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Once upon a time there was a princess who was locked in a tower longing to be rescued

Except I’m too fucked up to be a princess

And when princesses cry it looks pretty and delicate and

When I do my eyes swell 

The whites turn red; my pupils—black eclipses

And I barely look human

Much less pretty.

 The only delicate part of me is my collarbones (too defined)

And my heart (easily bruised). 

 

And I locked myself in that tower

(There was nothing else to do;

It was the only way to survive).

I slammed the door and turned the key and fled into the highest turret.

 

I built this house of cards over myself

(It wasn’t meant to be this fragile; was I always this fragile?)

Built it out of kings and queens of hearts,

 they each held part of my heart, I divided it up and doled it out

Made up of aces, aces, aces are the best card to have

(They were the best people to be part of me)

But the hearts were upside down, they were spades, clubs the whole time

Clubs clubs clubs

Clubs beating me with words words make me tremble words make me fall

Clubs I was part of, wasn’t I,  I used to be part of them, didn’t I

Clubs I didn’t know I didn’t fit into (anymore? Ever?)

Please don’t speak please my own breath is going to cave this house down on top of me

I was happy once I remember being happy

I remember when it was easy to be

How can’t anyone see through me I’ve grown translucent

I look down and see through my skin, see my veins rushing under my skin and my fractured bones and my lopsided heart (somehow too big and too small all at once) 

 I’m the little ghost girl haunting her own life

Haunting herself

Everything’s  faded

How can memory be more real than what I see now

 

My skin is too tight to contain me

Uncomfortable

Like a sweater that’s shrunk in the wash

 but I won’t cut myself out,  I can’t, it’s not just my blood in my veins

It used to be safe here in my thoughts warm soft happy

Now I remember, I remember every word I’ve ever misspoken

I remember every word shoved down my throat and tattooed on my mind 

 

I am drowning, slipping under slowly, bursting back up and being dragged back into the cold

I was a good swimmer I was fine, happy

Everyone else can swim, they’re turning fucking flips in the water, and I

I am screaming, screaming, help me please PLEASE HELP JUST LOOK AT ME GODDAMN IT LOOK AT ME

See me, please, God, please, see me, help me, please WHY DON’T YOU SEE ME WHY WON'T YOU JUST LOOK UP WHY WON’T YOU SAVE ME

They won’t reach for me, ever I think

Swimming is a solitary effort, it seems

And if this was the very last time I slipped under

And if I never fought my way back up to the surface

These bastards would mourn and be shocked and say things like “I never knew” and

“I wish I had been able to help” and “It’s so sad” and cry false tears and go to my funeral like they had a place by my casket like they actually cared

I told you, I told you in words and silences and you did know, you had to know, don’t fucking lie to me now

Don’t make this easier on yourself did you ever make it ever easier on me

You don’t deserve to grieve

I swear I don’t want to die I just want to feel happy again

I don’t want to hurt myself I don’t wanna hurt the pieces of my heart left

My mom I could never hurt my mom like that

Ow mommy I fell and scraped my knee kiss it better please

Thanks mommy, I’m gonna go back to play

(You could fix everything with a kiss when you were young).

Mommy I fell, I fell so far

 I lost my way

Please just kiss it better

Make me better tell me how I can fix this

I’m cracking I’ve been dropped too much

They, me, us threw myself at the walls and I cried when I started to crumble

I have to get out of here

This school, this town, this shitty school, this shitty town

There’s got to be more and I don’t want to go forever without seeing it

I stayed stitched in my skin, I glue my pieces back together again and again

How many times can I break before it’s unfixable?

Will the cracks ever fade Mommy?

 

I’m a cigarette thrown from a car window

Bright, afire

The fall, eternal and over in seconds

The collision with the asphalt, the first blow

My embers scatter and blink out

And I’m just burnt out debris

 

These days

I don’t quite recognize my reflection

(Do ghosts have reflections?)

The mirror’s cracked me into pieces

Puzzles pieces that I try to smush together into something clearly defined

(I have always known who I am)

I’m missing a few crucial pieces

And my shape’s discernible but the picture’s incomplete

(I’m incomplete)

And this who I am without the filter of good girl smart girl pretty girl volunteers makes honor role

 Puts on concealer a shade lighter than her translucent skin, dabbed over dark circles (dark thoughts)

listens to her friends loves her family  is nice is unselfish is normal is the right amount of exceptional

 

It’s like someone handed me a book called

“How To Live” and for years it was enough

And then a section was torn out and I panicked and realized:

How much of my life was ever for me

 

Once upon a time it was easy to smile

Laugh

Breathe

Sleep

Eat

Love

Trust

What the hell happened?

 

When does the dragon get slain?

When can I see the sky without fearing for the storm?

 

I’ll have to be my own knight on a white horse,

I’ll have come to my own rescue

I don’t want pity I want empathy

(I just want someone to look at me and see me)

Is there still a happily ever after hidden up my sleeve

 

Once upon a time a princess took a deep breath and left the tower and ran, dragging her chains,

Chasing her ghost, until they meshed together and became one

She felt okay, cautious, relieved and at last

free

And finally, finally, the chains fell off

And she could breathe, at last she could breathe

And she built a new castle, one she didn’t have to hide in

She wasn’t lost in dark thoughts or alone in dark rooms

And she wasn’t too fucked up to smile and laugh and be happy without trying

And there was a happily ever after

One day, God, please, let me be able to say that.

I don’t want to close this book 

I want to flip the page and smile at where the story’s going

 

The princess left the dark forest path and the sun is shining and

She

I

We’re gonna be okay.  

 

Please, God, make me okay. 

 

I am too defined collarbones and a bruised heart somehow both too big and too small

I am fractured bones and swelling veins and exhaustion under my eyes

I am my own ghost

I am a shaking house of cards

I am the princess hiding in her tower and the rebel fleeing it

I am silent screams and a dying ember

I am my loud laugh and my calloused fingers and my books and my half-written novel and my dreams scrawled in journals 

I am more than the sum of my parts I am a human being in all my flawed glory

I am my own story all the ugly and the beautiful parts and I am unedited and raw and powerful

I am a white knight and a defender and a destroyer and I am more than the girl I choose to show you

I am the girl I am

And she’s not all pretty, not all blonde hair and light smiles and dancing in her underwear she is shaking in her bed at five A.M. because she can’t sleep and she’s bottled rage and despair and desperation and that is simply who  I am

I am my own filter I paint over the flaws and showcase the porcelain doll I am

Beautiful, fragile (cracks hidden)

I have never hashtagged #NoFilter and I don’t think I ever will

Exposed skin invites attack, remember that 

I am my own filter

All I have I can offer you with my words

Take them and I hope you can understand

Because that’s all I can give 

This poem is about: 
Me
My community

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