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May 12 · 1.1k
not the same
Sarah Flynn May 12
you're trying to figure out
whether she's really
wearing Gucci,
or if it's a fake bag.

I'm trying to figure out
whether that look
in her eyes is grief
or another sadness
that I have not yet
learned to understand.

you're judging her
because her teeth
aren't perfectly straight.

I'm judging her
based off of the words
that come out from
behind those teeth.

you're hating on her
because she doesn't
wear her makeup like
the rest of these girls do.

I'm loving her because
she has the courage
to stand out, and the
self-respect to not care
if you don't like it.

you're studying her looks,
but I'm focused on her soul.

that's what makes us different.
Sarah Flynn May 12
I say that I am uncomfortable
being around a strange man.
they call me a ***** and say,
"don't you know that it's not all men?"

I am drugged and assaulted by
a man who I thought that
I could trust. they say,
"you should've known better."

they say that my scars are ugly.
they say "you should hide those!"

but when I cover them up, they say
"women shouldn't have tattoos.
why did you ruin your body?"

I wear shorts and they say,
"what a *****! those are too short."

I put on long jeans and they say,
"what a *****! you're no fun."

I care too much about
their opinions and they say,
"you're too insecure! stop caring!"

I stop caring and they hate that
they can no longer control me.

you can't win, darling.
they will always hate you
for one thing or another.
at least let them hate you
for being too real.

be you.
life is too short
to fake being
anyone else.
May 7 · 399
let's be honest.
Sarah Flynn May 7
you lost someone real.
you lost a genuine, good friend
who would've done anything
to make you happy.

I only lost someone
who never gave a ****
about me or my happiness.

think about this
and then tell me again
who was truly hurt by
the end of our friendship.

we both may have hurt,
but you're the only one
who lost something here.

I won.
May 7 · 498
to my abuser
Sarah Flynn May 7
every five to seven years,
the human body is able to
develop an entirely new
set of taste buds.

every seven to ten years,
the human body is able to
replace every single skin cell
with a completely new one.

this means that one day,
not too far away from now,

I will have a body that
your fingers never touched

and a mouth that never
tasted the bittersweet lies
resting on your bottom lip.

one day, not too far from today,
the feeling of your fingerprints
will no longer linger on my skin.

the photos of you will no longer
make my skin crawl, and
tears of shame and regret
will no longer form in the
corners of my eyes.

my body will be mine again,
and you will have no control
over any part of me.

my brain will be full
of only my thoughts,
and not the thoughts that
you trained me to think.

my skin will be touched
only by those who I trust,
and you will never be
granted that ability.

I will reclaim my power
and my sense of self

and one day, when I hear it,
your name will mean nothing.

you will mean nothing.
I will be myself again.
totally, unapologetically myself.

isn't that comforting?
May 1 · 261
a work in progress
Sarah Flynn May 1
my intrusive thoughts tell me
that I'll never be good enough.

but I have so many people
who love me, and who show it,
so clearly that isn't true.

I am more than enough
to be loved by those around me.

now, all I need to do
is love myself too.

I'm working on it.
Apr 26 · 984
giving, giving, giving
Sarah Flynn Apr 26
I keep telling everyone
how beautiful they are
and how much they matter
and how much I love them.

I spend all day motivating
the people around me.
I say such encouraging things,
and I mean every word,

but why can't I say
the same things to myself?
Apr 24 · 430
a good kind of bad date
Sarah Flynn Apr 24
the other day, I went on a date.
it didn't go well at all.

he made some sexist comment
about how we wouldn't work if I
made more money than he did.

he told me that I'm smart,
but then added "for a woman."

I paid for myself, and then I left.

I guess that's not a good thing,
but I'm happy about it

because there was a time when
I wouldn't have realized that
I deserve better.
Sarah Flynn Apr 24
I used to want to **** myself,
so I did. I killed myself.
but not in the way that
you're thinking.

I killed the old me.

I murdered her bad habits
and tore apart her self-hatred.
I cut off her toxic "friends"
and blocked most of the
contacts in her old phone.
I kidnapped her and took
her on a relaxing vacation.
I taught her a lesson on how  
she deserved to be treated.
I gifted her with new clothes
and some therapy sessions
and a newfound sense
of long overdue self-respect.
I took every part of who she was
and every single detail that she
hated about herself, and I
squashed those feelings
with my bare hands.

I killed myself
without taking my own life

and a confident, loving,
unbelievably beautiful woman
rose from her ashes.
Apr 24 · 641
you are beautiful
Sarah Flynn Apr 24
oh honey, I hear you.
I hear those cruel words
you whisper to yourself.

I can hear them even when
you are silent because
I used to whisper them
to myself too.

I used to think that
no one heard me either.

now, I'm here
to tell you that
you're not ugly.
not even close.

it's just that when you
hear something enough,
you start to believe it.

you cannot erase the
memories of the mean words
that were once said about you.

the sad truth is that they
might always remain
stuck on a repeating loop
in the back of your mind.

you might never be able to
silence them. I haven't yet.

but what you can do
is drown out their noise.
what you can do
is yell louder.

go look in the mirror
and tell yourself
"I am beautiful."

and then say it again,
and again, and again.

say it louder
and L O U D E R.

"I am beautiful."
"I am beautiful."

you might never be able
to forget those cruel thoughts,

but what you can do
is remind yourself
that they are only lies.

you are beautiful,
even if you can't see it yet.
especially if you can't see it yet.
Apr 24 · 74
unanswered questions
Sarah Flynn Apr 24
your last text to me
wasn't anything special.
"Mcdonald's or Burger King?"
that's all you said.

