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Jade Aug 16
volume i
A Portrait of My Sixth-Grade Self
___________________­

Eleven-year-old fingers
swollen with baby fat
dig into the gaudy shimmer
of turquoise eyeshadow
encased in its shattered compact.

I apply the pigment,
erratic smudges extending
from my lash line
to just below my untamed brows.

The blue powder accentuates the swirls
of my fingerprints in dizzy figure eights.

But you can't quit your own skin
like you can quit ice skating lessons.

I am in the sixth grade
when the Popular Girls
in my class tell me that,
if I want to get a boy to like me,
I have to change the way I look.

I abide by the rules of the
Unofficial Mean Girl Doctrine:

{no. 1}

I mustn't wear sweat pants,
these sloppy Old Navy rags
that I have owned for three years.

See,
denim is superior to cotton
even though it leaves
cavernous indentations
on my stomach.

Sweat pants forgive
the extra swell of your waist line.

Denim punishes you
for what you don't have,
more specifically
for what you have too much of.

I ask my mom for skinny jeans
because perhaps if I can
shrink all that I am
into this blue, unyielding fabric
I will feel thinner than I actually am.

We buy the skinny jeans from Old Navy.

{no. 2}

My signature high pony tail is
unacceptable.

I should wear my hair down,
they profess.

I am not sure if this is
because of the tufts of frizz
that loom over my scalp
like wasted dandelion seeds

(I wish... I wish... I wish...)

or if this is just a necessary ritual
in the abandonment of my girlhood.  

After I unsheathe my curls
from their rubber-band Bastille,
their trial commences.

My ringlets slither
in hostile circulations,
executing frequent detours away
from anyone who might scoff
at their animalistic bedlam.

If only I could will
my spectators to stone.

Cuz no one ever dared
**** with Medusa
and her curls.

Instead,
I settle for a flat iron.

{no. 3}

Do everything in your power to be
Beautiful
including, but not limited to,
the laws indicated above.

Yet,
despite my grandest efforts,
it is never enough.

I am never enough.

I am the Walmart Edition
of what the Popular Girls
want me to be.

With my gaudy eyeshadow and the
cheap Dollar Store bracelets
that I wear around my wrists,
plastic flowers blooming
upon threaded stems
that nip at the hair on my arms.

One day on the bus ride home,
a boy from my class tells me
I am too hairy.

"Huh?" I ask,
pretending I haven't heard him.

"Nothing," he mumbles back to me.

See,
little girls are supposed to play with
jump ropes and Barbie Dolls.

They are not supposed to
play with razors as they strip away
every misplaced hair on their body
or consult Teen Vogue
for the latest beauty hacks
like they are Gospel.

This year of 2011/2012
has been engraved  into
the historical road map
of my every insecurity.
The legend of this map,
depicted in smeared globules
of sugar cookie lipgloss,
deliver me to my destination:

self hatred.

Mascara stains the
topography of my flesh
in inky, dotted lines

I follow.

I plummet
like the eternal run
in my stockings.

One way plane ride
non-stop
never to return
from this perception of ugliness
and then--

flight


down.
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Jade Aug 13
⚠️Trigger Warning: The following poem contains subject matter pertaining to self-harm, suicide, and involuntary psychiatric hospitalization⚠️
______________­____

Tenth grade:

I am standing in the foyer
with my friends
before the bell rings.

From my sailor's mouth:
a bluster of salt and curse words.

My friends are so used
to hearing me swear,
that I believe they have become
desensitized to the variations of "****"
that whistle through my teeth.

Today, I use a
word
I have never said in front of them before.

Their eyes flash
with holier-than-thou
disapproval.

I understand how my language
may be construed as being offensive.

And, truly, I mean no harm.

But truly,
does that make me less than?

(Maybe it does.)

I've never been like them.

I am not pristine.

I am all edge.

Cut from sea glass,
composed of atoms having split
and drowned in their
self-perpetuated monsoons.  

