Loving as an existentialist

There are never the right words to describe how beautifully I seem to feel things, deeply and passionately, dangerously. I am all in, for everything. And I fall, to the ground and I bruise myself a little, some scratches here and there … but I always get back up, and I always have an open heart. And how many people can say they never let someone change them for the worst? I’ve continued to trust, be vulnerable, exposed, to fall and repeat again. Because every wrong choice and every damaging experience only opens doors to new possibilities. Who knows where I’ll be to tomorrow or who I’ll meet or how I’ll feel it’s all so undecided. Who knows what I’ll do? I play the part of a resident of earth, another number to the population total, a space to occupy, but in my limited space of seemingly limited opportunity, it is mine to do away with, it is mine to feel and fall and explore every last part of it, and no matter what I do or where I go the world still turns, and the sun still sets, and the waves still crash. but maybe if we all stopped and walked backwards for a while we could slow down time for just a minute, and feel as if we’re apart of something bigger then ourselves. I will continue to be me, but sometimes it’s nice knowing if it really counts for anything.

 

-T.L.J

A vicious cycle (a spoken word poem about an abusive relationship)

You asked me a simple question, but my answer was quite complicated. You asked “Why don’t you love me anymore?” and I thought about it for the first time ever, you see, my heart is a lockbox but I don’t have the key, it’s a room I never take the time to clean and I don’t think it’s that the idea of loving you went away. It just got shoved under the bed. Collecting cobwebs and forming into something that made the burning sensation in my chest go away. Because you started a forest fire in my heart and I thought all the pain was worth it for the heat, but you didn’t stick around to clean up the ashes and I became just another girl you wrecked. And if killing someone was on your bucket list, you can check it off a hundred times because you killed me every time you reminded me there were tons of other girls waiting to be set ablaze. You killed the old me that would have never set herself on fire to keep you warm. But no matter how long I burned I couldn’t get through to your ice cold heart. So why don’t I love you anymore? I’ve forgotten what the word even means, because I’ve called myself a romantic for so long bruised and bloodied filling out my police report of how i seem to keep getting mugged every time you’ve had one too many drinks. It kept people from finding out, I mean starting rumors. So in love with idea of love that I’d settle for any human company that could say the words “I love you.” Even if they didn’t mean it, even if they stuttered, hesitated, called me the wrong name, even when I placed my heart so gently in your hands just to watch you crush it in front of me and give a small smile saying sorry. And if you said sorry it was okay even if it wasn’t true. But I’m sure it was true I say to myself shoving the event under the carpet. I could at least keep some self respect. People look into my dead eyes and ask “Are you okay?” And of course I’ll tell you i’m great, more than great even, but my heart beats to the tune of help me. help me. help me. “But you’ll be all alone” i say to myself. Don’t help me. Don’t help me. Don’t help me. I grew up on a battlefield and everyone had a gun but me, I’m so used to taking bullets from people with shotgun tongues, it’s almost like I’m resistant to feeling. I mean feeling pain. And by resistance I mean shoving all my feelings in my closet and locking it shut. My heart keeps growing bigger and bigger so I have room to support all your tragic back stories and pretend that that makes up for the fact that you’re a fucking asshole. I miss you sometimes, I’ll admit. I think about how your hands tracing my skin were as soft as the lips you kissed me with, but then I remember that your words were as harsh as the taste of another girls lipgloss still resting on your mouth. I can’t think of you for more than a minute without crying and remembering if you keep poking at bruises then they never heal. But I can only despise you so much before it turns back into love. This vicious cycle is a washing machine and I’m getting dizzy from all the spinning. Our love was on and off and on and off again like a light switch. I, a dark empty room waiting for you to walk in and light me up again. I may have meant nothing to you, but you were everything to me. how could I still care about you? You asked me why don’t you love me anymore? and I just stood still, unable to break eye contact with your venomous green eyes. I can’t answer an untrue question. i hate it, but I still love you, but I can’t tell you that. Instead I tell you this. You jumped from me like I was a building that was about to collapse, and I held on hoping for the best. The building crumbled down on me, and I still blame you for all the rubble left in my heart, in my bones, i was the goddamn building. My body is still sore from the impact. You gave that same small smile and walked away. I don’t think you understood, I can’t even understand. And maybe instead of going home and washing away the butterflies in my stomach you gave me with vodka, I might just take some pills and go to bed. But then… I’d be alone again.

