Twenty Five

Twenty Five

A year ago today, I published a poem along with text messages from my father, outing him as an abuser and an alcoholic who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. I was always there for him and remain unappreciated. I have forgiven him for what he has done to me. What I cannot forgive is what he said about my mother. And I learned from him, and took a step forward, and haven’t spoken to him since. Read “Father Dearest” here. I’ve spent a lot of time in the rooms of AA. Try as I might I couldn’t get my head around a higher power, and around having to give up drinking for the rest of my life at the age of twenty-three. I viewed it as an ending and as a compromise of my ideals. I first entered AA in January of 2014. I went to meetings, went to...

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The Price of Objectification

The Price of Objectification

I am what you see. Just looking for attention With my painted face And single dimension. Obviously Trying too hard To be artsy. I am what you see. Once a man told me I had dick sucking lips. My then-boyfriend laughed At his hilarious quip And I felt my identity Fall away from me, I lacked the audacity To even plea For a longer look, A second chance. I am what you see. I wear a skirt Because I want you to stare And I shave my legs So I’m not embarrassed By the looks I’ve come to expect. Smiling makes me a flirt Although it’s only politeness I try to assert How could I be an introvert? I am what you see. I can’t fool you In my t-shirt, Sweatshirt, I’m only good for one thing: My sexuality, Both prized and shamed, Is what you seek. Use me up And throw me away Shout...

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Trustworthy

Trustworthy

Maybe it’s an age thing Or a woman thing Or an addict thing But it’s a ludicrous thing To not know Your own mind Or to lack confidence In your opinions. I’m always Looking over my shoulder. Always asking What someone else wants, Or feels, or needs, Or double checking That I’m not bothering them To the point that I’m sure I am. I’m conscious of The way I eat: How and what and when. I worry about taking up space- How close my chair is to the table, I cross my legs on the metro, I avoid an occupied kitchen, Offer to sit in the back of the car, Even curl into a ball in my own bed. Where do I want to go? Anywhere is fine. Am I hungry? I don’t know- are you? I want to contribute without pressure, I want to help without demand. I concern myself with the needs of others,...

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Shit Misogynists Say

Shit Misogynists Say

A few months ago I was headed to work wearing a summery wrap dress I’ve had for years. My grandfather pulled me aside and told me that “men have a hard time concentrating,” and if I “raised my neckline” I might have less trouble with the unwanted advances I’d been receiving from my male coworkers. He meant well, and I know that. But he was wrong. [pictured: the dress that breaks concentration.] Here are just a few of the things I’ve heard from men while at work: If you just lost some weight, you could be a model. Why are you wearing that dress? You going out later? You’re not going to turn heads. You’ll break necks. You look so good I might just have to take you on a date. Him: Sorry, but you can’t just walk around looking like that without inviting some kind of...

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Behind My Eyes

Behind My Eyes

My sleep is plagued by nightmares. Some are so real I have to get up, Walk around, Check all the clocks, To convince myself It didn’t happen. I dream I’m drunk, Stumbling and unsure, I’ve lost my car, Can’t find my cigarettes, Can’t stand up straight. I fall into walls, Crawl across the floor, Inwardly Hating myself, Berating myself, Can’t remember where I’ve been, How this happened. I awake, Disoriented, Check my phone- Have I called someone, Texted someone, Taken photos- Where have I been?- Before I realize It was only a dream. A man lurks by my bed, Watches me as I slumber. He never speaks. I know I’m sleeping, But I’m trapped in my body Unable to move. I try to scream But no sound escapes my lips I dare myself to move But I’m frozen. Sometimes the man moves...

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Recovered

Recovered

My hands are dry From hand sanitizer. I hate touching things At hospitals. The waiting room Is suffocating. I’m all sweat And shaky hands. Some yards away Surgeons are removing The cancer On my grandmother’s kidney. The family sits Making small talk- Jumping at every announcement And pretending we aren’t. We go through the motions, Get food in the cafeteria Take bathroom breaks. I marvel at the monotony. In my head, I’m seventeen, Sitting at my mother’s bedside For months, watching As she suffers through ALS and pregnancy. I’m having flashbacks, I’m there, in my head PTSD reminding me Of feelings I’d rather forget. I’m walking through hallways Saying hello to nurses. It smells the same, And I’m hopeless. I’m staring into space Prompting concerned glances From...

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