the bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved…

Dear the First,

I guess in truth, you don’t really need this letter. You already know that you are the greatest human being I’ve ever met. I got lucky I guess. Some people have crappy and absent first boys. But you never were. You were there for every gymnastics competition, every swim meet, every basketball game, every volleyball game, every track meet. You always pushed me to try new things, to meet new people, to be better, to do better. You never asked me to be a princess when I wanted to play basketball. You never asked me to help my mom in the kitchen when all I wanted to do was play in the mud. You never told me to back down, even when I was wrong. You never asked me to be anybody but who I was. So thank you, for teaching me that being myself is okay, even if everyone else thinks you’re crazy for doing it. 

Love, Erin

______________________________

Dear the Second,

You screwed me up a little bit. You made me blame myself for something I had no control over. And you walked away from me like I meant nothing like I was nothing. And I’m not. You were incredible for a while. You took care of me and watched over me. You made sure that I was always happy, or at the very least, that I was content. Then you met some people that you shouldn’t have and you dropped me. You were never around, didn’t come to any of my meets or games or banquets or award nights. Most of my friends didn’t know you other than the vague mentions I occasionally offered them. It hurt me and so I hurt myself. I did things I shouldn’t have because ANYTHING felt better than feeling like I wasn’t good enough for you. But I’m better now. And you are too I think, at least, you are a little bit. You still tend to shut me out more than you let me in. Nonetheless, thank you. Thank you for making me feel like I was nothing, because now I know, I am everything.

Love, Erin

______________________________

Dear the Third,

You are so completely yourself all the time which is insane because most adults can’t even say that. You were always there for me even if we wanted to rip each other’s throats out. Maybe you never knew what was going on inside my head but that didn’t stop you from pulling me in to do crazy, insane things. You could do everything the world has to offer and it still wouldn’t be enough for you. You went away for a while and you came back better and happier than ever. You are a miracle and I am gifted to have known you. A lot of people go through their entire lives looking for something amazing to happen and it never does. Because of you I have something amazing and incredible happen everyday. Thank you for showing me how to be fearless. 

Love, Erin.

  • e.o.

There are a lot of things out in the world that I don’t understand. But mostly, I don’t understand how out of  the 7,430,843,037 people on this planet, I had the privilege of knowing you.

boys will be boys.

From the time we started kindergarten

and boys began to pull our hair

and poke our stomachs

and chase us at recess,

we were told it’s because they like us

and boys will be boys,

there’s nothing we can do.

By the time we’re fourteen

and boys begin to call us names,

our worth became defined

by solely what we wore.

Too little and you were a slut.

Too much and you were a priss.

But what about our intelligence,

our athleticism, our kindness,

our creativity, our opinions?

Those weren’t taken into account

because boys will be boys,

and there’s nothing we can do.

At the young age of sixteen,

they began to send us home from school

because our shoulders were bare

or our skirts were not fingertip length

or our collarbones were showing

or our pants were too tight.

We distracted the boys

from learning in the classroom.

But what about our educations?

How can we learn

when we’re pulled out of class

and sent home

for expressing ourselves

or wanting to be comfortable?

Now instead of focusing on school,

we spend more time

learning ways to make a skirt longer

or a shirt rise higher at the neckline

or a strap cover our whole shoulder

because suddenly,

our education wasn’t as important as theirs.

But boys will be boys,

and there’s nothing we can do.

Then we turn eighteen

and we’re living on our own.

We learn to fend for ourselves

and protect ourselves

because there are always men

who stare a little too long

and walk a little too close,

and we keep our hands

on the bottle of pepper spray we bought

for nights like these

because boys will be boys,

and there’s nothing we can do.

By the time we’re twenty,

the wolf whistles and cat calls

and the men that stare too long

and walk too close

become more aggressive.

And our little bottle of pepper spray is not enough.

And one night they get their way.

They strip us bare

and muffle our screams with their hands,

so later they can say

they never heard us say no,

they never heard us refuse,

so we must have wanted it,

asked for it,

liked it.

And we will scream once again,

and we will tell our side of the story,

even though this was not a story to be told,

it was our life.

We will tell them how these bruises on our hips

didn’t come from ourselves,

how these scratches on our thighs

didn’t come from our own nails,

how these scarring memories

didn’t come from a dream,

how we screamed no, no, no,

but no one heard,

just as no one hears now.

Because they’ll listen

but they won’t believe,

they won’t understand,

they’ll tell us

boys will be boys,

and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

 

  • m.f.

