Sometimes you’re 23 and standing in the kitchen of your house making breakfast and brewing coffee and listening to music that for some reason is really getting to your heart. You’re just standing there thinking about going to work and picking up your dry cleaning. And also more exciting things like books you’re reading and trips you plan on taking and relationships that are springing into existence. Or fading from your memory, which is far less exciting. And suddenly you just don’t feel at home in your skin or in your house and you just want home but “Mom’s” probably wouldn’t feel like home anymore either. There used to be the comfort of a number in your phone and ears that listened every day and arms that were never for anyone else. But just to calm you down when you started feeling trapped in a five-minute period where nostalgia is too much and thoughts of this person you are feel foreign. When you realize that you’ll never be this young again but this is the first time you’ve ever been this old. When you can’t remember how you got from sixteen to here and all the same feel like sixteen is just as much of a stranger to you now. The song is over. The coffee’s done. You’re going to breath in and out. You’re going to be fine in about five minutes.
when the boys pull your hair and push you to the ground
I promise not to tell you that it’s because they like you.
when the teachers call home to tell me that
you pushed them to the ground after you
I’ll take you out of school early and buy
you your favorite ice cream.
when you get older and the boys
try to touch you when you don’t want to be touched
I’ll look at you like the sun when you come home
with anger in your fists.
they all tell you not to fight fire with fire
but that is only because they are afraid of your flames.
when the boys yell after you like hyenas
you yell back, baby.
I will not teach you to be afraid of your anger
so that you look for it in others.
I will not make you be the better person
because you already are.
you wanna fight ‘em? fight ‘em.
don’t you dare apologize for the fierce love
you have for yourself
and the lengths you go to preserve it.
when the boys try to tell you to soften up
I hope you make them bleed with your edges.
I hope you remember that you are not theirs
that their disappointment in you is not yours.
when the boys come to your door with pretty words and
I hope you show them the anger in yours.
I hope you show them just how strong your mommy
thinks you are.
I hope you show them the animal they can’t always
see in their own reflection.
when the boys come with the intention of hurting you
my advice will always stay the same, my darling:
give ‘em hell.