I thought that maybe
it would be easier because
we didn't have any amazing,
memorable last conversation.

I thought that maybe
it being so normal
would be good,
but it's not.

it's not good
because your last words
were in the form of a question.
a silly question, yes,
but a question nonetheless.

"Mcdonald's or Burger King?"
you asked me
and I didn't respond in time
and now the weight of
everything that I could've said
is forever on my shoulders.

"McDonald's or Burger King?"
you asked me
and I didn't respond in time
and now whenever I drive past
either of those billion locations,
I think of you
and all of the things that
we left unsaid.

"Mcdonald's or Burger King?"
you asked me
and then you died,

and you left me
with no more time
and no right answers.
Apr 24 · 985
love story
Sarah Flynn Apr 24
...and in the end,
we went our separate ways.

you don't love me
and I don't love you
and that's ok

because you taught me
how I deserve to be treated.

because of you,
I love myself

and that is the greatest
love story of all.
Apr 18 · 744
caring too much
Sarah Flynn Apr 18
I cared so much about
everyone else that

I must've forgotten
how it felt to care
about myself too.
Apr 18 · 553
Sarah Flynn Apr 18
when I was younger,
I had these hopes and dreams
and this one huge goal.

I wanted to leave this world
a little better off than it was
before I existed in it.

now, I've realized that
all I want is to
leave this world

and I don't care if
it's better off or not.
Apr 18 · 512
some thoughts
Sarah Flynn Apr 18
I thought that by now
I'd be happy.

I've been battling
these demons for
so, so long.

I don't want to lose.
I don't want to give up.
I just don't feel like
I'm able to keep fighting.

the truth is, I'm not
strong enough

I need help,
but I don't want it.

please, teach me how to
disappear in peace
without taking
a piece of you
with me.

you need to
remain whole.
you need to
fill in the gap
left by my absence.
you need to
keep fighting.

keep fighting.
do what I couldn't.
Apr 8 · 532
Sarah Flynn Apr 8
I’m tired

but this isn’t
the type of tired
that sleep can fix.

I’m not tired
because I stayed up
too late last night.

I’m tired of
fighting with
my own mind.

I’m tired of
feeling like this is
a permanent feeling.

I’m tired of
being so tired.
Mar 30 · 695
shadow puppets
Sarah Flynn Mar 30
as a kid, I loved
shadow puppets.

I still do.

I used to love that
they were free and fun

and that no one had to
buy them for me

and that any time I wanted,
I could play with them.

now I love that they’re
so fun and so fascinating

and when you turn
the light back on,

you get to see that
all of those laughs and
memories and happiness

are actually just me
in a different light.
Mar 30 · 296
finally free
Sarah Flynn Mar 30
I watched her
open the mailbox.

she hesitated
before she did.

to anyone else,
this meant nothing.
they didn't know

that nine years ago,
she was standing
in the driveway
while her husband
was taken away.

under the glow of
red and blue lights,
she smiled thinking
that this was finally over.

there would be
no more bruises
and no more heartache.

she would finally be free.
she could finally breathe.

she had no idea that this
was only the beginning.

as the years went on,
the faith drained
from her body.

he was everywhere.

in her call log,
outside her window,
in her nightmares,

e v e r y w h e r e.

he wouldn't leave.

she didn't think that
she could ever be free.

but today,
I watched her stand
in her driveway

and open the mailbox
of her very own house

and read the letters
from the loved ones
that she was forced to
lose all those years ago.

the neighbors watched
as a random woman
opened her mailbox.

I watched as a woman
finally opened the
gate to freedom.
Sarah Flynn Mar 16
silk sheets and
expensive lingerie
and red lipstick

and I waste it all
on someone who
I know doesn't
love me but

when he lies
and says he does,

at least I hear it.

he says
"I love you"

and I know that
he's said it to
ten other girls
this week alone

but I smile and
I kiss him back.

when he says
"I love you"

the words linger
in the air and
his scent lingers
on my pillow

and when he's gone,
if I listen closely,

I can still hear it.

he says
"I love you"

and I know that
he doesn't mean it

but it doesn't matter

"I love you"
is something that
I still can't tell myself.
Mar 7 · 461
tidal wave
Sarah Flynn Mar 7
you took me to the beach,
even though I told you
a thousand times that
I didn't like the sand.

we walked together
along the shoreline

and it was there
that you told me
that you were toxic.

you told me that
you would hurt me
somehow in the end
no matter what

because that's what
you always do.

I should've ran
but instead I did what
you always did to me,

and I ignored everything
that you told me.

I should have listened
when you warned me
but instead,

I tuned you out
and listened to the
seagulls and the waves.

you told me that
you were dangerous

but instead of running,
I took your hand

and I told you how
much I loved you

and I clung to you so that
the ocean wouldn't
sweep me away.

I should've listened.
I let myself drown.
Feb 2 · 456
Sarah Flynn Feb 2
we grew flowers
in our garden
when I was a kid.

we had tulips
and daffodils and

my friend taught me
how to play the
forget-me-not game.

I'd pull off one petal
and say "he loves me."

I'd pull off the next
and say "he loves me not."

but I learned quickly
that there were only
five petals on every
one of those flowers.

if I started with
"he loves me,"
he would always
love me at the end.

if I started with
"he loves me not,"
he would never
love me at the end.

the other day,
I thought about
those forget-me-nots

and I laughed at how
ironic that is now.

