This Is Anguish

The moment I saw those two lines I felt like my chest had given away, my breath had run from me and I wondered how many minutes it would take until I fell dead on the floor.
I didn’t die.
The next morning when reality hit me, I was filled with fear – fear of judgement, of failure, of my inability to care for this life that had been so carelessly put into my trembling hands.
I had company the second time around, those two lines bringing a smile so big to his face I thought his cheeks would crack into pieces. I wondered what was wrong with me that I wasn’t excited.
When we started to plan our movements, our stories, our life together, I became a bit giddy. I began imagining not just doom and destruction, but love and happiness and family.
Weeks later, I felt utterly filled with new life, a new light shining in me where there had never been anything but darkness.
But a cruel joke was played.
I bled. I bled and I bled and I bled and finally I held my little dead baby, with barely formed fingers and toes, his tiny eyes still mended shut and barely a nub for a nose in my shaking hands.
Such anguish.
I went to the river.
I wanted to drown.
But I sat instead and I gave myself a few hours to scream and cry and scream into the howling wind, my voice straining against the sounds of water falling into more water and me supplying some of it myself, a tad saltier.
I cannot believe my own body.
To be so traitorous, so unable, so utterly pointless.

This was real. This wasn’t when I was 15 and I wasn’t sure and it hurt yes but I got over it.

This was coming home to him sobbing in the kitchen, wondering why God would allow this to happen to us.

This was wanting to sink a knife into my belly, wanting nothing more than to make myself pay for failing my own self. For my child that never even got a chance to take one breath, to think one thought, to get not even one kiss from me.

This is aching and shivering and crying everyday for what could have been, for how big he would be now and how everyone would come to know as well.

This is anguish.
This is death.

Slippery

I am tired. I am in pain. I am hurt. I am so so fucking mad at you for taking this relationship, this gloriously beautiful little sprouting seed of a relationship and crushing it between your vile unthoughtful hands. I would like to shove your brain into my heart so you can feel the piercing fucking shards that you have skillfully dug out from their dusty shelves. I have very very old pain, the very same pain you’ve been spilling all over me and it’s like kerosene and when I’m angry I am fire and I am sparks and there’s never anyone to stop these meetings that always, always lead to badly timed and ill hid implosions.
I’m tired of burning for you.

And fuck you for telling me I don’t care, I care so much I’ve always cared so FUCKING GODDAM MUCH it’s like I want to kill myself every morning when I wake up and see the fucking face that I love, the nose and the lips and the dimples and I want to smash it into the ground because how can something I love so much betray me like this?? How can I keep choosing to love over and over again and have you be the same person I’ve always known and yearned for and detested? When will karma spit me out of her mouth when will my blood lend me a hand? I’ve always felt slippery and thought maybe it was because Im losing so much crimson it wraps me up like a cloak can’t I run away now. But that’s not it, I’m slippery like a fish, I slip through your fingers so fast you don’t even blink before you run for another.

You dug your disgusting fingers into my achilles heel and left me bleeding and you want me to stick this peace offering of a band aid you’ve given me over it and have it be done with well it’s not done with. It’s not!

Before I Sleep

My thoughts are devolving… Atoms that once raced to realms far beyond this plane, ripping through curtains only their might could move, now settle for “that tree and back.”

Where have you gone, fragile inspiration? For whom have my muses abandoned me, what wrongs have I done to them?

My pace is slow and my legs heavy, but I shall plod on.
A destination is nigh.
I may be blind and deaf to those things I once took so easily for granted, but I will hold my arms out until the ache is too much to bear, in wait for their sweet return.

And as my most favorite passage says.

“These woods are lovely, dark and deep,

but I have promises to keep,

and miles to go before I sleep,

and miles to go before I sleep.”

You Were Going To Be Special

I never knew what to say when they held my face in their palms and told me to feel something. 
I imagine you must think that I’m holding something down in my chest – that suppression is my attire and I don it to feel more in control. 
Baby when I feel things it is like leaves falling out of trees, emotions bumping your shoulder on the path down. 
I have only seconds to experience them before they break. They are fine like powder. 
I do not watch as they blow away. 
Why would I sit and watch my past rewind. It’s etched so clearly into my mind. 
Show me again that the shards of glass in this chest do not feel pleasant and that it’s harder to ignore the bleeding when you’re all alone and no one is there to tell you “I care.” 
I do not have the strength yet to risk my self
.
When you deem to think that I have nothing to give you beyond silence and stares, remember that I have made the earth tremble and cry for the things I have felt… Felt as they dripped down from my chest, as they formed soft hands that rubbed his back and alleviated the pressure the earth put on those shoulders. 
I used to get high to laugh. 
Now I’m sucking tar into my lungs out of fear of something. 
I’m afraid of running – despite it all I live to see your smile.
Your laugh is undoubtedly the sweetest I’ve heard since childhood. And I can forget everything when I hear the heartbeat in that corner of your chest. 
I know myself, I know who I am. And I lived too long making decisions that benefitted nobody. But I made a good decision for you and I stuck by it despite my inner misgivings. I ignored my instincts for you. 
And you have proven no different than the others. I was in it for the long haul. 
Tell me, are you even worth it? 
I want you to tell me.

