[Things I Need to Say Out Loud

By Kelly Grace Thomas

1.Stop making yourself a china doll. Painted on smiles the color of turned Merlot and skin a silent still water pond. You let men break you, like stained glass windows at wartime. Swallowed metal. Hide their bullets in your stomach until you cough lead. This is not the only way love can taste.

2.The world does not owe you success. So give every ounce of yourself until you’re only hopscotch of shattered syllables. Learn to echo. Write like your life depends on it. It does. Be so good they can’t ignore you. And expect nothing. Know that words will be your only food. Chew them hard before you spit them out.

3.Clean out the closet. There are rotting pieces of you, other people bruised and worm-holed. Like peaches that forgot how to ripen. Do not replay those conversations. The ones that left your heart so empty, that you’ve become a church no one prays in.

4.It's okay to be tired. To cry behind a steering wheel during unfriendly commutes. To hate the watered-down lettuce you call lunch. There is no rehab for perfection and the way it subtracts pieces of you, like a hurricane of hungry teeth. A Richter scale of self confidence each time that earthquake of a voice asks, “am I good enough.” Yes. And No.

5.Wear your scars on the outside. Write poetry in the bathtub you have named your temple. You are a superhero of heartbreak. Sew a cape. While you’re at it, catch a theme song. No matter how times you are orphaned on cathedral steps, you will always fight for good.

6. We all need love. We wait, like feral dogs at lovers’ doors. Begging for someone to let us in. Beware of those who never bark. Who hold secrets like locked doors, professor’s shock collar philosophies. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Not every door is made of glass.

5. You can heal. Pieces of you will break. But you are not broken. Live at the bottom of the ocean with spilt ends until you crab claws grow back. Make friends with the fish whose names you cant pronounce. Just keep swimming. Rip currents are imaginary, like mad queens and unmarked tombstones.

6. This isn’t even close to over. In all the ways that scare or give breathing room, there are no periods at the end of this sentence. Skip with ellipses, wink with the semi-colons, you my darling, are all paragraphs and poetry. Someday this ending will be a tattooed line of literature, on a shoulder that is always kissed goodnight.

7. You are a masterpiece. Sometimes you need to cut off an ear or live in the back of a museum to find your audience. You are a train wreck of tidal waves, ready to break. Use every color in the crayon box. The brake them in half. Wake the neighbors and never, even apologize for all the ocean of ways, you feel this world.