It is heartbreaking the way men feel entitled to women and women do not feel worthy of men. Mirrors betray us all in different ways. “You are good enough” and “you are not good enough” and “you DESERVE her” and “you will NEVER deserve him.”

My best friend gets catcalled every time I go out with her and she vomits over her lanky legs and bushy eyebrows. She is beautiful, but she is afraid. Sometimes when I cry, it is for her.

I spent a lot of time talking to men about why they do what they do and they too often get that look in their eyes like “what the fuck is she talking about” like “who is she to question us” like “what I do is not wrong” like “it’s not ALL of us” before laughing and shrugging it off. I almost feel bad for them, because it seems they do not know the way their words feel like bullets coming from guns we cannot lobby against. But I snap out of it quickly, because it cannot be my job to educate them all while their eyes bore holes through my breasts and never through my forehead.

A lot of the time my friends from other states ask me when I’ll meet my next lover. All romantic, all Hollywood-esque, we’ll run into each other on the sidewalk between 23rd & 3rd. He’ll casually strike up a conversation with me at the coffee shop where I am so buried in my textbooks I forget to blink. None of that can ever happen, because any time a strange man looks, talks, walks in my direction, I have such a strong instinct to run that it makes gravity look weak.

Maybe it isn’t fair, but my one friend vomits, another friend forgot that love and bruises are not the same thing, and I don’t know a good touch from a bee sting after that too many times too often thing with that boy whose hands stretched in places I did not understand. And the police won’t file a report for that other friend, because not enough evidence, because she couldn’t get herself out of bed for the rape kit, because his good grades, because the hollow sound of a girl who will never know herself again is not ever enough evidence. And all of us cry, secretly and constantly, consistently silent in our shame.

Maybe it isn’t fair, the fear. But I can’t see how it’s up to us to fix it anymore, the entitlement, the greed, the insatiable hunger - the constant barrage of “it wasn’t me, I do not need to help you, to empathize with you.” All we get is only silence and empty bullet shells and so many holes in too many women I love. So many that if you look too quickly, you look through us. So many that the longer we stare in the mirror, the less of ourselves we see.

—  too much weight on my shoulders today - n.m.

I’ve gotten oddly good at being in the mist of a panic attack and no one knowing.

I’ve perfected the art of the casual smile while my insides are fighting each other to the death. I know where to place my line of vision so know one will ask why my eyes looks so strained as I hold back tears of frustration and anxiety.

When I’m in a full on panic attack, it’s ugly. It’s fists to walls and pulling my own hair. It’s random bouts of screaming and so many tears, if you were to catch all of them the world would never go thirsty. It’s me sitting in front of a mirror touching my face trying to remember if I’m awake or not. It’s me laying in the floor knees to chest trying to remember the pattern for breathing.

It’s me, sitting in class, laughing at the joke my best friend just made.

It’s me, everyday.

—  My Suit Of Armor (M.T.H.)
when neck becomes chin

I’m chewing 
on crayons
to taste color
to emblazon the 
inside of my stomach
with a smattering of
waxed, drunken designs

  (writing messages
  from the modern caveman)

I’ve lost my taste
  for wretched mentions
for subtitles 
and brisk intentions

so I consume 
simplicities
  of colors and words
  (one at a time)
  eyes closed
    forgetting myself
    simultaneously with the others
I’ve become the sunset
I’ve become the morning dew
I’ve become the love
  we feel 
    as our hands touch
      shaking back and forth
    it’s very nice to meet you

Somewhere along the way
I became an optimist.
I don’t know when it happened
But it was like my brain gradually
Tried to get rid of all my negativity
So I wouldn’t be overcome by the
Negativity from everyone else.
As if it were a way of preserving
A small but necessary piece of hope.
A way of preventing me from drowning in pessimism and defeat.

1. When I look at you, I swear it’s like my heart is a machine and it’s leaking breaker fluid at a rate so fast, it will only be days until I lose control.

2. The first time I looked at the ocean, my eyes were so wide and my chest so heavy, I watched the infinite depths of the world rise to greet me with the salty taste of reality. I never thought I would understand the sea until your arms pressed against me like a tidal wave.

