i see you. girl with heart trapped bird in throat, swallowing around voices. having to force a smile and sit still and not run to the toilet. who is learning how to take body and uncarve it rather than slim it down. to let go. to uncount. to allow self to expand like a fire’s fingers, filled up with warmth.
i see you, boy who is chewing a name that isn’t his. who is wearing baggy clothes and not flinching when they call you woman. who forces smile. who finds in his little sister a little bit of heaven inside of this hell. she glowers at every wrong pronoun. she tags all your presents with your true name. she doggedly and religiously calls you he. and even though it is a small voice - sometimes, when she is absent, it is only your voice - it is enough.
i see you, broken heart. your smile never touches your eyes but you give as much time and love as has been taken from you. nothing makes you happy so you spend hours on the smallest project to make another person smile. you find the little things. you feign joy so as not to steal it from those around you. it sits heavy on your shoulders and you can’t breathe.
i see you. girl who has to text her girlfriend under the table, whose hands shake when the aunt asks about boys. you who gets no gifts and you who gets gifts that only serve to remind you how little those you love know you. you who don’t get christmas messages or holiday cards or little reminders. who cowers in fear of holiday stress turning harsh hands harsher, who winces at memories of past nights that went bad in an instant. who gives to cover scars and who gives in the fragile hope of gaining back love. you who spent hours slaving over something handmade only to be laughed at, you who got all material and none of that essential intangible something that you’ve been yearning for these past months. you with nothing but numbness trying your best to be cheery for the day that makes you feel emptier than ever, you with the swinging emotions never sure if you’ll wake up on a good day, you who braces, you who endures.
i see you. someone once told me that my illnesses make me a blizzard. a road hazard. we are those who unbuckle, who swerve unruly, who go too slowly or else speed reckless over ice patches, who have trouble seeing home through the whiteness.
I read a review recently that said, ‘Who knew Eddie Redmayne was more than just a pout?’ You think, ‘Nice you’ve recognised that, but at the same time that’s 10 years of work you’ve just dismissed as pouting’.