built to last


United States

I was born in the fall of 1998, to a woman I never called mom.

Picked up at four months old, by a couple looking for a daughter. 


My formative years were great…except when they weren't. 


2nd grade was when I knew something was wrong.

My friends were giggling over boy actors and singers,

and I couldn't see what they saw in them. 


4th grade I met a girl who changed me.

Doubts and confusion thrown out the window. 

I never did get to call her mine, but she still left a huge impact on my life. 


6th grade things started to get hazy.

Constantly fighting and desperately holding myself back. 


7th grade, the only way I could breathe was to drown myself in pain. 


7th grade I met the girl who was mine for a year and a half, 

but her love couldn't close my wounds. 

her love couldn't heal my scars. 

her love couldn't force the demons away. 


8th grade blood was pouring and tears were falling and I was thrown into the world of hospitals and medication and popping any pill I could find, never mind what it was doing to me. Swallowing pill after pill but I could never swallow the pain. 


I found myself in a hospital room with wires connected to me keeping me alive, and I cried, I cried. I thought that if I cried hard enough, I'd drown in my tears and finally be free. 


But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The following years, I walked a tightrope with sanity on one side and insanity on the other.  


Force fed every medicine found in the holy book of chemicals, rewiring my brain to be something close to sane. 


Like a lab rat studied by a horde of doctors and nurses and interns and residents, in and out of hospitals, declared a danger to myself and to others but they never knew what I had to do to gain power. 


Power over the voices that haunted me every step. 

Power over the monsters that came to me when i slept. 

Power over the war going on in my head. 


I am like a puzzle someone started but never quite finished, 

my pieces scattered around like bricks of a falling building. 

I have no idea if the pieces fit because no one has come back to try. 

I want to put them together myself but somehow I'm stuck and I can't move. 

I know how I should look like when I'm finished,

but will I ever be?

I am tired of pinning my happiness from others,

from friends to vices to parents to lovers. 


Out in the world again, declared "stable",

all my cards laid out on the table. 

The past looms, reminding me of the pain I felt,

reminding me of cautions and actions to make and not to make. 


Reminding me of times so dark they still haven't seen the light. 

The times I cried. 

The times I wanted to give up and to lose the fight. 


A friend's death was the slap in the face I needed. 

Another suicide of a young girl, a young child, her spirit beaten. 

The pain I felt then was stronger than when I was inches from being in her place. 


I refuse to be a statistic found in books of young med students under "suicide rates of teenagers". 

I refuse to be a statistic on Wikipedia articles talking about "transgender teens and why they suffer". 

I refuse to be a statistic and a number defined by the guns, the pills, the ropes, and the buildings.


People around me shout words of comfort and love, but somehow the whispers of someone far away calling me "fat" and a "freak" are all I hear. 


I spent a lifetime consumed by packers, binders, and Axe deodorant. 

She or he or he or she or—


Mirrors become horrors, and underwear, packers and bras, binders; staring at my reflection hoping that if I picture it hard enough my dreams would come true. 


My past, no matter how much pain it cost me is something I'd never change. 

People say the past does not make a person but it does, it does. 

I am myself because of my past. My name is Charley del Rosario and I was built to last. 


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