I Ruined Sunday. {poetry}


It finally makes sense
Why I go to closed rooms to cry
Because my mother never let me
To cry is to wallow
And to wallow is to be weak
And to be weak is
Apparently the worst thing you can be
My mother’s slamming dishes and yelling
She’s telling me how this was supposed to be a nice thing
We were supposed to go to the movies and have fun
And how I ruined it
How I always ruin it
She tells me I love being a martyr
That I love being sick
That’s why I’m still sick
Because it’s easy
That watching my friends live their lives as I sit everyday trying to survive and heal
That I’m choosing the easier path
As my boogers run down my lips and my eyes look like death’s escaping
She tells me I break down after every little thing
That she can’t take it anymore
I tell her this is why I never tell you how I’m feeling
She growls with sounds that roll out like
“No, you can’t handle that I tell the truth”
Apparently, the truth is
That I get upset when people call me beautiful and get upset when people don’t call me beautiful
That it’s because I care too much about how others see me
That insecurity is a button I need to just switch off
And I just sit there in the car asking myself,
Is this how I treat myself?
Is what she saying true?
I don’t even fight her
My eyes are quietly glued to the road
And I seem almost hollow
As tears leave my eyes looking for asylum
I just listen to her words like they’re life-size, in block letters, and they’re funneling into my ear and making their way into my heart
I ask myself why she gets so angry
I tell her it’s complicated
That insecurity is learned
I point a finger
A finger I’ve always wanted to point
Only, I do it in words
And she eats them
Devours the blame
And disperses it in the kind of anger I let hit me like cold water but
I don’t flinch
I tell myself,
It’s okay, Leilani
It’s okay to cry
I know you do it a lot
But it’s okay
You didn’t ruin Sunday, Leilani, it’s okay
She’s in pain and you need to hear how her words try to drag you with her
You need to hear how these words she tells you
get transferred
How you yourself
Have thrown knives at people for being sad or for being insecure
It’s because we find fingers pointing at us when people say or do things that remind us of the parts of ourselves we don’t like
She does not love herself
That’s not your fault, Leilani
Nothing is your fault
Any more than
Nothing is her fault
We are products of a reality that tell little girls
You are only worth as much as the package you come into this world in
The same system that tells us we belong in the kitchen
The culture that allows billboards and magazines to show an unhealthy ideal standard of beauty and force-feed it to us till we’re old enough to project it
It’s why little girls are starving themselves or puking their guts out just trying to be what beauty is
Because beauty is power
Beauty means I’m human
Beauty means I like myself
When all of these narratives we’ve subconsciously devoured are just lies
We’ve been told
We’re people
And we want to be loved
But it’s so hard to unwrap ourselves from a web of competition for self-worth that’s been installed in us inorganically
Through movies
And all the men who enter our lives
Through a culture
That wasn’t built for us to be ourselves
I see it
And I wish everyone else could see it
Amy Schumer’s I feel pretty is a comedy
That’s so realistic
I walked out bawling
From the mirror
I thought I was looking into.


Leilani K. Padilla is a photographer, writer, artist, cinematographer, and an emerging scientist who goes by LEIITIS. She is currently on medical leave due to her autoimmune condition from her life as a Microbiology Major at Virginia Tech. LEIITIS is the winner of the 2017 Steger Poetry Contest held by Nikki Giovanni. She’s currently working on her novel “RSVP to My Funeral” as she sits at home reading, writing and creating with her dog Peq as she heals. To check out Leilani’s artwork and poetry, visit her art account.


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