Cross My Heart and Hope to Write


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Hand You're Dealt: If I Looked Like What I've Been Through

Don't hate the hand you've been dealt. It is your gift, your plight, and it is up to you to use it to better yourself and the world around you. Greatness lies on the outskirts of suffering. Struggle is the guarantee that the direction you are going in is the right one. Nothing grand is achieved without effort. You are in control of your destiny; you can get out of this mire, this bog that imprisons you. The chains that bind you are figurative for a reason.

I have seen men claw their way back from the brink of self-destruction. No string of bad decisions is beyond repair. We all struggle - often through similar situations, experiences, and tragedies. Telling your story can empower others to tell theirs, to create a network of support, to provide an example of how you can save yourself and others from the demons that haunt each of us. Remember... there is always someone who will miss you in the end. No one is forgotten and evil is always conquered by good. Always.

After being diagnosed with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, I grew up among a lot of kids with dubious futures. Many have gone on to lead beneficent, productive lives. We are survivors. You are a survivor. We each carry the battle scars of our own personal civil wars, but we don't always wear them with pride. Our medals, our purple hearts, hide just beneath the skin - the silent aggrandizements of our perseverance. Own your struggles. Use them to make you stronger. To make us stronger.

What would you look like if you looked like what you've been through?

I must stress that I do not condone self-harm. Please never hurt yourself. Seek help.

If I looked like what I've been through
I'd have the face of a woman
and a man
contorted into a kind of in-between
delicate and masculine
with eyes that pierce and lips that tempt
with a jaw of glass that slices like obsidian
and a brow that collects beads of sweat
where ideas fall to their deaths

If I looked like what I've been through

my face would be scarred with age 
ancient memories tucked under my tongue 
to escape is archaic speech 
wisdom exuding, 
bleeding through childlike curiosity 
a fascination 
that hints at an old soul
inside a young heart

If I looked like what I've been through
I'd have a heart where my brain is supposed to be
I'd have a brain where my heart is supposed to be
and they'd constantly be switching
thinking, feeling
fighting for what is right
neither able to decide who is winning 

If I looked like what I've been through
I'd be dressed in a three piece straitjacket
with cufflinks
dressed to the nines in a canvas tux
with the images that cloud my mind painted on
a metaphor for my artistic fervor
my former affliction replaced with a brilliance
no less insane

If I looked like what I've been through
I'd have cuts so deep in my wrists
my hands would bend back as if attached with hinges
I'd have bible pages rolled up and tucked inside the veins
unfinished poems
dollar bills
that I'd unroll from time to time
to remind me
to hold on

If I looked like what I've been through
my blood type would be ink
and you would see it coursing
in sentences and verses
just beneath my skin

If I looked like what I've been through
my skin wouldn't be able tell you what race I am
but you would still judge me
I'd have the misplaced morality of a Christian
the pantheon of a Hindu
the hope of an atheist
and the history of a Jew

If I looked like half as much as I've been through
I'd only be half a person
an incomplete masterwork
a magnum opus
loaded only with dummy bullets
I wouldn't have half the passion
that bleeds like beads of sweat from my gaping pores
in rivulets of syntax
that I dab with looseleaf paper
to preserve
what I've been through

If I looked like what I've been through...
you wouldn't even see me
you would only see the things that make me me 
but they are not me
I am so much more than what I have been through... 
I am infinitely stronger  

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