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bess 5d
I hope that when you looked at me and told me I was beautiful,

You didn't just look at my face.

I want you to look into me;

Into eyes that watch wildfires burn,

I want you to study the scars and stories that mark my skin.

At the wrinkles and creases from years of scrunched noses,

Furrowed brows,

And unceasable laughter.

But maybe all you did was look.

Look at the way my hips curve
And my hair curls,
The length of my legs,
The width of my chest.

But I hope that you know

That my body is not what makes me beautiful.
an anthem
5d · 50
my garden
bess 5d
i am a garden
blooming
budding
growing

but among the bubblegum peonies  
and golden lilies
are the weeds

a gloved hand yanks them from their roots
but time and time again
they grow back
they sliver through the dirt
and emerge into the sunlight

so i wait

i wait for the weeds to grow
i wait for them to overtake me
i wait for them to vanquish

and then i wait for my flowers to be planted

i am a garden
waiting
weeding
planting
Nov 2018 · 342
tsunami
bess Nov 2018
I have began to have so many good days that I forget the bad.
But when the bad days begin to ebb and flow back to shore,
I can feel the currents of a tsunami.

I stand on top of the tallest building
as I watch the wave rush in,
the force nature taking demolishing my sanctuary.
My progress.
My safety.
My recovery.
I watch as all of it fades away.

And then it recedes,
slowly,
painfully,
leaving a broken, ****** mess in it's wake .

It's a mess
that I will have to clean up.
Aug 2018 · 368
chasing stars
bess Aug 2018
there will be nights where you chase stars
and follow them through galaxies and supernovas
waiting for them to slow down

and on those nights you need to land
let your feet rest in the craters of the moon
and learn that you
are the sun
Aug 2018 · 144
be free
bess Aug 2018
sometimes you have to say goodbye to be completely gone
and once those words leave your mouth
you will be free
you will be free
you will be free

you will soar over mountain tops
and look down from the crest of the horizon

say goodbye
go
and be free
bess Aug 2018
you cannot heal in the same place you were broken
and once you leave
you will understand

understand that the broken floorboards glued your feet down
and the floral curtains bound your wrists
and the familiar hallways were just mazes
created to keep you lost

but someday you will leave
and destroy the floorboards
the floral curtains
and the hallways that kept you in

you will find peace somewhere else
maybe within the trees
or the bustle of the city

and then you will heal
Jul 2018 · 389
to the girl i used to be
bess Jul 2018
To the bright-eyed girl who didn't understand a thing
Not because she didn't care,
But because she didn't need to

Instead of perfume,
her mother covered herself in whiskey.
Instead of cologne,
her dad wore *****.

And it wasn't a tragedy,
it was simply normal.

Until she realized that ****** fists and slamming doors
had no place in a home.
And that maybe
just maybe
her house was never really a home.

Because ignorance is bliss.
And if you don't understand
that some things are right
and some are wrong
everything is still just okay

To the bright-eyed girl who didn't know
that her childhood was ripped away
until it was too late
May 2018 · 421
strong women
bess May 2018
To the women who dismantled the world
with their bare hands
just to build it up again.

May we know them.
To the Eleanor Roosevelts,
to the Marilyn Monroes.
To our mothers
and our grandmothers

May we be them.
Women who speak with fire
and revel in the flame,
who shatter the glass ceiling
and dance around the broken shards.

May we raise them.
To our sisters
and our daughters.
To the women who came before me
and all of the girls who will come after.

Here’s to strong women.
for all my ladies out there :)
Apr 2018 · 459
how to exist
bess Apr 2018
Existing in a house with an alcoholic isn't quite existing. It's tiptoeing around corners and walking on broken glass. It's waiting for the bomb to drop with the closest shelter miles out of reach.

I try to shed my skin but it sticks like glue. It covers me in shame and pain and the irreversible smell of ***** and *****.

I don't exist. I just simply am.

I am the daughter of a drunkard.

I am covered in guilt.

I am.

I mold myself to fit into a box that's half my size. I rip my own words out of my own mouth so I don't hurt the feeling of the people who have mutilated mine.  

