Trigger warning: sexual assault and rape

I see men everywhere

In the rashes I itch

In the sores I scratch

In the holes I fill

In the shadows I fear

In the songs I loop

In the shows I binge

In the clothes I clean

In the tattoos I cover

In the hair I shave

In the tears I trap

In the clouds I smoke

In the father I love

In the soul I lost

In the body you raped

In the mind I found

But I don't see a man in me

Recovering from a sexual assault is like piecing together an 1,000 piece puzzle with 988 pieces. As the image begins to form, and as you process what has happened, you realize in your final moments of denial that you will never have your closure. Your apology. Your resolution. Because that rape is forever a part of you. Not that you will never recover from it, or grow from it— butitwill always exist in your narrative script. You will always haveitto compare your experiences to.

I see men in it. I see men everywhere. As I grapple with my sexual and emotional abuse, I have begun to question my gender identity. However, I realize that owning my queerness is not simply adopting a non-binary identity, but also fortifying a radical position against the patriarchal systems that oppress them.

Four months later and I still have to deal with the doctors, the prescriptions, and the pain. Where therapy does not fill, writing does. If you can name it, you can own it.