Eye of the Beholder

I was starving to matter once, worth my weight regardless of how heavy my heart was, turning a blind eye to the emptiness that only registered as stone cold in the mirror of my own eyes. And in that mirror of my own eyes, every single thing staring back was not even worth seeing. The scale of my mind only tripped the fault lines of definitions pounded into me my whole life of what beauty really was and it was never in the eye of the beholder, but all the other eyes watching. The ones that didn’t matter, the ones that looked but did not see. The ones looking through, touching but never holding and so I learned to hold myself at arms length away from the microscope of other peoples eyes. I learned to look inside my own heart, dig through all the baggage, unlearn the bullshit hardwired inside, and relearn the lessons worth knowing. It was the hardest lesson I have ever learned, but the most valuable gift I could have ever given to myself. When I weigh my worth now through the mirror of my own eyes, I count my heart first, and I always tip the scales in my favor to say: I am full, I am worthy and I am so fucking beautiful.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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While I Was Out

While I was out, the other part of me rarely got out of bed, brushed my hair, or even saw the sun.

But while I was out, I didn’t care about her, because I was dancing blindly with the madness, spinning my wheels in the night, holding hands with dangerous things like they came straight from the mouth of god. I bowed to all as if they were holy, as if I was the one people knelt to and believed in with all their hearts. I was unbreakable, but in pieces I carried around, gifting beauty to strangers.

While I was out, the me that laid in a daze of gray, lost somewhere between sobs that grow numb, didn’t give a second thought to the other half of me sinning like a hobby that became a religion.

And that other half, in her grandiosity, did unholy things in my name without grace or remorse. She doesn’t know she’s evil when she spins in the mania, she only knows that nothing can touch her other than hands that shouldn’t. And she comes back to boast about it, throws it in my face, tells me I’m a failure. I believe her. How could I not? She’s dirty, reckless, and everything I never wanted to be.. but she’s me and I am her.

She leaves me, but never really. I wish she would. She wishes I would. I make her lazy, she makes me a whore. And together, we spin in a cycle that flashes between light and dark, madness and sanity, wrong and right. We are locked together in a cage and it’s always her who takes the key.

Sometimes she is gone for so long.

Sometimes I am gone for so long.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Take the Universe For Yourself

I said, “I need help. I am not making it. I am not okay.”

You said, “I don’t know how to help you, but I want to… I want to. What can I do?”

I don’t know. But this isn’t living. This is dying and all I can do is watch, sit back and wait. And I hate the way it feels. I hate the way it looks. I hate the way I just can’t stop it anymore. I didn’t mean to give up, you see.. it’s like someone else has the wheel and I forgot how to drive. I can’t remember when it was good. None of it. And I don’t know anything anymore, only that it hurts. For no reason, for every reason, every rhyme, and I’m out of time. It just is. It is what it always was, what it never was and everything it will never be; it’s me. And I do not know who I am anymore. But god, it fucking hurts so bad. I can only feel it. I never stop feeling it. And I know you would save me if you could, but at the same time.. I know you can’t. Because you are always right here next to me and still… the room is empty like I am so empty. Sometimes I can see who I used to be, but she doesn’t see me, and the world falls deaf to the screams I clawed silent.

And there’s nothing to see here. Everything is fine. I’m okay… I always say.. I am okay. Thank you for asking. Thank you for trying to shine light into my dark, love, thank you for trying to make sense of me, but I am a lost cause. Please run while you still can, the way everyone does. The way he did. The way I always do and never stop. If I were you, if I were him, I would run too. But faster. I would run faster, the way I always have, maybe without falling so much. You’re the only one who never tried to run and I don’t know how to stop asking why. So, I still tell you to go… and you never do. You sit there, searching my eyes for answers, searching my heart for life. Even when the silence cuts into you like a lifeline bleeding out sirens that beg for any sign of hope, the room falls quiet and the only sign is a roadblock of nothing at all. Yet, you stay here and wait for something that is never coming, and I’m sorry. Your hands are so full of hope and mine are so empty, they bleed answers you cannot hear. I am only a blank wall, no matter what you try to paint there… my eyes only see the empty wall of me.

You could have given me the universe like you constantly try to do, but the ending was always meant to be this way. I’m sorry you spent half your life trying to make me happy and I could barely return a smile that meant anything at all.

That universe you are always trying to solve… I hope you do one day, and keep it all for yourself. You deserve it. For all your trying did not go unnoticed.

