My body is a battlefield. Home to the never-ending war between hope and survival; it’s a cemetery containing dashed dreams, lost hopes and broken hearts. My veins are meandering rivers; a crisscrossing map outlining every place I’ve been, illustrating every face that has sunk into the deep recesses of my memory. They carry blood that was formerly red for anger back to the heart. Though the skin around my veins is scarred, they are blue for the ocean, for sorrow, for pain. When it rains, pieces of the sky collect on my skin. No dream is too high. The shedding of my skin is akin to the falling autumn leaves and to the sunset—a fresh start, a new beginning.
My heart is a seashell; my heart beat is the waves that kiss the shore. The delicate red flesh is wrapped in the blood of loving too much, knowing too little, being and becoming. The walls are scattered with names; the atriums are filled to the brim with the little pieces of others collected along the way. Each beat is an old memory floating to the surface of my conscious—music, movies, dead pets, dead relatives, laughter, friends, and family. The memories floating through my veins collect in my chest and in my wrists, which is why I give hugs. New memories can be made, and old memories can transfer, proving that I’m alive.
Sewn into the walls of my lungs are the remnants of everything I’ve experienced, everything I’ve breathed, and everything I’ve lived. Scrawled in the leftover spaces are the notes of every breath I took, no matter how high or low its song. My lungs have been witnesses in moments that took my breath away—a flower growing in a garden of weeds, a sunset after a storm, a smile despite the cruel behavior, and by words that were read, spoken, and written. The soles of my feet have crushed dreams; but they’ve also matched the stride of broken souls, reminding them that they are not alone as they walk this journey.
My shoulders contain the leftover pieces of what once were wings; although sometimes, my arms collect feathers, and for a moment, I believe that I am almost strong enough to fly once again. My fingers contain the touch of creating. Like windshield wipers, my eyelids have protected my eyes. But, they too have broken. My eyes become oceans as they witness the darkness of life. My knees kiss the floor during bed time prayers, they give way when I need them to stay, but they also stay strong when I want to collapse. The mending and unbending of my spine has more courage stringing through its bones than I have strength. Sometimes, that makes all the difference. My tongue has tasted the most beautiful days and the most rotten nights. It has choked on cruel words while it has spat at my own soul. Sometimes, my lips crack as my self-esteem is drawn out of them with the straw of a hurt soul. There are days when the rumbling in my tummy never goes away; there’s fat on my body to prove it.
My soul contains an angel and a devil fighting for my self-respect and worth. Sometimes my self-esteem can be measured out in teaspoons, mixed in the words I write, and still not fill up the need to believe in myself. But that’s life, and that’s me. And I wouldn’t change for anybody.