“Ashley Adams, that sounds like a name of writer.” Those nine words in one casual sentence were all I needed. Little did my father-in-law know that I had been writing off and on for the past fifteen years. I had kept a secret collection of my writing filled with my pain, hopes and dreams that I had shared with only a couple individuals throughout my life. I knew there was a whole world inside of me that contained depths, which I had only dove into when the shallowness of this world grew too tiresome. It was my secret universe, but it felt wrong to have it in a way. I thought others would view it as selfish and/or childish so I kept it hidden. Then there came three years of my life where I stopped writing completely. During this time, I was purely surviving and the door to my universe closed and instead I dove into the depths of someone else’s universe. It was a dark and constricting place and nothing like the expansive freedom that I had felt in mine. I eventually left this other universe bruised, broken and with my capacity for the depths limited.
It was six months after I had begun my healing journey that my words came back to me in a flood. Here was the first spoken word poem that I wrote in fifteen minutes:
Do you see my truth? It’s there and here in the broken shards of glass that make up my skin. They reflect you onto me in a way that doesn’t seep inside so I am still safe, protected and me. You see some people don’t have skin of broken glass. Instead those with glass cut them. It’s better to have glass. I will reflect you onto me and you will suspect nothing. Until you try to touch me. Until it all becomes real and your hand reaches out with rough skin and it’s like I am in space. Floating no air no gravity. The feeling is like a summer breeze in a meadow blowing through the flowers and yet I am suffocating. Suffocating because your rough hand might be able to pass my broken glass and to the depths inside that don’t reflect out but reflect in. The places where I am me wholly, purely, perfectly. Or at least I used to be. Hands dug inside the depths before and took what reflected inward and marred it to my skin to reflect outward. But you can’t take a soul and flip it inside out. It shatters. So here I am. A girl with broken skin that shines with a million colors in a rainbow of light. A beauty but just a reflection.
But I look closer at your rough skin and you have glass too. Show me your truth. Smaller pieces some fuzed, some jagged and stretch your heavy arms out to reflect the Light above on you. It creates such a spectacle that I am blinded but I finally see you. Not the rainbow of color or spectacle but just you wholly, purely, perfectly past the glass. The Light reflects from deep unto deep. For once I don’t feel the glass cutting into my skin, or hear the clutter of the glass but I am back in space and I feel the wind blowing through the flowers in the meadow. This time I breathe.
Something was beginning to unlock inside of me with the support of my community. I was starting to unlock me and not just the old me, but a stronger version of me that was able to dive to deeper depths in my own universe after being forced deeper in someone else’s.