I hope you’re always smiling.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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When You Are Done With Her

When you’re done with her, you will say she’s changed, she’s acting strange, she’s a mess, crazy woman, pleading, different, yeah.. she needs help. You will say you don’t like drama, but she already knows that because you used to tell her about the other crazy women in your inbox, before she knew she would be one too. You will say… something different every day, to buy some time, come up with another line, all to avoid the truth and the way the edges cut in and touch you just as deep as the silence rips her apart. You will say everything, you will say anything to make the walking away easy on you and you will act like it never even phased you, as though you never gave a shit anyway. And she believes your cold like she once believed in your warmth. And all you said to her is the same you once said to the others, but she wasn’t like the others, until you discarded her and made her question everything she ever knew, her self worth and even you. Then she became just like the others. Just another.. just another crazy woman, causing drama you didn’t ask for. Another story you tell now about a poor, pleading woman you never loved, bothering you… until she finally went away. What a relief. What a relief to be done with her, burden lifted, and no more nightmares of that crazy woman who was acting strange, the one who changed. When you’re done with her, you will say… thank goodness she’s gone, thank goodness I am above someone like her, with her delusional mind, her drama, her pain, her feelings, her heart. Thank goodness you are not at all responsible for that mess of a woman, who broke by her own hands, thank goodness you never loved her, so you don’t ever have to feel how she felt. Thank goodness you don’t have to feel anything at all and thank goodness it wasn’t you who changed, but only that stupid, crazy woman who started acting strange one day for no reason at all. Thank goodness you don’t have to carry the weight of accountability; it’s fucking heavy.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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The Truth

Tell me what it felt like.

Did it hurt to say “I love you” while balancing a middle finger up the center of your spine as you walked away as if to say… “I don’t love you anymore and I don’t respect you enough to stay and say anything at all, so I am going to walk away like you were and always will be nothing.”

How did it feel to lift someone so high, only to leave them feeling so small, so invisible, so absolutely worthless?

Just curious how low the temperature drops in someone’s heart to make a 360 seem like second nature. Maybe my description seems harsh, but the truth hurts, doesn’t it?

Yes it does. It hurts a lot, but more in the silence. It changed me. It changed me.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Masterpiece

I once found myself standing in the middle, daggers being thrown from left and right. I took each one straight in the gut, trying to save your heart and defend my own; I stood alone.

In the midst of the shade thrown over like gray sticking permanent, I learned how to stay in my light by walking away from the gray in the middle. The gray does not own me. It never did.

Those daggers were meant for me, but really only launched from a place of someone else’s self-induced pity turned pain. Well, let it rain. I will stand soaked in whatever pours my way, smiling and unaffected by a version of me told from the mouths of someone who never knew me, but thrives on stories told like gospel, hands up, praising rumors as if speaking in tongues, ear to ear, makes it true. I feel for you.

I feel for me more. I found peace in my pieces, grace in the chaos I never asked for and calm in the storm I have always been. I dug through my pain, kept the pieces I created with my own hands, and threw the ones away that were not mine to carry.

There will always be people who paint a picture of you with colors that don’t hold true and that’s okay. Let them carry the weight of those colors in their own heart, while you stay true to you.

You, with your beautiful colors, your mosaic pieces, your heart… made whole with its grace, with its peace, with undying honesty. You, with your gracious soul, your unmovable loyalty, be a masterpiece that never tries to defend its own colors to anyone who never saw the pain in your pieces, but only heard about it and couldn’t wait to smear it thick in gray, save it for a rainy day, and try to shine like you always have.

Don’t ever apologize for a version of you written by someone else. Be you and know, nobody can shake your grace or your peace from the roots of you. Your heart.. it is a masterpiece.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry
#stephaniebennetthenry
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Throwaway Girl (3)

Throwaway girl is only your name to a runaway man; can you hear him calling? No, you can’t. Because he’s long gone. Ran away as fast as he ran to your side once upon a time, but you don’t remember the staying because the leaving was a punch straight in the gut; how’s it feel? The way the leaving lingered as if to say, you’re gonna feel this every day until I’m done with you. And then he was done wasn’t he? Showed you a new meaning to that, how to be a stranger like that, how to keep bleeding out as he flicked your memory off his skin like a burden he couldn’t wait to forget.

