Lemon Grenades

Abuse and despair surrounded me.
Trauma was such a dominant fixture that ease had become uncomfortable.

My heart was broken.
The movement that I had made my life was dead. And while I was holding on to its carcass,  I was left to be devoured by those pretending to be sheep.

Life had become a lemon and I so desperately wanted to make it into lemonade.  In an attempt to reject the bitter, in the hopes of savoring the sweet, I quelled the fire and inadvertently the light I had left in me.

I numbed myself with booze, pills, and detrimental relationships. Thoughts of my mother’s tears kept me from suicide, but a mixture of pills and liquor were always a pleasant game of what if.

Exhausted by the pain and loneliness I wrote. I wrote to myself, for myself, and by myself. I wrote with the freedom that one can only find when they don’t think anyone else will ever read. The more I wrote, the more that fire I attempted to extinguish began to grow. And the person I thought I had lost, the person I was too afraid to show, had re-awoken.

The girl who enjoyed the taste of her own bitten tongue, the girl who was too afraid to say stop, and no. The girl who would listen to all the words those little boys would say, “you’re just a pretty girl”, “you’re delusional”, “you won’t ever make it as a writer, go to law school”.

The white male teacher who had insisted that I must have plagiarized my paper because there was no way that “I could have written something so articulate”.

That girl had nurtured herself into a woman. She wrote and reflected on her pain. She stood in front of the mirror and said “today you will love yourself more than him” every day until she no longer had to say it and his manipulation could no longer cast spells. She fell in love with the word no. Boundaries became her fortress in which she protected with the fire she now consistently blew air into.

I did more than just speak truth to power, I used my words to attack it. Like weapons, I black woman, I grammatically illiterate, kicked down the doors that I had allowed years of reinforced self doubt to entrap me in.

I promised myself I would never again let someone make me fear my own voice. Nor would I lessen myself for others comfort. Radical vulnerability became my preferred drug, and even if it sometimes stings I prefer the taste of bitter honesty than the sweetness of a lie.

I created a pen name, and decided that if life was going to hand me lemons, I was going to make lemon grenades.

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