Let’s be honest here –
I am not the girl men fall in love with.
I am the girl that men want to fuck.
I am a conquest. A prize. A show.
I could count on five hundred fingers
the number of people that have professed,
“I like you. You’re different. You’re an interesting girl.”
Apparently I’m not fascinating enough for you
to want to hold for more than a one-night stand.
as I finished swimming a sea of blankets
and got left stranded on the shore,
I asked myself:
What’s wrong with me?
What am I doing?
Am I not good enough for anybody?
And right before I could drown again,
the sun woke up and said,
You are enough.
Forget the men whose hands have groped your hips
in search for answers to questions
you’ve never even heard of.
Do not settle for people who do not appreciate you,
who do not know how lucky they are.
Remember it is a privilege to be loved by you,
or even just
to be touched by you, and
the warmth of another body does not define your worth.
These men –
they think they can own you
with their drunken stares and roughened arms, but
I have circled the earth
a thousand times
to feed the light flowing inside your skin.
Do not waste it by illuminating those who
cannot even be bothered
to learn your last name.”
So that night when
the moon tried once more to pin me down,
I told him:
I am made of sunlight, crashing waves, and fireworks.
You think you can tame me
and cool my flesh?
I am the girl who plays with matches,
and trust me I play it well.
Lord knows I’ve walked through villages leaving
a pile of destruction in my wake.
My heart is a bushfire
and the next time you try to control me,
darling, make no mistake –
I will burst out and ravage you in flames.
(This isn’t a test.)
What is the inspiration behind this poem? It is still surprising to me how this specific poem is blowing up all over the internet. I’ve gotten an equal amount of love and hate for it. Surprisingly enough, most of the hate comes from men or from women who resort to calling me a “slut undergoing guilt”. This poem was written for Beth by request of her brother. In fact, the original title contained “FOR BETH:” I met these lovely people on an island where we were all sucked up in the cycle of dating and partying and not-giving-a-fucks. Contrary to the misconception, the poem actually talks about the fear of being burned by love and real human connection. I wanted to show the becoming of a woman as being all powerful – from playing the man’s game to succumbing to her own flames of passionate self-love. Gone are the shame, the paranoia of being embarrassed by becoming “too attached”. This isn’t a test, not anymore.
Sade Andria Zabala
Filipina living sometimes in DENMARK
Note: featured image by Katy Mendez