NYOB

Dear Government,

What happens in my body is my business.

You didn’t make my body your business when I was molested as a child, raped as a teenager, or sex trafficked as a young adult.

You didn’t notice when I struggled to access birth control due to poverty.

You didn’t mind when I was trapped in toxic relationships with misogynistic, manipulative men who drove me to contemplate suicide.

You didn’t pay a dime when I asked my health insurance to cover the care I needed.

In part thanks to the abortions obtained through no help from you, I am a physician now.

You devour the tax money I earn with my blood, sweat, and tears. You are undeserving of my sacrifices.

You need to back off.

What I do with my body is none of your business.

You didn’t care about my body before, don’t pretend to care now.

My body knows the truth.

But truth, like freedom, equality, or justice, isn’t your business.

Raging

The Supreme Court has me raging today.

I feel fire in my veins, each heartbeat fans the flames.

Would you like a cup of tea? My blood is boiling, don’t want to waste it.

Like I didn’t want to waste my life by staying in injurious relationships that were slowly killing me so I pulled the plug and let unwanted pregnancies wash down the drain.

The body will choose survival over reproduction, every time.

My abortions provided instant relief for my body and brain, another chance at life, freed from shackles that no one saw but that would have destroyed me just the same.

Forced pregnancy is a grave injustice with adverse repercussions for the individual, families and society. Unsafe abortions are horrific, unnecessary and dangerous.

What is this nightmare I woke up to today?

I am burning with rage.

Happily Ever After

All the fairy tales I was fed as a child ended in a wedding which marked the end of struggle and the beginning of happily ever after.

Although I am married, I didn’t have a wedding, so perhaps I shouldn’t expect happily ever after anyway, but let’s set realistic expectations for today’s youth.

No one ever talks about who makes the mortgage payments on Barbie’s dream house, or if Barbie is irate that Ken doesn’t do the dishes, or the countless ways that Barbie acquiesces to his wishes.

You don’t hear about the cost of marriage counseling weighed against the weightless feeling of walking away from the marriage.

I dropped the ball on my biggest crush because I thought that my strong feelings were enough. I was sure that adoring someone meant that of course they felt the same, and we’d both effortlessly stay that way forever.

Nope.

Love quenches and parches and drowns and surrounds and swallows you and spits you back out again.

I always land on my feet.

Lost

People speak of losing your virginity as if you misplaced it like a set of keys; a small albeit important object.

When did you lose it? They ask as if it absconded into the void, like it is a mystery to solve by asking when you last remember having it.

People act like you had a precious gem that you carelessly dropped into a deep body of water, thus proving that you were not worthy of possessing it in the first place.

No one ever asks me who stole my virginity, who coerced it out of me before I knew it existed, who ripped it from my underwear while I was sleeping as a child.

Our memories are not the result of our actions alone.

To anyone who prods and pries to get the story of how I lost my virginity, get lost.

A Tale of Two Titties

My tits used to be ornamental, fruit of my tree

Now they serve a purpose greater than me

I breastfeed my baby night and day

Engorged and heavy, my tits now sway

Leaky Lefty has an easy flow

Old Faithful, the right breast, is steady and slow

Faithful humbly carried the load when Lefty was out of commission due to a painful combination of mastitis and a blocked milk duct

My breasts lost their perkiness and youthful appeal long ago

Before the rise of services such as Only Fans, for which they could have raked in riches, I’m told

I’ve worked a lot harder for a lot lower wages

Putting aside all rampages, I bow my head in gratitude for my body, my baby, and my reproductive freedom

Rising

It happened on the floor of a Brooklyn apartment, as it often does

Purged by pain, I had everything to gain: liberation from my life of struggle

Coming out both ends, my aimless wandering seemed endless

Suddenly without knowing what it was, a ball of energy from the base of my body buzzed upward through my core

Reaching my lips, I could not speak

My vision vibrated when it reached my eyes

Then it passed silently through the crown of my head and disappeared as inexplicably as it had appeared

Lying on the carpet, I found myself euphoric

I had not prepared myself for what I would later come to know as a kundalini awakening

The night before I had gotten drunk and likely binged on sacrilegious foods, if I could afford any: memories of longing after Mexican baked goods are hazy

The journey was both ending and beginning

Blink

They say that you’ll grow up in the blink of an eye, that these precious moments will fly by.

