Based on a True Story

There is a red smear
at the corner of her shattered mirror
and she can’t remember
if it is lipstick
or blood,
but lately she wouldn’t
be surprised of either option.
Shards of polished glass
half-float, half-fall
to the bathroom tile
that catches it;
it bounces off her foot
from her position
leaning against the back
of the toilet,
sitting on the bathroom floor.
She is surrounded by so much:
the blood drops, still freckling
the floor from the wounds on her hands,
the water from the overflowing sink,
the pieces of mirror
that will never look the same again.
She is reminded of Humpty Dumpty
and smiles through her tears
and thinks to herself,
that no one will be able
to put her back together again
either.

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Sorry Triss, I Don’t Like Four

Yes, this is a Divergent reference. See, I had seen the first film last year and decided to pick up the novel last night at Walmart (it was on sale for $8!!) before venturing out on a Cheap Tuesday to see the second film in the franchise.

It’s pretty good, very simplistic writing for someone my age, but it’s entertaining and it keeps the story going (there’s nothing wrong with this; hell, it’s the types of teen fiction I want to write one day… It’s just not my taste).

But one line totally caught my attention and made me flinch.

Page 115 of my copy, Tris thinks to herself, “I could not be attracted to Al – I could not be attracted to anyone that fragile.”

I beg your fucking pardon.

It’s this sick and twisted ideology being reinforced once again that women need to love the big, strong men. Triss is supposed to be a goddamn heroine and yet she still wants someone (Four AKA Tobias) who is stronger than her and who is the literal goddamn image of a hero or a prince charming or any other stereotype women have grown up believing they need.

Let me tell you right now I’ve never really been attracted to men that look like that. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that Magic Mike did nothing for me except regret watching it. I never fantasized about Prince Eric or Tarzan or any of the other Disney princes sweeping me off my feet. Muscle and strength are fine to have, whether you’re male or female, but I’ve personally never been attracted to these traits.

While other girls in my grade six classroom fantasized about actors who flash their abs on the cover of every magazine, I was crushing on young Leonardo DiCaprio, back when he was lanky and adorable and had a “baby face”. Because that’s just what I’m physically attracted to. Sorry.

It’s not just Divergent that had me questioning this ideology that women need to be soft and small and men need to be big and strong. Disney movies all do this. Most adventure movies do this. Even if the girl is depicted as strong in the film, she then has basically no personality (Guardians of the Galaxy anyone???)

You know what I want to see? I want to see a movie where the main character is promiscuous and cheeky and awkward and yet a total badass, like Captain Kirk, only female. Because I’ve yet to see a single movie where the female can be promiscuous and have that shown in a flattering light. (No seriously, if you can think of one, let me know).

But this “boys need strength” thing isn’t just damaging to girls – in fact, I’d argue that it’s far more harmful to boys. Think of the little boys knowing they need to grow up looking like Prince Eric or Aladdin or whatever. Granted, little girls grow up thinking it’s totally healthy to have a head larger than your waist (ARIEL) but that’s another argument.

Guys grow up thinking it’s not okay to be weak. In this novel, when Al is crying at night after being forced to beat his friends to unconsciousness day after day, after having to leave his friends and family behind forever, after the stress of knowing he could die at any second, after having the pressure to either succeed or die/ be factionless. AND TRISS IS DISGUSTED BY HIS “WEAKNESS”.

No Tris, I’m disgusted by your lack of humanity. No wonder you were a shitty Abnigation you selfish fuck. I get that you’re competing against him, but crying isn’t a sign of weakness. The goddamn fact Al got up day after day and continued to fight for as long as he did should tell you something. Don’t be a dick, Tris.

But no, Tris likes Four. Because he’s strong. And handsome. And big. And she’s a petit little mouse, as is often reiterated by the author (ex. “Everyone thinks I can’t do so and so because I’m so small and weak”).

Four, to me, has very little emotion or personality. Al does. It makes me sick to my stomach that Tris has chosen to give Four her affection purely because she thinks he is stronger than Al.

(NOTE: I get that Al is supposed to be a big guy in the book, but he’s still shown as “weak”… I don’t find ANYTHING wrong with someone who cries when they are in Al’s position. It’s normal to show sorrow and regret in the form of crying.)

So while some girls will continue to pine over men like Channing Tatum or Chris Hemsworth, it leaves me wondering whether or not they would still do the same if society told them they shouldn’t like men for their large muscles.

03/21/15

I don’t know
if it’s the way
I see falling
star dust
in the spaces between your eyelashes
or if it’s the way
my blood sings fire
and roars a tragic warning
before slowing
to an almost-stop.
Something about
the way that
daisies grow in your footprints
makes me wonder
if God really did
make humans
in His image.
Leaves change colour
around you,
and I can promise
that it’s not for lack of warmth
but for want of beauty;
they want to outshine
someone made of
falling suns
and dandelion wishes.
There’s no cause
for the stuttering of my pulse
or the twitching of my jawline
when I see an upturned
sunflower, and immediately
am consumed with memories
of you.
There’s no explanation
for why my tongue burns
with the taste of hot chocolate
and moon ash
or to account for
the fact I feel your presence
strongest
in your absence.