3. Is this all we are given? Is this life, this breath, this tired beating in the darkest corners of our beings the only answer this Universe can offer us? We are not study guides, but I am writing your name inside constellations as if yours is the answer.

4. I have only days until these feelings turn to something more. I feed it like a cancer, knowing that if there is life after death it exists somewhere within the clasp of your hands.

5. For many years I have written the coordinates of the places I call home on this shelf of bone that protects my heart. Lately, I have been making room, forgetting the past places I felt safe just to document every inch of ground your feet walk upon. Soon, very soon, I hope you find yourself at home.

6. Do not talk to me of anchors if you have not looked at the people you died for, and forgiven.

7. Do not talk to me of the rain unless the way their words stung you smelled as petrichor the moment they walked away.

8. Do not talk to me of the wind unless the breezes of past heartbreaks stirred around you and settled the moment you fell for someone new. I looked at you, and the winds of who I used to be sent shivers down my spine, knowing this time around would be more painful than the last.

9. For you, I will stare at the moon, and forgive.

10. I care, and it hurts so much more than you can imagine. I am an atlas of hurt, and every time you touch my skin, a million bruises disappear.

11. It took being heartbroken to know my heart is always yours. I give you my permission to do as you want with me.

—  7-weeks//11 Ways to say “I love you” without using those three words.
Just remember that sometimes, the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are.
—  Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
The way you look gives me butterflies in my stomach. The way you smile makes my heart melt in an instant. The way you laugh brings joy to my bones. The way you kiss makes my whole body shudder. The way you think makes my mind wander. And the way you love makes me wish more than ever that it was me you loved and not another.
—  The Way You Move Me | Nikita Gill

I knew something was off .

In fact, I knew the moment my voice croaked
and you smiled like a Cheshire Cat who
knew an inside joke that you did not know love.

I am sure you laughed because in that moment
you were well aware of what you had done.
I bet you saw my tears as merely trophies you had won.

When in reality you lost my heart.

Respectfully, the girl you once referred to as “art”.

—  To the guy who laughed when I cried. (22 / 365) by Jackie B.

When one of my closest friends told me she thought she was suicidal, every subsequent day I forced myself into two in the morning conversations about the value of being alive, pushing myself into tepid late-night soliloquies, wondering what I had to say in order to delay the day I feared the most. I have examined the darkest thoughts of the people that I love to tell you this:

I believe that we can kill the parts of ourselves we dislike without having to kill ourselves. I believe we can kill off the people we used to be, but we are worth far more than ever having to kill ourselves.

I believe we are poetry. Each of us are salt water and supernovae, petrichor and sunlight. Anything that tries to stop us from existing is only as fragile as the night.

We are not broken. Though our problems at times weigh us by the ankles, a stone in the apathetic sea of discontent, I have never believed we are worth submitting to the crashing waves of conformity.

When my friend told me how much she hated herself, I realized how hard it is for humans to reflect. We are not mirrors, we are wind, our souls a container for the hurricanes that lift us off our feet around the people we love the most. But it is hard for us to see ourselves the way we truly are. For years I have hoped her shining existence might be reflected within the winds of who we both are.

And when my friend told me she hates the person she has been, I wondered why the poltergeists of the people we were in past lives haunt us the way they do. Your chest is not the house of ghosts, your pores are not a graveyard of the good things you have lost. Here lies, the person you have yet to be. Here lies, the love you have yet to give. Here lies, the promise of a better future, a better life, here lies a soul so powerful it can hardly see itself in a mirror, it glows and it shakes and it is not deserving of the rope you imagine tied around your neck.

And when you find yourself awake at two in the morning, letting the weight of who you used to be tie you down like anchors and cast you off at sea, remember you are saltwater, you have every right to be who you are. Sixteen years drowning in the ocean of reality, and I can tell you that we are not shipwrecks. Love yourself, for you are poetry.

I believe in us. We are not the burden of our sadness, the taste of death we sprinkle on our tongues, the cracking cage of coordinates that protect our hearts. You are your own Home, wanderlust with the ocean breeze. You are a reflection of beautiful things, and we can over come the people we are.

—  7-weeks//This I Believe/Poetic Healing, Pt. 3