My voice is not a siren song.

It is the stuff
of brine and hurricane.

I ask:
are you mad at me?

"I mean--I don't like hearing it..."

(Yes.)

"It's just sort of disrespectful."

(So you are mad at me.)

This type of shame
can only be alleviated
through means of punishment.

During English class,
I go to the bathroom.

Into my left forearm,
I carve the word
*****,
its lines written
in barbed-wire cursive.
Like a trigger-happy Etch A Sketch,
I create haphazardly.

When I get home that evening,
my parents, having received a phone call
from the school that afternoon,
tell me we are going to the hospital.

(Clarification:
I am going to the hospital,
they are only taking me there.)

Post phone call,
my father had contacted
Alberta Health Services.
The representative he had spoken to
told him that it was necessary
that I go to the hospital
and that if I didn't comply,
he should call 911,
wherein the paramedics
would take me by force.

I am in awe that
this stranger has the power
to tell me where I must go
before I am even aware
of their existence.

After screaming
and sobbing
and swearing--
one of the words being
the cuss that initiated
this series of events
in the first place--
I finally surrender.

On the ride to the hospital,
I listen to "A Car, a Torch, a Death"
by Twenty One Pilots.

"The air begins to feel a little thin
As I start the car, and then I begin
To add the miles piled up behind me
I barely feel a smile deep inside me
And I begin to envy the headlights driving south
I want to crack the door so I can just fall out"


I cinch the vinyl of the seatbelt
between my fingers the entire way there.
Because, in this instance,
the seatbelt is my enemy
so I keep her closer
to me than my own skin.

(But I am not sure
if I really did this
or if my emotion
exploits my memory.)

We arrive.

Still hysterical,
I grab a fistful of snow
before we pass through the doors.

A guffaw verging on maniacal
escapes from my chapped lips:

What if this is my
last chance
to touch snow,
to inhale the crispness of November
before I am locked up?

(What if they lock me up?)

I step out of the queue
and into the nurse's station.
My parents explain
what I've done to myself
and the nurse asks me how I feel.

"Angry,"
I say.

"Why are you angry?"

"Because I've been brought here against my will."

When the ER doctor
has finished her interrogation,
she says that a psychologist
will be with me shortly.

"I'm going to do homework while I wait,"
I tell her, defiance tugging at my vocal cords,
"Because I AM going to school tomorrow."

I ******* my way through
the rest of my assessment
with the psychologist,
try to sound the least suicidal as possible
while also making it exponentially clear
that admitting me involuntarily--
isolating me from the rest of society--
would only intensify my depression.

They let me go.

One of the doctors--
or maybe it was a nurse--
makes a comment
that I can't fully remember.

All I know is that I reply:
"No, I'm still pretty ******,"
to which the doctor (nurse?)
tells me that my parents did the right thing
and that my anger is unwarranted.

And I am just so ******* exhausted
with these people who treat me
like I'm some backward,
music box ballerina.

I figure eight in the direction
opposite of the world
spinning on its axis.

They do not like
this backward girl--
this warped record
whose lyrics seem unfathomable.

So they close
the top of the music box
and I no longer play
the leading role of my own life--
I am just some small, porcelain thing
collecting dust in the fissures of her
silence.
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Jade Aug 6
⚠️Trigger Warning: The following poem contains subject matter pertaining to self-harm, suicide, and involuntary psychiatric hospitalization⚠️

I don't recall a whole lot
about my first hospital visit.

I know only the
fleeting
keynotes of the experience.

And I'm not just referring to my first...
psychiatric (?) visit.

(I'm not sure if psychiatric is
the right word,
but I find that I often struggle
to find the right words
when I attempt to describe hospitals
and the time I've spent in them.


I'll do my best.)


See,
I had never been to the
Emergency Room for anything before.

(Well,
except for that one time
I tumbled off the changing table as a baby.
But I'm not sure that really counts,
my only knowledge of the event
having come from second-hand stories.)

