and the things he can’t forget
i am so sorry
but i am sure they all miss you terribly
i, too, am mentally ill
and i know they’d miss me still
i’m four days older than you
but some things are more the same
we have two sons
we couldn’t make it work
running away doesn’t sound so bad
sometimes things don’t make sense
and i’m desperately trying
to handle your story with care
i am a story-catcher and
beautiful boy, you are not alone
beautiful boy, i wish i could see
please go home
they’re waiting for you
California will always remember you
but Ohio’s heart breaks
beautiful boy, go
i am twenty years old. the year is two thousand and nine. i am wearing a white dress that i designed and sewed myself. i am not happy with the dress. i don’t like how it fits and i don’t like the way i look in it. i am frustrated and angry that one person is not at my wedding. instead of being glad about all the people who are here to celebrate my special day, i fixate on just one person. i should have had my eyes fixed on my groom. i do not notice the way he looks at me. for him i am the only person that exists today. later i will see it in photographs- the way he looked at me on that day. by the time i see it we are both beginning to believe it is too late.
i am twenty four years old. the year is two thousand and fourteen. i can’t breathe. i didn’t see this coming. i did not believe this would happen. R is breaking up with me. he has fallen in love with someone else. this can’t be real. this isn’t happening. i can’t breathe. please don’t leave me.
i am twenty four years old. the year is two thousand and fourteen. i am single for the first time in my adult life. i am trying to put the pieces of my life back together and move forward. i want to be someone who my sons can be proud of. i have decided that i want to be a teacher. i have enrolled in college classes for the first time in over three years. i believe i can do this. i will not fail this time, this is what i tell myself.
i am twenty seven years old. the year is two thousand and sixteen. R is single and has an extra bedroom. he has asked me if i would like to move in, as his roommate. we’ve started having sex again; we are friends with benefits. it sounds like a good plan.
i am twenty eight years old. the year is two thousand and seventeen. i have just gotten my first paying job of my adult life. it is at a yarn store. i am excited about the possibilities of this. it is a step in the right direction. a stepping stone.
i am fourteen years old. the year is two thousand and four. my mom is away visiting my grandpa. he has cancer. he will not live much longer. i am feeling so alone. i miss my mom. i have already decided not to return to public school this year. it is August. i am sitting alone on the porch. there are no walls; it has not become my bedroom yet. i see a small piece of broken plastic in the dirt. it is sharp. i am sharp; if anyone gets close to me my anger and sadness will cut them. i pick the plastic up. i press it into my flesh, near my knee. i drag it against my skin again and again. i am bleeding. i lie when asked what happened. scraped myself on something. it was an accident.
i am seventeen years old. the year is two thousand and seven. my parents drove me to Burbank. we carried my things up to my third floor dormitory. at some point my dad cries. he does not want me to leave home. he has held on too tightly and i’ve been afraid to leave because i don’t want to break his heart. but at the same time i am angry at him because i want to be allowed to spread my wings and fly. i want to stop being his emotional crutch.
i am eighteen years old. the year is two thousand and eight. i meet a boy. he is really sweet. i tell myself i do not want a boyfriend. i want to be just friends with this boy. in a week’s time he will be my boyfriend.