stronger

It happened to me.

He says he’ll leave me if I cut my hair.
So I wear it longer on the days I see him.
When all I do is hide behind a curtain of hair to hide every scar I am feeling.

He doesn’t like it when I wear that color. It reminds him of her. So he bans me from wearing it in order to please him. I don’t hesitate. I don’t say no. I just do as I am told. To avoid an argument. To avoid the words that he holds still and strongly behind his tongue.

I am afraid to speak at times. The outcome outweighs the lasting effects of anything I could ever say. I don’t know myself at times. I was a smart girl. I was a strong girl. Now I am letting someone else dictate my thoughts and actions.

I don’t know who I am anymore, I tell myself.
I am not me without you, I say out loud.

It’s not the fists I am afraid of. It’s this unseen power a person can hold over you with the mountain of words that follow. How easy it is to say how you feel and mean what you say. How easy it is to cut down a person without giving it a second thought.

I found myself saying that I’d wish he’d hit me. Something to show the world of the vile person he was. Create the villain among the sinners. All they see is my reactions to every one of his actions. All they see is my skin burning red and my tongue lashing out at everyone that defies me. All they see is my anger and his calm demeanor. Because he was always too cool and too good of a person to hurt people. He was always the cool guy in his nice kicks. He couldn’t hurt a fly they’d tell me. How I wish he’d hit me just to prove them wrong. Just to show them that I was right and they were wrong. Then all these feelings would be real not under the surface.

People always say “That would never happen to me”. I hate that. As they see a girl cover her face or hear a story of a girl who just couldn’t take it anymore. They don’t know what it’s like. They don’t know what it’s like to hide from your friends and family. To pretend your okay when your whole world is falling apart. How it feels to cut your arm in places because the words were too big of a burden to keep to yourself. So you punish yourself for being the sad expectation of who he wanted.

I was the dead weight he refused to carry, he’d often said. If I was skin and bones he would love me more. Hold me tighter. I believed him. I was stupid and I believed him.

I used to say “It would never happen to me“. That I would be one of the lucky ones to fight until my hands were red and my throat was raw. They don’t know that sometimes when a man loves too much they just ignore you. Tell you how worthless you are. How every time they see you it makes them sick. They don’t know how sometimes it’s more than physical. That words have a way of leaving bruises and scars on every inch of your skin. But they’ll never see it. They’ll never know.

They’ll never know that the reason you stopped dating is that you hear his voice in the back of your mind. That nobody will want you after he has had you. That nobody will ever love you as much as he had loved you.

Nobody.

It would never happen to me, they’d say.

But it happened to me.

Tracy, CA. 2015
#ThisishowIletgo

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“White” Mexican.

I don’t sing Corridos.
I can’t dance Salsa.
I have brown hair and dark brown eyes, but my skin is pale as snow.
If it wasn’t for my last name, you would think I was like everyone else.

“She’s not like a Mexican, she’s white.”

People have a way of being cruel without intending to. Saying a variety of ignorant things without realizing the sentiments. No one will ever see the words that sting like tattoos on my flesh that no amount of ink could cover over. My pale complexion does not show the color of my blood that flows through this vessel. The blood that roots itself down like the roots of a tree; each root firmly planted in each equally diverse culture. I stand here amazed at the words that make no sense to me. Am I not the product of my ancestry, because of the way I act toward you? Do I insinuate more of one culture than the other? Am I not a true Mexican, because I lack all the stereotypical characteristics you think of? I was not aware that being a product of two different nationalities, I had to prove myself to everyone.

 “She’s more of a white-washed Mexican.”

I listen to Joy Division and stand in the background like a wallflower; bobbing my head to the music.
I sing old latin folk songs, while also singing every motown love song.
I didn’t grow up in a rancho, I grew up in a suburb.

I was born and raised in the United States. I say  “Like”, “dude” and every other juvenile slang word you can think of. The only time I give myself away is talking an octave above everyone else. When I am passionate about something, I become loud and obnoxious, much to the dismay of my peers. When I express myself, I use my hands when I talk, and over exaggerate everything. I am not hiding who I am. I do not have to run with the Mexican flag across my chest to prove that I am Mexican. I was raised in a predominately american environment that has allowed me to be close to my american culture. I am not white-washed, because I do not have an accent when I talk. I am not white-washed because I love american customs just as much as I love mexican customs. I was raised under the belief that I could be who ever I wanted to be. I don’t have to prove my identity to anyone. This isn’t a sick competition of who is better at their culture, because no one will ever win. I am American, I am Mexican, I am both. I am born American with a Mexican ancestry.

But none of that matters to you.

“She’s a coconut; brown on the outside, white on the inside”.