Surprisingly enough,
being the clumsy child I was,
I had never sustained
any significant injuries
while growing up,
especially in comparison to my sister
who had a daunting repertoire.

When she was a toddler,
she executed a daredevil jump
from the top of the staircase,
breaking her arm as she crash-landed
onto the basement carpet.

While we were waiting
for her to be fitted with a cast,
I remember her doctor told me
to stop misbehaving.

While I can't remember
exactly how I was misbehaving,
I'm sure it had something to do
with the chaos of my temperament,
a chaos that has churned inside me
for as long as I have known.

Over the course
of my high school years,
when I would make several
appearances at the hospital
due to my own brokenness--
the very brokenness that persuaded
the lacerations on my wrists
and my lust for death--
the doctors would,
in their clinical, roundabout ways,
tell me the same thing:

to stop misbehaving.

In the ninth grade--
this here. this is the first visit--
my guidance counsellor and English teacher
had driven me to the Children's Hospital,
which was only up the road from my high school.

Oddly enough,
I had been relatively compliant.

I had gone quietly,
devoid of the defiant uproar
that seethed under my skin.

Perhaps I acted as I did to prove that,
despite, my darkness,
isolating me from the world I knew
would be a grand disservice to me.

Or perhaps I feared
what would happen
if I was to purposely disobey,
that, upon arriving at the hospital,
I would be treated like the rebel I was,
promptly disrobed of my independence.

The remaining details of the visit
have been resolved to vagueness
as time has passed.

I only know my father  
came straight from work to pick me up.
Before we left,
the doctor gave us pamphlets--
crisis hotlines,
accessing resources
within my quadrant of the city,
alternatives to self-harm.

The doctor dwelled on this last subject;

if I felt like cutting myself,
I could still satisfy the urge
without actually drawing blood.

I could press ice to my skin
or write on myself with markers--
markers not pens--
or snap a rubber band against my wrist,
which was the method
he had particularly fixated on.

He explained he wasn't too keen
on me snapping myself
all the time, either,
but that it was a preferable
alternative until I improved.

"Doc,"
I wish I'd said,
"If only you knew
how lovely it is to bleed."
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Jade Aug 6
404

ERROR

this girl no longer exists
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Jade Aug 5
⚠️Trigger Warning: The following poem contains subject matter pertaining to self-harm, suicide, and involuntary psychiatric hospitalization⚠️

Over the duration of high school,
there is one fear that eclipses
the daily rumination of my thoughts.

Behind sepulchred eyelids,
burn the imaginings

of wasp-needled syringes

straitjackets curling around bodies
with noose-like exactness

a padded room
absorbing brain-curdling screams
into its pink insulation.

At the time,
I was petrified that my newly-discovered
flirtation with self-harm
would land me a permanent stay in an asylum.

The rational part of me knew
that they don't call them
asylums anymore.

The rational part of me knew
there would be no syringes
or straitjackets
or pink, padded rooms.

It was the principle

If it was decided that I was
"an immediate risk to myself"--
a decision that would
incorporate the voices
of the people who barely knew me
but deny me my own voice--
I would be admitted
to a psychiatric ward,
and it would be against my will.

It wouldn't matter
if it was at the Children's Hospital or not--
It wouldn't matter if the walls
were coated with those
sickeningly bright colours
or if there was an Xbox
in the common area.

You can dress up a prison cell
as vibrant as you'd like.
But, by principle,
it's still a prison cell.

When they strip you
of your clothes,
and force you into
their bleak hospital gowns,
they also strip you
of your independence.

(You aren't even allowed
to wear your school cardigan,
the one whose soft, green fabric
you nestle against your fingertips
when you need comforting.

What makes you think
you can leave when you want to?)

See,
doc keeps ya locked up
until he's snuffed the
crazy outta you.

They don't like using
the word
crazy
anymore, either.

