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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Letter to The 10 Years Ago Me

Dear me,

 

When your brother told you

Being chubby will greatly affect your popularity

His words, you should not believe.

 

Please, don’t eat half an apple a day

don’t exercise 5 hours a day

Just so you can feel pretty

You are beautiful, trust me, I know

You don’t have to be skinny to feel pretty

Or only feel happy when you’re hungry

You are one and only

 

Go out and eat

Go have fun with your mates

You’re just a kid

Stop counting the calories

I know it’s hard

When everyone believes in the same thing

The skinnier the better

 

But skinny girls bleed

And their wounds will never leave

Eating disorder is something you will later see

 

Don’t drink that whiskey

It is the beginning of your travesty

Don’t drink that whiskey

Just because he dared you to

Don’t drink that whiskey

Because you will soon drown in it

Cannot live without it

Cannot feel safe without it

Cannot exist without it

 

Don’t drink that whiskey

It will make you consider suicide

Don’t drink that whiskey

Because you have depression

And you just don’t know that yet

Depression and whiskey are not the combination

To fix your frustration

Don’t drink that whiskey

Because I know deeply you love yourself

 

When he forced you to touch him

Say no

when he said you’re too old to be this timid

say no

when he asked you to stay the night

say no

because if you don’t

it would be the second time you die

soul stolen

by the devil you love

heart broken

because he loves himself more than he loves you

and you do too

 

when you tried to jump out of the window

please don’t

when you tried to cut yourself

please don’t

when you swallowed all those pills

please don’t

 

I know it’s hard

I know how you feel

I have been there

I know

 

For now, the future is unknown

For now, the future is hollow

But please know

You will live over 21 years old

I know it’s hard to imagine

A life span that long

When suicide is the only thing you can think about

But that day will come

And on that day

You will not believe

how strong you have been

how you saved yourself

how you picked yourself up from the ground

how you stood tall when all you could think about

was how many times you have died

 

a few years after that

you will find love

love is not a man

love is in the mirror

love is the people you have touched

love is something you will one day know

 

a few years after that

you will still have depression

you will still feel like drowning

but this time you won’t be alone

this time

you are not just depression any more

this time

you will fly

high and away

with the people you find beautiful

 

trust me when I say

this day will come

trust me

I have been there

I know

 

sincerely,

me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A W.A.R.M. Poem

Warm,

When you feel cold inside

Lonely and blinded

Lost in this tunnel without any light

We will share our warmth with you

Let you know we are all the same

On this stage we call life

 

Suffering too

But we will hold your hands

And we will march together

In this tunnel without any light

 

I promise you

One day you will see

The meaning behind our destiny

One day,

it will all makes sense to you

one day,

you will feel the warmth surrounding you

like it always has been

 

Anonymous

Our pain is anonymous

Our struggle is anonymous

Our names are anonymous

Our existence is anonymous

 

But that is only for today

One day,

Our pain will transform in to the starry night

of Van gogh’s beauty

our colors

will be so vivid that it ignites fire in the heart of others

 

one day,

our struggle will be no more

our past will be known

it will no longer be anonymous

it’s name will be bravery

 

one day,

our names will be told

for we are the ones that stand straight

when our worlds are crumbling

 

for we are the ones that love

as many people as we can

along the way

 

for we

are the ones

that never stop reaching out

 

one day,

our existence will shine as the light

at the end of other people’s tunnels

our existence will leave traces of footsteps

for the lost ones to follow

and one day,

they will find their paths too

 

Reconnecting,

Side by side, we are not alone

No matter what it was like before

It will be like that no more

 

Picking up the pieces of yesterday

Together we complete

the most complicated puzzles in the world

broken pieces glued back together

joint effort

we find our lost selves

rediscovering dignity that we thought disappeared

reinforcing the strength that was hidden deep inside

 

together, we see our destiny

together, we conquer

together, we support each other

together, we build our own stories

together, we are no longer alone

 

mentally,

we see your true mentality

not the mask you wear

painted by society

 

with us, you can take your mask off safely

with us, we are connected mentally

with us, we will support you unconditionally

with us, you can be the you

that you have always meant to be

 

women anonymous reconnecting mentally,

WARM,

We are free from society’s norms

We do not need to conform anymore

We are creating our own identity

We are reclaiming control

We are the differences

we want to see

in the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note to Self: Things I’ve Learned from Depression

