I was not made to be subtle

I am fragile

But I break everything that I touch

I am alive

But I am not living, merely existing.

My body can run marathons

But I starve it of the fuel it needs for me to survive

My head is a mess

But I pretend to have my life in order, mainly for the benefit of other people.

I am weak

But I am strong when I need to stand up for something I believe in

I am quite when I need to be loud

I am loud when I need to be quiet

I am not powerful

But if it means something to me

I am a force to be reckoned with


-       I am a contradiction




Hair as black as coals

But eyes as bright as the fire

That burns among them

His touch is not wanted

But his arms pin me down

His hand grabs my hair

My neck

My breasts

My legs

He forces himself in

My body

My home

He is an unwanted guest

A foreign touch

ÒI thought you liked thisÓ

A punch

ÒYour tears turn me onÓ

A punch

And another

And another

He finishes

He forgets

But I never will


-       I still blame myself




My scars

Show the battles

I lost

But the war

I won




My friends make me fee like I am in control,

when really IÕm not -

They lie to me

IÕm in control

IÕm in control

IÕm in control

But itÕs not me telling myself to eat my dinner in a certain order,

So that when I purge and see the bright orange of half-digested carrot,

I know I have nothing left in my stomach

ItÕs them, IÕm not the one telling myself you donÕt need to eat

You donÕt need to eat that

YouÕre not even hungry

ItÕs them, itÕs not me telling myself

The number of calories in every meal

The number of calories I need to burn

In one damn day

ItÕs them

But I am in control

IÕm in control

IÕm in control

But if I was in control

They wouldnÕt be my friends at all          


- my friends Anna and Mia




Part 1:

Society has this image

Of perfection

We keep trying to achieve

But when we get anywhere

Near it

The bar moves up

Higher out of our reach


Damn I was so close

So close to being what

The media wants me to be


That perfect image

Is a shape shifter

Body parts are moulded

And modelled

Made bigger or smaller

Like putty

In the hands of the person

Who somehow got the job

Dictating what perfect

Looks like

Brainwashing us into

Finding our smallest

Imperfections and insecurities

And magnifying them

Until we become so unhappy

We will never look at ourselves

With love

We will forever compare


With the new perfect

Disgusted with every inch

Of our being

WeÕll go on diets

And take pills

And let strangers cut us up

And put chemicals

Inside us

So we can feel that little

Bit better

A little bit closer to perfection

But not quite


The number on a clothing tag

Will dictate our self-worth

We will validate ourselves

With the number of likes

We get on a photo


WeÕll chase after it

Do anything for it

Raging war with

Our bodies

With too many casualties


Part 2:

A ceasefire has been called

To stop the battle

Between us

And perfect


Fuck society

And their high expectations

Fuck the media

And their constant


Of airbrushed images


The greatest revolution

Is giving perfect

The middle finger

And giving ourselves permission

To love ourselves




My mind isnÕt resting

A constant state of alarm



IÕm losing it


Resisting thoughts to self-harm

Meds donÕt solve the problem

Therapy makes it worse


I donÕt want to talk

I donÕt want to talk


I want to get this over with


IÕm drowning in my depression as the waves crash

over me

IÕm screaming and IÕm screaming but the sea takes over


IÕm screaming

I open my mouth to shout for help, but I cannot be heard,

No oneÕs really listening,

IÕm gulping in water, IÕm getting worse, IÕm dragged

Under by the current,

Murky waters surround me

IÕm at rock bottom – a familiar place

Too many stones in my pockets,

Heavy thoughts

My final resting place


I donÕt think IÕll ever

See the light again




They saw you should

Follow your heart but

Should I follow mine

If its broken into tiny pieces

Leading all the way

Back to you




I open the pill box and pearls fall out

Razor blades kept amongst kept amongst my make up

Flowers grow in high places around the rope

I have made into a noose

As I stub cigarettes out on my skin, the burns turn into

Aloe Vera that wraps

around my arms



Beauty appears

Despite all the ugliness




We make promises

To our bodies

We can never keep:

I will make you skinny

I will make you soft



I will remove all the

Lumpy bits

Except my boobs

And my bum

Because apparently they are

Better if they are bigger

Than the rest of us

I will make you flatter, stomach

I will make you shiny, hair

I will make you longer, legs

I will remove all your imperfections

To make myself a play thing

For a man


HereÕs a promise to my body

I will keep

I will not let a man

Put his hands on my skin

Unless he loves my perfect


As much as I love them




I never told you I was starving myself

I never told you after the meal you cooked me,

I threw it all back up.


I never told you I was raped

I never told you he came to the house and sat outside watching,

I never told you the burns on my arms are self-inflicted,

I never told you how I was really feeling


I never told you because I was trying to protect you

From the monster that lives inside of me

I never told you because I love you so much

I didnÕt want the poison that infects me

To ruin you


-       Dirty secrets I kept from my parents




Abusing your body

Is like setting fire to

Your house

Destroying the one place

You call home




At least when you hit

Rock bottom

You have a solid base

You just need to find

The strength

To build yourself

Back up again




Your mouth says

ÒI love youÓ

But your fist still knows

Its way to my face

Your mouth says

ÒIÕm sorryÓ

But your hands still know

How tightly to grip my neck

Your arms embrace me

When I say that

I forgive you

But I still cry myself to sleep

With the pain

My mouth says ÒnoÓ

But you still know your way

Inside me

You say this is love

But this is not love




IÕve forgiven you more times for hurting me

Than I have forgiven myself

For doing the exact same thing

I guess it shows how much I love you and how little

I love myself




The first gift, I was flattered

The second wasnÕt necessary

The third was because it was

My birthday

The fourth because you say I

Liked it on my Instagram

This fifth because you said it

Would suit me

The sixth came unexpectedly to my home

But I never gave you my address

The seventh wasnÕt a nice surprise

The eighth made me feel sick

The ninth made me scared

The tenth made me realise

I was being stalked

Especially when it was hand delivered

By you

Parked outside my house




This is not a love poem because you made

My heart dazed

This is not a love poem because the

Drawbridge to my soul is up

This is not a love poem because you

Smashed up my idea of love in front of my

Eyes the day you came inside me after I

Said no

This is not a love poem because you

Taught me itÕs not worth the pain

This is not a love poem because your

Words made me numb

This is not a love poem because I donÕt

Want to fall in love

This is not a love poem because how can I

Write about love when all I know is venom



I canÕt hold it together anymore

IÕm trying to fix myself up

But I keep cutting my hands

On the jagged edges of my broken soul

I want to call for you so badly

But I know you would be angry

Because I made a mess on the floor




IÕm like a cigarette to you

You enjoy me for five minutes

Watch me burn

Then stub me out

IÕm forgotten as quickly as I was lit


But at least IÕm slowly killing you


I donÕt need someone to fix me

I just need someone to hand me the tools


© Lauren Stapleton