The Misappropriation of Oneself

I can’t remember the last time joy came without a precondition. I can look at old photos of myself and remember the work out or the foods I ate that day that made me either happy or depressed. I can feel the hallow or bloat in my belly that pre-determined the Elizabeth I would be. Was she going to be chill or anxious? Was she going to be powerful or weak? Strong or desperate? Worthy of your attention or laughable? Stupid or brilliant?

Was she lovable today?

I blamed you for these standards. I said you demanded too much and gave too little. I said you were an asshole. That you made me feel like shit. I cursed your name during sleepless nights or for the reason I wanted to cry. I cherished your warmth when I felt it and tried to replicate whatever I did to do it right this time. I craved your validation, always knowing it would never come.

I felt free the day I realized your treatment of me was never about ME. It was your own game, and I was a body to play it with.

It was terrifying to realize I made myself into a canvas for you. I craved your mistreatment.

It is now unimaginable to learn that with or without you, the abuse won’t end. I do it to myself. You were equally my canvas as much as I was yours.


Note From the Author:
"I met Kacey on the train coming home from work. She was wearing a bad ass pink Gender Traitor shirt and I complimented it. Little did I know, she was the woman who designed the shirt and was just beginning to start Gender Traitor. Thank you for giving us this platform to explore, struggle, express, celebrate, and plainly be ourselves (and some pretty amazing shirts to do it all in as well.)"

-Elizabeth Levi


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