Embrace every moment

You are not depression

You are more than your illness

 

resentment

is a cage you need to escape

resentment against others

is always resentment against oneself

 

Fear is not to be afraid of

Look fear right into the eyes

they are not the enemy

do everything with grace and integrity

love your own company

 

Your emotions are valid

Don’t deny them

Observe them

Understand and accept

 

Don’t be afraid to fail

Mistakes and failures constitute success

Learn with acceptance

never devalue yourself

 

when someone achieves what you are aiming for

be happy for them

They probably work just as hard as you do

if not more so

 

try to go outside at least once a day

don’t dwell in an episode

it’s okay not to be okay

and love as many people as you can

along the way

 

Give

Give everything you have

and ask for nothing in return

It’ll make you a happier person

 

Be who you needed

when you were younger

you have fought

to be the person you are today

don’t underestimate

the strength you possess within

and don’t degrade others

just so you can feel better

 

stand tall and firm

for what you believe in

but reserve the right to be wrong

at all times

constantly and regularly

examine your opinions

Make sure they don’t evolve into prejudices

 

Always be curious

Ask questions

Fight for your rights

don’t compromise yourself

you are all you’ve got

 

Happiness and realization

come in the most unexpected forms sometimes

Never reject anything at first sight

 

don’t be afraid to change

We are all different people throughout our lives

and that’s good

We have to move on

Allow others to change too

 

you can’t find peace by avoiding life

Focus on one day at a time

Let other people’s biases stay as their biases

It is what you do at the moment that defines you

And that changes all the time too

 

there’s always room and time

for acts of kindness

there will always be uncertainties

We are all lost in some degree

and that’s okay

we are all the same

Everyone’s struggling with something

We all get desperate sometimes

So be kind

 

you don’t need to have sex to be sexy

your sexuality is yours

Own it

you don’t need to be hungry to feel pretty

please exercise and eat

Take care of your body

you’re gonna need it

 

If you see peace

you can find energy

If there’s not much you can do

grow a plant, or anything

then at least

you’re doing something good for earth

 

Don’t go wherever the crowds go

You matter the most

do what feels right to you

never judge

You always know less than what you think you do

 

You are enough

you are many things

yet there’s one thing you never do

you never give up

 

It’s all luck

Don’t take credit for your success

nor blame others for your failure

always put yourself out there

Try new things

Remember that you can always go home

 

The kingdom of heaven is within

Remember your religion

You are not other people’s voices in your head

you saved yourself

You,

you did it

 

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

 

Somebody’s Someone

She is a metaphor to her husband

A cautionary tale to her children

Invisible to herself

She is a wandering ghost

to the house she is locked in

 

She has never been herself

She is somebody’s someone

Or something

 

Her place is in the kitchen

In the jewelry stores

In the gossip of other wives

She goes by somebody’s someone

Never herself

 

Her job is to serve

And to look pretty when needed

Her job is to be witty

at dinner parties

But voiceless

after the guests have left

 

She is her husband’s Barbie

with unnecessary functions

She lives in a haunted Barbie house

The company she can only find

are the ghosts before her

 

There is an old Chinese saying

That women beautify themselves

for the men they please

And she

Dedicates her life to do just that

 

She supports him silently by his side

For most of history

Anonymous was a woman

her name was therefore erased

Remembered only as

somebody’s someone

 

She is a glorious china vase

But inside it

nothing but air

 

She is the stunning wife

The loving mother

She has always been somebody’s someone

Never herself

I often wonder

if there is still a person in her

 

in daytime

She is nurturing and fun

Swallows down her pride

She does her part

She keeps her silence

Put on a disguise

Play the character on the stage

 

The stage

is the concrete home that she is chained to

The character

is what she thought a woman should only be

 

She puts her college degree behind

Her achievements before marriage

Becomes a hollow echo only she can hear

Reminding her of a person she vaguely recognizes

 

Her defiance came out at nights

The has been that hides inside

She tells her children what a woman she was

before their father

All the things she could have become

 

Instead of telling her kids bedtime stories

She cries and screams

Like a child searching for answers

The has been inside her

was shortly awaken

But broken this time

 

And yet to her children

She is the woman from the madhouse

She is nothing but a mockery

With her funny English accent

She is an embarrassment

 

She immigrated to a new land

with her husband

So the accent mocks her

Reminds her

of her no longer tangible free will

 

Yet he

Is a self-made man

An American Dream

Even with the accent present

He will never be put in the same place where she is

 