I haven't existed yet, but someday I will.
Apr 2018 · 380
my garden
bess Apr 2018
My life has been a garden
For flowers than seeds
And more weeds that that

I grow
And I climb
And I begin to wither when the sunlight fades

You should know all of this
But maybe you don't
Maybe you were so blinded by the sun
That you forgot to water me

I pulled the weeds out myself
Thorns and burs and splinters
But I planted my own seeds

My hands may be filthy with dirt
But yours are covered in demons

And maybe that's okay
Because I will be able to wash mine off
to my father
Feb 2018 · 351
forgetting is a tragedy
bess Feb 2018
I forget about it most of the time
But then I hear a door slam
Or a glass break
And I'm thrown back into the tidal wave
Reaching
Grasping
Begging
To make it back to shore
Jan 2018 · 744
cleaning up broken glass
bess Jan 2018
I'm surrounded by pieces of myself
Shards of glass so sharp it hurts
The memories that you ruined
The childhood you dictated
The love that was  lost

I cannot repair what you broke
I cannot mend what is already bent out of shape
I cannot forget the memories etched on my skin

When glass breaks
It cannot be put back together
No matter the amount of glue or tape
Or how many times you've begged for my forgiveness

I take out a broom
I sweep up the pieces
I throw them away
Not for you
But for myself
i don't forgive you, but i'm learning to forgive myself
Jan 2018 · 255
eight kids and a train
bess Jan 2018
Eight of us
A train
And the blinding light of stars
For that moment
As we laid together under the sky
Shoulder against shoulder
And watched as the blinding light inched towards us
Waiting for the onrush of wind
The split second of weightlessness
And a sign that this is where we needed to be
a note to my friends
bess Jan 2018
There is nothing beautiful about wanting to die  
There is no peace
There is no calm

It is not like in the movies
Where someone comes and sweeps you off your feet
And suddenly
You're cured

Death is an unstoppable, untameable wave
It floods towards the shore and recedes back again
Ebbing gently at the back of your brain
Death is not beautiful
It is anything but
for those recovering
Jan 2018 · 970
fighting the good fight
bess Jan 2018
I fight for my sisters
The ones whose own voice was ripped away

I fight for my daughters
The little girls who risk their lives for knowledge

I fight for my mothers
The women who gave up everything

I fight for my grandmothers
The ones who fought for me
Dec 2017 · 1.2k
do not apologize
bess Dec 2017
Why do you feel the need to apologize for taking up space in the world?

Stop saying you are sorry

For existing

For living

For being human
Dec 2017 · 520
whiskey
bess Dec 2017
I always thought I knew what cologne smelled like.
It was harsh and made my eyes water and nose burn.
All I knew is that my dad wore it religiously.
I always thought my dad wore cologne.
I was ten years old when I learned what whiskey smelt like.

I was sixteen years old when I took my first sip of whiskey.
It was weak, mixed with diet coke, but it still left my throat burning.
I never liked the taste, but when I brought the cup to my nose and smelt the bitterness and I saw the eyes of my father, I knew that the smell was so much worse.
It was that moment when I understood why people drank to forget.

That night I closed my eyes and I saw the black label of Jack Daniels Whiskey, I saw the long brown paper bags that my dad hid in the cupboards, I saw the coke cans littered around our trash can.

I was too young to understand, but with whiskey running through my own veins I connected each individual dot like each sign a constellation.

I set the cup down and winced.
My friends laughed, of course.
They didn’t know.
They’d never even guess.
They probably thought I was a lightweight, a girl who couldn’t even handle a sip of whiskey.
I smiled, too.

I don’t think I’ll ever drink whiskey again.
Dec 2017 · 315
somedays i ache
bess Dec 2017
somedays i ache with such ferocity
i am ready to rip my skin off my bones
and scream until my lungs empty
Dec 2017 · 422
understanding alcohol
bess Dec 2017
I never understood how someone could drink

How someone could throw away their life for a single sip of whiskey

How they consumed what they knew could **** them

But then I'd lay in bed for hours on end

And those hours became days

Days became months

Months became years

A never-ending cycle of torment

And some way

Somehow  

I understood
Dec 2017 · 1.2k
thinking about drinking
bess Dec 2017
When my friends think about drinking they see parties, and wild nights, and crazy hangovers

And when I tell them I never plan on letting a sip of alcohol touch my lips, they're scandalized

Because they don't understand

How could they ever?

