Stories From Growing Up: Throwing Punches At Sickness

Where is the proof? How does the brain change?

I waited an entire year before I told them about my diagnosis. In retrospect, I should have made the decision last much longer. I wanted to have some sense of what my life would be like, some sort of resolution before I could open the door.

Prove it to me, tell me about academics and science. I am not a daughter, but a translator and educator. Tell me as I cry about how I am hurting that you need to know if this is even a “real thing.” I suppose it’s easier for me to tell you than for you to politely explore it yourself.

I am only your daughter if we can call this a matter of being too sensitive and absolve ourselves of its name. If we can pretend that all my turbulence is no different from what other people go through– what if this is just how it is at your age? 

Pull your head out of your ass.

Funny that my reality is unfounded, but is strategically useful.

Are you sure you can handle this? The token response when I do something unfavourable. The voice that tries to say that it can see my sickness, but what it means is that I have done something they disagree with.

Did you take your medication? The thing you abhor, unless you can use it to paint me as irrational. If I am upset with you, it is only manufactured.

As it turns out, you don’t need to believe anything. You just need to know how to manipulate the people that do.


You could have been safe with me

hand to the gearshift, holding me


You could have been kind to me

playing old songs just to bleed me

no such thing as running on empty


You could have been just for me

Soaked by the blood in my heart

but you hold a quarantine so well

just another one you keep from afar


You could have been right for me

If you’d just stop being so wrong

Could have spent days in that car

Head in your lap,


You could have taken me anywhere

And I would be pacified without a where


Could have just kept me

But you wrote my goodbye and made me leave


Could have let me go

But you spun wheels to my door–

changed your mind


Could have stayed home

But you asked me to run away with you

I could have gone,


there was no love left

We could have gone, but

you’d take me, and I’d go alone.


so you thought you’d seen my skin

thinking that there was a way in,

like I was something you could break in.

couldn’t find the seams

because there were none left

you think you talk me off ledges

but I’m ready to ace the landing

I am the ridges you cut your fingers on

trying to stroke my edges smooth

just to give you the stains of a martyr

like you were doing the world a favour

you touch mirrors to marvel at the

condensation of your hands,

blessing yourself for a warmth

that won’t reach your eyes

this is your vision of rescue,

the lover, reaching the unreachable,

but your ladders have no steps

and I’m prepared to burn.

this is what it means to be

a fracture, you’re gracious to love me,

to cultivate a world that thinks I’m lucky

to let me know, thinking I won’t go,

that nobody else could love me.

I am scar tissue pulled tight

a skeleton twisted in white,

Even in your firestorm,

I’m the only one to keep me warm.