An Open Letter to the People Who Called Themselves "My Friends"

by Jenna Malin about a year ago in social commentary

***Apology Approvals Pending***

An Open Letter to the People Who Called Themselves "My Friends"

You played me like a secondhand guitar

you stumbled upon at a yard sale.

You saw me for my peeling paint job

and my bloodstained frets

and you picked me up because the mystery charmed you.

"Behind every imperfection lies a story," you said.

You only saw the value in me in the spots where

my flaws decorated my skin

like fake snow that you spray on a window

and you took me home with you.

But, home was where you cursed me because

I didn't sound brand new.

You strummed and strummed,

and picked and plucked,

and twisted the keys on my head

until the tension became too much

and my sanity snapped in half with a dissonant crack

when all I needed was a simple tune.

I tried desperately to give those to you,

but they were never good enough, so you threw me away.

You thought I was broken, which may have been true,

But I was not beyond repair.

I can't say that you gave up on me,

because you never gave me a chance to show you

just how many songs I could play for you.

I had so much to offer you,

but you threw me away the moment

you thought you could find something better.

I let you use me

(as if i had not been used enough)

because you saw me for my imperfections

and you still wasted your time with me,

so I thought that it meant something.

To me, it meant that I was


without my pain.

It meant that if I don't wear my scars

like badges of honor on my arms,

then I don't belong here.

It meant that if my heartbeat

wasn't slowing down just enough

that you could count the spaces in between

on more than one finger,

then those beats didn't have value.

That if my life was not a tragic story,

then I didn't deserve to have a happy ending,

because if I'm not actively suicidal,

then I don't need rescuing right?

I can just heal the old fashioned way

and do it myself,

Because I'm an independent woman,

and I don't need a "knight in shining armor"

to sweep me off my feet to safety,

because I was supposed to fix myself

and show you how it was done.

But, let me ask you something, my "friend":

How can you pour from a cup

which has long since been depleted?

How can I show you the light

when all you do is smother it?

How can I teach you to breathe

when all you do is smother me?

Because, only when you lost me

did you learn to appreciate me,

and only when no one else would answer the phone

were you angry that I didn't tell you

exactly what you wanted to hear.

I was your voice of reason,

but you were the sound of madness,

so violent in my ears

I couldn't even hear my own screams.

I swallowed my pain to help you fix yours,

and wore my heart on my sleeve

just so you could take it from me.

And, at the end of the day when I tried to call your name,

you turned a blind ear and you walked the other way

as I used the very thin line between life and death

as a suicidal neck tie,

crying for help but falling on deaf ears.

You see, Friend,

Sticks and stones didn't break my bones,

but your words sank deep into my skin

and rooted themselves in the very bones

that should've been broken

when you discarded me like trash.

They tore me up from the inside out

and you watched as pieces of me fell to the ground,

twisted and mangled like a riddle

in the middle of the floor to be trampled on

and disfigured beyond recognition.

No, sticks and stones didn't break my bones,

and I don't recognize the pieces of me on the floor,

but I've caught myself time after time

wishing everything could go back to the way it was,

the way I was,

before you ever happened.

But, today, Friend...

I looked in the mirror, and for the first time saw,

not remnants of the girl I used to be,

but every piece as a possibility.

I saw every shard of stained-glass as a stepping stone

of a path towards a new creation

unlike anything you've ever seen before

or imagined that I could be.

I looked in that mirror today, Friend

and saw, not something old,

but something entirely new.

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Jenna Malin

Marvel's Defenders reject. Superpower: self-destruction. Special skills: writing, shower karaoke, and folding clothes. Check out my fanfiction here:

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