the tough girl is dead
Molly Beane Poetry | November 5, 2019 | Flight: SAN – CLT
Once upon a time, I was a tough girl.
I buried my emotions in deep graves
inside all of my body’s dead spaces.
Just like I used to hide airplane bottles
in cereal boxes and inside combat boots.
Once upon a time, I probably judged you
because I fancied myself a stone-cold bitch
who looked innocent but could eat you for breakfast —
bones and all.
I said I didn’t care about what you thought of me
while secretly longing for your approval.
I survived on Marlboro Lights, Budweiser, and sarcasm,
but could never be fully satiated.
I divided my time between a cubicle, Murphy’s Irish Pub,
and some guy’s bedsheets, wearing a convenient mask,
so you could never know the truth of who I was.
I never knew who I was either.
Because if anyone sniffed me out, they’d hurt me —
or they’d abandon me, just like daddy did.
I was disgusting and unlovable, just like daddy said.
Irreparably flawed, worthy of Chernobyl-level self-destruction.
The only problem was this annoying gnawing
that no amount of cheap beer could drown out.
My soul wanted out of its prison.
So once upon a time, I checked myself into rehab
where the tough girl died
and a caterpillar egg hatched from the leaf of a milkweed plant.
They diagnosed me with a long list of acronyms & neuroses
— “So…not everyone feels this shitty?”
Ice cream brain freeze. System overload.
Trauma gurgled up to the surface, swallowing me whole.
Now there was nowhere to hide and
I finally became acquainted with my sacred tears.
Three years of excruciating baby steps
led me to a glorious waterfall at the end of the Bamboo Forest.
I approached a glittering turquoise pool.
I dared to look in and finally found myself in the reflection.
Once upon a time, I found a little blonde girl
barefoot, with flowers in her hair.
I embraced her and basked in her utter wholeness.
She showed me that the light I’d hidden for so long now burned to a flicker.
For her, I decided not to blow it out.
She helped me transform that flicker
into a radiant morning star, where I finally beheld
A sensitive soul
A devoted student
An honest mess
A vulnerable warrior
A holy guide
A mystic from the cosmos
A channel of ancient wisdom
A butterfly stretching its wings
A blonde adult woman, barefoot, with flowers in her hair.
I now live a life you may not understand but
I am finally free of my mask
Finally free of my poison