Stories from Growing Up: Never Weightless

I always said you did not transfer any of your fixation on weight on to me. It was so normal in our household that I disregarded it as much as I could, but these things have a way of coming up when you least expect them.

You look better with more weight on, you look sickly.
Comparing sizes; I’m bigger/smaller, I’m so fat.
I hate how I looked at your weight.
You’ve been gaining a lot of weight.
Angry because the clothes were too small or too big.
Don’t eat so much.

I would cover myself up in 90° F weather because I thought I was too big. Jeans, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt or sweater. I would grow my hair long and keep it down as if it would hide me. I had “fat jeans.” I was hardly even a teenager.

And today I look in the mirror and I repeat the things you said to yourself. 

Too fat.
No ass.
I would feel better if I could finally be skinny.
Two down on the scale, and I’m getting closer.
Don’t. eat. so. much.
The best praise is when other people notice I’m smaller.

023

It’s been years since we gave you a name
sat on my chest and placed blame,
my god if you tried a little harder
my god if you’d been a little smarter
you could lift the sun off the ground

All the time, claiming mine
a world that wasn’t for me to define
felt like a scribble ripping into this
a wholly uninvited kiss, I
wish I were a little stronger

my god if you tried a little harder
my god if you’d been a little smarter
you’d swim in bedsheets,
they wouldn’t swim in you

My god if you’d laugh a little louder
maybe we could pretend it’s still you
my god, laugh a little louder,
maybe you could breakthrough.

022

I wanted to tell you
I’ll be late
or nowhere at all

to let you know I’ll be home
but please don’t check on me
I’m nowhere
at all

I wanted to tell you
I stand in a fog
there’s nothing
at all

I wanted to show you
my throat has cracked
I couldn’t speak,
not about that

I wanted to tell you
I’m sorry I stayed
don’t know how you could love me
not after that.

021

Counting ribs in the night
little notches from silly fights
the framework for things said in spite
we face our walls to sleep at night

Too scared to say what’s on my mind
the way you make up things to find
my inner sinner, you speculate,
you’re a saint to tolerate

my inferiority like a bitten lip,
holding me down between sips
when you say you love who I am
you’re full of shit, a martyred man

Kiss me on the surface, bleeding
your teeth always out, feeding
I wear the skin you weave for me
stretched thin against the knees

tethered to you by my neck
you nestle in this little wreck
uprooting all the things I know,
I’m the champion of letting go.

 

017

You were never real
all the alcohol goes down and comes up
you sipped and put the frame on me
just a few, just me and you,

Carbonated scorn, you bubble up and go
sober on the road, you go
sober on the road, I don’t know

better keep steady, better watch the lines
keep another sip in the back,
keep your eyes from the sidelines

hold ’em open to the headlights
but you can sleep that way
looking ahead, staring
nothingness, say you can bear it

Spill on the pavement but
not your drink,
scrape your knees, bless
not another pour, I guess
gonna finish this, take it down

catch a wink, won’t you?
take me down to the bottom
rock bottom,
because you run on empty
I can’t live
not with you, not without you

011

Snowstorm state of mind
Just crafting out more lies
Bet you believed me then
I can see you believe me now

Silence as your skin is on my skin
Can’t say how much I hate to let you in
I’m turning inside out
Waiting for you to fall asleep again
so I can politely peel you off

I rage at your compassion as you wait
Hating all the kindness, I hide my face
Sick of my heart beating out of sync
I’d do anything to stop you listening

A statuesque matter of fact
The coward is as she appears,
Easier to run and not look back
Even if the storm front seems to pass

Bet you think I needed to hear that
Like you could melt my glaciers
But the comedown is for distance
Not from your well-versed warmth.

010

Slipping into monochrome

forget the things I used to know

 

all I think about is fleeing

I’m sleeping for the chance of dreaming

leave a life to keep from being

I’ll give this up, no more feeling

 

I can’t stomach this sense of staying

the monotony, the praying

telling me to keep waiting

 

but there’s a luxury in saying

but not knowing,

in telling me I’m just growing

 

and in crafting gratitude I hold my spite

let you martyr in my fight

you wait for me to take my place

but I can’t rinse this off my face.