Throwaway girl, wake the fuck up. You think you’re the first he threw away hard and ran away? No, you’re not and you won’t be the last either, love. You loved him, I know. But you can’t love gentle hands, wandering eyes and a cruel heart. You can’t expect people to love you the way you love, even when they say, even when they lie so well you believe it deep in your soul. Where’d they go?

They left, throwaway girl. They scooped out every ounce of self worth you had, threw it in their pocket, and said fuck you, after they fucked you. That’s where they went.

Throwaway girl, don’t blame yourself for that. They took the good from you, stuck it deep in their own wounds, licked it clean to plug the void and hit the road.

Throwaway girl, that’s not your name anymore, same as it never was before. Don’t answer. You are not a trick or treat bag that can be picked through and discarded. You are not disposable, you are not a toy for someone who gets off on mind games.

You are brilliant. Anyone who doesn’t see the way your heart splits and breaks with passion and colors and everything that builds the universe from your very spine, doesn’t deserve to see such a breathtaking view.

Throwaway girl, don’t answer to that name. You are galaxies; Nothing less. Do you see yourself? I hope you see yourself. Please see yourself. Look up at all the stars; there you are.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

#stephaniebennetthenry

Throwaway Girl (2)

Throwaway Girl, you were such a keeper, until he got his hands on you like forever still meant something other than an ending tossed straight in the garbage. Throwaway girl, you are not how he made you feel. You are still the same person you have always been, a keeper like you always were, and the universe remains in your eyes as beautiful as your soul lingers on despite that careless goodbye that took you to your knees. Throwaway girl, that careless goodbye that shattered all you ever knew, it was not about you. You were just one in a string of many who fell in his path like that, got your heart ripped out like that, became tossed out garbage like that. But you get up. You get up, beautiful girl.. because in spite of that fall and everything you lost on the way down.. you will rise with lessons under your belt that no one can take away from you again. You were never trash, but a jewel that not everyone can easily recognize when ego blocks their view; be you and know… the way you fall and rise is breathtakingly brave, and the way you continue to stand after being spit out shows exactly who you are. Throwaway girl, I am so proud of you for refusing to be thrown away with secrets sealed in your mouth; spit it out. You earned it… you earned it. Hell and back knows your name and it never was throwaway girl, it was always beautiful Warrior with one hell of a heart, too brave to let careless hands rip you apart. You are home in your own eyes; don’t ever forget it.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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The Thorns of My Bloom

You only wanted my petals, so I ripped each one out like feathers that never were good at flying anyway. Tore each out by the root, exposed only skin, raw with thorns like a Sky too dark to see any stars; I gave you my scars. You looked straight in without flinching, held me like the beauty of my heart and soul was enough, because you always said it was more than enough. But the fog lifted, the sun came out like truth trying to scorn me, and I still feel the burn of sparks landing softly like lies giving birth, to prepare for the explosion of how you ran away. Hands filled with petals dropped, each one behind you to leave a trail as a reminder of where the thorns crossed your path once, ripped through the beauty, turned your hands ugly, left me filthy. I used to shame myself for that, took the blame for your weakness like that, told myself I was dirty and ugly and too full of thorns like that. But fuck that. Now I’m all thorns, cutting through first impressions like a blade that bleeds all the soft parts out. No petals shown to cushion the blow of someone’s weakness to save them from the edge of the thorn sharper than their ego. No… I only bloom when someone’s shows me they can handle my thorns without the petals. I only root myself in places where the ugly blooms deep, long before the pretty ever sprouts in shallow spaces. I only grow in gardens where true beauty is seen for what it is, not for the surface of what your eyes see. You didn’t have to pick me, but you did… and you ripped every petal off before you decided my bloom wasn’t whore enough for you.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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Beaks of Birds

To the person who loved your heart like it was the one reason that gave color to the sky, only to be the same person who brought that sky to its knees in pieces laying colorless, where gray stays gray forever, and even the stars throw their own shine away, like a piece of trash that never got it right anyway… to that person.. if your eyes met theirs once again.. what would you say, love?

Tell me, what would you say? Would you break all over again or would you say, “fuck you” loud enough to flip the universe into sharp edges that circle the sun long enough to light that mother fucker up again until the sky speaks your name softly from the beaks of birds who just remembered they never did stop flying. Even in the dark, they were soaring through gray, flames on their wings borrowed from that heart of yours, lighting a fire under the sun and calling you home through the only song that ever set the world on fire to shine on your face again as credits roll under spotlights and stars fall holding wishes birthed from you.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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