I feel like I'm going to shatter into a million pieces.

Hold everything in, push everything down,

until there's no choice but to purge.

How did I end up here? How is this still happening?

Why does my mouth refuse to open? Why can't I speak?

I swallow all of my words,

choking on my tongue,

the metallic taste of blood in my mouth.

I have withdrawn to the fortress inside myself.

Years of practice, I can smile through a hurricane.

I will say I'm fine even if I'm drowning,

if I'm burning alive,

if the skin is melting from my bones,

I will look you in the eye and I will smile.

The truth stays hidden,

unspoken, unheard of, locked away.

I don't know how to be honest about how I feel.

I couldn't. I can't.

There is a place inside of me that has been my safety,

the one place that's only ever been mine,

the only way I have ever been safe.

I can't get hurt if you don't know what I'm thinking,

if I am always a step ahead.

I can't be lied to if I know the truth-

even if I say nothing about it.

I know what I am good for, I have always known.

Women like me are built for sex,

we are not the women you take home to meet your parents.

We are not the women who get the ring,

or the time,

or the retirement plans.

You don't take us on vacation.

Women like me are told to slip into something sexy,

and meet in dark corners in dark rooms

in the dead of night.

Away from prying eyes

and whispered gossip.

Dirty secrets.

Whores. Sluts.

All of the filthy names we call ourselves for the sake of orgasm,

we become them.

I used to feel empowered

now I just feel cheap, used.

So filthy that I can't get clean,

hot water scalds my skin

but the smell of slut still lingers like

last night's vodka.

How did something so sweet leave such

a sour taste in my mouth?