~Esther Mitchell, 2013~
They tell me to write what I know,
Then they tell me I don’t know anything.
Five degrees worth of education later,
Summers spent clawing my way through the stacks,
Winters spent with my head buried in calculus,
History, mythology, and organic chemistry,
Up to my elbows in anatomy, physics, and psychology,
Year after year of testing and study and more testing,
And still they look at me,
Shake their heads as if with pity,
And tell me I know nothing.
As if a lifetime of being bloodied,
Of nights awakening awash in sweat and terror,
Of days spent reminding myself,
“You are beautiful,”
“No, don’t shrink,”
“You can do this,”
Count for nothing at all.
As if the hours spent pouring myself out of a book,
Of finding myself in statistics,
To prove I could survive,
Of weeks spent building the walls of my mind,
Compartment by compartment,
Some to hold information in,
Some to hold the world out,
And some just to seal away the pain,
All of that was for nothing,
When they look at me,
Shake their heads,
And tell me I know nothing,
Only they are right,
Only they know what’s best,
Only they have the answer.
But not a single one of them,
Has ever lived inside my Hell,
Walked the shrapnel-strewn paths of my life,
Through jungles thick with terrors they can’t even dream.
Not one of them has built themselves up from the rubble,
Of a life disintegrated in one blast,
Over and over and over again,
Until the rubble resembles sand more than stone,
And all that remains worth having,
Rests in mind, and heart, and bone.