Manifest Destiny

You treat me like trash, like a gadget. 
I am trash. I am a gadget.

You used me for what you needed and then you upgraded to something shiny and new. 
You don’t need me anymore. I don’t have a purpose. She’s better than me.

You see me as a collection of memories, not a whole woman. 
I haven’t grown in twelve years. I’m stupid and uncultured.

I can’t compete with airport love. Wait until you breathe the same air everyday and you can’t get away from each other.
I’m boring and routine. I’m uninteresting and a burden.

You treat me like a saint. Like a doll on a shelf. Like I’ll break.
I’m not a saint. I’m a woman. Love me as a woman.  
I’m broken.
These words, and countless others, have funneled out of my mouth or rattled around in my head for months. Each time it feels like I am throwing them into an abyss. I’ve watched them catch the air and float, small bursts of hope, before they tumble down into the darkness. I keep throwing them into the blackness hoping one day he will call an end to this foolishness and love me back to whole. I keep throwing words into the hole hoping one day they will form a mountain and I can climb back to the life I knew. 

Those words have formed a mountain. And it’s sitting on my shoulders. I’ve made myself Atlas. I’ve made myself a god.
I’ve been told of my kindness, goodness, and worthiness from family and friends more times than I can count since November. None of it has mattered because the one person I wanted to tell me that I was valuable can’t say the words. 

What I’ve chosen to believe is that I am trash, disposable, and less than. I’ve internalized it and my edges are sharp. I have been lost in these reverse affirmations. They are why I wake in tears. The reasons for the self-love written on my bathroom mirror. The reasons I feel I will always be alone. 

So where I do begin to heal? Where do we as women begin to heal? Here.  Through acts of kindness to ourselves and through a hard look at how we ended up in these places. We will be what we choose to believe and we will live the lives we choose on our own terms. 

We are more than wives, girlfriends, lovers, and mothers. We are whole outside of these confines. There are multitudes housed in the square inches of our bodies. We will manifest destinies greater than we could have ever imagined. We will speak them into existence. 

Athena Dixon-DeMary is co-founder of Specter Literary Magazine, poetry editor of The Reprint, and a managing editor for Z-Composition. Her work has appeared both online and print and is forthcoming in several journals. She writes and edits in NE Ohio.

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