Wednesday, June 10, 2009


For the one that I have know all my life:
How can you tell me that my body is a temple.
How can you tell me that my body is perfect.

When you do not know the scars that it contains.
When you have made no effort to uncover my scars.

And for the one who I know so well, and yet not at all:

How can you tell me that my scars don't compare.
How can you tell me that mine do not exist.

When you have never taken the time to hear my pain.
When you have never given me the safety you expect me to give to you.

The story of the scars that I carry with me:
moments like photographs of time, positions, my body, his body, her body.
violations of our bodies.

Scars that I cannot control replaced by scars that I can.
Blood and violence out of choice to regain my control.
To fight against the scars of the past.

A fight for my life.
A fight to get back my life from the memories of the scars.


Seth said...


Speaking only for myself. Your pain pains me, even if I don’t fully understand it. And I can’t fully understand it, feel it, know it. Nobody can. The most I can do is trust you in your struggle to know yourself, to strive toward authenticity.

I remember when both your aunt and your mother changed their names, both later in their lives. The changing of their names was not simply a label makeover, but represented and reinforced their ongoing struggle of self-knowledge and identity. And, I remember how difficult it was for the people who had known them longest – and especially their parents – to modify their own behavior and use the new names. At the time, I thought that, if these people loved them so much, they should try harder to accept the new names, to be happy to validate their struggle. And maybe they should have. But I’m realizing now that it’s not just about loving generosity toward a child; it’s also about letting go a piece of one’s self. 20 years of deep, deep love (and all of the worry and hope and pain and joy and struggle and growth that goes along with it) profoundly shapes a parent’s own evolving identity. And validating a child’s changing self-identity may mean being forced, unexpectedly, to change one’s own.

I know that what you’re going through is much more than changing your name. And, I also know that your name is much more than a superficial label. But I can start there. (The pronoun business is more difficult. And, I feel a loss in forsaking the Palindromic Imperative.)

I love you, and am grateful and honored that you’ve shared a part of your struggle.

Dad (notice the palindrome)

Helyx Horwitz said...

ps- dad, i did heavily consider otto because i wanted to maintain the palindrome... but in the end i found it was more important for me to keep the initial...

mscearce said...

To the one whose life means more to me than my own,

You have scars that I do not know. You keep your secrets deep inside. You and I are not easy with each other.

And still your life has meant more to me than my own since I gave birth to you 20 years ago. You are a perfect miracle born through pain and blood. Delivered into a world filled with pain

My mother and I were not easy with each other. She did not know about the scars on my heart until I spat them at her with venom.

When we shared in our joy upon your birth. You brought us closer but not close.

Then in a moment she began to slip away. I was not available for you, or for me, or for my mom.

I do not know your pain, and to see you in pain is pure anguish.
I long to have that mythic power where with a single touch I could take away your pain.

But you can’t become yourself, stumbling over my awkward attempts to keep you safe.

I stand back. Holding my breath, my body aching helplessly and you deliver yourself into adult hood.

I cannot know your pain, my heart is heavy and my stomach is cold, because I am so terrified watching you transverse this narrow place. I pray for your happiness, I pray for your wholeness, I tremble with fear and yet I cannot look away.

Your life and happiness still means more to me than my life and happiness means to me.

All the world is just a narrow bridge, the only thing is not to fear at all.