I knew what type
of man you were.

I already knew how
we were going to end,

but I still chose to
play your game.
Feb 2 · 358
hauntingly beautiful
Sarah Flynn Feb 2
I've always hated the term
"hauntingly beautiful."

it's what they say when
a sight gives you chills
and your heart aches
and your eyes tear up.

I understand the meaning,
but I hate how it's worded.
that phrase confuses me

because once, I knew
a girl who wasn't
hauntingly beautiful.

when I looked at her,
I didn't get chills
and my heart didn't ache
and tears never formed
in the corners of my eyes

but dear god,
she was beautiful
in a way that I don't
have the words to describe.

she was so
unbelievably beautiful

and to this day,
she still haunts me.
Feb 2 · 1.7k
Sarah Flynn Feb 2
she didn't
stab me in the back
the way that people
have in the past.

she looked me
right in my eyes
and stabbed me
in my chest.

she didn't
backstab me.

she stabbed me
mid-sentence, when
I was still talking and
still trusting her

and then she
watched me die.
Feb 2 · 2.1k
someone else
Sarah Flynn Feb 2
he said
"I love you"

and maybe
I should've turned
and looked around

it's obvious now
that he wasn't
talking to me.
Feb 2 · 405
Sarah Flynn Feb 2
I swear
I don't drink

but it's 2:19am and
I'm ******* wasted.

I swear
I've been clean

but please don't
pull up my sleeves.

I swear
I take my meds

but don't look
in the trashcan.

I swear
I'm fine

but do you really
still believe me?
Feb 1 · 332
Sarah Flynn Feb 1
earlier, I was reading this story
about a kid who jumped
off the Golden Gate Bridge.

he said that
as soon as he jumped,
he felt instant regret.

this kid survived and
he has now become
a successful man.

I wonder how far
he had to fall before
he regretted his decision.

was it twelve feet down?
forty feet down?
two hundred feet down?

how far did he have to go
before he realized that
he didn't truly want this?

I am falling.
I have been falling
for a while now.

sometimes I feel like
I've hit rock bottom,
but then I see that I've
only slowed my descent.

how far will I have to fall
before I want to live?

what if that realization
doesn't hit me until
it's too late?

I am afraid that I might
finally see a purpose for
my existence, but by then

I'll have already
hit the ground.
Jan 31 · 291
after I died
Sarah Flynn Jan 31
I used to think that
if I took my own life,

the plants
would keep growing

and the sun
would keep rising

and the world
would keep spinning
without me in it.

and then I tried it.

I tried to escape
the only way that
I knew how to.

and when I did,

the plants
kept on growing

and the sun
kept on rising

and the world
kept on spinning
without me in it.

but my classes paused
while my teachers cried
at my empty desk

and my friends
didn't go to school
that day, or the next,
or the day after that

and my family
didn't eat dinner
because an extra plate
was put out on the table

and the little girl
who lived down the road
asked her parents why
I never walked by anymore

and her parents
looked at each other
with tears in their eyes
because they knew that
I'd never walk by again

and the cashier
at the bookstore who
barely even knew me
wondered why I didn't
come by that week

and the kid
who once bullied me
blamed himself for
what had happened

and the boy
who never spoke to me
hated himself for never
having the courage to

and my dog
grew old with gray fur
around his muzzle but
never stopped waiting
for me to come home.

I used to think that
if I took my own life,

the plants
would keep growing

and the sun
would keep rising

and the world
would keep spinning
without me in it.

I was right
about all of it.

the world
kept on spinning

but something
was missing

and people
were hurting

and there was a gap
where I used to be.
Sarah Flynn Jan 11
"you'll understand
when you're older."

I was told that
over and over.

when I asked about
anything bad or scary
or even something that
they simply didn't
want to explain to me,

that was the response.

what's global warming?

is grandma dying?

will my parents ever
get back together?

what is suicide?
why would someone
ever want to do that?

why do I have to
look away from
this scene on TV?

can boys kiss boys?
can girls kiss girls?

what is ***?

drugs are bad, so
why does my mom
use them every night?

where is my big brother?
when is he coming home?

"you'll understand
when you're older."

I'm older now

and still, there
is so much that
I can't understand.

a black man gets
shot in front of his
children and family.

the person behind
the trigger is human.

how could a human
take the life of another
human with no regrets?

my brother was killed
on impact when his
car flew off the road.

my other brother
smiled through his tears
and thanked god that
he didn't have to suffer.
he thanked god for our
brother dying instantly.

what kind of god
takes the life of someone
so young and so bright?
why should we pray
to a god like that?

the last time I saw her,
my mother was just
a walking corpse.

she had bruises and welts
and emotionless, dull eyes
and a rib cage viewable
from outside of her body.

why did my mother
turn herself into this?
when will she die?
is it wrong for me
to hope that comes soon?

they told me,

"you'll understand
when you're older."

but all I understand
is that there are things
that were kept hidden
from my young ears.

I still don't understand
why these things happen
or who to blame for them
or if people are good or bad.

"you'll understand
when you're older."

