Today, I'm pleased to share a poem that Jessica Dijksterhuis wrote and shared nearly six months ago for our Fraction Members.
I met Jessica in Rotterdam, Netherlands, during our EU / UK Tour with Listener last March. She joined Fraction shortly thereafter. Every month, I have been featuring a piece of art submitted by a member of the group – be it poetry, photography, painting, video, etc. Whatever your craft, I'd love to see it. Check out Fraction today for an opportunity to see your work here.
Jessica originally posted this poem to our Fraction Art Wall, when she first signed up. I asked her if she'd be willing to allow me to share it with you, and whether she had anything that she'd like to include alongside the piece:
“I wrote this piece nearly 1.5 years ago, I think. I wanted to convince myself how things truly did get better and how feeling loved by someone helped a lot. So it starts out pretty sad, but it gets really positive later on - which kinda describes how I’ve been doing, I guess. Now, a while later, I tend to read it every now and then to remind myself how things did get better and even though there might be dark days, it’ll keep getting better - because there’s someone who finally made me realize I deserve to be okay."
The sun did shine but it seemed as dark as night. I remember reaching out to people who seemed to have authority, but they told me the same old lie, the same old kind of denial. They're just boys, she said. Back then, it didn't feel like the sun had completely disappeared yet (it felt like the way the sky looked when the sun sets but the beauty had long started disappearing when it all began a year prior) but it kept getting darker after those words and they kept spinning and repeating themselves in my head. Boys will be boys she said, we can't call them out on that. That was the first night I found out my hands could turn into swords. I decided to start building up my wall and hide behind it, safe from it all. I've been collecting bricks ever since. If someone told me fourteen-year-old that things would get better, she would've laughed at them. Darkness has no room for love nor has it room for light.
The sun started rising again even when the demons yelled vigorously when I reached sixteen. Music kept being able to drown them out though and music built another wall that couldn't possibly be destroyed. How wrong I was.
You destroyed my wall way too quickly and I should've known you were as dangerous as a hurricane or an earthquake but I told myself that maybe that was what it should be; love was a scary thing anyway so who knew, right? I thought it was supposed to go like this and I thought you were my safe zone. But safe zones don't make fun of one's biggest insecurities. I didn't care because you were my safe zone and I thought it was okay even though it made me hate my body. I loved you more than I should and I hated telling you no, but you got angry when I said f*** you because I wasn't ready. (Maybe I never truly was but curiosity killed the cat). I remember the moments of panic and how you created so many new fears as if I didn't have plenty enough, as many as fish in the sea but I wanted to please you so I pushed them away. I loved you with all my might and you were my safe zone even though I wasn't sure I felt safe with you, but you felt like home so I couldn't push you away - until you walked away in the utmost literal sense of the word.
I had been scared ever since and the darkness started to come back but then there you were with your familiar face that I couldn't recognise completely but I knew we had met or at least seen one another before. Back then I couldn't possibly imagine what this would turn into and if I could it wouldn't have been as wonderful as it is now. Even before we started to know one another you seemed to be able to light up the entire room and you made me feel again even when I didn't want to feel and wanted to go numb and hide way from everyone and everything and especially from love but you, even then, became the definition of what a safe zone should be.
It started as a joke and it started as a lie to myself living in denial telling myself I couldn't let anyone in like that even when deep down I knew I already did. I remember falling for you and denying it time and time again, not wanting to admit to those feelings even when the butterflies in my stomach felt like home and your sincerity made me smile even when i didn't want to. The demons kept coming back but when I was with you they shut up right away and after nineteen months after that first date I cannot understand how you manage to silence them but for the love of God I'm thankful for that power. I remember admitting to those feelings at last and feeling safer than I ever did when you wrapped your arms around me and that was when my fears started to shrink.
You taught me what love means and then I was flying and I haven't come down. I cannot possibly explain the things you've done and how you taught me that I should never feel forced to please you. You noticed how broken I was but you took away my fears and even when I do get scared, you hold me close until I'm calm again. I don't think you'll ever be able to fully realise that you are the safest safe zone. You destroyed my swords too, by the way.
Thank you for checking out these words by Jessica. If you'd like to see your work featured here on the site in the future, consider checking out Fraction: an online platform where fans and friends of Levi The Poet can sign up, not only to receive exclusive writing and content, but to submit work of their own to be discussed and considered for publication – be it the poem by Christian Mack last month, or John Blackley's photo set and poem, or Tyler Lee Schaefer's incredible letter to his dog.
I'd love to invite you to consider joining Fraction, yourself, on either a Yearly or Monthly basis. Your membership supports this Levi The Poet project, as a whole, including other things, like being alive. If you'd like to consider participating in Fraction with a bunch of other folks, please check it out here.
[Photo by Lucian Andrei]