This time I am saying NO

When I was little

I asked my mother

What will I be

She said pretty but discreet

 

When I told my mom

I had a boyfriend

She was just relieved

rape was not the story

 

When he held my shoulder

and turned me around

I was just thankful

That he did not hit me

 

When I was little

I asked my mother

What will I be

She said pretty like fairies

But be careful on taxies

If I am ever on one

Call someone,

so they know about my whereabouts

Or pretend to cough like I am sick

So he won’t lay a finger on me

 

When I was in junior high

My mom educated me to dress ugly

Pretty girls get into troubles

She said,

I know that from experience,

Listen to your mother

 

When I walked through the basketball team

In high school

I felt like I had to shrink

Because the way they looked at me

Unanimously

Worried about what they may do to me

 

When I walked alone on the dark lonely streets

I am always afraid,

Of the shadow behind me

Wondering if that shadow belongs to me

Or another man

 

When I am safely home from a party

I need to text my friends

to inform them about my safety

It never occurred to me

That my male friends don’t have to do the same

 

When I am alone with a strange man in the elevator

I worry from the top floor to the lobby

If he would take advantage of me

 

When a boy in elementary school

Wrote a letter to me

Which says “I hope you get raped soon”

I did not say a thing.

 

When my best friend in high school

Pulled his girlfriend’s hair

And forced her to go down on him

I did not say a thing

 

When he caught my arm on the street

And asked if we can be friends

I said no

He asked why

so I said okay

because I’d rather block him silently

Then making a scene

That time

I did not say a thing

 

When a guy at brass monkey groped me

I did not say a thing

When he threw things at me

Just because he was angry at something

I did not say a thing

When I am wearing a mini dress

And he thinks he has the right to touch me

As if I was asking for it

I did not say a thing

 

When this is the third time in this month

That three women were dismembered by different men

For saying no

 

This time

I am not staying silent anymore

 

This time

I am saying no

 

For the three women that died from brutal hands

I say no

To this society that favors man

I say no

To this world that men feel safe walking

alone and women don’t

I say no

 

Women,

We have the right to say no

without being punished.

No more violence

No more rape

No more death and cruel murder case.

 

Men,

when you witness a woman saying no

respect her

 

that is the only thing you need to do

respect a woman

when she says no

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1246

1246 days

of sobriety

 

3 years

4 months

4 weeks

alcohol-free

 

The drunk version of me

Erased by memory

The crazy days

The erotic encounters

All seem so blurred

Lost in history

 

Buried deep in the dirt

Along with my lonely tears

The hearts I’ve broken

Friends who fled away

The relationships that faded

The sins I committed

People I lost faith in

All buried deep in the dirt

 

Bottles after bottles of alcohol

Demeanor of self-deception

Trusting that alcohol was alleviation

And yet left alone

with empty bottles

Empty as I was

Piled up like my troubles

Taking up all the spaces

Mocking my last sanity

 

Whiskey tasted like self-love

The next morning it reeked agony from my inside

the smell lingered

for 3 years

4 months

4 weeks

the mistakes I’ve made

all buried deep in the dirt

yet always there as a reminder

 

1246 days

alcohol-free

sobriety enables me to see

all the misery

clear and fair

what I suffer

How I suffer

the pain is greater when I am sober

I live through the sadness I try so hard to ignore

 

the past never truly disappeared

always there as a mockery

reminding me of all the failures

the worst version of me I have ever been

 

choosing recovery

but trapped in memory lane

the illusion of how whiskey can cure

seems so tempting

my mental disease

all relied on it

 

1246 days

alcohol-free

every today

is followed by a struggling yesterday

every hopeful tomorrow

is constructed by a skeptical today

 

3 years

4 months

4 weeks

of recovery

 

recovery glows flowers

adorning the grave I dug for myself

white and yellow flowers

on the dirt I buried my history

white as I my heart is now pure

yellow as the sun spreads hope

 

An apology Letter to My Body (2)

Dear body,

I apologize

for drowning you with alcohol

When I was all broken inside

 

I knew you couldn’t breathe anymore

But I didn’t care if there would be a tomorrow

I did not know any other way

To make the pain inside me disappear

So I kept drinking

 

I am sorry

for overdosing and for hurting you

For letting you bleed

But we were at war

If you can remember

Both of us

trying so hard

To erase each other

In order to prove one’s worth
I hope that today

I can make peace with you

 

I’m sorry

When you were that little

I let her inside of you

you did not even know what it meant

 

and as you grew older

he touched you

and tried to make you

one of his

I am sorry

for not having the strength to leave

I am sorry

That I didn’t protect you

 

I scrubbed every inch of you

For a thousand times

But I know you can still feel him on you

Still taste his perfume

At the tip of your tongue

Still have nightmares

about how your body trembled

when he held you

And Fiddled with your hair

Whispering the words into your ears

Like a spell that made you his personal Barbie

 

It was not your fault

That he thought your body

was his to own

You were young and lost

And he was there

 

It was not your fault

That you listened

to the old stories

A woman must be saved by a man

And you thought he was Prince Charming

 

But this is a story

of how a woman saved herself

 

Body,

I will hold on to you

And we will fly together

In this world that has already lost gravity

 

Men and alcohol were never the

Remedy

The solution

Or An answer

You were your own hero

And we know that now

We have proved it

 

Sincerely,

Vanessa