sometimes I wonder if I am being a good girl.
if you can see any of the hairs above my mouth
or on my chin,
if the striking velvet lipstick I wear hides the trembling of my lips,
am I being a good girl?
is my caramel foundation hiding the flaws
in my harsh jaw, of my rough skin,
if I put just enough glitter on my nails,
will it distract you from just how wide my fingers are,
how big my hand is?
and I don’t have wide hips, or breasts,
or skin so soft that you can get lost in, but
I want so badly to be a good girl.
but sometimes I am just plain bad at being delicate:
(even though that is what I want to be.)
I ripped one of my favorite shirts trying to take it off,
and I cried, knowing that it was because my shoulders were too broad-
I no longer feel like such a stranger in my own skin,
but it is taking so much time for it all
to be a home I want to live in;
I would break me open
and crawl out
if it would give the cracks in me
for the light to come in.
To Those Who Stare Every Time I Cross The Street
No, I will not apologize for walking
the way I do, all gimpy, all curled foot
all atrophied muscle
all “trying too hard to walk the way everyone else does too,”
See, when I was born,
I was supposed to be vegetative, except I wasn’t really
supposed to grow, but when I did
I guess my roots just grew a little funny.
It is funny, isn’t it, that you
“really couldn’t tell until I stood up”,
and I think that’s what my mother has spent nearly 8,395 days
trying to fix,
always wanting me to be more
grounded; something tells me my roots didn’t grow the way
she wanted them to.
Tell me, are you curious about the way I grew?
because you don’t need to take a horticulture class to know
that all plants must grow towards the sunlight, somehow,
and I’d like to think that’s where my leaves went –
that’s how I found my sunlight.
I think we are so busy looking at things that are whole trying
to find the cracks, trying to find all the ways that they are broken.
I think that’s how we break them.
When I see me I see
gimpy, curled foot, atrophied muscle beauty.
I am not broken.
Not everyone needs cracks for their lights to shine through.
Ashley Cadrian is a 23 year old writer, musician, and spoken word artist who identifies as a woman of transgender experience. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly after birth, and also battles chronic depression and anxiety. Her poetry explores and connects the dots across a variety of issues, such as mental illness, disabilities, feminism, gender, LGBT rights, and self-love.