the type of letter i'd like to be able to send to myself


the world will forgive you for your sins. 

in time, 
you will learn to forgive yourself for them, too.

sometimes the people you think will be supportive
just won't. 

and sometimes others will surprise you 
and you will learn the definite feeling of pleased warmth,
a sweet, crawling feeling that hums in your throat and sends glitter through your veins.
it will make you feel beautiful. 

love it and it will love you. 

she will never see you the way you see yourself. 

she will break you heart
and leave you alone to pick up the pieces
and you will not tell your mother
and you will know it was coming all along 

and you will do it anyway. 

the taste in the back of your throat
is ash and dust. 

you will learn to recognize it 
the more she touches you
and eventually, 
you must learn to wash it from the wineglass of your collarbones
and begin again. 

the next time she pulls your hair in painful memory, 
you will close your fingers around her wrist
and you will tell her never again 

and you will un-learn the process
of bleaching old fire from your neck.

your therapist will tell you 
that you need to build a voice 

to have one,
you must believe it matters

but you will not believe her until the time comes when it is too late to speak and the chain around you neck grows heavier with each passing day. 

in time you will burn it off 
and though you will never rid yourself 
of the scars from melting metal 
your voice will stick to the backs of your teeth 
until you die 

and you will never be silenced again.

lipstick stains the white sheets of her bed
and the black lace cuts her circulation off at the wrists
her dark sheer tights will have runs in them 
rips running down her thighs and the meat of her calves 
from where they come out under her short-shorts

you must let her make mistakes

let her go

she will never realize she is beautiful
if you don't let her 

and she is poisoning herself 
but so are you 

she will slip from your fingers
hold her closer and she will run through the gaps in your hands like water 
there is no way to keep her safe

learn to love her the only way you can. 

when you press bruises into the bone of your forearms
dig color into your flesh 
it will be the last time you do so. 

you have a reason to be better
and she waits for assurance of your well-being
do not disappoint her 

she wants you to be better 
and she makes you want to be better

so you will stop bleeding your wrongdoings 
halt the blade's cold kiss to your skin

and it will drive you crazy 
until something safe and reminiscent of home presses into your bloodstream 
and you will realize that most everyone else feels that, 

the one-and-whole with your body. 

it will not stop the disjointed static nights 
but it will be the thing that saves you in the mornings. 

your hair doesn't matter. 

when you cut it
the weight of feminity chips at your nailpolish 
and your shoulders are lighter for it 

the world will be brighter
begin to shift out of sepia tones

and it will be a while before you are not scared to cut your hair 
and it will take you years to gather the courage to cut it short, short, shorter

but i promise you, 
you will make it. 

and it will feel good

your family will make you feel small

and you will hunch your shoulders
curl farther into your oversized sweaters than you already were
and you will press your hands into your chest
hold your arms so tightly to yourself that you cannot breathe 
and wish for a binder

because you are physically small
and they will never see you as large
with your thick tree-trunk thighs 
and pinched waist 
you do not hold an imposing figure

but you, 
you are loud 
you are loud and brash and fierce
and if you cultivate that right
you make yourself big 

but your family will always make you feel scared and young and sad - 

they will always make you feel small. 

the first time
you are gendered correctly 
you will feel like your heart is about to burst

you will feel like you're on fire, 
you're burning with how happy you are, 
how right it feels

and something will settle low in your gut 
aftertaste of satisfaction 
and you will never be the same again

always craving, 
constantly wishing for loveliness of respectful gendering. 

i do not recognize this body
the jut of my hipbones 
and the length of myself 

the soft, rounded edges
and jagged points

but i hope i can joint myself into it 
and shift my skin over my bones the right way 
and grow safely to fit 

cross your heart
and ignore your suicidal ideation 

when the world is spinning
burning fire

you must begin to swallow extinguisher 
douse yourself in bathwater 

and there will pass time, time, time, 
ticking clocks and the click of digital progression

know that the earth still curves its gravity around your body 
and your friends know your words
and you will be just fine.

not okay, 
but fine
and still whole 
and still alive. 


your mother will tell you 
about kintsugi
she will say you can fix the broken things about yourself 
if you only pour liquid gold in the cracks to fill them up

fix yourself 

using all the things you don't hate about your body
your personality

to build yourself anew

bigger, better, 
solidly fixed


one day
you will fall in love with yourself. 

you will look in the mirror
and run your hands over your bare skin

and you will learn that you have slowly fallen in love 
with who you are and the space you choose to inhabit.

The End

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