I'm older now.
I don't understand.
Jan 10 · 301
safety in numbers
Sarah Flynn Jan 10
I'm reading over the notes
that my therapist jotted down
during one of our first sessions.

there is so much trauma
and so many diagnoses.

my therapist says that
I'm not alone, and that
so many people know
a similar type of pain.

she's right. I'm not alone,
because I'm not the only
person to have a therapist

and because I'm not the first
person to be diagnosed
with these conditions

and because right now,
at this very second,

there is someone who
is reading this poem and
relating to these words.

sometimes this thought
is upsetting to me.

it depresses me to think
that other children were
raised by parents who
were like my parents,

and that they've faced
the same type of pain.

other times, this thought
is oddly comforting.

it hurts to think about
the children who grew up
the same way that I did

but it also calms me
to know that there
are other people
who are just like me,

because that means
there are people who
have survived this.

that means that
this is survivable,

and that even if I
sometimes doubt it,

it is possible to thrive.
Jan 6 · 685
Sarah Flynn Jan 6
when my boyfriend
rests his head on my chest,
he listens to my heartbeat.

I wonder if he knows
what is in the blood
that thumps beneath
my rib cage.

I wonder if he can hear
fists smacking chins

and drunken yelling

and noses bleeding

and children crying

and pill bottles opening

and ambulances blaring

and parents fighting

and skin slicing

and screams muffling.

I wonder if he can hear
the ***** music

and funeral speeches

and lives ending

and hearts breaking.

I wonder
when he listens
to my heartbeat,
can he hear

where I come from
and what I am made of?

can he hear
who I am?

and I wonder if
he could hear
all of those things,

would he still be here
with his head on my chest?
Jan 6 · 708
history repeats itself
Sarah Flynn Jan 6
my mother was an addict.
history repeats itself.
my brother is an addict.

my brother is my twin.
history repeats itself.
my nieces are twins.

my mother lost a son.
history repeats itself.
I lost my son.

my parents were absent
from their children's lives.
history repeats itself.
their children are absent
from their lives.

when your children are afraid,
they will run to their mothers.
their worst fears will be
the boogeyman or
losing their parents.

my worst fear is that
my children will
run to a mother
who was like mine.

my worst fear is that
my children will feel
the same fears that I did.

my worst fear is that
my history will
continue to repeat itself.
Dec 2020 · 408
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
when I was a child,
my mother was never there.

I believe that her absence
was a factor in my fate,
part of the reason that
I went searching for love
in all of the wrong places.

I believe that her absence
is one of the reasons why
I became a mother so young.

it wasn't her fault, not entirely.
it wasn't fully my fault either,
nor the fault of the man
who had fathered my child.
it was no one's fault.

I was pregnant, and placing blame
couldn't change that fact.

I was still a child
when I learned that
my own child was
growing inside of me.

I was scared
and sad and lost.
I wasn't ready.

when they put that
cold goo on my belly,
and my son's little body
formed on that screen,

I already knew that I would
do anything for my child.
my son was my world
before he even entered it.

but before my son's eyes
opened on this planet,
tragedy struck.

I woke up in a hospital bed.
I was told that I was alive
and that my son was alive too.
an emergency C-section
was able to save him.

the first time that I saw him,
I wasn't allowed to hold him.
he had tubes coming from
every part of his tiny body,
and a ventilator was
breathing air into his lungs.
he looked so fragile, almost
like a porcelain doll.
it almost looked like
none of it was even real.

the NICU doctors
read me an entire book
of my son's diagnoses,
medical terms with words
too long for me to understand.

the only part that I heard was,
"you might want to start
saying your goodbyes."

I refused to say goodbye,
and my son refused to give up.

my baby was a fighter.
he beat the odds over
and over and over again.

he grew stronger and
healthier every day.

eventually, I was told
that I could take him home.
I was also told that his time
with me would be limited.

my son's father
read one page from
that long book of diagnoses,
and he was overwhelmed.
he walked out on us.
I wasn't angry at him.
I was overwhelmed too

but I wouldn't leave.
I would be there for
every moment of his life
and every breath that he took.

it was me and my son
against the world.
we were inseparable.

I read him books
every night before
I tucked him into bed,
even when he was
too young to understand me.

I kissed him on his forehead
and I told him that
I would never leave him.

I promised my baby
that I would be the mother
that I never got to have.

my son fought
harder than anyone
who I have ever known.

despite the hospitals
and the medicine
and the surgeries,
he was a happy baby.
he had no idea that he
wasn't like every other kid.

he laughed and he cried
and he smiled that big smile
when I held him close to me.

and then the day came
when I had to say goodbye.

I had that same
heartbreaking feeling
that I did when I first
learned of his existence.
I wasn't ready.
I would never be ready.

all that I have left of
my baby are photographs
and memories and a
small, pale green urn
sitting on my dresser.

my son is gone.
my baby left this earth
not even a few years
after he had entered it.
my only child
was taken from me.

I still have these strong
maternal instincts.
I feel a need to protect
someone who no longer
needs my protection.

I am missing a child
who will never come back to me.
I am broken.
I am so broken.

this gaping hole
in my life will
never be filled.

