There’s ash on the ground and ash on the sheets, fumes in her lungs from a time she was so naive she couldn’t speak. Now she can’t breathe, her fragile body curled up between the sheets, thinking how could she have been so weak.
But I tell myself every day that I am not her, that it’s not real. Not every day is a good day, not every day I can hide it away.
But I won’t let that stop me. As long as my eyes are open, I’m running – running from a place that broke me, from an idea that shaped an innocent little girl and made her weak, I’m running from all of you who told me not to stand up and speak. And my body aches of the pains of needing something so far ahead it can only encourage me. And I’ll take another sip of this caffeinated drip and let it kill me because I won’t stop my body from moving. And I’ll push through the hunger of the everyday, I’ll push through it at 5am because I want it, I want to overcome it. And I’ll do whatever it takes to catch that break I’m working myself so hard for. And I’m just one mile away from everything when the thought of you creeps in. And when I’m alone I can hear the screams of silent cries of a young girl afraid to speak her mind. But don’t shiver when I open it and start to shout out the anger you’ve caused me. And I’ll build on it from other women who’ve empowered me. And I’ll let their wisdom conquer my silence and drive me. Boy you won’t recognise me in the mold that I’m in, because I’ve found the sunrise and my eyes are glistening ferociously at the scene. And I’ve still got that cut you’ve scarred me with so I’ll look at it with a wry smile and remember the day the blood dried. I’m like an animal hunting for meat and I see nothing but exactly what it is I want to eat, my teeth buried in the flesh as the blood drips from my lips as you stand in my way. And I’ll run straight through you, take you down if I have to, because the only way of losing is if the fear of you stops me from coming forward. But I’m doing 8 counts of my head touching my knees hanging from the ceiling and you’d never know how far I can push you off me.
don’t speak, don’t breathe
but I’m no longer listening.
Photography by Jeff Simone
Henna art by Nadine Thompson, who runs a charitable campaign called ToDoKind. All of her henna proceeds go to various charities and projects around the world. One of her current projects include raising funds for women who have been affected by gender violence in India. She is working with Sayfty, an awe-inspiring NGO who deals closely in crimes against women in India. To aid their initiative and help create awareness of these gruesome attacks against women, please do visit their website to read more about the incredible work they are doing and how you can help. For more information on the efforts of ToDoKind, follow her Facebook page and join her kindness campaign!
As always, thank you so much for reading!