Boxes Undone

In the aftermath of the tippled boxes
come undone;
ribbons untied, and words scraped
from corners of a pale skinned mind, unrefined;
do I say I am sorry?

When I was just a girl, in dresses printed in sunshine
and sewn together with trust,
I learned that words mean very little.
Unless,
they cause an unraveling.

Hope is easy. It’s a cliche gimmick token
curio offered with a pat on the shoulder
and a nod of the head. A smile.
While all the while,
I cant quite decide, which box to put it in.

You are too soft child. That is why you get so hurt.
You love too hard girl, that is why
you fall.
You hate yourself too much, woman-
maybe you should stop trying so hard.

You shouldn’t be so kind.
You shouldn’t speak your mind so much.
He will love me if I just bend.
They will just accept me if I just learn to be.
I will not be so hard to be around, if only.

Neat little boxes, all tucked in a row.
The contents of each, not even I care to know.
Hold your horses woman, you push too hard!
You’re so blunt and forthcoming, lady,
like a dog with a bone!

So which box should I unearth, to appease the confused?
Which ribbon should I untie?
Which should I be? Kind? Too soft? Not hard enough?
Blunt? The strong silent type?
Should I apologize now, or later?

None of my boxes are labelled ‘apologies’.
None of my boxes are labelled ‘I wish I were someone else’.
None of my boxes are labelled ‘I am a victim’.
They used to be.
Not anymore.

There are days, laced in loathing.
Coloured in black with the longing I feel for
being ‘that’ person. The one with the million photographs
of happy outings with happy friends. But I was
never that person.

I was the young girl being mocked by the
man I believed to be the definition of love. I was paraded
in front of mirrors to be taught how to hate myself so much
that the very thought of being touched repulsed me
into blind panic.

I was the barely legal kid at the end of the bar so drunk
that I wouldn’t register my own vomit on my
jacket until the following morning.
Or the fact that I needed help,
but I would never ask. Only weak people ask for help.

I was that woman, beaten so bad that
begging God to please let me die turned into a ritual.
A ritual that coincided with buying crack and
trying really hard to disappear.

One, two, three, four boxes, in among the many.
I couldn’t be what everyone else wanted me to be.
So I packed everyone else s boxes away, all the needs, and
expectations, and the guilt and the anxiety of not quite being good enough.

So again, none of my boxes are labelled ‘apologies’.
None of my boxes are labelled ‘I wish I were someone else’.
None of my boxes are labelled ‘I am a victim’.
They used to be.
Not anymore.

Which begs the question, In the aftermath of
the tippled boxes
come undone;
ribbons untied, and words scraped
from corners of a pale skinned mind, unrefined;
do I say I am sorry?

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