Castaways

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 15:31 -- jakkios

It took until this year for me to accept me

To even realize I was drowning

In an ocean of the heteronormative

I was floundering

To know I was being pushed down by wave after wave

of straight TV and movies and books

and being told that this is how I should behave

Took eighteen years.

 

So that by the time I stopped promising

that tomorrow night

I would fantasize about women and their tight-

I was almost finished being a teen

And my body was lean

from hunger NO I was starving

From the scraps I had been fed in that roiling ocean

that had nothing else to give me

But little did I know that even when I knew

I was going to marry a man,

my fight wasn’t over

I had found an island but I hadn’t found land

Because I wasn’t ready to show it

 

What I had found in the bottom of the ocean

despite the turning waves

I wasn’t ready so I had to hide it

Every day in a thousand different ways

 

Because all my life I had been boarded with water

being poured down my throat

Telling me this is the way a man behaves

This set of rules clad in iron surrounded by a moat

He’s strong

and big

And loves big breasts

He has no emotions save anger and work and beer drinking fests

His hair is like this and his clothes are like so

I have to talk careful

and make sure my voice is low

So that I don’t show

That I’m anything other than straight

And if you break those rules

God help you little boy

You’ve locked in your fate

 

And the seagulls circling above the ocean I had clawed my way from

They taught me in their relentless never-ending way

that being a man was a zero sum game

And if I stepped out of line

if I had something different to say

well then, I was “gay”

 

I was caught in a venn diagram

where the circles didn’t touch

and if I didn’t draw tits on the circles

than of a man, I wasn’t much

So fast and so hard these lessons did I learn

so tied up on the stakes where I burned

so caught up in the riptide of the water where I turned

turning over and over so fast I couldn’t consider

whether I considered myself a male at all

I couldn’t swallow that pill,

it was too bitter

 

For eighteen years I was drowning

but I’m learning to swim

 

For eighteen years I couldn’t breathe

and my chances were slim

 

But I’m tired of hiding

and lying by omission

And starting this year I’m making a decision

I’m making it my mission

to be who I am

even if I don’t know who that is

I’ll find him

Or her

Or them

 

Because it took eighteen years

for me to accept me

Now I have to find me

 

And though I’m not drowning

I’m still out at sea

I’m ready to set sail

and see who I can be

And maybe I’ll pick up others too

as I try and make my way

And we’ll all set sail together

a little band of castaways

This poem is about: 
Me
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

Comments

Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741