The hardest part wasn’t surviving it, but convincing my brain that it’s over.
I am an intoxicating idea,
But a dizzying reality,
Some untamable force people want with two hands,
But have no idea how to hold on.
I wonder if I am a tall tale in someone else’s narrative–
Some summer camp personified,
The girl with red hair and pretty words.
I wonder if they gawk at how all of me is on fire.
Perhaps I am the cautionary tale of saying too much,
How my mouth became Pandora’s box, and all my truths have taken on lives of their own.
Maybe my admissions are Greek tragedies some other storyteller now claims.
No girl gets to be the author and the muse–
She is always the object, even in her own stories.
Because the fiction is better than the female.
The story doesn’t speak back.
It cannot cry, cannot disappoint.
They are just words, after all.
And the words are better than the rest of the woman,
How you can take them with you after you leave–
The lightest library held in your heart.
You return for my words like they are paradise,
But your hometown is elsewhere.
Somewhere more tap water than tequila.
There, in your hometown, my affirmations cradle your loneliness. They are your lullaby, although you never tell me that.
There, you tell stories about me until they run out.
Until you return to me just long enough for your hands to slip and your granola house calls your name.
And then, you are gone.
Another tourist disguised as an immigrant.
Feet raging against the floor,
Hips commanding the music–
You should see me when I’m dancing.
You should see me when all the forces of nature I am awake.
You should see me when I make spectators of every one of my demons,
The inertia of my turns pinning them against the wall.
Bodies like this aren’t celebrated by cameras,
Are hidden in the spines of glossy magazines.
I am too much woman for such a small world.
My jiggly thighs,
Ones so ravenous they swallow my shorts.
I refuse to ruin my groove by pulling them down.
Too many years,
Too many songs,
Too many dancefloors, I wasted my joy in hiding.
My energy belonged to my starvation, my purging, my insecurities.
You should see me on the dancefloor.
That’s where you see my recovery–
The softness of my body is a symphony in motion.
The percussion of my feet against the floor rivals any drumline.
Every song is my song when I’m not starving.
And my smile, my energy,
All of it,
exclaims, “How lucky am I to have lived through everything to be this?”