Pressure Headaches

Too many tears building up behind my eyes, 
They leak to my ears and now I have an ear infection. 
The pressure on my temples gives me a headache -
And pulling the trigger would be a cure-all-end-all… 
But I’m still weighing the consequences

The doorbell rang as I was cutting this out of me, 
And it was a police officer – I’m 18 so he told me my mum is getting summoned to court. 
Again. 
She’s undocumented so I felt my heart freeze,
Cuz as much as everything can be okay..
It can be very not okay too.

When I was a kid I heard a lot of my family 
Constantly spilling words like “papers” “imigração” “deported.” 
And I loved to draw so I made a couple pictures -
For my mum and dad you know, the family ones where we all stand and hold hands.
And I gave it to my mother and told her 
“Now you have papers, you don’t have to be scared anymore.” 
I think that was the first time I saw her cry. 
Now I’ve seen her with her head in her hands too many times, 
I wish I wasn’t the reason most of the time.

When my dad got sick I didn’t understand, 
But my heart did, and it forced my head down and made me leak tears from a faucet somewhere inside.
We watched him shrivel up with disease and lose hope, 
Struggle to leave his family.. 
He fought so unbelievable hard until God said we couldn’t have him no more 
And I touched my daddy for the last time – cold and sleeping,
In my living room. 
How wonderfully fucking ironic.

That faucet I still haven’t fixed and 
It’s four years after he died now. 
I don’t think I’ll ever have the strength to find a plumber. 
I’ll miss hearing the trickle when I’m alone in the dark.

Maybe it’s strange to think that the part of my childhood I care the least about now 
Is the part that made me cringe the most. 
When someone’s sweaty body is touching yours in places 
You’ve been taught to keep out of sight, 
And bruises places that will never see the light of day.
That happened over years I think – I know.
But I don’t care anymore, because I can shut my body off from feeling anything. 
And when I can’t turn it back on, I get mighty good at pretending.

This wasn’t supposed to be long 
I think I’m all done now

Understanding And Justifying

“When you are hurting, there will always be people who find a way to make it about themselves. If you break your wrist, they’ll complain about a sprained ankle. If you are sad, they’re sadder. If you’re asking for help, they’ll demand more attention.
Here is a fact: I was in a hospital and sobbing into my palms when a woman approached me and asked why I was making so much noise and I managed to stutter that my best friend shot himself in the head and now he was 100% certified dead and she made this little grunt and had the nerve to tell me, “Well now you made me sad.”
When you get angry, there are going to be people who ask you to shut up and sit down, and they’re not going to do it nicely. Theirs are the faces that turn bright red before you have a chance to finish your sentence. They won’t ask you to explain yourself. They’ll be mad that you’re mad and that will be their whole reason alone.
Here is a fact: I was in an alleyway a few weeks ago, stroking my friend’s back as she vomited fourteen tequila shots. “I hate men,” she wheezed as her sides heaved, “I hate all of them.”
I braided her hair so it wouldn’t get caught in the mess. I didn’t correct her and reply that she does in fact love her father and her little brother too, that there are strangers she has yet to meet that will be better for her than any of her shitty ex-boyfriends, that half of our group of friends identifies as male – I could hear each of her bruises in those words and I didn’t ask her to soften the blow when she was trying to buff them out of her skin. She doesn’t hate all men. She never did.
She had the misfortune to be overheard by a drunk guy in an ill-fitting suit, a boy trying to look like a man and leering down my dress as he stormed towards us. “Fuck you, lady,” he said, “Fuck you. Not all men are evil, you know.”
“Thanks,” I told him dryly, pulling on her hand, trying to get her inside again, “See you.”
He followed us. Wouldn’t stop shouting. How dare she get mad. How dare she was hurting. “It’s hard for me too!” he yowled after us. “With fuckers like you, how’s a guy supposed to live?”
Here’s a fact: my father is Cuban and my genes repeat his. Once one of my teachers looked at my heritage and said, “Your skin doesn’t look dirty enough to be a Mexican.”
When my cheeks grew pink and my tongue dried up, someone else in the classroom stood up. “You can’t say that,” he said, “That’s fucking racist. We could report you for that.”
Our teacher turned vicious. “You wanna fail this class? Go ahead. Report me. I was joking. It’s my word against yours. I hate kids like you. You think you’ve got all the power – you don’t. I do.”
Later that kid and I became close friends and we skipped class to do anything else and the two of us were lying on our backs staring up at the sky and as we talked about that moment, he sighed, “I hate white people.” His girlfriend is white and so is his mom. I reached out until my fingers were resting in the warmth of his palm.
He spoke up each time our teacher said something shitty. He failed the class. I stayed silent. I got the A but I wish that I didn’t.
Here is a fact: I think gender is a social construct and people that want to tell others what defines it just haven’t done their homework. I personally happen to have the luck of the draw and am the same gender as my sex, which basically just means society leaves me alone about this one particular thing.
Until I met Alex, who said he hated cis people. My throat closed up. I’m not good at confrontation. I avoided him because I didn’t want to bother him.
One day I was going on a walk and I found him behind our school, bleeding out of the side of his mouth. The only thing I really know is how to patch people up. He winced when the antibacterial cream went across his new wounds. “I hate cis people,” he said weakly.
I looked at him and pushed his hair back from his head. “I understand why you do.”
Here is a fact: anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is how people stop themselves from hurting. Anger is how people stop themselves by empathizing.
It is easy for the drunken man to be mad at my friend. If he says “Hey, fuck you, lady,” he doesn’t have to worry about what’s so wrong about men.
It’s easy for my teacher to fail the kids who speak up. If we’re just smart-ass students, it’s not his fault we fuck up.
It’s easy for me to hate Alex for labeling me as dangerous when I’ve never hurt someone a day in my life. But I’m safe in my skin and his life is at risk just by going to the bathroom. I understand why he says things like that. I finally do.
There’s a difference between the spread of hatred and the frustration of people who are hurting. The thing is, when you are broken, there will always be someone who says “I’m worse, stop talking.” There will always be people who are mad you’re trying to steal the attention. There will always be people who get mad at the same time as you do – they hate being challenged. It changes the rules.
I say I hate all Mondays but my sister was born on one and she’s the greatest joy I have ever known. I say I hate brown but it’s really just the word and how it turns your mouth down – the colour is my hair and my eyes and my favorite sweater. I say I hate pineapple but I still try it again every Easter, just to see if it stings less this year. It’s okay to be sad when you hear someone generalize a group you’re in. But instead of assuming they’re evil and filled with hatred, maybe ask them why they think that way – who knows, you might just end up with a new and kind friend.”