I was a child
with no mother,

and now
I am a mother
with no child.
Dec 2020 · 335
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
he has his father's eyes.

that's the first thing
that I notice when
I hold my son
for the first time.

those huge, hazel eyes
are staring back at me
from his perfect face.

he is so small
and so young
and so innocent

but already,
he reminds me
of his father.

already, I am scared
that my son will
grow up to be
just like his father,

or maybe even worse.
maybe my son will
grow up to be
just like me.
Dec 2020 · 939
big mistake
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
you taught her
to shut up

to keep quiet

to know her place

to nod and agree

and to never, ever
disobey you.

when the police
came knocking
on your door

and they asked her
where you had been,

you expected her
to state your alibi.

you expected her
to speak up for you,

but you had taught her
to never speak at all.

that was your
fatal mistake.
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
there was this boy who
got ****** at my friend
because she rejected him.

he called her ugly,
and we burst out laughing

because two minutes ago,
when he was flirting with her,
he didn’t think she was ugly.
two minutes ago, he called her hot.

he didn’t call her ugly until
she used the word “no.”

he stormed off after a few
more ignorant words,

but I wanted to ask him
what he meant.

was she suddenly ugly
because of her appearance,

or was she suddenly ugly
because he realized that she
had a voice, and she certainly
wasn’t afraid to use it?

was she suddenly ugly
because of her appearance,

or was she suddenly ugly
because he realized that she
was more than just a pretty face?
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
I wrote a poem
about eating disorders.

I wrote a poem
about the pain in my heart.

I said that weight is not
equivalent to health

because weight is not
equivalent to health.

I stand by that statement.
I stand by the truth.

in response, a woman
who I have never met
decided to ask me

how much cake
I ate that night.

to that woman,
and to anyone with
the same judgement
in their tiny hearts,

I would like to
give you an answer.

I do not have
an eating disorder.

I lost a large amount
of weight over a
short period of time.

because of that,
I was complimented.

but the truth is that
when I was that skinny,
I was the unhealthiest
I have ever been.

I had stopped eating.
I was sick. something was
physically wrong with me,
going undetected because

no one thought to ask me
how I was feeling.

they praised me for
my sudden weight loss,
not realizing that

I wasn’t dieting.
I was dying.

I have since recovered.
I have gained back all
of the weight that I lost.

I have not gained back
any of this weight in fat;
I gained all of my weight
back in muscle.

to the stranger
who tried to shame me
because she assumed
that I must be fat,

I run four miles
every morning.

before this pandemic,
I went to the gym
at least five out of seven
nights a week.

I had a promising career
in competitive skateboarding,
which was lost only because
of an injury in which
teenage me broke her legs.

I ran cross-country back
in high school and

only a year ago,
I ran an ultramarathon:
100 miles of terrain
and 24 hours to run.

I am physically fit
and most likely stronger
than you have ever been.

I laughed to myself
when I saw your comment

because you just proved that
everything I said was true.

you provided the perfect
example of society’s twisted
views on weight loss, so
I guess I should thank you.

you immediately jumped
to the conclusion that
I must be fat, and therefore
I must be unhealthy.

your ignorance is sad.
it will get you nowhere.

I can almost guarantee that
your anger and hatred
has not helped you.

your rudeness has
made you the topic of this
poem about judgement.

and unless you are able
to learn empathy,
this might be your life’s
biggest achievement.

to the woman who thought
that her words would
somehow hurt me,

I would like you to know
that you were wrong.

you have made me laugh
at the irony of your ignorance,

and you have made me sad
for you and the awful life that
you must live to have felt a
need to make that comment.

but you have not hurt me.

to that woman,
if one day we ever meet,

or if one day
I meet someone with
the same attitude as you,

let’s compete in an
ultramarathon together.

let’s cover those 100
miles of terrain and
finish that 24 hours of
almost nonstop running.

I hope you realize that
I could beat you.
I could easily win with
you as my competitor.

and finally, to answer
the original question
that for some reason you
felt so compelled to ask:

no, I did not have
any cake that night.

but I hope you know
that if we were to race,

I am confident that
I could still crush you
with three slices of cake
in my stomach.
Dec 2020 · 320
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
guests used to comment on
all of those picture frames
pinned proudly to the walls.

you would smile politely
and give them a tour.

“there’s my daughter
on her first birthday!”

“there’s my son building
a fort out of snow!”

“there’s our family
on vacation at the beach!”

you used to get so many
compliments on your
picture-perfect family.

I wonder what they
would have said if they
knew about the holes
punched into the wall
underneath those frames.
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
if you want the truth about weight loss, listen up:  

somewhere there’s a young girl
hunched over a toilet bowl,
***** dripping down her chin.
her mascara has been smudged by her tears.

is that beautiful to you?

somewhere there’s a young boy
hating himself because
he doesn’t look like the models
he sees in magazines.
his skin is covered in self-harm scars,
byproducts of the toxicity he sees every day.

is that beautiful to you?

somewhere there’s another young girl
who has turned herself into a walking skeleton.
she’s so skinny that her body
stopped menstruating a long time ago
just to keep her alive.

somehow, she still gets pregnant.
she’s so happy about this pregnancy.
she has something to live for now.

and then the doctor comes in
and tells her that she can’t have her baby.
she is too skinny to bring
that pregnancy to full-term.
if she tried, her baby would die,
and so would she.

she has an abortion.
she holds her friend’s hand
in the waiting room.
this isn’t a close friend,
but she had no one else to call.
she is terrified.

a few weeks later,
she is dead.
she finally gave up.

a 19-year-old girl
is buried in the same ground that
would have held both her and her baby.

a 19-year-old girl
is buried in the same earth
that she should still
be walking on today.

is that beautiful to you?

there are children soaking juice
into cotton ***** and ******* on them
to distract themselves from their hunger.

there are men and women in hospitals
with G-tubes protruding from their noses,
being force-fed whatever life
they have left.

there are students passing out
from pure starvation
when they try to stand up
to leave their classrooms.

and all of those stories?

the girl by the toilet,
the boy with the scarred skin,
the girl who didn’t live past 19?

those aren’t just stories. they’re real.
they are people I know,
or I guess I should say
they are people I once knew.

