By: Ashley Wright
“Do you hear me?” I say so broken, just hoping.
“I just want answers this time, you never-.”
His mumbles interrupt me.
“Why don’t you answer me!?” I yell.
“I’m too, I’m too broken for this silence.
Too many conversations with God were like this; the silence never screamed the truth I desire to hear. The conversations always went the same: tears, questions, prayer and anger. I begin to scribble away in my journal, with hope but still broken.
“Defeat never comes to any man until he admits it” –Miguel de Cervantes
Now in my own words.
You seem to have tasted victory,
cheering in chalices with my tears
painting tragedies with my blood.
You grin at my downfalls
and you build castles of corruption from my ruins.
You love the way my hopes crumble under the weight of your malign ways,
but one day I will waltz to the melodies of your defeat
I will taste the kind of victory you dream of.
You will not get me to fall on my own sword.
You’ve won battles, dear tyrant,
but I will find victory at the end of this war.
To make things clear, this poem isn’t about God at all. Trust me; my relationship with God is much more complicated. I am speaking of D. He’s been in my life since sidewalk chalk and loose teeth, maybe earlier. He isn’t human or tangible to be exact. He is what I like to call, the “Devil’s Disease.” I don’t need to say anymore and I won’t.
As I think of D I attempt to get comfortable on my paisley bed spread, I think. Who would I be without D and why won’t he leave? I never welcomed him into my life; he snuck in along with the demons of my past. My demons tend to knock at my door like annoying salesmen with their fake sweepstakes. It begins. I think of her. She is more like a surrogate than anything, giving me away to get rid of her very own demons. It’s hard to be okay with my mother’s addiction.
As I face the ceiling, tears soak my hair and fill my ears.
“Hey, bastard child”, says D.
“You have weakened me enough. Let me sleep.”
“Ha-ha if you say so, birth defect.”
He then calls me a “failed abortion” but I wiggle, and then roll over to experience insomnia, then sleep. As I sleep, I attempt the find my freedom.
This is the short story of a lengthy struggle; happy girl with an enemy capable of mass destruction, D…
My ears try to ignore my alarm clock but they fail. I barely get any sleep, just insomnia, sleeping anxiety. I nod off in the shower, face pressed against tile. I nod off doing my hair, trying to ignore gravity. I nod off—well you get the point…
Walking through the hallways, I let my awkward self pretend the hall is my runaway, every few steps. Don’t look insecure. Look perfect. Look perfect. I remember being round and brown among stick figures at Nativity. Nativity is a private school. I actually love being in a public school now. It feels right, you know? I continue walking. My friend Adriana feeds my ears:
“She looks like a bag of mayonnaise.”
“Ha-ha, what does that even mean?
“It means that the shape of her body should be illegal.”
I laugh even though its cruel. That’s actually something D would say. So why did I laugh? I I’m a teenage girl in a world full of judgment and gossip, that’s why. I laugh until I see him, my ex. Then I laugh louder as if to say, “See I’m happy without you.” I shouldn’t begin to speak of him. It’s such a long story and he isn’t worth time, paper, or ink.
By now you’re probably wondering, who I am. I bet you’re waiting for that cliché sentence that says “Oh yeah, my name is Amber!” or Grace. Well, you don’t need to know my name, only my struggle.
Strut. Strut. Awkward. Strut. Strut. Adriana leaves and I begin to walk to my first bell. As I walk I observe the people and try to avoid my anxiety. You probably wonder why I’m anxious. I wonder that too. I don’t always know, I just am, it sucks. Sometimes I pray to God to ease my nerves. I’m waiting on my prayers to be answered. I beg God to get rid of D too, but he still haunts me. I’m sure I’ll see him soon…
I told Mr. Lin that his class lowers my self- esteem. It’s true. I suck at this class. I’ve never felt so stupid in my life.
“Well, little buds, you’re gonna learn electron configurations today.”
My face hits the desk. I take my glasses off. Nap time. Is it still called insomnia when you can’t sleep during the day? Sometimes I can but not now. Maybe it’s the lights, this Spanish book against my face, or Mr. Lin talking about aliens and lady friends. I look at the clock. Fifteen minutes have passed. My eyes then make their way to the door below. There he is, D. he stares at me, mouthing words. Stupid. Fat. Ugly. Not good enough.I look away and pretend to enjoy chemistry but I can’t wait until lunch…
At lunch my friends and I have so much fun. I’m usually the center of attention. I love to goof off and to make people laugh. I usually make crude jokes that for a second make listeners uncomfortable. I also love-
“Hey, whore,” says D with a smirk.
“Go away, not now.”
“Why are you wearing shorts, actually why don’t you just disappear?
“Please, not today, lately I’ve been so-“
“Shut up, I own you, and you know it” he howls.
“Hey, are you okay?” my friend interjects.
“Oh yeah! I just totally zoned out.”
God why? Why during school? Is this your way of bettering me? Are my weaknesses the roots to my strength and success? Lunch continues. D is now just staring at me behind a blue Toyota Prius. I do my best to ignore him. By the end of the school day I’ve been called “white girl” seven times, my past relationships have been brought up, and D has hissed at me three more times.
I put my Mercury Cougar in reverse and swerve on these hoes. Ha, just kidding but I do go down Goshen Drive and turn up my radio. All I hear is profanity over a thick bass and sick beat. I love it
After I pull in front of my house, park and make my way to my room I contemplate going to sleep. When I get home I usually nap. Sometimes sleep is my release, my get away. No one, not even D, can hurt me in my dreams. As I’ve mentioned before, I try to find freedom in my sleep. I anticipate one day knowing the true meaning of the word, but for now sleep is as close as I get to it…
I awake to D, staring into my soul. I could tell he wanted to pull it from me and leave me lifeless. I tell him that his pathetic growls will not weaken me tonight as I think: God cannot be strong for you. You have to be strong for yourself.
“How dare you speak to me like this,” D says with boiling anger.
“Oh, do you mean calling you out?”
I begin to curse at him with all that’s inside, with everything that he hasn’t taken from me. As I voice each word, I take back ownership. He doesn’t own you. He doesn’t own you. I tell him that he’s too unintelligent to recognize my beauty and potential. You are beautiful. You are beautiful. As his yells get louder, I don’t quiver. As he calls me bastard and a crack heads offspring, I laugh and command him to be original.
“Guess who’s winning,” I sarcastically ask.
Within his confusion and upset he shrinks before my eyes. He was once seven feet tall, now he’s an unconvincing ant crawling upon the ground. I squash him and he limps away. You are strong.
“Let me be!” I bellow.
Even though this freedom may be temporary, I’m still happy. He’s gone for now. I then pull out my vintage style journal with the cover that says “Love the Life You’re Living.” I put pen to paper:
No longer numb,
my scarlet oceans dry up
and rivers of victory run free.
No longer claiming broken,
but beautifully shattered.
Liquid crystals run across toasted caramel cheeks
I am free.
I am free.
You are my undoing but tonight I’ll begin to stitch myself back together.
This is my beginning.
This is my freedom.
You are the catalyst
To me standing so tall,
painting words on walls you built to enclose my potential.
I am not you
and dear depression,
you are not me.