Dear Little Sister
Please, baby sister
Stop tearing at your body.
You will never find purpose in the clouds of smoke
The easy warmth of momentarily forgetting,
The knife that was not meant to carve your soft and precious skin
Or the clothes too tight
Suffocating the knowledge you are already borne with
You are beautiful dear sister.
My breath is caught
I am petrified
Frozen by the fear
Of what you may have done.
Are you alive?
Will you be alive tomorrow?
Each time mama calls
My body ties itself into that familiar knot,
Curling into itself
Still after all these years hopeful, though I do not know how.
You have stolen
To feel powerful,
To further the narrative you crave
If you are bad, bad things happen to you
You do not have to blame yourself even as you are filled with hatred for yourself
You have laid down your body
Opened your legs not for love or lust or boredom
But as a means of exchange,
To forget what it is like to feel inside your own body
To escape the world
To fog in your brain for just another day, hour, momentary laps
You have turned your world inside out
And this world has repelled you for it.
You are not enough it says,
This world has whispered seductively in your ear
Of breasts, waists, hips
Made to sell a product
Dehumanizing and deadening
Molding our bodies into things with pricetags
Making you believe your differences are your defects.
So you starve yourself even though your ribs protrude from your skin-tight tank top
Hack at yourself,
Carving help into your belly
Sell yourself until you have nothing more to give but the empty and foreboding sense of self that is left gasping for air on the bedside table.
Because if you look just right
Perhaps they will forget how different you really are,
How you have spent more nights
Trapped in psychiatric facilities
Theraputic boarding schools
Then summer camps,
How you have been told you are different
From the first days you wandered into Kindergarden class rooms
How you hid under the desk during class parties
Because the terror you felt
The people you did not know
You are so intent on breathing the chaos you have inside
That those around you can feel only the chaos you have injected into the air
And the world has repelled you.
You say I do not know you,
You say I do not understand,
Tell me sweet sister
What it is I fail to see
My sister, sweet sister.
How painful it is to both love and dispise someone so deeply,
Terrified of their downfall and wishing for their defeat.
My baby sister,
I do not know how to tell you that you are loved
Without praising your self-loathing,
I do not know how to tell you you are special
Without praising your self-destruction.
I am choked by the vitriol you have wrapped around my neck.
And all I can do is slowly rebuild myself
From the pieces you stomped on
So vehemently hated,
All I can do is love you
Despite my anger at the deep red stain you left on my childhood memories.
I do not wish you ill sweet sister
But I do not know how best to wish you well either.
Always and Forever,
Your loving big sister
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