**if you have ever been sexually assaulted or harassed or you’ve experienced something that you didn’t want to, please speak up about it. Know that there are people who will support you and stand behind you as you take a stand against these awful people in our world. 

Reckless and Outgrown

There was once a little girl with tears on her cheeks, for she had lost a toy bear. She was six. That little toy bear meant everything to her and was the sole embodiment of her passion and joy. She lost this bear because she had been too reckless with it. She would carry it loosely, take it everywhere and leave it behind, only to remember it minutes later. She lost it at a hotel, on a family trip and didn’t remember until they were halfway home and couldn’t go back. Two years later, that girl got a bike, one of her very own. She rode that bike everywhere that her parents allowed. But like all good things, she began to outgrow it. The little girl was growing out of her first step to freedom. She didn’t cry this time, because she was a big girl and knew that she could always get a new bike, but secretly, she was dreading the day she would have to give up her bike, because it was the sweetest taste of life she had experienced in all of her eight short years. Now that little girl is 16 and not so little anymore. She lost the only thing more important to her than her own life. She questioned where she went wrong, how she could fix it, IF she could fix it. But then she thought, maybe she had been too reckless with him. Maybe she had held his hand too loosely and didn’t pay him enough attention. Maybe he began to outgrow her. Maybe he decided that she wasn’t the taste of life he wanted. Maybe she was too much of herself for him. 

            –e.o.

food.

As my stomach rumbles

for everyone to hear,

I hope that since breakfast passed,

lunch is near.

 

I daydream of hot wings

and doodle delicious nachos.

I wish my breakfast had been more

than just a bowl of cheerios.

 

I crave hamburgers

and a mouthwatering steak,

but you can’t forget dessert,

a nice large slice of cake.

 

Pizza is what I want,

along with a side of fries.

Whoever said dinner is the best meal

sits on a throne of lies.

 

Food is all I think about,

the only thing on my mind.

And now that lunch is finally here,

it’s time for me to dine.

 

  • m.f.

This boy was born with a heart made of gold.

They wondered why he weighed so much straight out of the womb, but they had not known the contents of his heart. Soon, it was made obvious of his solid gold inside. You could see it in the way he would wait with his sister at the bus stop so she wasn’t alone. You could see it in the way he helped his mom dry the dishes after dinner. You could see it in the way he rubbed the dog’s belly when he had thrown up whatever it was he wasn’t supposed to eat. You could see it in the way he gave parts of his lunch to his friends that couldn’t afford it. You could see it in the way he handled everything with care.

This boy was born with a heart made of gold.

And while he gave and gave and gave without asking for anything in return, people took advantage of his kindness. They asked for favors in hopes that they could steal a piece of his gold heart not to make themselves better people, but to make a profit off it. But they never succeeded, for this boy always kept his heart guarded.

This boy was born with a heart made of gold.

It grew with each kind act he completed, but while his heart grew bigger, his body grew weaker. His limbs could no longer support his ever growing heart, and it was getting harder to carry on. Eventually, his heart grew so big that it crushed his lungs, and this golden hearted boy lived no more. He was killed by his own kindness. What a tragic thing it is to be such a good person.

 

  • m.f.

 

more or less.

Now we sit on opposite sides of the room,

separated by space and a broken relationship.

 

We used to be

such good friends,

but mistook it for something more,

wanted it to be something more,

tried to be something more.

We were never meant to be something more.

 

Now instead of more,

we’re something less.

Acquaintances but not friends,

classmates but not friends,

exes but not friends.

Why couldn’t we just stay friends?

 

Our once close bond

was made awkward

by a distant effort at a relationship.

We wanted so much more

and ended being so much less.

 

Regardless, we had a long history,

full of mores and lesses,

but this time was different.

This time we tried to be more than we had ever been,

but we became less than there ever was.

And I apologize for that.

routines are overrated.

My life was a mix

of monotony and routine.

Nothing changed.

Everything stayed the same.

 

But my gray and boring life

became so much more

when I met you.

You splashed me

with blues and oranges and pinks

and your laugh was so contagious

and your spontaneity amazed me.

 

But the way you made me feel,

I knew I would never be the same.

Being with you

felt like your stomach dropping

at the top of a rollercoaster,

felt like looking out the window

of a glass skyscraper,

felt like falling back on someone

and having them catch you,

felt like looking at the view

after climbing a mountain,

felt like falling in love.

 

Being with you

splashed color into my life,

interrupted my monotony,

messed up my routines,

and made me fall in love.

With you,

everything changed.

Nothing stayed the same.

 

  • m.f.