survival of the fittest

someone asks me how we survive
day by day, night by night?
i want to tell them that we don’t
but the words taste like falsehoods on my lips
because the truth is,
we do survive.
but we do not do it alone.
i tell them how we have memorized
the twenty different ways to quell an anxiety attack
how we wait patiently for those who need to flick the light switch three times.
i recite anecdotes about how we take careful tallies in our minds of who eats at lunch
and who pushes around their food before folding it in a napkin
with a practiced ease that everyone at the table is familiar with.
i tell them how we notice bruises and scars, physical and otherwise,
and how a simple glint in someone’s eye shows us that we should remind them
that we love them
and that we’re there for them.
we have learned to be open with compliments, open with hugs, open with smiles
because the whole world is fighting to tear us down, to break us apart,
and we only have each other to hold onto during the storm.
we are the best and worst generation; we know pain and suffering like the backs of our hands
like the scars on our wrists
but we also know the power of conversation, of laughter
of telling someone that they’re beautiful.
we were born into a society that has been telling us what we can and cannot be since day one
shaping our ideals and thoughts like we are little clay figurines all lined up on the universe’s shelf
but we are finally breaking free of our molds.
and we are hurt. we are in pain. we are suffering and we are broken and bruised and battered.
but we are a generation that relies on each other.
to hold each other up, to encourage each other to keep fighting.
to help us all stay alive.
alone, we will fracture and fall.
but we are conjoined by the bonds of self-hatred and pain
fused together through the heat of desperation and suffering.
we do not stand alone,
but as one powerful entity that allows us to carry on.
to keep living, to keep moving forward, to keep wishing and dreaming and hoping.
to survive.

This poem is about: 
Me
My community

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