When I think of drinking, I think of my mom passed out underneath our Christmas tree

Or my dad swerving down side streets with the smell of whiskey wafting off of him like smoke from a campfire

I see my childhood that came crashing down in front of my eyes

I see something that they will never understand
Dec 2017 · 593
saving a dance for you
bess Dec 2017
We have a special dance
You ask a question
I give the answer you're waiting to hear
Like a play rehearsed again and again and again
Each line is memorized
The responses flow out of my mouth as easy as a breath of air
You ask about my day
I ask about yours
So the cycle continues
And when you step to the right, I follow your lead
Because tiptoeing around broken glass is easier than cleaning up the mess in front of us
Dec 2017 · 481
why i won't forgive
bess Dec 2017
Everyone told me to forgive and forget

But how can I forgive you for the way you altered my existence

I don't think or talk or act the way I used to because of you

So before you expect me to forgive you

Maybe you should say you're sorry
Nov 2017 · 324
tell me i'm beautiful
bess Nov 2017
I hope that when you looked at me and told me I'm beautiful

You didn't just look at my face

I hope you looked not just at me, but in me

Into my eyes which saw wildfires burn

Or the marks on my skin which tell my story

Or the wrinkles by my mouth from endless laughs and smiles

Or maybe you really did just look at me

The way my hips curve and my hair curls, the length of my legs and width of my chest

And I hope that you know

That my body is not what makes me beautiful
love yourself :-)
Nov 2017 · 178
the ache of identity
bess Nov 2017
The realization of being sick was like barreling into ice cold water
Lying in my bed from dawn till dusk was the norm
The deep feeling of utter despair was as typical as a stomach full of butterflies
The constant weight of heavy eyelids was just a bad night's sleep
Or a bad week
A bad month
A bad year
Sadness became my schedule, and I followed it to a tee
Depression became my comfort
It is the one constant in my life
If I were to get help, if I were to get better
Who would I be?
I learned to hate myself before I learned photosynthesis or geometry  
I am wrapped in a blanket of hate and grief that I so badly want to shed

But if I let that blanket slip

What part of me will possibly be left?
Nov 2017 · 581
soulmates
bess Nov 2017
I don't believe every person has one soulmate

I think they have hundreds

The best friends who care about you when you can't care for yourself

The woman working at the deli down the street who always gives you a dollar off your sandwich because she knows money is always tight  

The man working at the bookstore who sets books he knows you'll like in the back so no one else can buy them

The little girl at park who's face illuminated with joy when you played hide-and-go-seek with her

Soulmates are not one person out of seven billion

They are everyday people

Ones who take the time to make your day a little bit better
Nov 2017 · 376
i think i love you
bess Nov 2017
I think I love you
But not in the way a daughter should.
I don't love the thought of you
I love you because you raised me
I love you because it is my obligation

I think I love you
But then I hear someone yell or a door slam and I'm thrown back into the abyss of my childhood
When you put your fist through my bedroom wall
And called me a ***** before I knew what the word meant

I thought I loved you until I saw my friend's father
He went to her ballet concerts and watched her soccer games with delight
And when she missed a goal he gave her a hug anyway

I thought I loved you
But only because you say you love me
the last few months have been a journey of self-discovery, coming to terms with my toxic childhood, and learning to love myself.
Nov 2017 · 720
don't call me pretty
bess Nov 2017
Don't call me pretty

I am not pretty

I am a warrior molded from hot iron

Beaten down to conform to a shape

To conform to a number

To conform to a scale

I forgave the people who ripped me apart

I crawled tooth and nail out of the ashes that trapped me

I get up every morning with a purpose to change

So don't call me pretty

Because I am so much more
a warrior song for all my ladies (and men) out there :-)
Nov 2017 · 1.1k
you are allowed to be angry
bess Nov 2017
You are allowed to be angry.

You are allowed to be angry that you missed out on childhood.

That the sound of a slamming door terrifies you.

That the slightest touch of a hand makes you flinch.

You are allowed to be angry that it took you years to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.

You are allowed to be angry at the way you were treated.

You are allowed to be angry at people who hurt you.

You are allowed to be angry.
take a deep breath and love yourself a little more today
Nov 2017 · 528
simply existing
bess Nov 2017
Sometimes I wish you were never apart of my life.

But if it wasn't for you, what the hell would be left of me?