I was the friend in that waiting room.
I was one of the last people to see that girl alive.
I was one of the last people to hear her voice.

I have had to hold my friends’ hair back
while they throw up everything
in their stomachs.

there are entire nights that I have spent awake
watching my friends to ensure that
they didn’t end their own lives that night.

at such a young age,
I have witnessed more pain
than some of you could even imagine.
and I am far from the only one.


if you still can’t understand this,
I’ll simplify it for you:









and most importantly,

Dec 2020 · 320
Sarah Flynn Dec 2020
it’s 3am right now
and I’m wide awake,
sitting on the edge
of my bed with
tears in my eyes.

I am in exactly the
same position I was
frozen in last year

and two years ago

and the year before that

and when I was young,
something like thirteen,

and basically every year
that I was old enough
to have some memory of.

I’m still that same
sad girl who writes
depressing poetry and
makes reckless decisions.

she sees a future sometimes,
but sometimes all she sees
and hears is television static.

sometimes she wants to
fill in the blanks and
paint a colorful future

and other times she’s
not so sure she wants
to see any future at all,
existing or not.

I’m still that girl.

I have a bed that
the love of my life
is asleep in right now.

my room is painted
a dull blue-grayish
color that I once
would have hated.

I no longer have
fan memorabilia from
concerts and emo bands.

instead of posters,
my walls hold
pretty picture frames.

there’s one of me
and my love at the top
of a mountain we hiked,

although truthfully it
was more of a hill.

we laughed at how
overrated that hike was.

in this picture,
we’re still laughing.

my room is in a
beautiful house in a
suburban neighborhood.

unlike so many people
who I once knew, I
made it out of the city.

I have a diploma and
the start of a college degree.
I received an education
instead of dropping out.

the school district here
is rated highly.
this is a safe place
for my future children
to grow up in.

there is green grass
in a spacious yard,
and a patio outside
where one day
I might sit and watch
my children play.

I have an amazing life
that I never thought
I could possibly have.

I am genuinely happy.

but for some reason,
I’m sitting here crying
in the middle of the night.

3am is still a time when I
am almost always
wide awake.

I am still a sad girl

who sometimes sees
a wonderful future

and sometimes sees
no future at all.

my surroundings have
drastically changed

and right now,
my life is truly good.

I have already begun
to build a new
life for myself.

I am somewhere
safe and happy.

but I know now that
all of that means nothing.

I have begun to build
a life that I once only
dreamed about living,

but when I moved,

I had to bring myself
with me.

nothing can change
until I do.
Nov 2020 · 241
my replacement
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
my mother left,
and my father didn't want
the burden of replacing her.

and the man I met
when I was much younger
had those big brown eyes
and a Ted Bundy soul,
the perfect subject of
a true crime novel.

the pores on his skin held
flagpoles with red flags
masked beneath white fabric.

he was evil hidden behind
picket fences painted white.

he had pearly white teeth
and unsuspecting white skin
and a fancy white car
parked in the driveway
of his nice suburban house
with white shutters.

he was a clean, pure man
with no scuff marks visible
on his polished reputation.

he was so white
that no one could believe
there was such darkness
inside of him.

he replaced my father,
but not in the same way.

and my dyed hair and
tattooed skin and
teenage recklessness

****** piercings
and fishnet stockings
and dark makeup and
choker necklaces

masochistic tendencies
and nights spent in
small towns and strange beds

bottles of cheap *****
that were probably stolen
and the scent of marijuana
and all of that self-hatred

took the empty seat of
the girl I once was.

daddy issues replaced
my childhood innocence

and vibrators and little bags
of happiness in powder form
moved into the drawer
that my Polly Pocket dolls
once inhabited.

mascara-stained cheeks
and eyes red from crying
or cigarette smoke or drugs
or maybe all of the above
shoved their way into
the bathroom mirror,
replacing my reflection.

pessimism stood where
my hope should be.

panic attacks and **** kits
gave birth to trauma,
and trauma settled down
inside of my head.

guilt wedged its way
between my ribs

and the air in my lungs
was still there but
it didn't want to be

and something I still
haven't identified
closed my mouth
and taped it shut.

silence sank into the house
where the noise of laughter
and Spongebob episodes
had vanished long ago.

and somewhere between
my mother's disappearance
and my father's anger and

meeting a hollow body
of a man filled with
shame and secrets

and that first cut on my skin,
now raised and scarred,

and the phone call
that told me my
best friend had died

and another man
entering my body
without my permission,

I was hit with the
realization that my life
was stolen from me.

somewhere along the way,
I lost myself

and I don't like the
person who replaced me.
Nov 2020 · 273
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
humans are
a strange species.

we suffer through war,

but weren't we the ones
who designed weapons
built to hunt our own kind?

humans are a
strange species.

we cry over death,

but weren't we the ones
who invited death here
in the first place?
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
if you step on a twig while
walking through the woods,

you'll see all of the deer
look up and run off.

if you drive your car down
a windy, forested road

and a deer suddenly appears
in the path of your headlights,

you'll see its eyes grow large
and afraid, glowing in the dark

but the deer won't run off.