I don’t have an accent when I speak.
I seldom ever wear a color louder than neutrals.
I have tattoos you will never see; none of which are my last name across my back.

I am not a coconut.  I like what I like for my own personal preference. My style is understated because that is my aesthetic. While I talk with my hands, I speak fluently in both languages, and I love chisme/gossip just as much as the next person.

But, no.

Instead you see the outside and will never understand my insides. You think you know my struggles just by looking at my face. But you don’t know. You think that by saying words, they don’t hurt after they have left the tip of your tongue. The words stay with me long after you have gone on to the next subject. How dare you defy my identity, on the basis of not being your stereotypical race. I am not the spokesperson for being of two different ancestries. I am not here to prove to you how much of my nationality that I know. I am a Mexican-American. An american born, mexican-american culturally raised, citizen of the United States. I am not a “White” Mexican, nor a white-washed mexican, or a “white” girl.

I am just me, and the best I will ever be.

 

You might think I’m bulletproof but I’m not.

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It takes a day where the weather changes and freezes your insides. A day like this that has you remember the past. One small change of the weather and your soul is exposed for the world to see. At any moment any word can cause an effect of water works. Larger than any ocean. One huge tidal wave of emotions that no matter how much you hold out your hands, everything comes crashing through.

Its okay to reflect. It’s okay to remember. Remembering that at one point in your life you loved so deeply, it hurt every muscle in your body. It doesn’t matter how often you go through changes like a chameleon, changing stripes to spots. It doesn’t take away the feeling of emptiness. This vacant haunting feeling that no matter what you do, you can’t escape from. Memories come back to haunt you while you sleep, no matter how much you suppress them in your waking life. You loved and you lost, is what you tell yourself. Just one big armor you wear to keep from falling apart. Keep from getting hurt. You watch the water rise and wash against you, still you stand very still. Being still is better than falling apart.

You could write a book on how to ruin someone’s perfect day

The countless times you’ve been knocked down, pushed around, and you walk away with every tear that continues to shed. Its the salt water that comforts but never heals. Every time you walk away, it’s a song, a saying, a sentence, or even tiny change in the weather, that stops you in your tracks and you can’t help but remember. It hits you to straight to your core, worse than any words could. You loved, you lost and you couldn’t help yourself but to move on. Because loving someone this much should never hurt as much as it does. Loving someone to the point of breaking doesn’t make us bulletproof from ourselves.

Why, do you have to make me feel small
So you can feel whole inside
Why, do you have to put down my dreams
So you’re the only thing on my mind

I walk around with this armor around my heart, unable to feel the cold in my bones. This armor that hides my emotions from the next person. I am bulletproof. Everything you shot at me bounces off back to you. But on the days where the weather changes the leaves from green to yellow to brown, its when I can’t fight back. Its when a little bit of the cold, hits at my insides and I am exposed to the world. Live and learn, love and loss. Eventually the weather changes and I go on my way. Every once in a while, I slip. I hear a song, a melody, words, and I am right back where I started from. Think what you will about me but sometimes being strong doesn’t give me strength.

You might think I’m bulletproof, but I’m not.

11/23/2008

Closer.

Don’t come any closer.

Don’t treat me like the others. I know all the things you only tell girls in the dark. I know every single one of your deep dark secrets and everything you want us to believe. You’ll deny it. Tell me, I am the crazy one. I know you never mean it. Everything you say is just actions from your reactions. You never mean all the nasty things you say. A sorry from you are just words wasting space in my memory. “I’m sorry” sounds like a tragic song that has no ending. I want to believe you, believe me I do, because deep down you mean it. Its what you tell all the other girls. All the other girls that believe you when you cry and mean every word you say.

Don’t say another word.

I could recite your lines, word for word. These never ending monologues of right and wrong, saint and savior. Every single thing you tell girls in the dark. It would only be fair if I told everyone how you felt. Told them all your secrets and spilled out all your lies. All those things you only tell girls in the dark. Hurting you would show that maybe for once you could feel something other than nothing.  Something other than the hatred that you bring out of everyone.

Don’t touch me.

You crave the warmth of a body to lay beside you. It doesn’t matter who it is. Someone to fill the void of being alone with your thoughts and your cold black heart. You can never be alone. It paralyzes you to think of spending all these waking days alone. Keeping us under lock and key and heavy retainer. Break in case of emergency. Have I said too much? Or should I just keep going.

Telling all these secrets to people that think they know you. They’ll be next and what follows is someone after. There’s always someone else. Brighter, better, and stronger. Always someone else. A line of pretty girls that you only like in the dark. I won’t be one of them. Not tonight, not ever.

2/11/2007