i'm a writer

Give me a pen
  and enough paper
  and i can write you an impassioned
 on my thoughts
  my feelings
  everything about myself.
   i can be direct,
   discuss things that would normally
    terrify me to admit;
 i can be open about
   my feelings
everything there is.
Ask me to vocalize these things
  and i stumble
  the glottal stops i thought were trained
    out of me by a particularly neurotic
   high school English teacher
   becoming all my words
i will tell you ten thousand
  about everything and anything
   except what i'm supposed
   to be talking about.
i've never understood
   this disconnect
  between writing and speaking -
   surely either way
 it's the same words in the same brain
   and they ought to come out the same.
  But with paper,
   i can edit, re-edit, rewrite,
   perfect each line and word
   in ways that speech has never offered.
  i don't have to worry (and sometimes,
    worry becomes all i am)
    about misspeaking,
   making things seem less important
   than they are
   or more.
i have a chance to say precisely what i mean to,
   rather than a crude, stammered approximation
   of gratitude
   or pain
    or love
   or fear
or anything else.

i'm not everyone's toy

i've always had
   a break
    between the absence of boundaries
   with those i love and the bubble i erect
     with strangers.

 i am a pet; i blossom under the right touch
   and please let me know
    when i've been a good girl,
  and please put a hand
   on my head and love me
  and please
   touch my neck, trace the line of my shirt,
   but do not
  if i don't know you.

i am service-oriented;
   i will go to the ends of the damn earth
   if asked to by those who have earned the right

But you have to earn it.

Understand: i am not your toy
  not your plaything on which to foist
   your personal fantasy,
   Not not not
  anyone's for the taking
i answer only to those i deem worthy
  and it's a slippery slope
   between pleasant greeting and fuck off,
   if you take the wrong tone with me
   or try to apply rights or pet names
   where they are not welcome.

i choose to whom i belong
   or want to belong
i choose who i want touching me
   i. choose.
   and you do not have that right
unless i let you know you do.

i am a pet,
  and you will find out
 if you are not careful
just how fast
that door can slam.



Some days i'm fine
  functional, stable adulthood
   responding to emails
    making lists
  doing everything
  Able to communicate effortlessly,
    organized and brilliant and effective.
   Able to handle any situation
    get a grip on my emotions and do what i need to
      regardless of how scary it is.

 And the rest
  lost inside my head
 that i am hopeless,
  unable to ever explain myself
   peeling off my skin
   and revealing the layers
    unable to say Please
  unable to say
because silence,
   that's safer.
   And i am so scared
    terror that eats into the back
     of my brain,
    and i want to say "NO"
  And i get so angry
    at myself
   for believing that silence
   will ever accomplish
    anything. That avoidance
    of everything,
  all of it
 will ever

   and bewildered
 and feeling so
   for being this emotional.



i joke about the duality
   between normal!brain and
     Anxiety!Brain: Able to Leap to the Worst Conclusion in a Single Bound

But the reality is
   anxiety is the tiny voice in the back of your brain
     that never
 shuts off.

It is the voice that tells you
   that no, there ARE opinions that matter
    and it isn't going to care if
     your logical brain says that no, that one doesn't.

It's the shying from conversations
   the shutting off of your own emotion
     the refusal to see yourself
       the confusion once you do.

It is the voice that says You
   Are Not Allowed
   to have negative emotions,
   because if you do -
    if you do,
     you're nothing but a burden.

  It is the voice that says you are not -
    will never be -
     enjoyed for who, for what you are

that maybe who and what you are
   shouldn't exist

 and even when you manage to shunt
    most of that to the side,
      silence some,

  force yourself into some semblance
    of calm and reality and acceptance
   random moments
   will catch you utterly off-guard

Like the moment your friend says
   you have accepted him more fully
   than people he's known for decades,

  and you realize

it's because you want that, desperately,
   from those whose opinions actually matter.

Those moments you remember
   that one year,
  ten years ago,
   where every time
    your phone rang

it was someone else you loved dead
and it left you so irrational about phone calls
   and the thought of picking up the phone
  comes with a mix of "They'll think
    Something Bad Happened" and
  feeling like you need permission.

When you realize
   that one word can calm
     or twist your thoughts
into massive confusion
   and all it takes is one.

When you recognize
    that a lot of the plans you make
   on a day to day basis
on coping mechanisms

And when you know
   that opening up to anyone
     feels as though you are offering
   raw, flayed underbelly
    unless it doesn't,
    and that "doesn't"
  inevitably catches you

And you see clearly
  that you're simultaneously
   capable of infinite
But beneath the surface
  that damn voice is saying,


And that voice doesn't care
   if you happen to know for a fact
 that it isn't true.
It doesn't matter, nothing matters
   except the monologue behind your eyes
   that says
 You must be useful
  and if you're not, then


But you know better.
   You know your worth
  has never depended on
   your usefulness.
Not that anxietybrain
   cares any more about it.


The Unexpected Aftereffects of Emotional Abuse

You never know
   what will hit
   or when
 or how
until you're bent double
   or suddenly running,
   gasping under the weight
 of yet another unintentional comment
   and you never know
 who will hit,
   a random co-worker,
      a friend who would never want
   to hurt you,
  a stranger on the street
and suddenly the back of your brain,
     that part conditioned to believe
 that surely
   of course
    ANYTHING bad is true
 because when he presented all your "faults"
   he said "You want the truth? I'll give you the truth"
     and then he dropped bombs in your brain
   with the force of a fucking fighter plane
     and they were bad bad bad girl,
   playing the victim despite your feeling that
     everything was All Your Fault,
    casting blame on everyone around you
        never mind that three days after
    he was telling you that "everyone else"
      said it was your fault
 and hell, you already believed it
  that no one needed you,
   that you needed to be needed when you don't,
    that you had no worth
      without someone needing something
       from you
    too needy
    too emotional
       too much for him to handle
  and if the person who collared you can't,
   who else would want to, and why
      would anyone want you?

    And even now, months on,
     now that you've defused most of those triggers
  there are moments you still believe them
   How he built up good/bad girl to flying or falling
    how he used talking all the time as an "I love you" equivalent
     or ignoring you for punishment
   until you were begging
     (you swore you'd never beg)
until that sick pit
   in the bottom of your stomach
   Until you have to fight through all this shit
   to keep from projecting all his actions
     onto unsuspecting people who
     would never
Until you were so fucking desperate
   just to be told you were a decent person
     that the right voice saying "good girl"
  makes you cry.

But you can get back.
  You are not
   any of what he told you was "true"
   you are wondrous,
    strange and beautiful
   loving and child-like and adult
    lover and caretaker and wife and pet
    and you can go back there.
 You can be
    who you have always been,
     under all that insecurity.