a deer will flee at the sound
of a single branch snapping,

but it will stand still and
let a car crunch all of its bones
without trying to leave at all.

we consider ourselves to be
the dominant species.

we claim to be the smartest,
bravest, strongest, most intelligent
beings that walk this earth.

so why are we afraid to die?

if a deer can accept its fate
and stare straight back at death
when they stand face-to-face,

then why can't we?
why do we cry and scream
and feel sorrow when death
finally comes to visit us?

we are smart and we are strong
and we think in a way that
other creatures cannot think,

but we also have fears that
other creatures do not have.

this is the price we pay to
have those traits we say
that only humans have.

as humans, we trade our
innocence for knowledge,
learning about war and
early death and suffering
at the hands of fellow humans.

this knowledge is a burden,
more of a curse than a blessing.

we consider ourselves to be
superior to the other creatures
who we share this planet with.

but is that true? is that a fact
or a product of human ego?

as humans, we **** animals
and we **** each other.

we are the creators of
mass extinction and genocide.

we have designed weapons
and the ideas of warfare.

yes, we are strong
and we are smart,
but we are violent.

sometimes I think that
a deer is more human
than a human being.

a deer is smart and
strong enough to survive.

it might not have the
same level of intelligence,

but it also doesn't have the
same amount of violence
etched into its genes.

sometimes I think that
any creature is better
than a human being.
Nov 2020 · 220
believing in us
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
to cross the earth,
you'd need to travel
over 24,901 miles.

there are over
7,800,000,000 humans
in 193 countries
on 7 continents.

the average person meets
less than 80,000 people
during their lifetime.

statistically speaking,
you will meet less than
0.001% of the people
walking this planet.

I've always had trouble
believing in the things
that we cannot prove.

from mythical creatures
to certain phenomena to
bible stories and religion,

faith is something that
I can't seem to find.

but statistically speaking,
we should have never met.

statistically, we should still be
two strangers living our lives
thousands of miles apart.

right now, I am looking
over at you and realizing
just how ******* lucky I am.

there are over
7,800,000,000 humans
in 193 countries
on 7 continents.

yet somehow, we defied
those statistics and
we found each other.

maybe I won't ever
believe in religion
or phenomena or fate,

but I do believe that
sometimes miracles happen

and the most unexpected
feelings can become reality.

I believe that love
and happiness do exist,
and I believe that
all because of you.

this world is not
as bad as it may seem.

hope is not as dim
as it may appear.

sometimes, statistics
don't matter at all

and life gets better
even if you didn't
think that it could.

I believe that now,
and you are my proof.
Nov 2020 · 342
sing me to sleep
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
I hear your voice
in the chorus
of every sad song.

this music depresses me,
but it makes me
think of you.

I'd do anything
to hear your voice again
without my earbuds in.
Nov 2020 · 505
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
I’m so scared,

and I don’t even know
what I’m scared of.

I don't even know
what I'm scared of,

but I know that
I need to be scared.
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
you say that it
can't happen to you.

oh honey,
that's what we all say.

this isn't real.
this isn't real.
t h i s   i s n ' t   r e a l .

you place another tab
of acid on your tongue,
at least you think it's acid,

and the earth begins
to distort itself.

trees with pink trunks
and leaves with faces

and the ground shakes,
or maybe it only feels
like it's shaking,

and everything is loud
and quiet all at once.

the strangeness of it all
is somehow so comforting.

Addiction smiles at you
like The Cheshire Cat,

a character that seems
only fictional

in a world that
doesn't seem like ours.

Addiction's voice
is suddenly everywhere.

you hear it in the gusts
of hurricane winds,

or maybe they're nothing
but zephyrs, and maybe the
calm breeze feels stronger
than it actually is.

you hear it from the clouds
above your head

from the ground
beneath your feet

from all around you,
and maybe even
from inside of you,

and it doesn't stop.

it gets louder
and  l o u d e r
and   l  o  u  d  e  r

and soon, you won't know
if this is your world
or Addiction's world.

you won't know
what is real

and what is imaginary

and soon, it will
all feel the same.

soon, it won't matter
whose mind this is

or what dream you're in

or whether or not this
is even a dream.

soon, all that will matter
is where you can get
your next high.

you'll walk to the corner
and buy another bag
or another needle.

you'll pump that feeling
into your veins

and it will come rushing
right back to you.

trees with pink trunks
and leaves with faces

and the ground shakes,
or maybe it only feels
like it's shaking,

and everything is loud
and quiet all at once.

the strangeness of it all
is somehow so comforting.

this isn't real.
this isn't real.
t h i s   i s n ' t   r e a l .

but even if it is,
even if this is real
and this is your world now,

it doesn't matter anymore.
it doesn't matter anymore.

you see, honey,

i t   d o e s n ' t   m a t t e r
a n y m o r e.
Nov 2020 · 275
retracing my steps
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
if I went backwards,

you'd find me underneath
those dim city streetlights

laughing with the other
kids on my block.

you'd find me at
the first funeral

and then the
second and third

staring ahead with
blank eyes and a
tear-stained face,

brown dirt on
my black shoes

and you'd never again
find me laughing at
the end of my block.

you'd find me
running, running,
always running

from the cops
from rival gangs
from foster homes
from mean kids

from my responsibilities
and my guilt and the truth
and eventually from my past

and I wouldn't slow down
until I collapsed.

you'd find me on a
pool table in a basement
with my first boyfriend
on top of me.

he whispered that
he loved me,
but the bruises
said otherwise.

