THEY say I'm the PILOT of my plane, but I don't know how to fly;
and I've heard I can WRITE my own story, but which one's mine?
every INCH and hair of skin and head
are mine, I know but
if I never REPLY will you feed me LINES in your head?
will you know me at all?
I was BIGGER when I started;
every BRICK I add to the wall makes it smaller, somehow
if the RIVER would just take me away I would thank it,
it and its little pebbled waves and the leaves dropped,
GIVEN by the willows like SILENT tears
my FINE-tipped pen will trace every vein I can see through my skin
until the WHISPER in my head becomes a RHYME I can repeat;
traces of IRON won't make me strong with
such a hard shell around my heart
at the HEIGHT of my SAFETY
take me away from here
because I've had enough of this
and I don't know how to leave
the GRADE of sea to sky
and if I drive my plane into the waves
I think I would keep on flying forever
MULTIPLY my aspects and
DIVIDE the walls I've built and
all the stories can be mine
the shower curtain rings make a trail on the floor
bread crumbs leading back to the puddle of water
leaking from the bathtub
will you pick up the pieces?
sticky with promise and heavy with
everything you've never done
you could see the future from here
if you would look
the tracks go on and on into the sunset surveillance
where you can't meet the eye without being blinded
so keeping your head down
past fingerprint ketchup stains by the baseboards
and that sweep of black sharpie you couldn't wash off
past the pattern on the wallpaper
the best way to avoid growing taller
is to never look back
to never remember how small you were
so you leave the shower curtain rings
and puddles and stains
and pieces of your past
and keep on trying not to look at the sun
She lands with a splash and a sizzle
Leaking blood like a bad ketchup visual effect
But it's real this time
And her smoking eyes draw you in,
Her frosty breath on your face
A cold shock
With a swat of her hand
But you have a checkered heart
And you keep moving closer
I looked up "pride" in the thesaurus, and found "self-esteem," "self-love," "self-worth."
Pride is also an emotion—the feeling of contentment the shines from somewhere deep inside myself when I know I've done something well. When I follow through, when I help, when I grow, when I say no to what doesn't serve or yes to what does.
I think sometimes I look for worth outside myself. I reflect back everything I find in other places, and wonder if that makes me enough. But it doesn't; it never did. True worth comes from within, and that golden feeling of pride is what happens when I know I'm enough.
I think I've seen myself as easy; easy to get along with. It wasn't always that way, but the walls I built put me in a safe place where I can forget I wasn't seen or heard.
I thought loving myself was easy for me, but maybe it wasn't. It was, and it wasn't.
Pride is the opposite of shame. We took our shame and swished and squashed it in our fingers and re-shaped it into pride. We've known the way shame and pride need each other, felt how the strongest pride creates the strongest shame, and the strongest shame creates the strongest pride.
We've wondered, am I enough? (Am I gay enough? Am I straight enough? Am I queer enough? Am I good enough?)
And where we can, we've found each other. We've wrapped our arms all together, a net of breathing limbs, and held on tight.
We're learning how to be seen and heard.
We're learning how to feel we are enough. (Not how to be enough, because we were enough all along; we're learning how to feel it.)
We're learning what makes us human.
And to anyone who feels threatened by it all: maybe you're jealous of our freedom. Maybe you haven't found your own humanity yet. Maybe you've never been seen or heard. Maybe you've never been hurt for who you are, and not because no one's ever hurt you (I know you've been hurt), but because you don't know who you are.
I know you're scared. We all are. But it's okay to take a look inside yourself and realize that you might not be just what you thought. You might not be normal. You might not be easy.
I've wondered, am I enough? (Am I good enough? Am I queer enough? Do I even belong here?) And maybe that's why I'm so proud that the answer is, "yes!"
sing me songs and dance this shape to shape this dance and song I sing
You make a left turn, by the overpass
and maybe it's because you feel your life is running away without you.
wallow in your shoes
(damp from your trek in the creek, your socks squish between your toes)
were you ever driving the car?
or was the steering wheel always dragging your hands along with it
like it's doing now?
you could eat cotton candy while you drive,
shoving fistfuls of melting sugar in your mouth
while the trees go by
getting greyer and smaller
until you realize it's because you're bigger now than you used to be;
does that mean you're colourful?
your chin is sticky with the remembered candy you didn't eat
and your eyes have strayed from the road
you thought you weren't the one steering
but you crashed into the crumbling side of the overpass
and blamed yourself
if you had turned right
what's the last thing you remember?
the way your knuckles looked, clenched around the wheel?
the way your teeth felt electric?
the way the wall loomed? you noticed every crack
perhaps for the first time
you make a left turn, by the overpass
hauling the battered car back onto the dirt road
socks squelching between your toes, foot on the gas
remembered cotton candy staining your teeth
and on you drive
wondering if the steering wheel would keep on turning if you let go
who are we to say what matters?
instead of forcing our subjective beliefs down each other's throats,
why not let the mothers, the only ones who know
the heavy weight of this choice
make the choice
do you think it's harder for you, a bystander,
than it is for the mother cutting a piece from her body?
if she has decided this is what's necessary
who am I to say no?
who are you?
