Some days, I like to pretend that I’m beautiful.
I like to pretend I live in Scotland in an ancient castle
Next to a poor sheep farm.
And that I have a child by the name of Isabella Lordez Heater.
And that I’m a famous author
Who writes the novels whose words have carved themselves
Into the center of my bones.
And that I recite poetry on a regular basis,
Teaching the world something about acceptance, love, and pain.
That I wake up early every morning to have a cup of fresh, sweet coffee
And a cigarette to myself on the front porch in a light robe
Before the Sun tickles the belly of the horizon,
Before the rest of the world takes notice of life’s hasty passing.
That every day I write at least one line of poetry in my mind
And let that instance of brilliance fade like the scars on my arms.
I’ve been told that I have the world on a string,
Or that the world is at my feet,
But I often find myself snipping that string and chasing after the world
Or stepping so hard my foot fractures the surface and the world falls around me
Until only rubble and ruin remain.
I’ve been told that I have a lot to live for
And giving up isn’t the person everyone knows.
But I can count every reason I live on my fingers and thumbs,
And I, as everyone, have a hidden self whose face will not be recognized.
And I’ve been told that I am too young to let such old hurt
Weigh down my shoulders until my spine resembles the twists and turns
Of the Grand Canyon.
But I have not been told that life is easy,
And I have not been told that life is fair,
And I have not, nor do I ever hope I will, be told that I am not worthy of living.
But I have also been told to give up,
That I should kill myself, or die.
And I have been told that my silence is painful
And my words are intimidating
And my actions are obscene
And my breath is worth saving
And my love is not worth having
And my body is my own
And that shit…stinks and happens and is the stuff bullshit is made of.
But tell me something different.
Tell me that there would be no such thing as silence if noise had not been created.
That there is not always only one person out there.
That I can be dishonest to save a marriage.
That I can be nothing if that is my choice.
But don’t place me in a box or draw a circle of limitation around me
Or mold me into a perfect citizen or punish me for my voice.
Because despite what I have been through,
I am along for the ride,
And it better be a good one,
Or I want my life back.