A Poem by Katie Hebert |
I have grown up being a soldier in a war that I still don’t know how to fight in.
I didn’t sign up for this, but I don’t know anything else.
I have grown up learning how to toss grenades at my own reflection
“Do not shoot until you see the whites of their eyes”
But what happens when you get so close to the opposing side
and you see how they are trembling with terror just like you are?
A clone of yourself staring right back at you that you call the enemy.
You see how their sweat trembles down their cheeks like the ripples of that pond
that you always just wanted to sink to the bottom of.
And you want to put your gun down, but your officer yells fire.
I am tired of not being worth it because everyone else does not think I’m worth it.
I am tired of the number of likes on Instagram, or the number of matches on Tinder,
or the number of other people dictating if I am beautiful.
I am tired of looking in the mirror and seeing every single person who fucked me over calling me out from behind the glass.
All their remarks sound like scars etched into my skin that still bleed every single day.
They tell me these are trophy marks–
But how can I feel like a champion when I wake up every night screaming,
Crying out in fear of being gunned down by someone who looks a lot like myself.
I was raised by learning how to regurgitate hate every time I look in the mirror.
Getting up at the crack of dawn to further exhaust myself,
Saluting to the flag of the American nightmare of perfection.
Getting ready to aim.
I trace my hands over stretch marks, fat chub, pink scars.
Right before I am about to yell fire, a normal routine that I have grown accustomed to,
She looks back at me in the reflection with a white flag held high and tears in her eyes,
and I realize that she does not need another person to tell her she is worthy–
She needs me.
They say the grass is greener on the other side.
But anything looks better than the trenches that I have been digging for myself.
I will wave my white flag of surrender–
I am not giving up, I will switch sides; place mutiny on my commanding officer–
I am learning how to love her.
Something I need to be retaught to do since the strategies that have been bombarded at me since birth are no longer holding up this fort.
I am learning how to translate my no’s into yes’s,
I am learning how to translate can’t’s into can’s,
And make that a victory that shows that I can stand on my goddamn own.
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