She is a cautionary tale

An unstable ticking bomb

Her son sees her

and defines women accordingly

Women are crazy, he says

 

Her daughter sees her

and swears not to be the same

To never be

an anonymous

 

Her husband is okay with her unstable mentality

He can tolerate the way

she treats the kids when no one is looking

As long as she looks pretty by his side

And doesn’t reach her hands out to the window

 

Yet when she hears the birds singing outside

And tries to chase back to its origin

When she stops cooking

And doesn’t do the laundry

As often as she did

He filed for a divorce

 

In his mind

Not cooking or doing the laundry for him

Means she has stopped caring for him

 

He sees the madhouse that

he and she cohabits in

But he thinks the madness comes from her

He never sought for a cause

Or a remedy for it

Never saved his kids from it

 

He is the observer and the perpetrator

And the children learned from their father

to see her

As the mad women

 

She is a cautionary tale

A metaphor

An unstable ticking bomb

She is somebody’s someone

Or something

 

Years after their divorce

She still can’t resist reaching her hands towards

her husband

she has lived inside the haunted house

She has been somebody’s someone

for too long to learn to separate herself

from someone else

To be the somebody in her own life

 

Years after their divorce

We still blame her for it

We blame the woman for her madness

For her failure in marriage

Just because she was somebody’s someone

Like how she was taught

 

We blame her for shrinking

Until the haunted house was too big

And she lost herself in it

 

We condemn her

for raising her kids in a madhouse

Locked them in the same cage with her

We ignore the oppression she inherited from her mother

And her mother’s mother

 

We fail to acknowledge that the madhouse

wasn’t the house we dwelled in

But the patriarchy she depended on

And she wasn’t crazy

She was just one of many

 

She is another ghost

She is chained to the haunted Barbie madhouse

Belongs to someone else

Somebody’s someone

 

Even when she is released from it

She still gravitates back inside

Every single time

To be somebody’s someone

Never herself

 

Poisonous Fog

I wake up

in the midst of poisonous fog

Cannot make sense of north or south

The fog mourns according to the rhythm

of my own heart beats

Forcefully guiding me

deeper into the fog

 

I hold my breath

count like I was taught

One, two and three

over and over again

 

The beast

from last night’s dreams

reaches its fingers into the fog

attempting to grab its prey

 

It’s either the poisonous fog

or the beast that never gives up

So I find my way into the fog

Following the music

which pounds with the rhythm

of my heart beats

 

I count my breath

Like I was told

Inhale, exhale, Inhale, exhale

One two and three

Over and over again

 

For what feels like decades

Then discover myself still stuck in bed

And nonetheless

have a day ahead

 

I smell the coffee and taste nothing

I see the blue sky hanging up high

But I feel like it’s grey

As if an old picture in the attic

Always ready to perish

 

I greet the neighbors

with the poisonous fog still besieging

around me

neighbors smile and wave

As if seeing nothing

 

She kisses me on the cheek

Ask me how I’m doing

And I say I have had better days

C’est la vie, She says

Ignoring the blood

Coming out from the old wounds

on my left arm

 

She smiles and let me struggle in the fog

Like how she always has

She sees me

but not the pain inside me

 

wherever I go,

the poisonous fog follows

like a mirror made by devils

it draws a picture of me to the public

a person I do not recognize

Felicitous, sweet and upbeat

 

it absorbs all the energy I have

to draw this masterpiece

it feeds on my sadness,

fear and memories

it grows thicker and thicker

days after days

 

I cry with no tears

smile with no joy

Sleep with no peace

I am evaporating slowly

Into the poisonous fog

 

I yearn for freedom

yet I fear what I would be

without the fog

I yearn for happiness

Yet I doubt if I deserve it

I yearn to live

Yet I question if I am worth the space

 

The poisonous fog follows me

Wherever I go

It tells me ghost stories

stops me from eating

From going outside

From dancing to music

From painting down the sunrise

From admiring the people I used to adore

 

The poisonous fog

Becomes the only thing I see

The only sound I hear

The only language I speak

 

Until I realize

The poisonous fog is me

I have become the poisonous fog

Quietly, dubiously

co-existing with

The friends and family

Who are now strangers to me

 

I follow the instructions of the poisonous fog

erasing the footprints left on my own timeline

 

I Go backwards to the day of nonexistence

I float away without making a sound

And no one has noticed