Why is it controversial to say
"If you feel like a woman, you are one"?
I'm only a woman because I know I am,
Not because you told me
I'm a woman because
I've thought about womanhood
And felt femininity
And embodied the everything of the Universe
And maybe you're a woman (or not) for a different reason
He is smooth as an egg
But I dare not touch his skin or he might get cross
He is the son of a son of a son
And all his fathers spurned us
The sun peeks in through dusty blinds
So I take my cues and watch through eyelashes
Every glint of reflected light on him
And when the haze goes purple with dusk
Perhaps I will stand up and say something
"...she arose with flaming glory..."
But I might be too shy
And never let him know that he need not be his fathers;
I'd forgive him if he wasn't
I was raised Christian... sort of.
My mom is Christian, and we went to church every Sunday, but it wasn't what you think of when you think of "church". I mean, it did have a pastor back in those days (although it doesn't anymore), and we sang songs and went to Sunday school and all that. But a lot of churches seem to come from a place of "this is how it is" and this church seemed to come from a place of "let's explore our Christianity together".
My dad used to be Christian, but is now an atheist and has been for a while. We didn't know that growing up, though; he didn't talk about it.
So we were raised Christian. It's true, and I'm not sure why exactly I feel the need to add "sort of" to that, but I do. Because yes, my mom's Christian, but when non-Christian friends of hers find out, they tend to go "you don't seem like a Christian." And yes, we went to church, but it's the sort of church that welcomes everyone, and I mean everyone. Which is what all churches should be, isn't it? But most aren't like that at all.
Anyway. I'm not Christian. It came about gradually (as most things do, at least in my life); I got to that age where I started considering what I really believed, instead of just assuming everything I was told was the truth.
And I found out I love spirituality. I love learning about spirituality, connecting to the divine, thinking about my own beliefs, talking about spirituality; I love it all. It's become an important part of my identity, one of my favourite and defining traits: I'm a spiritual person.
And it's always a bit sad to me when people are religious, and lose all touch with spirituality. Religion should be a vessel, a framework to explore and connect with spirituality. But hey, what do I know? Everyone's different and maybe it's better for those people to approach it like that.
But my dad's always trying to tell me how alike we are, how he was just like me at my age, and I give him a raised eyebrow and say, "I don't know about that." One of the most important things to me is my spirituality, and he's all "Science! Facts! Evidence!" which tends to rub me the wrong way. But he tells me he was spiritual too at my age.
And that just makes me think, how sad. Your disillusionment with Christianity, the framework you used to define your spirituality, made you lose that spirituality altogether.
And maybe I'm completely wrong, but that's how it seems to me.
Nowadays I would say I'm a witch (don't tell my grandparents; they don't even allow the Harry Potter books inside their house, because they're possessed by the Devil or something?) And the problem with being a witch is that no one knows what I mean when I say that.
Witchcraft, occultism, the esoteric... they're incredibly broad categories and that's what's so great about them. In reading about witchcraft, I've felt a connection to it that I never felt learning about other religions or belief systems. Buddhism is super interesting and I love learning about it, but it doesn't click inside me in the same way. When I learned about witchcraft, though, it just felt like yes. This is me.
I suppose the first bit of witchiness I came across was tarot. I had always had sort of a vague idea that tarot was a thing that seemed cool, and then I read a novel that featured tarot cards, I read online about how tarot reading works, I learned that the final T is not actually pronounced, and I went and bought myself a tarot deck.
And wow. My vague idea was right; tarot is so cool. It's not some vague concept that supposedly helps you in your life but doesn't really actually do anything... it's practical. It's relevant. It's had immediate positive effects in my life.
And a big part of witchcraft for me is about taking back my own power. Turns out spirituality isn't just something I can think about—it's something I can actually do. It can be so much more than just cerebral; it can be embodied.
I've also learned so much about myself through learning about spirituality. I've always loved introspection, self awareness and personal growth are very important to me, and I love things like the enneagram and MBTI and gender and sexuality for how they help me explore myself. Adding in things like tarot, ideas of the divine feminine and masculine, astrology, or magick (spelled with a k to differentiate from fairy tale, make-believe, fantasy magic) adds more lenses with which to view my Self.
When I look up "spirituality" the definition is "the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things." But that's not quite right. Spirituality is also concerned with the way the spirit or soul connects to material and physical things.
Everything is connected, interconnected, because everything is one. We're all manifestations of the Universe, of the Everything. Everything we do is an exchange of energy. Energy and divinity run through all of us, through everything, and we live in the illusion of separateness but nothing is ever separate.
Spirituality for me is connection, expansion. It's Everything.