They say that tomorrow you’ll start kindergarten, and next year you’ll graduate high school.

For now, you are still tiny and by my side.

I can hold you and gaze into your baby eyes.

I see eternity reflected back at me.

Your smile elicits bliss. I’ve never known a love like this.

My old friend, PTSD, brings traumatic memories.

I hope you don’t experience any of the horrors I have endured.

May you feel safe and supported.

If my love could protect you always, if my kisses made you bullet-proof…

Little one, you are teaching me how to love more deeply

I want to be present for you, bear witness to the miracle of your life

Yet my eyelids are heavy

Do I dare blink?

High Wire

Every time I write, I play with fire

I know it is just a matter of time before my luck expires

When you find my words there will be hell to pay for what I didn’t say to your face

The dicks I didn’t count, the stories I didn’t recount you.

After all I have given, how can you think I owe you anything but grace?

Yet I step out on this high wire, teetering and tottering over the mire

You are up in my business and have no business of your own

I warn you: if you mess with me, you will be the one without a home

Stop trying to squeeze me dry like a lime

With love an patience, all is yours in time

Damaged Goods

When winter blows in

My mind flies south

Predators got to me early

Forming my pliable brain

I apparently didn’t get herpes or HIV

Though I just as easily could have

All those naked penises were guns loaded with bullets I couldn’t see: viruses, bacteria and potential pregnancy

I am thankful for my good luck

When I rub one out

I get my rocks off from the perspective of my almost-rapists

Not my actually rapists

But the ones who backed away in time

My youth brought both lure and protection

The ideal never meets the real

Hold on to your ideals, your fantasies of how great life could be

We all hunger for more

I pick up what is left of my ravaged flesh and carry on

They left me alive so far, perhaps to feast on me again

I strengthen and heal

Yet still I feel damaged

The burnt tree stands tall despite it all

It wears its charred scar well

The wound is a part of its heart which keeps beating

In tune with the heartbeat of the earth, and the heartbeat of the past, present and future trees

I settle into the rhythm

Anxiety, Again

It happened again.

Anxiety wrapped me up so tightly I must untangle myself with scribbles that you are kind enough to read.

Socializing leaves me aching with regret for the words I said wrong and the words I didn’t say.

I feel like a failure, even though I know that is a harsh conclusion, I feel it still.

I feel inept, like no matter what I do I won’t ever feel comfortable in social situations.

Even though I have undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder, as is more common in females. Even though I have worked painfully hard to hide my differentness, my social awkwardness rarely stays below ground for long.

In the game of whac-a-mole, the moles keep popping up no matter how many I whack.

Self-love, self-compassion, forgiveness, humor, perspective, reassurance that I belong in this human family, in this world, that I am enough, that I am worthy of love, as we all are: these are the treasures I have gathered along my journey.

These are the treasures I hope you find and cherish as well. They must be carefully cultivated, nourished and loved.

May you feel nourished and loved.

May you rest on the shores of peace.

Inhale what you need. Exhale what is no longer serving you.

All is well, even when we are under cloud cover, the clear sky remains above all.

For the duration of my whole life, the sun has never stopped shining- there were only times that I couldn’t see it.

The moon is a reminder of what I don’t see.

Maybe everybody feels this way sometimes, and it is normal and ok.

May I remember that I am blessed beyond measure even during the uncomfortable moments of this human journey.

Storms will rise, then pass.

May my breath be my anchor to weather me through until I see the sky of blue again.