It’s Poetry Tuesday! We are going to go back through all my old notebooks and look at the god-awful poetry I wrote when I was an angsty teen and then you will get present day Michelle’s re-interpretation/headdesk horror-filled embarrassment.
Trigger Warning: Child abuse, [canon typical] violence….but at least it’s not suicide?
Fireworks of color explode in front of her
As her father’s fist collides with her face
No tears escape from her spring eyes
While he teaches her, her place
Her meekness is only a façade
It covers her hatred for this man
Who helped create her and bring her up
He who colors her skin black and blue instead of tan
Everyday she heads to school in long sleeved shirts
The only way she knows to hide her wounds
In her ears echoes every nasty thing he’s called her
Within her heart tears and fears she entombs
At the end of school she drags herself home
Every step she takes weighs her down
Every breath she takes stifles her
For she’ll be greeted with more than a frown
Entering the front door cautiously
There is nothing but silence to welcome her
Soundlessly she searches for the reason
She finally finds it on the kitchen floor
A crimson puddle of blood surrounds her
Sightless eyes stare up at her daughter
Blind icy hatred closes around her
Heavy footsteps sound and she falters
He comes into the room a blaze of anger
Voice raised to tell her of the dead one’s faults
White hot fury courses through her veins
A path has been chosen and the traveler cannot halt
Gripping the knife handle tightly
She rips it out of her mother’s heart
And plunges it in her father’s
Watching his twisted spirit depart
I feel like all I can say about this poem is – at least it’s not about suicide? All of my closest friends have been laughing themselves sick over the fact that I am so distraught over how much Teenage Michelle obsessed over suicide. They’ve all said, essentially, “Oh, yeah, there’s more suicide poems coming and I can’t wait.” I think it’s because I squirm so prettily when I’m embarrassed.
Having read through this, I can kind of see the influence of my musical tastes in this – Independence Day by Martina McBride, Concrete Angel by Martina McBride, I’m the One by Seether, and Down With the Sickness by Disturbed. I actually have a very fond memory of listening to Down With the Sickness on the bus home and some asshole on the bus asked me, very snarkily I must point out, “Does your mother know that you’re listening to this?” I looked him dead in the eye and said “yes.” I know that I came off like a goody-two-shoes and I was a SMIDGE of a teacher’s pet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t listen to good music. But yes, my poor mother did have to put up with Disturbed, Seether, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Avenged Sevenfold, and Godsmack. She’s a saint.
I was thinking of writing “It can be hard to reconcile past Michelle with who I am today,” but that would be a lie. Any of my friends and all of my family would tell you that I am still obsessed with many weird and morbid things. I have a notebook that has pages and pages of notes on cannibalistic serial killers, I have watched Criminal Minds in its entirety multiple times, and I have accidentally ended many conversations with what I think is an innocent and normal observation about death, murder, or body disposal. Oops. The only difference is that Teenager Michelle was interested in the horrible things that happened to teenagers and adolescents. I am interested in all the horrible things that can happen to someone like me. I have a list of all the things I can’t do according to Criminal Minds.
Funnily enough, all of this information has NOT stopped me from doing very stupid shit. It doesn’t even really slow me down at all. I am still disturbingly genuine and gullible. I have gotten better about giving money to people in the subway, but usually there is someone who can tug my heartstrings once or twice a year. I believe that Teenage Michelle and present Michelle are convinced that knowing everything will save them because then they will be able to control what is coming. I agree with my therapist that I need to let go of my need to know, control, and perfect everything.
Final thought: was this potentially young Michelle’s way of trying to grapple with the reality of growing up in a society where women are raised as future victims? I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds where the serial killer is a man who breaks into women’s houses and makes them act out his fantasy of the perfect night. At one point in the episode, the woman he has hostage has convinced him to take her outside so they can go on a “date” when her boyfriend comes home. The serial goes insane, stabs her boyfriend do death while yelling “why do you have a key!?” and then he points the bloody knife at the dead man and says “Honey, why did he have a key?”
This is supposed to be over-the-top and scary and an “extreme” scenario. I turned to Brazilian Helicopter Pilot and said, “That’s what women have to worry about in every day relationships with men. This isn’t just serial killers.” As children, women are taught to protect themselves and know that something could happen to them at ANY moment. It’s always the implication that it’s the girl/woman’s fault. There was an incident with a male cousin of mine peeping in on me when I was changing. Instead of telling his parents, or punishing him for it, he was subtly shamed and I was instructed to close the shades. The burden of being safe was put on ME because “boys will be boys,” and “it’s just what they do.”