So,
like the prison cell,
they play dress up
with your "crazy",
draping it in euphemisms like

unstable.

erratic.

incapacitated.

suicidal--

Once this word is used to label you,
you are never quite able to
abandon its connotation of
madness--
a reputation of inferiority.

And everyone believes
that they are only doing what's best for you,
that hospitalization is the only thing
that will save you from yourself,
when, in fact, it's the ultimatums
and the countless visits to the ER
and the way you are treated--
like a poor ***** lying in wait
to be put down--
that destroys you.

The memories still
bleed fresh most nights.

I seethe at
the mistreatment and
the betrayal and
the destruction
like an army of bees
whose hive has been kicked in,
a snow-globe convulsing
between careless hands.

I was kinder
before they stole away
the last moon-slivers of hope
I held between heart and ribs,
between lips and flower petals.

The nectar has been
exorcised from my soul,
leaving only infestation behind.


(and there is no escaping this swarm)
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Jade Jul 11
You say the rain is
beautiful,
yet you judge me for crying.

If I went to school with you,
chances are
you've probably seen me cry
(and I cry a lot).

I would like to thank those
who consoled me during
my epoch of sadness,
one that reached out before me
like bubblegum stretched
to ligaments between nervous fingers
(I don't chew gum often,
but those fingers belonged to me).

Your kindness.
is remembered warmly.

But to those of you who
criticized me incessantly.
Called me
cry baby. overdramatic. weak.  
behind my back;

to those of you
who deliberately concealed
the truth from me--
unfortunate truths, they were
but truths that concerned
my reputation, nonetheless--
because you felt the need to
spare yourselves from the
"discomfort" and "annoyance"
my tears would bring you;

to those of you who
labelled me as if I were a
cardboard delivery box
containing fine china--
FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE

(REFRAIN FROM HONESTY):

your remarkable lack of compassion
serves you no purpose.
There is nothing noble
about making a satire of
other people's sorrow.
Being a stoic does not make
you stronger than me.

You cannot possibly comprehend
the strength I carry:

Many times I have shattered
and many times--
every time--
I have put myself back together again.

I conquer the Olympus of jigsaw pieces
that my heart has crumbled to,
place each fragment of myself
between my teeth,
letting the cardboard and paint
melt against my tongue
like Listerine breath strips.

Despite the bitter aftertaste of broken,
I feast until I am whole again.

I cry.

I lick my wounds.

And then I heal--

I always heal.

And my dreaded stoics,
you could heal too
if it weren't for your
self-righteous denial of
the deluge.

Watch me drink from its waters,
toast in acknowledgement to the pain.

I let myself feel
as I am meant to feel.

I let myself break
as I am meant to break.

I hope one day you come to learn
that there is
nothing
braver than that.

~

Whenever I shatter,
the Gods scream
"Opa!"
in celebration.

Because they know very well that
broken I shall not remain.
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Jade Jun 17
The first--
and only--
man I ever spread
my legs for is my
prehistoric-old urologist.

Before he takes his leave,
he instructs me to
take off my shorts and my *******,
lie down on the examination table,
then cover up beneath the white, papery sheet.

How every many minutes later,
he knocks on the door
to signal his re-entry.
A nurse accompanies him
back into the room.

Rubber gloves snap into place--
I flinch.

The doctor begins his examination,
presses down on my abdomen, which,
due to a late-night carb binge,
is hard, stomach flab unyielding.

Next,
I am told to place my feet
up on the stirrups.

"You can keep your shoes on,"
he reassures me.

As if a pair of flip flops are relevant
as he pulls apart the intimate folds of my flesh,
his latexed fingers sinking inside of me.

I close my eyes and
pretend I am not here at all.

And even though
I realize he is only
doing his job,
I can't help but muse--

I wish God was a woman
I wish God was a woman
I wish God was a woman.

I wish God was a woman.
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(P.S. Use a computer to ensure an optimal reading experience.)
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