Strength through knowledge
On my way to class, I haul my glow in the dark unicorn covered backpack. The seams are straining to contain my laptop, writing utensils and a plethora of notebooks. Although it is filled, everything has a colorful place. I don't mind the ache in my shoulders. My backpack is not a burden; It is a physical manifestation of all that I seek to learn.
Frozen, it falls down
Caught by the ground before it
Melts in a moment
Life is Change
Everything changes. When things are bad, they won’t stay bad forever. When things are good, enjoy them because they won’t stay good forever. Learn what you can change and what you can’t change. Most of all, don’t fear change. It is not only inevitable, but it’s usually an opportunity if you’re open to it.
Hannibal’s Honeybunch sugarplum
You're my honeybunch, sugarplum
Pumpy umpy umpkin
You're my meaty pie
You're my cuppycake, gumdrop
Snoogums boogums, you're
The filet of my eye
And I love you so
And I want you to know
That you're cooked best with a sear
And I love to season meat real well
To mask the taste of fear
Live Free or Die
I'm no longer free
Not the girl I used to be
Death sounds like freedom
I don’t like wearing make up. Sometimes I dress like a man. I don’t seek validation or try to be pretty anymore. I know I’m beautiful and that my value extends far beyond that.
I don’t know that. I just act like I do until it feels real again, but sometimes I really don’t know.
Sometimes I remembered my lessons from when I was twelve.
No one wants to fuck a feminist.
No one wants to fuck a girl who isn’t pretty.
No one wants to fuck a smart girl.
No one wants to fuck a girl with an attitude.
No one wants to fuck a girl who hides her body.
And if no one wants to fuck you, girl, then you’re worthless.
Put on a push up bra, put on some make up, show some cleavage, but not too much. Don’t act like a slut, but be the slut you are supposed to be. You’re garbage because you’re a slut. Your only purpose is to be a slut. If you weren’t a slut, then you might as well be dead. Now shut up and dance for me, girl.
These lessons are hard to forget when they’re ingrained in you from childhood by grown men. Men who were proved right everywhere I looked.
I worked hard to free myself from that. I don’t believe them anymore, but sometimes when my partner and I haven’t had sex in a while, I panic and briefly wonder if I should dance or die.
My accomplishments lately
I wake up on time nearly every day. I don't run away from challenges. I have a really good mechanic. I try my very best with everything I do. I put in a lot of work to excel at school. I push myself to my limit and I'm gentle with myself when I screw up. I try to make my bed every day and actually do it like 4 times a week! I finally cleaned out my car. I was able to get presents for my friends this year. A kid I tutored last semester brought his grade up 50 points! I appreciate my family. I feel comfortable in my skin most of the time. I didn't cry when my teacher yelled at me last week. In fact, I went on to have a pretty good day. I don't need to see my therapist every week anymore.
I am happy and I am so proud to be happy. It didn't just happen. I never thought I would be. It took years and a hell of a lot of work, but I made it happen. It started with one accomplishment each day. Some days my biggest accomplishment was just not beating myself up for staying in bed. Other days it was making someone smile. I still have to work at maintaining a positive outlook sometimes, but it's a lot easier now.
I got what I wished for
Coming to terms with being bisexual was really difficult. I kissed a couple girls in middle school and was bullied severely for it. That guilt stayed with me until my junior year of high school when I just couldn't lie to myself anymore. Once I finally acknowledged that I liked girls too and that it's okay, I was so relieved.
It took me a little bit to work up the courage to tell my parents. Living with my mom and stepdad, I decided to tell them first. We were out to dinner at a nice restaurant when I announced that I had something to say. The words were stuck in my throat. Somehow saying it out loud was something else entirely. What if everything changed? What if they started treating me differently? I took a few deep breaths and reassured myself about my decision. My parents are incredibly liberal! They have so many friends who are gay. Finally I blurted it out. "I'm bisexual."
My parents looked at each other then said "okay." I was a little surprised at the lack of reaction. They seemed to almost... Not care. I was hoping it wouldn't change anything, but this was incredibly underwhelming. On the car ride home, I expressed my disappointment at their reception of my announcement and suddenly things went from underwhelmingly boring to overwhelmingly hurtful.
It turned into a debate over whether or not one can be bisexual. My stepdad saying that eventually if I'll fall in love and if it's a guy I'll be straight and a girl, I'll be a lesbian, but I can't be bisexual. My mom said something even worse. It started with the classic "how can you know if you've never had sex?" Then as the argument went on she said she had always thought bisexuals were just people who couldn't admit they were gay and that if someone was really bisexual, they would just take whatever they could get. I was told that I was confused, not gay enough, not admitting to being gay or just a slut. Needless to say, it was a horrible night. I gave them a truth about myself and they gave it right back to me, battered and bruised. They never spoke of it again. Everytime I've brought it up, it's been brushed off.
