S P A C E

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Featured Review on this writing by Criss Sole

When someone abuses your trust, especially as a teenage girl, it can be enough to shatter your world. But in that shattering, you can break the glass ceiling to the universe and discover the beauty and power that exists within you.

S P A C E

There were a zillion reasons why I wanted to be seen as beautiful

There were a million reasons why I wanted to be seen

There were a thousand reasons that I couldn’t connect the stars to my thoughts

There was an infinite amount of beauty in the dark

I was just a kid, spinning, in the backyard with a ribbon

Hoping that the beauty of my spirit would catch me,

I was a ribbon twirling around myself in the universe

I was the milky-way searching for the earth

And I kept pointing myself out

Dragging myself across the sky

Tracing constellations

“Why can’t I be beautiful?”

I asked my Dad.

“You are.”

“I am?”

“Just like the stars.”

Looking up,

I dragged my eyes across the sky once again

But, I couldn’t see the constellations, to connect the dots.

The milky-way flowed through me though

And I followed it with my ribbon across the sky

And I wanted to follow it to the end

I wanted to be the gravity that pulled everyone in, so they’d look up

But these stars were drifting comets, and this G-force I felt was sideways

Pulling me towards an endless hunger for beauty

That couldn’t be found, until it was seen

I gazed upwards, as the milky-way pulled away from me

As if the sky and I were two colliding magnets, facing the south alone

Repelling each other as an invisible force pushed us further away from the unknown

So, I pulled my ribbon across my eyes

Make believing

I could see the beauty, if I stayed in the dark

So, at night, I played lady justice, blind folded, weighing my options

Carrying weights with the heaviness of a billion stars

Connecting ancient history, trying to find the answers to this missing space within me

And so I sat, blinded, sitting at my desk in high school, writing

Relying on my other senses

To navigate the darkness

Jet black eyeliner smeared across the lines of my pages

Pressing hard

I snapped my pencil into my notebook

Stone faced,

Walking through the halls

I was Rosetta

Translating eyeliner into hieroglyphics on my face

Hoping to be discovered

And I was betting if I just kept my eyes closed long enough I could feel the beauty forever…

But I didn’t think of the counter bets weighing on my neck

I was in high school, lost, at cosmic war with myself

And I thought I found allies,

So, I entered a space, where I thought I was with friends

But I was spinning in the cross-hairs

At the high school party of the year

Where the bang of repelling forces collided, snapping into existence for a split second

The last frontier.

He bet all of his friends that he could get me into bed that night, and that he’d have photographic evidence to prove it.

“Well, what are you waiting for?”

“Annie up.”

“You mean her heels?”

“Yup.”

High fives all around, all hands were down as the chips hit the table

On cue, the cool kids gathered, and the 8 ball blitzed and rolled across the green, sinking in the left pocket

“Keys, left pocket, got it”

Drinks filled with ice and whiskey, poured so nicely

Beer poured into an ICEE?

This night was going to be so feisty

1,2,3,4… out the door

Pixelated stars twinkling messages back and forth, my phone lit up with that comforting glow, and my head was filled with the stars awaiting my departure

 The bass bumped and rocked the ground beneath me as I walked off beat to the front door

Wandering around, I took a seat on my friend’s couch, legs crossed tightly, going unannounced

And as my friend poured me another drink

That crush I had smiled at me

Signals went up, and the mood shifted

I laughed, does he really like me?

Chiseled chins moved on command behind him

Corralling me with his compliments and flirtations to the nearest bedroom, no contraband

This guy couldn’t make up his mind… tons of times before he made it clear he didn’t know who he was looking for

I stood in his shadow,

And asked and asked again

“Do you really like me?”

He had finally gotten me alone, door kicked shut behind me

“Yes, yes, I like you, now take it off, god you’re so sexy”

His hands moved up my thighs, space was limited

I was in his sights,

And I was compromised

But all that was tinkering in my mind was a slew of thoughts that relished being liked

The mission was truly accomplished when Seal Team 6 arrived

The bedroom door flung open,

Screeching breath

Time moved quickly, I fell behind

I reached for my bra, which should have been my holster,

Unhooked the clasps, and as my weapon fell from my hands,

A pixelated blade met my throat

“You should have kept your legs closed”

He said, smugly, as his face flickered in the blade just before the flash

His camera phone

Captured the shame that wasn’t shameless, and time turned back to 1969

While he stepped on my moon

And tried to dominate my earth

As he felt above it all

And his friends kicked up space dust as they stomped into the room

And the floor cascaded into a digital landscape orchestrated to the beat

My heart, pounding, extreme heat

I was captured, and the space all around me sunk in

They stole the beauty, that wasn’t beautiful

And like all beauty disconnected from its life force, it dies

But my heart was still beating, plucked from my body

Each pump released pixelated shrapnel, hit Facebook walls, and feeds, the clicking of cursors echoed like dominoes

And each constriction of my heart, pulled reality back together and then blew it apart

Reaching for my shirt, I slipped off the bed, as pixelated blood rushed from my neck

I was a ribbon hanging off the bed, and then a thread

And I was spinning

Watching the starry night sky strangle me.

