My mother sleeps with her eyes open in his bed
and wills herself not to cry to strangers
when they offer her a glass of wine.
I have seen her pack her suitcase in her head
as she nervously wipes her stained red teeth,
always snapping out of it and straightening her skirt
before she makes it to the door.
Even in her dreams, she is terrified of him
not having a meal to come home to.
I did as I was taught and gave
“I love you”s like apologies,
staying even when I began mixing up
“growing up” and “giving up”
never even noticing my tongue had
slipped until I was corrected.
Five pages of my journal began with
“reasons to leave” and still,
I did not tell myself to run,
just continued to scribble things
I needed to change about myself,
saying that my shaking bones did not
excuse my shortcomings,
that I needed to be more for you.
I wish someone had told me:
in the struggle to love another better,
do not forget to love yourself.
You are more than your failed relationships.
Your lovers do not shiver when you touch them
because they can feel ghosts beneath your skin.
When he talks to you about “forever”,
do not be afraid to say “no.”
You come from a line of women who
forgot what “no” tasted like,
who kept their feet out the window
but felt too guilty that someone would have to
clean up their mess to ever jump.
But you are not your mother
and do not need to put makeup on
before he wakes up
out of fear that he will see desire to be more.
You do not have to open your legs to him in sleep
because your grandmother taught you to
never turn down somebody who says
You were born on a battlefield
with white crosses in the spaces where
love took a bullet to the chest,
but you are more than a wounded soldier.
The moon is sleeping in your stomach,
waiting to remind you that
you can glow without
somebody’s hands inside of you.
I wonder if anyone ever told you:
just because he says he can “fix” you,
does not mean
you owe him yourself."
I Wonder If Anyone Told You | Lora Mathis (via lora-mathis)
happy international women’s day!
and if you should find your hand stained with dirt,
then I want you to plant flowers.
The outsiders will stare and they will
ask about your sisters and the mother
you didn’t love well enough.
Don’t talk about the cancer,
don’t mention the sickness.
When God shows up on your doorstep,
and you have no words this time,
forgive yourself for slamming the door
and closing the curtains.
On the nights your sadness clings to you
like the scent of last night’s lover,
you pry it off.
You peel it away from your skin.
You do whatever it takes,
but you don’t let it stay
and you don’t offer it your bed.
You are so much greater than
the pain wrapping itself around you,
even on the days you feel smaller than
the specks of dust settling in your lungs.
One day you will learn to breathe easy,
but until then you will just have to remember to breathe."
— Y.Z, Dealing with grief (via rustyvoices)
When I was younger, I was told that there is too much inside of me. That I have feelings where others have bone. At the age of seven, a doctor tapped inside my head and asked, “Do you choke on memories from time to time? Do you cry for no good reason at all? Do words take a hammer to your head and crack your skull?” Yes, yes, yes, I nodded. “Then you’ve definitely got them,” he said, as he checked off a box on his list. “Too many feelings. What a shame. Try not to keep them inside or you’ll drown.”
For awhile, I tried to follow his advice by pouring my feelings into boys’ mouthes until I was numb to the memory of ever being over-filled. I let myself go weak in their arms and became a hickey-covered exhale. But no matter how many times I offered my mouth like a flower to be plucked, the feelings spurted from my chest and soaked whoever came close in words.
I tried to expel my feelings by punching them out of my throat and using ink to exorcise them from my chest, but still, they covered me in tear-stained scars and left me to whither alone in the back of bars. Still, they had me running towards strangers’ cars, asking them if they knew how I could rid myself of my weak heart.
Finally, having had enough, I took a train outside my hometown to shed everything I cared about. On a grey beach, I dumped all of the feelings which threatened to keep me from living normally. Then came the moment when I had to decide if I would rather be liked or be who I am-too sensitive, too quiet, too honest, too burdened. And still undecided, I have not opened my mouth since."
— Staying Silent Until I’m Certain | Lora Mathis (via lora-mathis)
that hair falls out and regrows
so there will be parts of me that you have never known and I like
the idea of lines of coke,
of your body wrapped around me,
your hands on my throat
on the floor of a party somewhere west of here where the wind is colder.
I like the idea of growing older,
and the cracked grins, and the taste of gin and your
lips are like a space god missed.
And you are godless, and I am limp.
And I like the idea of us, of giving into lust, or of growing
up. I guess you’ll never know me
I like the thought that things keep going
even when I am in bed, breathing softly under the weight of my own head
and you are in a field somewhere west of here
coloring your hair. And I like the idea that there is somewhere
you have never existed. That there are people who don’t know you,
who can’t miss you,
who can meet people with your name and feel unchanged
by the experience. I wish my bed was big enough for the two of us
but I like the idea of a space all my own. And I don’t like being alone
but it is getting easier.
When you kiss her, I hope you don’t think of me.
I like the idea of you feeling a little less empty."
— Let’s Hold Hands in Public; Hannah Beth Ragland (via allmymetaphors)
— Jon Kabat-Zinn (via themonicabird)