Guerrilla Warfare


United States
26° 1' 10.3764" N, 80° 13' 24.6828" W

When I was eight years old, I thought butterflies were the coolest insects

It wasn't because the colors on their backs made them look like the happiness in my heart,

It was because they could never see their own beauty. That made them so beautiful.


One day in elementary school I saw blood in the bathroom stall,

Blood splattered on a wall, in the shape of a smile that kept repeating, a dot marking the end of a thought, a star blazing hot in the universe of my mind,

Blood splattered on the wall from a girl's nose bleed, from a pricked finger, from woman without child, blood splattered like a fly on the wall in a bathroom stall.


When I was nine years old, I decided I wanted to be a warrior.

My first intruder was a fly on the window in my bedroom. 

A bottle of Windex in one hand, three tissues to collect the remains in the other, 

And I was ready to take my first victim. It was easy. A little too easy in fact,

Because I forgot to feel the satisfaction of taking a life.

I just wanted the buzzing to end.


As I grew up, a bigger war than the war against the fly in my bedroom began.

Don't tell me we're not living in combat, because I see 

Girls put war paint on their eyelids and red shields on their lips to face each and every day.

They gather necklaces and earrings, wear dresses and small skirts, because looks can kill.

And every time those looks come in contact with a mirror, they kill.

We're battling against ourselves, in a war that won't be won without casualties

I've seen happiness scattered across the bathroom sink like shrapnel

Atom bomb goals of thigh gaps and tickets to see skin and bones

I've seen more bring me downs in my eyes than pick me ups in my smiles,

And still we march on.

Hairspray and bobby pins hold the shattered pieces of our hearts together 

And we laugh through the stitches of complacency placed over our lips

Because that's all we know how to do anymore.


Now the flies on our walls are the words of pain bouncing around our membranes,

Creating images of skinny waists, of long legs, of pretty curls and pigtails, of smiles so white the brightness burns into our memories

Those goals buzz in our ears like a secret we can't quite catch

So we stretch our hands out toward the sound and latch on to the hope of acceptance

A hope as sticky as tar, gathering around our hands like the right boy's hand we never held,

Letting us believe our hands are too heavy to catch the fly on the wall.

We traded in our Windex for fake finger nails, our tissues for the promise of a diamond ring.

We cannot catch the fly on the wall because the fly flew too far,

It crossed our minds so often that it made a home there.

And the butterflies we once held in our hearts have curled back into cocoons.

The reflection in our eyes tell of each battle we've ever fought but never had the bravery

To cry about in public.

The enemy is not the mirror, it is the buzzing in our heads.

So when you get a moment of peace,

Take a moment to take in the silence, to take a breath, to take a break. 


When I was eight years old, I thought butterflies were the coolest insects

It wasn't because they made it through the loneliness of a cocoon,

It was because when their worlds turned upside down, they traded their legs for wings. That made them so beautiful.


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