I opened my eyes, and I awoke in my own bed, as the night crushed me, buried in millions of pixels, and zillions of reasons to find the beauty again

And thousands of thoughts, trying to connect the dots in my mind

Sifting through thousands of pixels, shaking as these blades cut me

I had to fix this, so I paid a visit to my digital crime scene

That morning, I had forgotten a few things, and all I could remember was reaching for my belt under the bed, hoping with all my heart that I’d pull out a noose

The digital realm was untouchable, my body became the centerpiece of thousands of shares, the Dow was up and I was down, and I was Jonesing for an uptick

With each breath I felt the digital nightmare, square after square of pixel poured down on me

As I tried to catch them and rearrange them into a picture where I hoped they would like me

I fell to pixels on the floor, shattered

And in an instant,

Every woman I knew was a target

Each night I felt plastic army men spread thin upon my thighs

We were the target, and they were the eyes

And I felt the game pieces played upon my skin, these countries laid upon my chest, heavy and caving in

I was a body surrounded by water, and I couldn’t swim

They had air, land, and water, and the fire of internet wires

Hacked images of our sexual waters flooded the internet and attempted to shame us

Just for a chance to stake their claim on us

This space was limited and they couldn’t contain us

And it was only when I had been cut by the blade of my own boundary, that this digital space revealed the true image of what women meant to the human race

Closed legs meant you were safe, with one leg a linchpin in the grenade,

Open legs meant you were fair game, and those pixel blades flickered back and forth with our reflections

And I was spinning

And in my own reflection I held a weapon,

My synapses snapped, as I pulled in the night sky

And I realized that my mind was twisted like a fist, because I knew I was gifted, and as an astronaut without a lift, I gave up space.

So in these times of shame and great disgrace.

I spread my legs.

While the men around me grew up moving army men

Drawing boundaries

Demanding space, legs sprawled out, comfortable, confident and grounded.

I spread my legs, and bumped the man next to me causing him to understand where his boundary ended and mine began

And these digital spaces they used as a threat were no match for the women who seized the space between their legs

We drew lines in the stars to form constellations to announce to the universe that our boundaries are endless

And we pulled our ribbon across the sky and drew it around the earth

As we discovered our center

And all of human kind witnessed the army men crashing from our shoulders

As we grew lighter, we took that first step

Where we saw for the first time, the beauty above us, and the beauty was us

And we moved our feet and legs into it

And that power that we defined when we stepped on the man’s shoe we called man-kind,

We spread our legs, and reclaimed S P A C E

And we were spinning.

 

 

 

 

This poem is based on a personal experience of mine when I was 17 years old - the cover photo was from the night it happened in 2008. I have taken some artistic license with this poem to relate the massive impact this manipulation and abuse of trust caused my psyche. I was manipulated by this guy and his friends while I was under the influence, a photo was taken of me without my consent, and I don't know what happened to it or how many times it was passed around. In my mind as a teenage girl, it was everywhere. I developed post-traumatic stress disorder with symptoms of derealization and depersonalization that lasted for a full year after it happened. Derealization is a state of unreality where it feels like you are viewing the world through a fish eye lens. Objects around you will seem bigger than they are and it will feel like a hallucination - much like what happens with Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Depersonalization is the feeling of being cut off from your own body.- you will know that you are yourself technically, but you will feel like your body is this foreign thing that is not a part of you. It's an extremely terrifying experience to have. I thought I was going crazy and that I was going to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and sent to a mental hospital, so I hid these feelings for a very long time and I had to live with them. I didn't know at the time that these symptoms were due to extreme panic - adrenaline rushing around in my body because I was in an almost constant state of fight or flight. 


I wrote this poem in my own healing process and because I want women to know that they are not alone and to know they are beautiful inside and out and that no one can ever take that from them. I want women to know the immense power they have in this life through their voice and their presence. Don't be afraid to take up space, it is your right as a human being to feel safe, be heard, and attain justice. If you have been assaulted or manipulated by people you trusted, it was not your fault. It was never your fault. Ever. There are people out there that will believe you and support you. Please talk to someone you trust and set up an appointment with a therapist. They can help you process what happened and you will start to feel better and more empowered. If you want to press charges in the future for an assault - they can help you with that too, but they will not push you to do it. Please don't give up, you are loved, and you will get through this. 

www.loveisrespect.org


Submitted: September 11, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Roxanne Byrne. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Criss Sole

I thought this was an excellent poem, and i loved the imagery you created using metaphors. I loved the line, "A pixelated blade met my throat."
A camera in such a personal and intimate situation was a weapon.
Loved this poem.