By telling the oppressed that their anger is unjustified, you allow the oppression to continue. I know it’s hard to stay calm. I know it’s scary. But you’re coming from the safe place and they aren’t. Just please … Try to be more understanding

Men’s Rights

“A List of “Men’s Rights” Issues That Feminism Is Already Working On

Feminists do not want you to lose custody of your children. The assumption that women are naturally better caregivers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not like commercials in which bumbling dads mess up the laundry and competent wives have to bustle in and fix it. The assumption that women are naturally better housekeepers is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to make alimony payments. Alimony is set up to combat the fact that women have been historically expected to prioritize domestic duties over professional goals, thus minimizing their earning potential if their “traditional” marriages end. The assumption that wives should make babies instead of money is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to get raped in prison. Permissiveness and jokes about prison rape are part of rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want anyone to be falsely accused of rape. False rape accusations discredit rape victims, which reinforces rape culture, which is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be lonely and we do not hate “nice guys.” The idea that certain people are inherently more valuable than other people because of superficial physical attributes is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to have to pay for dinner. We want the opportunity to achieve financial success on par with men in any field we choose (and are qualified for), and the fact that we currently don’t is part of patriarchy. The idea that men should coddle and provide for women, and/or purchase their affections in romantic contexts, is condescending and damaging and part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be maimed or killed in industrial accidents, or toil in coal mines while we do cushy secretarial work and various yarn-themed activities. The fact that women have long been shut out of dangerous industrial jobs (by men, by the way) is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to commit suicide. Any pressures and expectations that lower the quality of life of any gender are part of patriarchy. The fact that depression is characterized as an effeminate weakness, making men less likely to seek treatment, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be viewed with suspicion when you take your child to the park (men frequently insist that this is a serious issue, so I will take them at their word). The assumption that men are insatiable sexual animals, combined with the idea that it’s unnatural for men to care for children, is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want you to be drafted and then die in a war while we stay home and iron stuff. The idea that women are too weak to fight or too delicate to function in a military setting is part of patriarchy.
Feminists do not want women to escape prosecution on legitimate domestic violence charges, nor do we want men to be ridiculed for being raped or abused. The idea that women are naturally gentle and compliant and that victimhood is inherently feminine is part of patriarchy.
Feminists hate patriarchy. We do not hate you.
If you really care about those issues as passionately as you say you do, you should be thanking feminists, because feminism is a social movement actively dedicated to dismantling every single one of them. The fact that you blame feminists—your allies—for problems against which they have been struggling for decades suggests that supporting men isn’t nearly as important to you as resenting women. We care about your problems a lot. Could you try caring about ours?”
-Excerpt from If I Admit That Hating Men is a Thing, Will You Stop Turning it Into a Self-fulfilling Prophecy?, by Lindy West