Step, the exhibit

I.

You can move your food around on your plate all that you want, but it doesn’t mean that it’ll disappear.

II.

Girls aren’t supposed to wear blue, black, white, grey, red, pink, green, happiness, love, excitement, sorrow, pain, trepidation, contentment, wistfulness, lust, heartbreak. You should be a paper doll, and I can color in your lines because they’re mine to own.

III.

I can describe fear to you in short bursts; the time you opened my notebook and saw your name there, when we were watching the pulsating light glow so many times that it felt like we would always be in limbo, when it was 2:27 in the morning, on your knees over the sink and you were holding back your own hair because you didn’t believe that anyone else would.

Maybe it’s better if we stopped feeling altogether—if we strapped ourselves up to a hotel bed and slid a syringe in, and on the label it can say “for numbing purposes only, do not put in the hands of the mentally unstable or the chronically depressed”, but here you are, standing over my bed and here I am, my pink fingers turning gold from the light streaming through me.

IV.

The prom queen’s standing in front of the mirror and watching mascara run down her face like it couldn’t get away any faster; the prom king’s washing glitter and sorrow from his collarbones like a fugitive in the dark. There’s a shattered tiara under the sink, but there are too many pieces to put it back together again. There’s a knowledge that we’re only pressed up against chain link fences once before the imprint is on our backs forever. They’ll leave you and you’ll only love them more.

V.

I was five the first time I was ever called a word that my mother winced to hear, and then 6 the first time I asked her what it meant. It’s hard to watch your heroes shrink up in front of your eyes, and I started to realize that even I had a fallible god.

My hands that were mud stained by nature became stained with shame and I learned to carry around a burden of being born like this. A phone is ringing in the other room; it’s your ancestor’s ghosts. Let me tell what will happen if you pick up the phone; you’ll never find an answer, your people will continue to be slaughtered until they’re nothing more than numbers that roll off your tongue and cascade in a hollow waterfall, one day you will turn to your grandmother to mouth something and find a hollow where your home used to be. You can try as hard as you want but you cannot make a promised land out of the landmines of humanity and it will take time but you will eventually accept that you’ve been painted over to create a blank canvas.

I woke up and the train was moving with no direction. Pictures in magazines and the colossal ones on billboards I would see in my yellow school bus told me that white was wonderful and that anything else was an addition, that I was supposed to be lurking in the shadows.

Any beauty that is not strictly within these 4 lines is beauty at all; step back from the exhibit.

I’m insecure, but so were my mothers before me, and all the mothers before them. I grew up in a family of shriveled up flowers that never fully got to bloom, and anyone of us could have been easily buried underfoot.

My brother left and became like rain behind mountains. I have to be torrential downpour if I want to be noticed.

We are told that girls who love their mothers, who love themselves, don’t drink rum straight out of the bottle and don’t chain smoke like their lives don’t depend on it, they don’t wear short skirts with inches of simmering, burning flesh on display, and they don’t dare open their mouths because you will never find love if you’re so angry, dear.

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