Written in the Kitchen

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I remember when I used to write countless. Long ballads and things that weren’t clever and while it was clear I was trying really hard to be poetic, it didn’t matter. At that point in my life, I didn’t do everything with the intention of having it seen. I didn’t buy clothes and care how they looked from behind. I didn’t tear out sheets of my notebook with the irrational fear of someone seeing my eraser marks. I would write the beginning of hundreds of journals, full of the intention to begin a memoir of my life, believing that it would be of interest in some world to someone. I could create my own joy, like a plant that makes its own food to survive, finding all it needs in what it has within and what it can take without apology.

I remember when I used to write countless, different. I used words I didn’t know the definition of but they had become so normalized I assumed I could imply their meaning. Love. Depression. Heartbreak. I thought I had my heart broken when a girl called me her friend. I thought I had my heart broken when someone didn’t respond to my texts. I thought having your heart broken made you stronger, built up your tolerance, made you feel like a badass when you got back in the game. Instead, it’s like someone sticks needles in the bottom of your feet and expects you to still walk normally after you’ve stopped bleeding. Just because your pain does not bubble to the top of your skin doesn’t mean it isn’t pumping below. When you put on bravery and transform into courage the world does not know you began 10 feet behind the starting line.

I remember when I used to write countless, and it wasn’t always sad. I didn’t use to have my parents sit me down for a family meeting every time a piece was published. I could write about a female protagonist that looked nothing like me, because I was not my only idea of what a woman looked like. My only inspiration didn’t come from the things I was afraid to say out loud, trying to chase down my demons by pouring them onto my phone at an hour when the glow burned my eyes.

I remember when you asked me to write, demanding. I sat behind a silent keyboard and contemplated each letter. I failed. I didn’t fail because I had writers block or hated you or loved you or couldn’t articulate my feelings. I failed because I am not meant to write for the intention of having it seen. Once I began making choices beginning with “Will people…” nothing could be mine.

I remember when I wrote, and I would sign my name. Forming the letters at the top of the page, I knew the meaning behind them. I knew what it meant to be me. My keyboard wasn’t silent and I filled up notebooks and my name wasn’t just proof of identification. I didn’t give myself stomach aches because I pictured a memory without preparation. Yet the needles in my feet continue to aggravate my bones and my hand still shakes when I try to steady it but if I lay in bed all day I’ll never realize how tall I’ve grown. I want to have a name for a reason again.

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