birthday cake

the smoke in the air reminds me of birthday cake. sparklers and tealights. i burn the soup again. because i’m tired, and impatient. and i’m not good at this. i never have been.

because this time, it’s not birthday cake. or a failed cooking experiment. the world is on fire, and i feel insignificant. tissue paper and packing peanuts stuffed down my esophagus, wrists tied down to the railroad tracks. if this is love, then i’d rather be consumed.

because love shouldn’t hurt. shouldn’t twist tight around my throat like a boa constrictor, or suck the oxygen from the room. i wore your favourite dress, did my hair; deep cleaned the house, and stuffed all the skeletons back into the closet from whence they came. it’s perfect now, isn’t it? just like you.

i cling to your hand as the fissures spread. hide in your shadow like a little kid, as strangers pour into the living room. i keep my mouth shut. do the dishes; feed off half-eaten scraps and shreds of attention if i have to.

but the party’s long since over. the flowers have rotted down to the ground. they’re gone, they all are.

and little girl, all that’s left is you.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent my whole life defining myself by other people.

This poem isn’t about any one person or relationship in particular–but more a long lineup of shitty experiences I’ve had throughout my life. Where I let other people tell me who I was, or I based my entire identity off. It worked better when I was younger, I guess.

But as I’ve aged, I think I’ve started to realize that, well, the people I admired weren’t exactly perfect. And that no matter how hard I try, I’m never going to be them, and that following in their footsteps would make me absolutely miserable; that whatever I define success as, there sure as hell isn’t a neat, clear path to getting there.

Right now, I feel like I’m just in some strange kind of limbo. With 2020 coming to a close in two months (thank god) I’ve been thinking a lot about what I accomplished this year–and honestly, beating myself up a fair bit about it. I’m in the habit of idolizing my past selves, and remembering the past as far better as it was. But also… I don’t know. I used to be such a cool person. I used to do all these insane things, and take risks, anxiety be damned; mark out each month with a new beautiful accomplishment. I can’t help but look back on the past year, and feel like it’s been wasted. And I know, that I can’t expect myself to change the world while processing everything going on right now, both in the world and in my personal life, and dealing with my mental health. But… I still do it anyhow. I’m trying to work on that.

For my own sanity, I guess I just have to believe that I’m going to come out of this as something better. As a happier, more stable person. I don’t really believe in fate, but I do think that when things get hard, I can throw myself a pity-party, lie in bed and never get out. Or I can let myself cry, like myself feel everything I need to. And then, get up. And try to make it into something good.

Lots of love,


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