Wed, September 16th, 2020 6:18am

Author
Reply

Thank you so much! That makes me so happy to hear that you loved it and took the time to read it. Yes, the camera was an absolute weapon. It's used so often on women to try to victimize them for the rest of their lives. It's a horrible form of psychological terror.
I wasn't sure if I should add a summary for the poem or not to provide some context - this is based on a true story that happened to me about 12 years ago. I am 29 years old now.
My hope is that I can help someone that has been through something similar with this poem. I didn't have perspective back then and I really wish I had.

Thank you again for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it!

Wed, September 16th, 2020 12:24am

Harrakati

Although I'm not the poetry guy,I liked this....

Sun, September 20th, 2020 7:16am

Author
Reply

I'm so happy to hear you liked it! Thank you so much for reading :D

Mon, September 21st, 2020 12:30am

Mark A George

Very moving, Roxanne. It flowed well from start to finish. Well done, and it's an excellent message for women everywhere.

Sat, January 23rd, 2021 2:28pm

Author
Reply

Hi Mark, thank you so much! It really means a lot to me to hear your kind words :) It's really hard out there for women and teenage girls and I hope any that might read this poem will be reminded that they are strong and resilient.

Thank you so much again for your feedback, I really appreciate it!

Sun, January 24th, 2021 8:08pm

ShadyBrady

Beautiful

Sat, February 6th, 2021 5:24pm

Author
Reply

Aw, thank you so much!! I really appreciate your kind words :)

Sat, February 6th, 2021 1:22pm

Stellanotte

A wonderful poem born from a terrible experience. Women reclaim their power and dignity while shame is rightly placed upon the monsters.

Sat, February 6th, 2021 8:34pm

Author
Reply

Absolutely! That's where it belongs. Unfortunately, women take it upon themselves too often and they end up thinking it's their fault, which is so heartbreaking. Thank you so much for reading and for commenting, this means so much to me :D

Sat, February 6th, 2021 1:37pm

Ezra Enzo

I can only describe so much that hasn't been sad, except wow. This. Poem. Is. Incredible. An experience of traumatic manipulation, teenage fun, sex, and emotion through a poem? Done amazingly. The simile of space used during the sexual moments is done perfectly, capturing the feelings and moment in a way that you don't admit at the moment until now as a memory, which is very keen and smart. Going into this, I had no clue that this would be about a memory and the effects it would have on you and how it would change you to make this poem. I do want to say that I feel for you and I hope you feel much better since then. But overall, gorgeous poem, and incredible way of reflecting your feeling and memories into this poem. - E.E

Tue, March 2nd, 2021 5:45pm

Author
Reply

Wow, I am floored by your comment. This means a ton to me! Thank you so much for your incredible review! I am speechless.

And thank you for your kind words Ezra, I am doing much better than I was then. I am stronger and I feel like I am really growing and healing as a writer.

I've been thinking about doing an audio and video recording of myself performing this poem since it was originally meant to be performed. I'm hoping I can get that finished in the next couple of weeks! I'll upload the audio recording to this page and I'll upload the video to my profile if you're interested in checking that out too :)

Again, thank you for taking the time to read and comment, it means more to me than words can describe!

Take care,

-Roxanne

Sat, March 6th, 2021 1:41pm

Stormbird Throneshaker

And I wonder what happened to the ( jerk ) space invader who turned your world upside down? Did he feel any remorse or regret for having done this destructive dastardly deed? Did he actually share his digital takes with the rest of ( his kind ) or did he erase them? Did he ever apologize? You don't have to answer should you wish not to, but I'm glad that you managed to turn your world rightside up again and put your forcesheilds in place and guards up. An your story was definitely penned from the heart and soul.

Mon, March 15th, 2021 12:51pm

Author
Reply

Hi Stormbird,

Thank you so much for commenting! And I apologize for taking so long to get back to you. There was not an apology, I doubt there was any remorse whatsoever. I remember running into him in a grocery store in my mid-20s, he was walking with his girlfriend and they both looked happy. It took everything in me not to warn his girlfriend, but I knew that would be too much for my psyche to handle, so I let it go.

It did bother me that he was out there living his life, probably forgetting who I was at all while I suffered for so many years. I've tried to let it go though and probably naively hoped that he's grown out of the shitty teenager he was and tried to change.

I am also hopeful that parents are teaching their kids to respect others better than they did before, so that if a predator comes along and tries to take advantage of someone at a party, a good person would take notice and intervene.

Thank you so much for your kind words and for reading my work! I appreciate it so incredibly much!

Roxanne

Wed, April 21st, 2021 11:39pm

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