Would all of the cuts and scratches and scars disappear? All of these ****, little things that tell my story would simply evaporate?

It's because of you that I can tell the good days from the bad.

And it's because of you I appreciate the small things.

I appreciate smooth roads because I've driven on rocky.

Some days I close my eyes so tight they hurt. I beg and I beg and I beg that when I wake up, all of the bad is gone.

The memories.

The hurt.

The ache.

But I open my eyes and I'm still just here. So I exist.

And some days, that's all I need to do,

Simply exist.
Nov 2017 · 449
healing
bess Nov 2017
I never learned how to heal

I learned whiskey from *****, and love from fear

But I don't know how to pick myself up after I fall

Or fix all the pieces that someone else broke
Oct 2017 · 1.6k
how to love an alcoholic
bess Oct 2017
one
Be gentle, because they don’t know any better. I know that you’re the child, and I know that you’re scared, and I know that it isn’t your job to be gentile or kind but I also know that being gentile is easier than being angry.

two
Make sure to give up your heart and soul first. Take your feeling and put them into a box, and shove that box far away because God knows that they’ll only heart them anyways.

three
Read well and often. Send your mind into a new, completely different world for a little while. You need it. We all need it.

four
Learn how to be distant. Learn how to love from afar. Being close will only hurt more in the long run.

five
The most important part of loving an alcoholic is loving you first. You are not your parent’s mistakes. You are not what caused them to break so harshly that they turned to a bottle rather than a book, a drink rather than their daughter.

I learned how to love an alcoholic before I learned to love myself. And to this day, I’m still learning.
Oct 2017 · 410
growing up
bess Oct 2017
I grew up drowning in whiskey.

I grew up quickly.

I grew up alone in my thoughts.

And now when I look in the mirror and see myself,

I know that I hardly grew up at all.
Oct 2017 · 924
beautiful is a lousy word
bess Oct 2017
You called her beautiful, but that’s not what she was.

She was fire and flood. her words pounded against the sand like waves.

Her hands created art from pain, each stroke a painful stitch.

Her thoughts were flames from a wildfire, taking the world by smoke and ash.

She was not beautiful, and anyone who called her that felt her wrath.
To be edited :)
Oct 2017 · 276
whiskey
bess Oct 2017
I always thought I knew what cologne smelled like.
It was harsh and made my eyes water and nose burn.
All I knew is that my dad wore it religiously.
I always thought my dad wore cologne.
I was ten years old when I learned what whiskey smelt like.

I was sixteen years old when I took my first sip of whiskey.
It was weak, mixed with diet coke, but it still left my throat burning.
I never liked the taste, but when I brought the cup to my nose and smelt the bitterness and I saw the eyes of my father, I knew that the smell was so much worse.
It was that moment when I understood why people drank to forget.

That night I closed my eyes and I saw the black label of Jack Daniels Whiskey, I saw the long brown paper bags that my dad hid in the cupboards, I saw the coke cans littered around our trash can.

I was too young to understand, but with whiskey running through my own veins I connected each individual dot like each sign a constellation.

I set the cup down and winced.
My friends laughed, of course.
They didn’t know.
They’d never even guess.
They probably thought I was a lightweight, a girl who couldn’t even handle a sip of whiskey.
I smiled, too.

I don’t think I’ll ever drink whiskey again.
bess Oct 2017
There is no such thing as a child of an alcoholic. There are children, and then there are alcoholics. One will never harmonize with the other.

Because alcoholics are never parents. They are shells, empty casings of love mixed with a burning taste of whiskey.

They are echoes of slurred, “Goodnight, I love you.” and “See you in the morning.” Each word filled with love, but blinded by the haze of liquor, so strong it fills your eyes with tears.

But most importantly, a child of an alcoholic will never be a child. No matter their age, they have gained the experience of those five times their age. They have watched life end with each tip of the bottle, but begin again when the sun breaks through their window.

I read stories about children who spend their days without a care in the world. And as a child, I wanted nothing more than that for myself. I wanted the carelessness, not the impossible burden of responsibility and secrecy that I held, hand in hand with resentment and hatred for the people who raised me.

There is no such thing as a child of an alcoholic. It’s not that we don’t exist— we do. But a child will never be a child when their parents can never be a parent.

— The End —