I listened to his voice
and ignored his actions.

again, you'd find me
running, running,
always running

from my ex and his abuse
from my self-hatred
from my confusion
from more cops

and I wouldn't slow down
until I collapsed.

if I went backwards,
I would be running.

I'm still running.

if I go forward,
will I stop?

will I always
be running?
Nov 2020 · 301
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
I am broken.

there is nothing
beautiful about that.

brokenness is painful
and ugly and terrifying.

but no matter what,
I do not need you to
piece me back together.

yes, I am broken.

but I don't need
to be fixed.
Nov 2020 · 545
a timeline of you and me
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
one month:

we went mini-golfing
and then to the movies.

you were so nervous.
it was adorable.

you texted me
halfway through the movie

“can I hold your hand?”

I said yes.

two months:

I had an emergency removal
of my wisdom teeth.

you came and took care of me.
I was embarrassed, but
you didn’t care.

with swollen jaws and
slurred speech and a
mouthful of ****** gauze,

you still looked at me
like I was the most
beautiful woman
you had ever met.

three months:

you weren’t paying attention
and you crashed your car.

the car was totaled.
the airbags went off,
the windshield cracked.

I wasn’t hurt at all.
you hurt your neck.

the first thing you did
was get me out of the car
and onto the side of the road

even though you were
the one who was hurting.

four months:

I spent nights at your place.
we made it official.

I let you touch me.
I wanted you to touch me.
I hadn’t felt that way
in a very long time.

we drank.
we kissed.
we had ***.

the next morning,
you weren’t gone like
I thought you would be.

you had your arm
wrapped around me.

you’re a heavy sleeper.
I smiled and went
right back to sleep.

five months:

it was my birthday.
I told you that I never really
celebrated my birthday.

I was still in school,
but I didn’t go that day.
I spent the day
with you instead.

before you,
I never felt so loved.

I spent Christmas
with your family.
I had never
celebrated Christmas.

six months:

I took my shirt off
in front of you.

I hadn’t done that yet.
for half a year,
I slept with my shirt on.
we had *** with my shirt on.
you didn’t push me to.

you saw my scars.
I thought for sure
you would leave.

you didn’t even blink.
you hugged me and
you kissed me and
you didn’t see me
any differently.

seven months:

not much happened
that month.

I got close with
your family.

you’re not American.
you had lived here before
but you had moved back
only seven months earlier.
you weren’t planning
on staying, so you were
living in your parents’ house.

it was awkward
because they were
so nice to me.
I kept waiting for
something bad to happen.
nothing did.

I started leaving
my toothbrush
in your bathroom.

eight months:

you wanted to meet
my family.

family has always been
important to you.

we drove out to Ohio
to meet my uncle
and my little cousins.

they’re the least eccentric
members of my family,
but they’re still dysfunctional.
I didn’t know how
to warn you. so I didn’t.

you met my cousin.
you realized he was nonverbal.
you sat with him and you
talked to him like he was
any other twelve-year-old.

you both played video games.
more like you played, and
he watched. but I had
never seen him so happy.
he didn’t have to talk.
his smile showed me everything.

my youngest cousin
loved you too.
you played with her dolls
and you gave them
funny voices when you did.
she laughed every time.

nine months:

we got into an argument.
it was nothing serious,
but we hadn’t argued before.

you didn’t hit me.
you got up and walked away.
somehow that scared
me even more.

I waited for you to
come back with something
worse than a punch.

you came back
with a hug and an
“I love you.”

ten months:

we went to a
fertility clinic.

obviously we didn’t
want children yet,
but my friend told me
that early treatment might
be the key to helping me.

I didn’t want you
to come with me,
but you insisted.

it was bad news.
I cried. you wiped my tears
and told me that
if we ever had a baby,
it doesn’t matter how.

what would matter
is how we raise that child,
blood or not. I told you again
how much I love you.

eleven months:

I relapsed with
my self-harm addiction.

eighteen new scars
and over sixty stitches later,
I came home.

you took care of me.
you never should’ve had
to do that, but you did.

I healed with you
by my side.

one year:

we moved in together.
you met my brothers.

you weren’t intimidated
by my brother. he tried.

he was so rude to you
and eventually you
snapped and told him
to shut the **** up.
he smiled and so did I.
he said that
you were a keeper.

you weren’t afraid to
stand up to him, even
though he was my brother.
no one had done that before.

your love for me
outweighed your
fear of my family.

my brother loved you
after that.


I graduated school
and you went back
to get another degree.

we hit hard times
and we had great times
and through it all,
we were happy.

it wasn’t easy to stay.
sometimes I felt like
running so that you
couldn’t leave me first.
I stayed. so did you.

you wrote me a letter
and you asked,

“will you marry me?”

I said yes.
Nov 2020 · 1.2k
charcoal skies
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
it is gray outside
of my window,

and it is also
gray in this room.

but outside,
the gray is obvious.

the clouds are
blocking out the sun.

and inside,
the gray is irrelevant
because you shine
so bright that

I am only ever
looking at you.

the world outside
fades away in here.

it is beautiful and
sunny and vibrant.

here, the stress of
the world outside
can't touch me.

I see no sadness
or pain or fear.

I only see you.
I only ever see you.
Nov 2020 · 396
stay with me
Sarah Flynn Nov 2020
I am alive
and I am still here


you stayed with me
until you knew
that I wanted to stay
with myself too.
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