Mirrors and Walls

Location

 

I am not my reflection

I am not my reflection

I am not my reflection

And if I am not how I look to myself,

I’m sure as hell not how I look to you.

 

Every mirror is warped by my own self-image,

Smeared with the thought that what I see

Is who I am

 

A being cannot be confined to an image.

 

Most people see the outside:

My clothes, my hair, my makeup

Some see the personality behind it

But who sees the girl hiding behind the walls I built for myself?

And how can you say you know me

When you only see a small piece?

After all, that’s what walls are for—

To keep people out

And to keep certain things locked up tight inside

See, I keep my poems quietly concealed in a little black notebook with narrow lines and an elastic band

Because I don’t want anyone to think they can just flip open to a random page and read what’s written on my heart

 

But sometimes I don’t know what my heart wants to say.

I know what my brain wants to say

But even that never quite translates into speech

 

If writing a memoir in eleventh grade was scary,

Then these college essays can only be described as terrifying

How can I represent myself to anyone

When I don’t even feel like I know myself?

And all in 650 words or less

And I can’t decide which is worse,

To know my life can’t possibly be reduced

To checkboxes and fill-in-the-blanks—

Or to feel like sometimes, maybe it can.

 

I like to think I dream for a reason,

That my fantasies hold the key to… something

Every night, as I’m falling asleep, I tell myself,

“Dream about something good tonight”

Usually I don’t.

Usually, I’m left with a blank night of sleep

That was too deep for me to do anything but breathe

And I still talk to the imaginary friends I made up when I was four years old

Sometimes they talk back, sometimes they just listen

Sometimes they’re the only ones.

 

So I pick up a pencil

I hide my thoughts away

In letters scrawled frantically on a page, late at night

I let the words glue themselves to the edges of my mind

And then I watch as they slowly make their way to the center

 

And through it all, I wait.

I wait for the day when, somehow,

These words will come pouring out from between my teeth

For the day when I’ll know who I am

And I’ll know how to take down my walls

And let you in.

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