Fred Postles CC
You have a high threshold for this kind of pain. The kind that slides down your body, split the seams. let the whiskey and liquid wishes pour out. The kind that would start a fire in the person next to you, but you like the burn. It’s familiar and will die on its own so long as they never know. I only know how to belong when I am being abused. The kind that is silent, holding onto the wind you can hear it when the leaves call. When the green grasses burn. Because everything burns eventually. Pain is unsustainable. Tell them your hurt. Tell them you feel small. You always feel small. How do we build a foundation out of forest fires? Sift through the ash for a new layer of soil. Let the earth soften under your touch. Let the smoke slither between your fingers and tolerate absence. Because one day someone will show up. You have to believe someone’s hand will be gentle enough to replant a garden that always feels neglected. Don’t be afraid when the pain goes. Don’t be afraid when the chest softens and sunflowers grow in all the broken cracks of your body. Because this is what peace will feel like. It’s the closest thing to magic.
And in the midst of all the chaos, he bought me vanilla ice cream. Ice cream can make the world feel a little less sad. We’d spend late nights sitting at the bus stop, a distraction from a family imploding. You are amazing. Words I’d heard but never believed because no matter how many times it is said, the voice still exists. The voice you shaped in order to validate your anger. Validate your hurt. Validate that the less space you take up, the better it is for everyone. So how do we survive this? How do you survive trauma that’s planted in the middle of your chest, a tree growing since the day you were brought into the world? You find pockets of light. There has to be a balance because why else would we be here? To share ice cream with a ghost. To be told by a stranger you are kind. To navigate a world burned to ruins and show people paths exist outside of exiting early. You can’t help but smile when eating ice cream, can you?
When I first told my story to a friend, he’d told me his. Both never brought to light because each story would be received differently. One in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. One in 6 boys. We forget that other stories are told but contained in a box, shoved under the prospect that men do not experience assault. How do we change the conversation? How do we make space to believe all victims. How do we change the language surrounding abuse in order for men to come forward too? Dismantle the notion that men are not allowed to be sensitive. We are all human- a basic human right is to feel and breathe life into our stories. Where has the humanity gone for these young boys? Why are their stories buried under ours? Why doesn’t anyone believe me?
Because I want to write into these memories
Not just the ones carved out of broken
Bone and scarred skin
I want to write into the way our
Open- each rib sliced in the middle
Until our hearts pour
Into our hands.
Write into the way our tongues click
And teeth shatter
These are the happy moments
Alive and breathing,
We e x i s t
Izabella (She/Her) is a 23 year-old college grad with a Bachelor's in English- Creative Writing and working on her last semester as an MFA candidate at SFSU. Currently residing in San Francisco, but originally from Santa Ana, California. While working on her MFA, She’s interned for Omnidawn Publishing as a Marketing Assistant and Fiction Editor. Previously won awards for The Scholastic Arts and Writing awards- second place in poetry, and memoir with honorable mentions in poetry and journalism. Izabella also received First Place in Columns (2-year college division) as a staff writer for Santa Ana College's el Don from the California Newspaper Publishers Association (2015). In her spare time, she enjoys reading, perfecting her coffee-making skills, and collaborating with friends on other art projects.
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