Poem

You are the poem
I’m still struggling to write
because words don’t seem fitting
when you leave me speechless,
grasping at syllables
like a starving man
who has just found
an oasis
in a barren desert.
You are a story
that I am trying so hard to explain,
to describe,
but it changes all the time
depending on
the length of the awkward pauses
that stretch between us
like a plot twist
but not quite.
You are every piece of fiction
that has somehow,
miraculously and inexplicably,
chosen my life to enter
and change,
and suddenly you are
happily ever afters
and once upon a times
that elude other wanderers.

Fathers and Liars

Remember the days
when you wrapped your hands
around the globe I kept in my study
and said,
“Look daddy, I’m holding the world”
and I would smile,
take you into my arms
and lying, tell you yes,
you were.
Remember Saturday morning
cartoons and Corn Flakes
and eating burnt toast
on days when I could only
try my hardest
with ghosts of eggs and bacon
you would have preferred,
when I lied through my teeth,
“Mommy will be home soon”,
because it put a smile
back on your face.
Remember the moment
when you realized I hadn’t been
telling the truth
when I promised
not to let go
of the backseat of your bicycle
yet somehow, even without me,
you still managed
to keep your balance.
Remember me cradling your face
after your first day
of high school,
and swearing it would get better,
but I think
even you could hear
the false note in my voice
as waterfalls of emotions
tumbled over you
and you discovered
your dad might not have all the answers.
Remember when I wiped your tears
promising the heartbreak
of your first romance
would all be over soon
and swearing that
the next boy would be kinder, softer,
but you shoved me away,
angrily told me I was wrong,
and we both knew it.
Remember when I told you
how happy I was
that you had fallen in love
with a boy who fit
into all of your broken edges
perfectly,
even though deep down
I knew you were still peddling away from me,
still keeping balance
without me.
Remember yesterday
when I told you,
“The doctor says it’s not malignant”
and try to tell me
that it wasn’t for your own good
when every lie I’ve ever told you
has left my lips.
Remember the days
when you wrapped your hands
around the globe I kept in my study
and said,
“Look daddy, I’m holding the world”
and I would smile,
take you into my arms,
and long to tell you
that you were
my whole world.

Writer’s Block

It’s so hard for me to write poetry right now. I don’t know why, but I have a serious case of writer’s block. Sometimes, I wake up with beautiful lines of poetry stuck in my head but when I go to write them down, the words look awkward and clumsy.

I think I’m suffering from a serious case of missing inspiration.

So why am I suffering like this? When I was in Costa Rica, I wrote nearly every day for an hour or two, and I wrote some really great things. Whenever I make a new friend or go to a new place or try a new food, the same thing happens. I discover new things and learn new words or phrases to describe these things or the feelings I get when I discover them.

And I’m currently in a rut.

I always hate exam time, but this year is particularly hard for me. I have no interest in any of my classes or teachers at all. I feel like my two jobs have engulfed me and all my time. Even when I do have free time, I feel guilty when I enjoy myself because I should be doing homework or working out or writing my novel (oops, haven’t done that for a while…) or hanging out with friends I rarely see.

But all this extra stress just makes me want to curl up in bed and never leave.

This has all happened before. It always starts with the extra sleep, then I slowly start spiralling out of control into a giant ball of “I fucking give up”. And I find I’m always somewhere on the edge in all of this; I’m either so stressed about school and work and life that I can barely breathe or I just stop caring about everything and anything.

Currently, I’m at the not giving a fuck stage.

I’ve done nothing new or exciting in a really long time. I don’t do anything fun anymore. I’m desperately trying to scrape up the remains of all the excitement from last month, or six months ago, or last year even. But I’m living off of memories, and that’s not enough to sustain my creative imagination. I feel like I’m starving for a change of scenery.

Maybe it’s the long school hours or maybe it’s the long winter we’ve had or maybe it’s just my dysthymia telling me that this last month of school is going to be terrible. Whatever it is, it sucks, and my poetry is suffering because of this.

I’m completely moping and ranting in this blog post, but as I said before, zero fucks are given.

Sunset Shadows

Fallen ochre leaves spin
from towering oak trees
and land in his hair,
giving him a mane of fire
that crowns his head
like a halo.
He is the autumn air
that surrounds us in this twilight,
and I pull the leaves from his hair,
taking my time
in destroying the serendipitous image
of a boy
kissed by even nature;
he is too good for me.
I try to tell myself
as I pluck the leaves
and send them spinning toward the ground
that this is fantasy,
nothing this good ever lasts
and he has a beauty
waiting for him at home,
meaning I can only ever be
his shadow.