by Bri Pastro

I have learned
Not to confuse missing love with missing you
Because when I told you no
I got slaps and bruises
And you held me down when I tried to leave you
Shaping me into someone I don’t recognize
Submissive, apologetic
And you are not worthy of the empathetic powerhouse that is my soul

I have learned
Not to parse my words for anyone’s comfort
Because when they offended you
I was guilty of the worst sins
Making me believe I was lesser than, I was nothing
And you are not worthy of my infinite presence

I have learned
that my skin cells will die and be replaced
And soon I will be clothed in a body
You will never have touched
And this body will stand tall, unapologetic and with pride
Fueled by therapy and a lexapro prescription
She will /rise/ in love.


I am scarred
Lines cat crawl across my skin
Thick and thin and orderly
Lines of pain I drew in

I am scarred
By thoughts and nightmares of being trapped
Of tears and screams
And empty hospital beds

I am scarred
By a year of insults and splitting
Of being told I will never be enough, I deserve it, I want it.
That I am weak
Too sensitive
Losing it

But I have learned
To find beauty in how my body heals
That no matter my brain chemistry
My skin still knows how to knit itself closed
And maybe somewhere within my corpus callosum
I can find the needles to knit the two parts of my brain
Back together once again


I learned to bleed for her
Learned which veins to cut
To connect her body
Her psyche
To mine

I know it sounds insane:

But we played each other like violins
With razor blade bows
And capillaries for strings
We wove melodies together
Codependent, violent

We held bloody hands
And cried salt water tears
Listened to our music
Succumbed to our illnesses
And became one

Suffice it to say:
The healing was silent.

Torn away from my bass-beat
I had to learn how to make music
With only my tongue
And my lips

Had to learn how to make song
With a voice and a hum
Had to learn how to let my scabs turn to scars

It came with time
With patience
And wonder
And I came to appreciate the silence
Just as I did the song


Bri Pastro (she/hers): Resident queer mama, fierce dog lover, and mental health advocate. Will (perhaps over) psychoanalyze upon request. Constantly has approximately five hundred thoughts spinning in her brain (only two hundred relevant ones). Likes music, monopoly, and brain jokes.