– t.l.j

Bad Habits

I always held my breath when I walked past cigarette smoke because I was taught at a young age how bad habits can destroy a person. So maybe that explains why I always held my breath when you kissed me, I just didn’t want to be hurt. The thing is, you destroyed me anyways. I lit up all the sweet letters you wrote me along with my first cigarette yesterday. At least now I know you  won’t be the bad habit that kills me.

-t.l.j

Lies

I was always taught that lies were terrible, “The truth will set you free” was a famous quote my mother loved to recite. Yet honesty has never felt like freedom to me, it is a birdcage holding me captive, the truth has become a sword through my spine. It’s painful. I lie to others and myself because it is what’s best for me. If I pretend that I’m confident, then maybe I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror again, and stop having to wash my makeup and tear stained pillow cases. If I pretend to be happy, then maybe I might be someday. If I tell myself I don’t love you anymore, then maybe one day I really won’t. I’m sorry mother, but lying has become my liberation.

-t.l.j

Skinny

Maybe I should skip breakfast, and lunch, and dinner today…I mean I’m hungry of course, but I can’t see my rib cage as well anymore. I used to think I looked great, I was confident, not too confident but I wasn’t turning my face away from the mirror, I looked myself straight in the eye and I was okay with what stared back at me….until my best friend who I thought was perfect started complaining that she was fat. Then suddenly everything stopped, that’s fat? That’s what fat looks like? Oh god if that’s what fat looks like I’m in trouble. I started to feel myself shrink away, feeling like I wasn’t worthy enough to occupy the space around me. Like the size of my waist was more important than my SAT scores, I became obsessed with society’s idea of perfection. I looked people in the eye to see if they looked at me with as much disappointment as I did looking at myself in the mirror everyday. I could no longer hold eye contact with myself for more than five seconds without turning away and having the grumbling of my stomach drown out the thoughts in my head that told me that skinny is better. That no one would ever love me unless my collarbones stuck out like knives, sharpened to protect myself from those who lie and tell me I look great that day. What do you mean I look great? I ate a banana and if I don’t go to the bathroom and throw it up I think I might die, I look great? My eyes are dead from the countless nights spent staring at other girls on a screen telling me what I needed to look like. And I know if I keep going like this I’ll drive myself to ruin, but dead girls are skinnier.

-t.l.j

Garden Girl

For all the sprouts shriveled up on cold december mornings, you are not as worthless as you feel. Your evasiveness to warmth comes from your roots dug deep in your self loathing, never knowing anything but sorrow. Despite what you believe you don’t have to shrivel like this, you are allowed to grow. There is an escape from this labyrinth of desolation, although it is seemingly impossible to view yourself as anything but collateral damage. So kind as to let others take what they did not deserve and grow above you, but darling they are not above you. Little sprout you are a flower in bloom, and one day I hope you will come to see your own beauty as much as I do.

-t.l.j

The Holidays

 

Hot chocolate and spiked punch

lonely laughter passed through echoing church corridors

sad smiles placing mistletoe over graves  

roasting cold hearts over fireplaces

 

a woman walks around with the glow of a vacancy sign in her eyes

“They all left me.” she says. “All I have is the luggage. It’s getting heavy in my mind.”

attending parties full of empty people

wool sweaters and thunderstorms

popping champagne and popping pills

 

feeling everything or nothing at all

t.v. specials and turkey dinners

music that plays softly and people that talk too loudly

going to shows and putting on shows

wearing happiness like a mask, a smile plastered for drunken family photos

 

wallets as fat as your laughing uncles stomach

being grateful for all you have and buying as much as you can

children crying on christmas morning about not getting what they want

the coal may not be in their stockings but it’s in their hearts

 

ice skate blades and chills running down your spine

record players spinning and parents fighting

the wind howls all through the night

trees scraping against bedroom windows

children scraping their knees

 

growing body counts and holiday cheer

looks like it’s that time of year

-t.l.j