My Mind Is Not My Own

My mind is not my own. 

I gave it away piece by piece - 

tied it up in a ribbon with bits of my beating heart 

and put it at the feet of a girl whose love was a pair 

of spiked cleats. 


My mind is not my own. 

It doesn't think my thoughts, 

it screams my memories;

It's the past that makes my enemies.

'Cause you tell me a zipper is only just a zipper 

and I'll tell you about the hands that pulled down

the one on my favorite sweater,

the one I measured

to put the tab 

one inch 

above my chest.

It was exact.

And to me it mattered.

But all that measuring was shattered

when her hands pulled it down again

and again

and again

and every time I'd pull it up and sigh,

"Would you quit?

I've asked you a thousand times 

and it might not seem like a big deal,

but when it's down I feel

like the world will never be right."

And then we'd fight.

And it took me a while

to see an inch was too much

when I’d given her a mile.


And those hands were the ones I’d hold

even while she told me

I didn’t fit the bill.

"You’re not trying."

"You don’t care."

"Your love’s not real;

if it was, things would be perfect

and I’d have the relationship I deserve."

And those words cut me so deep

that every nerve in my body was crying,



to be better.

To be perfect.


can I be perfect?


can’t I be perfect?

It’s my 



It is

my fault

that my body was so sore.

'Cause when I asked her to sleep in her own bed

she laid on my floor

and cried for an hour, till five in the morning,

until I thought my anxious brain was going to rip itself out of my head.

Would you please please please get on this bed

and stop crying?

I don’t even know why I said what I said.

Just sleep here instead,

every day of the semester,

but please

get on the bed.

When she did she said I didn’t love her

and she laid on the other end so all I saw was her feet.

And I tried not to wake her as I cried myself to sleep.


My fault

when I told her that I loved her.

This person who held so much of my soul,

had my life within her absolute control,

berated me,

said I was perfect and then hated me,

never had a kind word – all I got was guilt and shame;

can’t even hear my name without thinking of how it sounded in her mouth.

And then

then when I finally saw the cracks

in the paint I used to hide my aching heart

and tried to pull apart this monstrous love

she banged on my door at 3 am

and when I let her in she begged for hours while I tried to tell her

we should just be friends,

and no,


I wouldn’t change my mind.

Not this time.

So she got up,

broke my favorite sunglasses

and hit me in the face.

And then we kissed.

My fault.

She told me so.

My fickle heart had caused her pain

and y'know?

I really did believe that I deserved the blame.


My fault

when years went by

and I stayed

and we were about to fly to two separate parts

of the globe.

Two years

and still I couldn’t win the fight in my mind

between making her happy

and saying goodbye

and so to compromise with myself I said okay,

let’s take a break this time.

Just give me some space to clear my mind.

And the message I got in reply

was that if I left, she’d commit suicide.

I told her that I’d tell her mother what she’d said

and her response?

No I wouldn’t.

I didn’t love her.

I didn’t care enough to worry she was dead.

But I did. 

So I stayed another year instead.


My fault

when I felt like the only way I could escape her love

was to take a razor to my  veins

or drink bleach

or lie down in the middle of the lane

until a bus crushed me with a weight

that couldn’t even compare to the heaviness 

of my despair.

And one day after my third panic attack

- and I know because I counted - 

I walked into her room and told her I was done.

And I know I’d said it before, 

what was this now, time number five?

But I knew in my mind that if I didn’t walk away,

by graduation I wouldn’t be alive.

My fault?

Even then I thought it was,

here I am:

the indecisive lover gone again.

"You’re so fucking abusive,"

she told me,

"you manipulative piece of shit.

You pick me up and put me down;

you make me fuckin sick."

And afterwards she made youtube videos and blog posts and tweets

showing everyone the face of a survivor that couldn’t be beat.


She’s a survivor

and I can’t wear my favorite sweater because it reminds me

of the place where her hand left a red mark on my face.


She’s a survivor

and when the blankets are too heavy I can feel her in the bed

and it doesn’t matter where I am,

'cause I swear I’m in my dorm and her hand is on my chest

and she’s making that smile and playing with my hair

and I just


'Cause the only time she ever cared to show me any affection

was when she wanted sex

and I’m sure that I don't need to tell you what comes next.


She’s a survivor

and I can’t visit my alma mater

without thinking of the woods behind the dorms

where I went with a pocket knife and sobbed

and mourned

for myself as I pressed the knife to my neck,

my mind an absolute wreck.

And I sat for hours

'cause I couldn’t decide if I ever wanted to leave the woods alive


She’s a survivor

and after I left,

just two months go by and I get a text.

She says, "I don’t hate you, how are you?",

and I don’t reply but really? How am I?

I’m fucking angry

because everybody forgets 

that people who carry guns aren’t the only ones 

who get ptsd,

but I’ve got therapy,


and medical bills.

She doesn’t hate me? Wants to maybe talk things out, date me?



She’s a survivor

and I gave my timid heart to a girl

who ripped it apart and said if she’d known

what an asshole I was from the start she would have run away instead



What every muscle in my body screams when I see someone 

who looks like her,

walks like her,

talks like her.



when I can never forget that she’s been inside my home

because my mind is not my own;

it’s hers.



to whatever is behind the next hill.


until everything that I feel like I left behind

- my thoughts, my skin, my mind -

is mine

because I



I’m the one who has survived.

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