Sunday, May 3, 2015

Speak Your Peace: Paint Stardust

This piece was originally performed at Cha Island on March 26, 2015 for our local Speak Your Peace! event. It was amazing.
Where We Are Real

I'm looking at my photos checking myself out because I'm hot and stuff.
Time and time again I notice there's a line going across my neck in two places
Is it- an illusion, a manifestation or a scar?
I think- it's a stretch mark
from the ways in which I've grown since I left you.
I'm no longer afraid to stand as tall as I could've been
I no longer take for granted: my breath.
You- stole my oxygen.
I never asked you to sweep me off my feet.
I just wanted a place to live,
to rest my head,
you promised a bed.
That's all I wanted.
When you call me by birthname
You are contributing to the circumstances
which led to my rape.
I was trying to figure out when it happened by scrolling through instagram selfies,
hoping to catch a look in my mismatched eyes indicating that I'd been violated.
The closest I could find was one with a caption that said:
"We go where we are real."
Time & time again I move everything I own; I just want to find a home.
You. Commanded my attention.
When I was too drunk to know what was happening you cut yourself,
thinking I wouldn't react or care.
Challenging me to love you in spite of all your darkness,
forcing a charity art.
I cleaned up your blood and held you and you shook
like you'd never been held before.
I felt
I wish that was the end of it.
I said I could handle it,
but you promised to never drink around me again
and that was just the first of your broken promises,
the worst of your promises.
Time goes on and the things we said get diluted in the river of affection-
I'm drowning-
"We go where we are real"
I know it was somewhere around then.
I don't know the time or day of the week or even what month it happened in,
it was a moment outside of time, when I was awakened
with a bag over my head dragged to the closet and chained to a chair.
"We go where we are real"
These are the cursed words which passed through my consciousness
even as I had other others to touch my body and cup my head in a tender kiss-
it didn't matter.
This one wasn't afraid to be gay for me or straight for me,
didn't care if I kept my breasts or cut them off.
I felt safe.
It didn't matter.
I was real, regardless.
Lovable always.
So I hide myself from my other lovers
even though I never intended to
and a schism was created between boy me and girl me
not realizing I could be just me.
One day I woke up 
and there was breakfast, starbucks, two bouquets of flowers
and a live plant in a fairy cage.
When I said that seemed like you were making up for something
you were offended that I thought that low of you.
You started to me that I didn't treat you well and I believed you.
I was indebted to you.
You made me spaghetti on the balcony when I didn't even want any.
You bought me bottles of my favourite rum that I barely got to touch.
"We go where we are real"
I don't know the order it happened in
Or how I ended up in a closet worse than the one I was trying to escape from.
Your scarf loosing around my neck
I breathe again.
I never planned on being in this place.
I'm only barely awake
feels like the world is falling over.
Where am I?
in  the arms of someone I trust.
You must be safe, I beg myself.
Crawl up into your arms like it is comfortable.
Even though I am shaking.
Even though I forget.
You never asked if you could do this.
Time & time again
I wake up to the sight of your blood in my memory.
Your head looming over me.
You name haunting me.
Your hands barely touching me but touching me so much I want to scream.
I woke up to the sight of a knife once.
You wanted to drag me to the bathroom,
but when you saw the look in my eyes screaming no,
you dropped it, crying, begging for forgiveness and this is how it went.
A pattern created.
I told you was afraid
You said you didn't consent to my fear.
When you call me by my birthname.
When you call me she.
are contributing to the circumstances which led to my rape.
Because these people,
the people who raped me.
Offered to use whatever pronouns I needed,
whatever names I chose and they would respect it instantly
And so,
I was willing to tolerate certain violations.
Because these where the ones,
the only ones I thought,
who would accept me authentically.
~ where I didn't need long drawn out explanations
or answer tedious self-teachable questions
where we might lie and say we are unsure
because it is easier for you to process my confusion
than my authentic declaration of self.
In this world
I am not real.
Just a body that is called my destiny,
telling me since I was born exactly how my life would be.
Under the touch that raped me I was real.
They knew exactly who I was and never doubted my existence
and yet their hands crawled over my boundaries and I didn't say no because
I was so grateful to exist.
And so I look at my photos, touch my neck,
stare at the lines as I hold my head up for what seems like the first time in my life.
I touch them.
I can see them.
They are real.
When you call me by my birthname,
when you call me she,
you are contributing
to the circumstances 
which led to my rape.
"We go where we are real"
This is what happens when we are not real.
--Paint Stardust

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