A short film for my class 'From Script to Screen' taken at RAIUL in 2013. The poem I wrote for this was inspired by the works of Shane Koyczan and uses familiar images with an unfamiliar filter in order to make the most ordinary of things seem foreign. Josh Woodward provided the music, and the footage was provided by Vimeo's free HD stock footage group (and later manipulated by me). The poem and vocal performance are my own. Please enjoy.
Comment for Sci-Fi Writers submission: [link]
EDIT for DD Response:
Thank you to everyone, especially ^NicSwaner
for recommending it!
MANUSCRIPT BY REQUEST:
When I was a kid, I tried everything.
Eight-year-old me was friends with everyone,
anyone who breathed the same air,
caring for them because why wouldn't I?
shared with them because why couldn't I?
Eight-year-old me was athletic, not pathetic,
fit and toned and chasing after playground balls like it was my job.
I ran faster than all the boys in my class,
got up whenever I fell on my ass and I prayed
that when I got home everyone would be safe,
even when two airplanes fell out of the sky like the dream I had last night--I was eleven
when everything began to change,
when I realized the friends I thought I had were fakes.
'Kids can be cruel,' they say, but what had I done
to earn a place on a list of the ones it would be uncool to hang with
when we all got to middle school.
There were two names on that list--I was number one.
But instead of a prize, I got shunted aside,
left alone by my locker by the kids I once knew.
Suddenly I was the one picked last for the teams,
and only then because I didn't run giggling from the game
the same as all the others who claimed to be girls but
who ever decided that female meant weaker
when I was the one who was stronger, ran faster, played harder, did it better?
Since when was my vagina a reason to say no? Even the teachers did it--
asked for strong boys who could lift stuff, like I needed a dick to pick it up. Who does that?
I was alone and not by choice, not one of the girls or the boys, I was me.
They didn't want me around, so I disappeared.
I turned to Jesus like he'd be my friend, and even then,
it was because he couldn't exactly say no.
I set down my bat and picked up a cross, a midlife crisis at just thirteen,
living at church instead of school, counting the days until Sunday
when I wouldn't have to face the hallway battlegrounds anymore.
I chased after Saint Peter like I was his assistant,
seeking approval from somewhere because mom can only say I'm beautiful so many times.
I stayed where I wouldn't be betrayed. Church was safe, until it wasn't,
when I was seventeen and I realized that love doesn't come in prepackaged boxes
and nowhere is safe until you're dead.
I was nineteen before I started making friends again.
I had lost everyone, even God, so who was I to hope?
I wanted anything but to lose the few people who didn't reject me,
who didn't call me loser or Jesus Girl, who didn't snicker as I walked past,
who didn't roll their eyes every time I spoke because I had something to say
that they couldn't comprehend. I'll never understand them.
I held on.
I should have known it was doomed from the start, but I was desperate.
I had to know that there was a place for me somewhere, anywhere
in this screwed up universe that I had to call home.
It was 'you and I' or suicide, but instead they chose to crucify,
like they couldn't get rid of me fast enough.
Maybe I should have never opened up.
I ran away, beaten and scarred, hiding the bleeding child within
until I could stand up again without shaking.
But inside, I'm quaking, I'm a quivering mess that no one can see
because I hide it out of pure, unadulterated fear.
And yet, I'm still here.
Now, instead of sports, I write away my pain in a corner because I don't need someone else to do it.
Now, instead of love, I hug myself and keep on running so no one has a chance to hurt me.
Now, I put on a smile and I do what I'm told even though on the inside, I'm raging,
every page a bandage on a wound that never seems to heal before someone else rips it open again.
I want to believe that they're all wrong. I need to.
That somewhere in this world is a place where I belong, but even now,
it's not like living anymore. Just motions so I don't hurt anyone.
I say I'm sorry like I'm not supposed to be here, anywhere,
interrupting whatever collective business the human race has that I'm apparently not a part of.
By now, happiness means being left alone. Because alone is safe.
Alone means I don't have to play their games anymore, apologizing for just existing.
Alone means others aren't there to reject me.
Alone is the only peace I've encountered.
Alone is the only freedom I've known.