Becoming the Wicked Child

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Becoming the Wicked Child by May Lafer-Kirtner - Photo by Danielle Deculus

When I was first born into this world,
I was the simple child.
I was a little girl picking up dandelions, believing that all of the wishes would come true someday. I was the dancer, the dreamer, the one who begged for stories.
We drove past the graveyard and instead of seeing an old and aching loss, I only saw the trees and the pretty daisies.

When I was seven I became the wise child.
Sitting at my little desk, writing in a bright pink butterfly diary, I had my first musings
on what it meant that
death
was inevitable.

I was seven the first time I learned how to fill a grave with flowers,
seven the first time I thought to try and take up space someone else had forever left.
All of my simple innocent, all of my midnight wishes
turned into poetry about the forgotten.

All of my love poured out of me,
turned into fairy dust under the dirt.
Eventually, all my bright and shining, all my wise beyond my years
turned into not knowing how to ask.

Eleven years old, afraid to raise my hand in math class
for fear that my friends would think I thought I was smarter than them.
Twelve years old, crying on my friend’s shoulder
worried that she would soon realize my emotions were too much for her.

Every February 14 became a solace
in a world where I wasn’t allowed to tell people
how I felt. One day a year where no one would make fun of me for loving so much.

I am 15 when I finally become the wicked child.
I’m going into my second year of high school and for the first time in my life I allow myself to be full of rage.
For the first time in my life
that is so short and yet feels so long,
I am angry at the world for hurting me.
I am angry at all of the people who wronged me.
I am annoyed at the small inconveniences,
The casual dismissals of all the things
that make the world
beautiful
in my eyes.

I am full of fire and this time it is not burning me down
It is lighting me up.
Instead of swallowing me whole, the ocean of myself only brings me to the conclusion that I should be loved wholly or not at all
and those who are not ready to do that
are simply not ready for me.

I am 15 and I have learned to love all the stories of the women that they told me never to be,
all the upset
all the vengeance
all the outrage at anything or anyone that did me wrong.

I am unafraid of being the wicked child,
My family has always loved rebels.
I come from a long line of people taught to disobey, and the only reason that
I am wicked
is because I will not fit myself into a box and carve away the rest of me to be
what everyone expects me to be.

I will not hide the parts of myself
that society finds unsavory and I will not let my friends use me
as a stepping block to achieve what they want in the world.
When I am all outrage and shriek and flame
it does not make me any less tender soft and gentle caress.

The only thing
that has ever made me less
is the thought
that I could only be
one thing.

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