Have some fire
CW: Sexual Violence and Suicide
I’m told I lack polish. I’m told I’m assertive.
I say I’m passionate.
We are all lying.
We’re all saying I am only valued if packaged right. I’m only valuable if I’m “capable”.
I’m asked about my capability, everybody else their ideas.
Capability is a construct; professionalism rooted in patriarchy.
We’re told to have some fire; punished for letting it show.
I “lack polish” because of hungry chisels trying to mine me for my worth.
Pry out the pieces they want and leave the rest behind.
I lack polish because I am jagged around my fractures.
Whether they be the scars on my leg I carry with me,
Carved from nails seeking sensation,
Or those intangible cracks that while invisible
You still pry open.
I’m told I’m overcommitted, yet nothing has committed back.
I’ve experienced sexual violence three times in eight months.
The first time, I faked an anxiety attack to escape.
A hairline fracture only visible to me was left behind.
The second time, I dissociated and remained still,
People noticed the cracks now but no one knew their cause.
The third time, I knew what to name it… rape.
The cracks connected and a piece of me was ripped away.
A fire came roaring out of the wound and I said STOP.
That fire got me home that night, not safe, never safe, but home.
On the day you attacked.
I wore the belt I planned to kill myself with in grade eight;
An attempt to hold all the shards together.
My tie felt so comforting, tight around my neck.
Dressed in a guise of masculinity; an attempt to protect myself from your chisels.
But still you come.
There are too many cracks here, too numerous to count.
But each time that fire saved me, helped me survive,
Forced me to throw up the pills every time.
So of course, it comes radiating out.
I’m told I lack polish, but how can I be polished when so much of me has been chiseled away.
I’m told I’m abrasive but my splinters cut me not you.
So when you hammer your questions like chisels into my faults,
My fire comes out.
I glow in my survivorship,
I speak quickly because it’s saved me before,
I’m ablaze in the middle of the room glowing brighter and brighter.
When so much of you has been scraped away your core is much easier to reveal.
My core burns bright, brighter than the sun, because it shows I have survived.
I’m aglow in front of you, burning bright. Where I see protection you see the potential to be burned.
My fire is my shield.
As you come at me, chisels for tongues,
You think you are testing me, measuring me, assessing me,
In reality you are hammering into my biggest cracks.
You try and suppress my survivorship, subjugate me into submission.
You say I lack polish but how can I be polished when so much of me has been scraped away.
You say I’m abrasive, but you don’t think of the cruelty that caused these cuts.
You say I’m assertive, which is your way of saying my core is leaking out.
You say I’m aggressive, sorry you don’t like being called oppressive.
You say in order to be capable I need to handle criticism.
What is capability if not the ability to stand in a room full of chisels and shine?
Shine knowing how much they scrape or (re)traumatize that my fire will remain.
I leave not angry with the result but the process.
I’m angry I was asked to submit to your chisels but was thrown back when my trauma was exposed.
I’m angry that the only acceptable mad person is silent.
I’m angry the disability is only valued if it doesn’t require accommodations.
I’m angry that I sat through so much misgendering, to only correct once and be met by disgust by many of you.
I’m angry that you don’t think what you did was wrong.
That using my trauma for your entertainment wasn’t survivor porn.
That your intent wasn’t to try and destabilize me.
That you asked me fair questions compared to everyone else.
It was. It was. It was.
I have fire
I am unstoppable
And I am a force of nature
Can you say the same?