*This piece was inspired by Ntozake Shange’s “Somebody Walked Off…” from For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When Rainbows Were Enuf (pg. 49). When I read the original piece after my break-up 7 months ago, I realized someone(s) had walked off with all of me. The break-up was not unexpected. The feeling that I wasn’t “me” anymore came as a big surprise. I gave away so much of myself not only to my ex but a few other ex-boyfriends. But those former beaus didn’t take my stuff. I willingly gave it away. This poem is me willingly taking back my stuff !*
I’m taking back my shit
Yeah, that’s right
Call me Break-in Betty, Strong-Arm Sarah, Lockpickin’ Lucy
HELL! The name doesn’t matter
Because I’m taking back all my shit!
Not asking, begging, pleading
And damn fo’ sure not negotiating to get my stuff back
I’ve been confused and conflicted for WAY too long
Sobbing over my missing things
Lookin’ at my face on the milk carton wondering, “Who stole me? I wasn’t theirs to take!”
Today, I’m reclaiming and repossessing
Going to all the brothas that walked off with my stuff
And snatchin’ my shit BACK!
Grabbing me back
Gathering those fragmented pieces I recklessly left unguarded
Recreating the old me
Fashioning her into a new me that has always existed
I’m taking my pride, ego, flaws, time, back fat, big thighs, sunshine, laughter, ugly photo-taking face, tenderness, authenticity, prettiness, spirit, love…
You! Mr. “I love you!” Mr. “You’re the one for me!”
I’m taking my shit, sir
The children you wanted me to mother
The wife you wanted me to be
The lover you never knew existed but knew existed for you
The lover you couldn’t inspire in me
The gift you couldn’t care for in the present
The facsimiles of my love you recklessly transposed on new thefts
I’m taking all that back!
Selfish bastards walking away with my shit
Hmph! I’m taking it back with vengeance
Passionately restoring the “me” I neglected to protect
Loving her the way I should’ve demanded
And when I get my shit back
Oh, because I’m going to get it back!
My fractured, fragile pieces aren’t going into a lock box
How selfish of me would that be?
Taking my stuff and hiding it away?
No! My recreated, redesigned, refashioned self will be on full global display
A touring exhibition of freedom, passion, and love
A collage of stolen and reclaimed moments called “Me.”