What It Feels Like to Suffocate in a Closet

I feel the breath being pulled straight from my lungs. They feel themselves collapsing back into the same stars that they were born from. I feel my heart pounding. She feels herself jumping to and fro like people jumping to confine her into her own box. I feel my knees grow weak. She feels herself grow weak; just as weak as the same people trying to confine her to aforementioned box. Feels the weakness of the box. Feels the weakness of this entire structure. And soon, I feel nothing. I only hear. I hear my brain talking. She is confused why I leave myself in this situation. I hear my mom. She talks of why I’d confine myself to begin with. I hear my own voice. She tells me that I am going to be okay. I hear my future. She tells me that I will be okay. But it’s impossible to feel okay without oxygen. This closet is just as much now a curse as it is a blessing. Because the second I step out, there are people waiting to kick the air out from me. Outside there are the people who talk about killing people like me. People with my heart. People with my weakness. People with my strength. So, I am forced into a decision of where to suffocate. Do I suffocate and live free, or suffocate and not live? There is no alternate option for me. There is no alternate option for us. For us, the confinement will always be waiting. He will be waiting at the bathroom. The sudden lack of air when you enter the women’s restroom to when you leave the women’s restroom. She is waiting for you in class, when the teacher divides the class by gender. He is waiting at your house, your job, your family, your car, your local theater, your coffee shop, he is waiting. And he is waiting for me.  And I am so tired of not being able to breathe. I would give anything to just inhale and exhale like the other privileged people. I would give anything to leave this place. But I still sit here. Struggling to gasp for any air I can. I still listen to the voices. I still try and turn the knob. I still try to see myself. My voice. My soul. Me. But I can’t. My vision has become decremented by the lack of oxygen. My perception of reality is gone. I don’t know if I will ever escape. I don’t know if I will ever be free. But still, I push. I reach for the knob. I pull on my chest. I open my eyes.  And one day, when either the world or I is ready, I will break free. And when I do, there will be no air left for anyone else. The world will be its own closet. And I will breathe in, and out. Just like anybody else.

This poem is about: 
Me
My community
Our world
Guide that inspired this poem: 

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