09 December 2007

a good day

I say a silent prayer to calm my anxieties and brace

myself for the hour ahead. I am greeted by a whirlwind

of hair and smiles, a couple decibels above

my comfort zone. We’re here to make “safe

girl space” but I can’t seem to intercept

every biting word that pierces these hearts.

We’re here to offer what the city calls “tools

of empowerment” and “youth development,” but

secretly, I call it love. We don’t fit in with the harsh

discipline of your school day. The disconnect is too abrupt;

the chasm too incomprehensible. I’m building a bridge

for you, but you tell me you can’t see. Why can’t you see?

When all I see is darkness, how do I know not to run from the blinding light?

I once heard a joke that all who survive adolescence have

an overabundance of material to inspire quality

creative writing. But it’s not funny anymore when your survival

is uncertain. I loathe to do it, but I challenge myself to recall

those years when the world stopped with a single word

from this week’s best friend and started with the subtle hint of

a smile from tomorrow’s new crush. I long to hold you all in

a human embrace and take you away to castles in

clouds, but your young hearts are already skeptical of

the dreams I hold up to your eyes as they roll.

When all other hands come close to strike my raw and bleeding
corpse, where do I learn that your hand offers salve and gifts?

“I am not the enemy.” I am an insufficient human

band-aid on a festering wound with no distinct beginning

or end. A strong silent friend helped me step out

of my brokenness. I gave myself a voice by being

heard. I gave myself a choice by naming

my wounds – making them real, but no more or less

real than me. I am here to listen. To search through this tangled

mass and get a little closer to finding you. Who are you? Will you tell me?

I only hear my name when I’m being told to shut up; how do I know that you’re asking for my voice? Where do I find this voice that speaks my truth and makes my choices?

I’m diving in, but there’s no such thing as swimming. I wonder

if that means we all drown together or if desperate treading is

the technicality that redeems. But everyday, I come back fighting

the sinking weight in my soul; getting angrier and angrier with

whoever is throwing these babies in the river. The questions outweigh

the answers, so we explore further, deeper, longer…

If we come out limbs intact, it was a good day.

If you are here to help me, why do I still only see
bleeding hearts dragged through broken glass everywhere I turn?