Don’t show them your drawing
They’ll find the mistakes, compare it to what’s already on the fridge or that Picasso we saw on the field trip last year. Third grade is no excuse; third degree.
Don’t ask them how you look
They’ll find the bump in your pony, the hole in your sock which is already inside your shoe, which are too tight and have a scuff. They’ll see that too. You look tired. Did you even brush your teeth?
Don’t tell them you’re hungry or full
They’ll decide you’re too big, small, selfish, greedy, a bottomless pit, picky. Comparing your plate to everyone with more or less deserving than you, making it impossible to taste or swallow past the lump in your throat.
Don’t offer your opinion even when they ask
They’ll decide their ideas, experiences, thoughts and preferences are superior while simultaneously highlighting why everything that comes out of your mouth is misspelled, incorrect, stupid, dismissible, toxic, lesser, silly, incoherent, impossible and wrong.
Don’t smile or cry
They’ll tell you why you don’t have the right to be either happier than them or sad for no reason. If at all possible erase your face entirely so as not to be accused of making any contribution to disturbing their existence.
Your song is wrong. Having a good signing voice is an insult. Shrieking like a cat in heat; humiliation.
Don’t pursue a career
They’ll be dissatisfied with every choice deciding for you, the challenge is either too great or insufficient bragging fodder. Yes your life is nothing more than fertilizer either way. Produce a harvest if you must but remember, apples rot.
Don’t ask for what you need
They’ll pathologize your bodily functions, your bones for growing, your weakness against elements like heat, hurricanes, blizzards and drizzles, insisting no one but you has ever made such elaborate requests.
Don’t tell them you’re scared of anything
They’ll register every phobia to permanent and public memory from which there is no escape. Long after you’ve outgrown hesitation around cliffs, water or spiders they’ll remind you by dragging out your catalogue of vulnerabilities in some rare moment of petty strength; like unintentionally peeling a potato quicker than they did. Never forget you’re terrified of everything.
Don’t expect warmth, affection, reciprocity, instruction, understanding, support, joyful invitation, celebration, protection, encouragement, compassion, patience, kindness or love.
Most importantly, don’t believe them. ~
Do you ever get tired of the work it takes to be? Like everything’s fine, you don’t need this or that but also don’t have the energy to be exposed to the chronic emptiness of the hollow trauma-zombies?
I say yes and am declaring this the island of sanctuary. I’ll draw a very big circle, maybe the size of Antartica only warm, so there’s room for you. There will be singing, drawing, dancing, eating, sharing of thoughts, ideas, inventions, dress up clothes and eternal space on the front of the worlds biggest fridge.