I often hid who I was in relationships.

At least until I felt safe.

I kept my parts hidden.

 

Now, slowly and gently, I unfold their memories, their needs.

Only between me and me, they become themselves in my writing, in my sketchbook.

Safely held by the pages. Oh, the hurt they felt!

 

The voice of my father or my grandmother turned their colorful feathers to white. I had to

comb them until I looked polished, exactly what everyone wanted. Smooth like a rock.

Set like a prisoner. There was only one way to be loved.

 

To be what they wanted me to be.