I was hoping that nothing would change when I told them and unfortunately I got exactly what I wished for.
Life isn’t fair
Just because it isn't my fault, doesn't mean it isn't my responsibility to fix it.
My Trial of Survival
I had the best room growing up. My walls were a carefully hand painted mural of fields buzzing with life. There were bunnies leaping through the rolling hills and butterflies scattered amongst the wildflowers. It was a perfect moment made just for me. When I was sent to my room, I would lie on my bed in my sunny field and find shapes in my plain white popcorn ceiling. I had a knack for finding constellations that told stories of racing mermaids and fire-breathing dragons. It never failed to comfort me until a June night before my 19th birthday.
When I pushed through the exit door the warm summer air wrapped around me. I slowed to a walk when I spotted the black SUV. It was the only car on the street. After climbing it, I closed the door with enough force to shake the car. When I looked out the window and saw an empty street, I could finally breath.
“Sorry!” I felt bad about slamming the door.
He was kind, “Don’t worry about it. How are you?”
The whole night caught up to me. I was overwhelmed with all the emotions I hadn’t had time for. I was barely able to choke out “I’m okay” before I burst into tears. The driver asked me what happened a couple times. I would have told him, but I was still trying to piece it together, myself. I wiped the snot and tears from my face, but they just kept coming.
I tried to remember what happened and make sense of it. The tall man was a business owner interested in software my family made. He was clean cut, maybe mid 40s and seemed nice enough. His face flashed in my mind and suddenly I was on the couch again, staring at a popcorn ceiling.
There were no figures to find on this ceiling; It was an ugly mess of protrusions. It belonged to the tall man holding my hands above my head. At the time I hadn’t registered the chaotic smattering of white dots, the leather pulling on my bare ass or the intermittent buzzing beneath my back. By that point, I had vacated my body. It was like a sneeze; Not a decision I made, but an involuntary reaction. I was still feeling, seeing, and hearing, but my brain ignored it all. I ceased to exist for that moment. I had pushed and protested, but he made all the decisions. I was left to stare at the white dots on his white ceiling. He asked me again if I ‘liked that’. The first few times he asked, I had held back tears, protesting and pleading for him to stop. Why did he keep asking me that when he knew the answer? I don’t know how many times he taunted and asked my shell of a body. Finally, eyes on the speckled ceiling, I said yes.
He stood up, releasing my hands. I didn’t let the opportunity go to waste. I grabbed my buzzing phone from behind my back and answered it.
“Hello? This is your Uber driver. Do you still need a ride?”
I ran across the living room and scrambled to put on my shorts “Yes! I’m so sorry, I will be right out. Have you been waiting long?”
I threw my shoes and underwear in my giant polka dot purse as I continued to make small talk. The last thing I wanted was for this phone call to end. I started to head for the door when the tall man stepped in my way and asked if I was sure I wanted to leave. My voice was shaking, but calmly and politely I told him that I needed to get home because I had work the next day.
I stepped around him, still holding my phone to my ear and told the driver I was heading downstairs that minute. The tall man walked behind me to his apartment door. As I opened it, he offered to walk me out. I shook my head and darted to the nearby elevator. If I had known where the stairs were, I would have taken them to avoid his gaze any longer. I faced the elevator, occasionally glancing back to see if he was still there. He always was.
I updated the driver, “I’m about to get on the elevator.” The man took a step out of his apartment toward me and asked if we were okay. DING! The doors were taking forever to open. I bounced on my toes anxiously. “Yeah, we’re good.”
I flung my body into the elevator and smashed the close door button like my life depended on it. I didn’t stop until the doors were sealed shut. Beep beep beep. The call dropped. It was just me and my steel-faced reflection. Immediately, my heart started to beat even faster. I knew that when the elevator doors opened, the man would be standing there. He knew where the stairs were. One would not have to walk quickly to beat the unbelievably slow elevator I was trapped in. I braced myself for a fight as the doors began to part. To my surprise, the hallway was empty on the first floor. Even so, I called the driver back as I ran around the corner searching for the exit. We barely spoke, but his presence alone kept me from panicking even more.
Crying in the car, I had to remind myself that it was over. I had escaped. My body, on high alert, didn't believe I was safe. Why me? What did I do wrong? Why would someone I was so nice to want to hurt me? I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer to those questions. I have tried to find reasons, but his actions were as senseless as his blank white popcorn ceiling.