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pepper Feb 2022
it’s always too warm or too cold in my grandmother’s house. windows open in the winter and shut tight in the summer. it was july, i think, and i was still figuring out how to wear my tank tops in just the right mix of confident and coy. i remember her hugging me on my way in, and noting the sweat pooling on her forehead. the windows were closed, curtains flung open, sunlight spilling over the hardwood floors.

it was always offhand comments from her, things like, have you thought about a diet? as if i haven’t been throwing up every meal since i was thirteen years old. like, jesus can fix anyone. i have always wondered if she really meant that, because i never felt like she thought i was broken. in between those sour comments she would spoil me and gush over how beautiful i am, how i'm really growing into my features. in between those comments she would give me ziplock bags of her favorite earrings from when she was a kid, and i would smile and humor her because she was so excited about it.

but those comments always sit in the back of my mind, stewing along with all of the backwards glances from men on dark streets and the angry red scars peppering my thighs. that big house is full of both sweet and bitter memories, and even now that it’s empty i can picture every sideways glance, every uncomfortable laugh.
she's not dead i know it sounds like it but she's not
happy black history month
pepper Jan 2022
i guess i'm spending too much time alone. alone, that's right, all-one. one of me, two shots of the cheapest ***** i could find.

my knuckles are scarring. like my fingertips would, back when i was happy enough to hold onto things like music instead of, just hold on until three, that's it, then i can let myself bleed.

no, this isn't right.

i think my heart is too small for my ribs, i can feel it slipping through the third and the fourth. skidding, slippery, across my bedroom floor to collect dust under my desk.

i'm hiding from more things than i could ever count, but mostly its the five-six-seven-eight-when-will-it-end scars branding my shoulders and my thighs and my ribs.

but i really am tired of rearranging the same ten songs into different playlists that all mean the same thing. i know that adding one more wouldn't make a difference. mundane.

i've ignored every thought of the ugliest ways to go. a dozen tylenol can **** just as easy as a pistol, that's what i keep telling myself. but what i really want is to maul every inch of my body until i'm soaking my dark blue sheets the same color as the inside of my head.

and my life revolves around 13. haunted number, maybe. maybe there are ghosts around every corner in my mind and i've just gotten so accustomed that i'm treating them like guests.

i've been imagining myself fourteen years from now, how i'll wander around whatever ****** apartment i'm sharing with some stranger. how i'll tiptoe around those floors, trying not to disturb the dust that will have settled over every inch of my skin.

fifteen feels like too many years to pretend but i have to keep up this facade because there are girls who care what i think and who maybe would be hurt if i didn't have the proper insides to think anymore.

i don't plan on living till 27. but you know, things are good. this is fine.
pepper Nov 2021
trigger warning. eating disorder.

i wish my hips were smaller. that's it, i wish my hips were smaller and my waist slimmer and i wish my stomach was flat and defined the way i know it's supposed to be. i wish i was delicate. i wish i wasn't so surprised when girls call me pretty.

but it's habit now, i know i look sick, i know i'm too pale and my hands always shake and i look like a ******* ghost. my own mother would cry at night if she knew i had to safety-pin my favorite jeans.

i cut my hair short again. started noticing strands all around my bedroom. cut it off at 3am on a tuesday. dyed it blue. now the color of my fingertips isn't so strange. it's the dye, see, it might not wash off for a while. weeks. months. god, what am i doing.

stuck my fingers down my throat in the shower last night. nothing came up.

i'm falling apart like my hair falls out of my scalp, easy, unhindered.

i fell for a Polish girl, i looked at her like she was the ocean that i am too afraid to visit now. but i left her after i hit that last stretch, swallowed too many aspirin for my headache, washed them down with white wine i'm too young to hide in my bedside drawer.

i never tried to die, but i also never looked before crossing the street.

i'm not a monster, right? all i want is rest. is that so wrong?
i guess this doesn't make sense. i don't belong here. i'm sorry.
pepper Sep 2021
the first time i walked across the golden gate bridge
i was too young to appreciate it
and too old to hold my sister’s hand.
now i read about the people who throw themselves off it
and imagine the universes hidden in each person’s head.

i’m not afraid of the things that go bump in the night.

once, a turkey bit my sister.
i have read more romance novels than i can count.
i have taped bandages over cat scratches,
and i have given important words to unimportant people.

i once taught a little kid how to spell assassin.
i have lived in eight different houses but never felt at home.
i’ve kissed boys,
and i’ve kissed girls.
i thought i was in love once.
i liked squirrels until i got too close to one.

i’ve avoided the south.
i’ve walked three extra blocks just to avoid a church.
and i have been burned at the stake.
i’ve felt flames on my thighs and ropes on my wrists,
and i’ve walked away with scars.
and, in the winter,
i’ve jumped into more rivers than i can count.

i lost my sense of humor this year.
i lost the little kid,
but i still cry when i spill my coffee.

once, i had rabbits.
i was eight when i found them
near the compost pile
laying in a puddle of blood.
when i was five i was nearly trampled by cows.
when i was seven, i almost drowned.

but i still breathe.
i still paint my nails black and sleep without resting.
i still bite my lips till they bleed,
and sometimes i wonder what i’ll look like with white hair.
i wear suspenders every chance i get,
and i try to shut doors quietly.

i will drink sweet coffee every morning until my heart stops beating.
i’m still waking up, though.
wrote this is english yesterday. kind of liked it i guess ?
pepper Jul 2021
i don't mean to scare you, but i think that somewhere along the way, i fell in love with you. something caught my eye and it was like a fire in my limbs. you bit your lip and ran your palms over your thighs, dripping gasoline over my skin like i was an old mustang with ****** gas mileage.

i'm sorry that i still can't tell you i love you. i want you to warm my ice in the palms of your hands, but i don't think i'm cold enough to ask you yet. i don't mind sitting here in the snow, even though i left my leather jacket in your room.

i like making you smile. and i hate it when people blush. i hate it, i promise. i don't know what to do when scarlet crawls over their cheeks and down their necks and i have to imagine it drifting across their chests. but now you've set heat all over my skin and there's a thrill when you touch my hands and all of this has got me revving but there's nowhere to put my right foot. what am i supposed to do with that?

i'm constantly imagining what it'd feel like to know you. i watch the way the glow of the fireworks makes your skin look red and green and purple, and i wonder what your hands would feel like on my hips with no fabric to separate us, and i imagine telling you i love you over a picnic lunch of whiskey and spilled red hair dye.

because i hate this feeling of two-ness. sleeping next to you and running my fingers through your hair isn't enough when you smell so warm and i am so so cold.

you left my heart out in the rain. it's your responsibility to warm it by your fire.

i hate the clichés just as much as you, but you have to believe me when i say that there's fire in me, and it's burning hotter for you than for anything i've loved before.

when you found me in that used car lot i was already scratched up, and now i'm bursting into flames on the side of the road

and you're walking away like you always knew this would happen.
many thanks to Emery for editing help! couldn't have done it without you :))
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