I’ve been thinking about feelings lately.
Not emotions. Feelings.
Emotions are what you express.
Feelings are what you experience, and
There’s an inconceivable depth to that
Of which emotion will never accomplish.
So I’m left with eloquent emotions in my hands and
Scribbled feelings on my heart.
That’s the thing about hearts,
You can cut them up and rip them out,
Crumple them, stain them with the ink in your pointed words.
You can distress a heart like a pair of jeans but it never stops working.
Yet just because it ticks on
Doesn’t mean it isn’t maimed,
It isn’t changed.
You see, hearts are made of paper.
To think they are made of muscle and sinew,
That they’re strong and resilient
Is to deplete the power of feelings.
To erase their depth.
Because each mark you make on my heart is a constant reminder
Of just who the hell you are.
Each rip you create,
Each time you try to tape it back together.
Every laugh, every glare, every poem and smile and rude comment and ray of light and supportive wish
Decorates my insides like the world’s ugliest collage.
I only get one heart.
It was once a blank slate,
But since then has been written on by a thousand experiences,
Every thing I have ever felt has marked up my paper heart.
Which begs the question,
If our hearts are made of paper,
What does yours look like?
You have a color to you.
It glows when you smile
And glitters in the depths of your eyes.
So variant, so beautiful,
I never want to stop staring.
You have a music to you.
It rings in your laughter and
Laces your voice.
A melody, so layered and mellifluous,
I refuse to stop listening.
You have an energy to you.
It radiates through your movements and
Is complemented by your excitements.
A lightning storm, charged and snapping,
I neglect to be afraid.
You have a light to you.
It shines through your kindness and
Emanates from your very soul.
A warmth that is matched by nothing else.
It seems so cold elsewhere.
You have a darkness to you.
It clings to your clothes and
Grasps at your hands.
It tries to drag you down.
I know you fear it will.
Just know there is no way it can.
It is terrified of color.
Of music, of energy.
It is so afraid of your light,
It tries to extinguish it.
Which is all the more reason to burn brighter, isn’t it?
Be more colorful, more energetic, more musical.
I know you’re afraid.
It’s all the more reason to be you.
For Erin, who gives more than any one person ought to be able to. Continue to amaze, girly.
This is a thank you to heroes, for
Being a hero is a thankless job.
I don’t mean a superhero,
Flashy and full of bravado and gall.
I mean the everyday heroes.
The ones who lend a helping hand
When you don’t feel like you deserve one.
They’re the ones who carry bandaids in their back pockets
To put on your scrapes, though
Sometimes their bandaids aren’t big enough.
Yet when they aren’t,
They find one appropriately sized from the collection on their heart,
And they lend it do you,
No matter how they bleed.
This is to the people
Who would rather take the hit themselves
Than watch it be taken by another.
The ones who fear deeper than they love,
But love larger than they fear.
Because being a hero,
A true hero,
A warrior among thieves,
Giver of love and support and
The occasional bandaid,
Is a thankless job.
To the ones who don’t need a thank you
To continue to be selfless anyway,
I thank you.
We thank you.
And we remind you,
To need a hero yourself sometimes
I am marked.
I was made a little differently than most and
They shrink away from it,
Their noses wrinkled in disgust.
I’m not the same.
I don’t fit their cookie cutter mold.
I am color in their world
Of black and white.
For a while, this tortured me.
I tried to change myself,
I tried my hardest to paint myself grey,
To bend my limbs to fit their cast, and
Even then it wasn’t good enough for them.
I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere.
Until I opened my eyes and realized I’m not the only one who was marked.
The other colors,
The others who are rejected by the status quo,
I surround myself with them.
Where being special is important.
Where being myself is an asset.
I bloomed with these new friendships,
And I have only grown stronger.
Together, in their amiable embrace,
I have come to realize
That the scars I wield,
From when they have tried to turn me down,
Turn me away,
Turn me into something else
Are really badges of honor.
And while they have tried their hardest
To mark me,
To flag me as different
As some sort of error,
All their attempts
Really only marked themselves.
As people I—
Want to be like anyway.
Even when she was a child,
Her eyes were ancient.
They held a depth inconceivable
For someone who had seen so little.
She was so young,
Yet no one ever thought she was.
She understood without words,
Thinking faster than she could speak.
Her words were murmurs and half mumbles,
If you actually cared enough to listen.
She was mature,
Like a pressed flower.
She was brave for a coward,
Slow for a genius, and
Lovable for an introvert.
She was balanced precariously on the precipice of her own demise for so long
That we all wondered what trifle
Would topple her perfect tower.
Steady as rain in a hurricane,
She stood tall.
Her limbs bowed under the strain of her own anxiety,
Yet we all knew her burden was hers to carry.
We didn’t know it was killing her.
Until one day her words came out with power.
All the thoughts she kept close to her heart
Parted her lips with passion,
Bursting forth in explosions of poetry.
So unlike the pressed flower between the pages of the tomes she hid behind,
She found her sunlight and
Speaking with clarity.
She was heard.
She was listened to.
He told me that he’d love me forever.
Not only did I reach the end of forever, but I came out on the other side.
She stared at herself in the mirror,
“I will never be beautiful.”
He didn’t believe that.
He told her she was perfect,
But not the kind of perfect you go looking for.
She was the shattered kind of perfect
That would make the world stop and stare
If it ever bothered to take notice,
But since when does the world notice broken things
That haven’t stopped ticking?
She was careful to stay alert,
Not to fall a beat behind.
She was careful to be perfect,
Save the light that lived in her eyes.
He told her he loved her,
And that she completed him,
Until she told him it was impossible,
“I will never be beautiful.”
A picture is worth a thousand words,
But who needs a thousand
When five will do?
He turned his face away
To a whole kind of perfect,
The kind the world holds onto her every breath.
“You were never really perfect.”
The spark died.