I was once called broken.
I pictured my skin full of cracks,
parts of me falling out of my body.
I felt like I had been ripped apart
until I realized that broken
was a word that belonged
to the person who spoke it.
Once I realized this,
I was able to mend the cracks
that covered my skin.
I was once called cripple.
I was mocked every day
over how I walked and moved.
I was made to feel like the elephant man,
a freak in my own body
that I could not control
until I realized that I was not crippled,
that my body was capable of
acts of the greatest strength.
I was not the elephant man
but the mighty lion.
I was once called faggot,
being raised to hate what I was,
and the secret that I carried within myself.
I would look at myself,
seeing only something to be loathed.
For a time, I cut myself with my words,
hoping to bleed the gayness out of me
until I realized that I didn’t fear myself,
it was someone else’s fear that I was manifesting.
The fear left me when I began to love myself.
These three words,
broken, cripple and faggot,
haunted me for a time,
running around in my head like a mantra,
but as I saw these words for what they were,
I could let the fear and the hate go.
As the fear fled from me,
new words began to take shape
within my mind, body and spirit:
shine, strong, love.
These words have become my new mantra,
they are the song that I sing
to bring me back home