Desecration and destruction follow in my wake, wherever I go, whatever I do.
There are women who raze cities to the ground with carefully calculated whispers, who dole out bloody karma with smoky eyes and crimson lips.
It is a deliberate kind of desecration, fierce fists pounding against marble, fed up women wearing striking, sharp makeup.
Calculated destruction is beautiful. It writes an elegy, dances a waltz, speaks a verse of Shakespeare under a beautiful girl’s ivy-covered balcony.
My destruction is not pretty. I do not raze cities to the ground with only words. I do not fight in any way that matters. Instead, I fumble in the darkness for the light, knocking over delicate, painted vases and shattering dainty bottles of perfume.
I pull songs, symphonies, into my heart and guard them jealously, like a dragon its hoard. So little understands me. I must take care of that which does.
I shine music, books, art like trinkets and place them high on shelves, safe from the demolition the world can’t seem to stop bringing.
But this careful home I have created is more like a museum.
People flock to the doors and I prostrate myself before them, down on my knees in the bright sun. Love me, I beg. I’m worth it.
The doors swing open and the shelves are revealed, and I wander from trinket to trinket, trying to pique someone’s interest.
But they scoff at my songs, turn their back on my art, laugh at my books.
At night, when the doors are closed, people still come, and sometimes, I entertain them. I take out a song from the back, all the way in the corner of my heart, and open my mouth.
The first words come out bumpy like the tread of a tire. I find myself choking, throat dry like the site of a paper cut, stinging in the fresh air.
The applause is horrified, but I am not daring. I did not commit this desecration on purpose.
These lyrics, this music, is my religion, and I have shattered it like a window. The fragments lay at my feet, and I cannot tell them from the shards of my aching heart.
I have taken my soul and, like some amateur party trick, turned it into a bouquet of superstore roses. Cheap and dying, falling apart petal by petal.
Thorns cut into me, words sharper than the blade of a sword draw blood as I fall to my knees behind closed doors.
My name, my things, my museum heart are all ruined, and it is my fault for ever thinking I could hold something beautiful and not demolish it, could ever keep myself from crushing a beautiful blue terracotta bird in my clumsy, childish hands.
What can I do, when everyone turns their back on me eventually?
The answer is clear. If I cannot be loved wholly for who I am, if I cannot be lovely and pretty and perfect, then I will be funny. I will be a joke.
Everyone loves a funny girl. And so I will throw on vibrant colors, put on bright makeup, and laugh at everything I am and everything I have been until people start laughing along.
And if my jokes are too sharp around the edges, if my museum heart crumbles every time my silent cries for help are ignored, then no one will be the wiser.
In fact, how dare they notice? How dare they cut me and shoot me down and then act as if they have any right to care?
The altar of my heart is ruined. It is cracked in the middle, broken, I fear, beyond repair. I am losing my religion and I wish, more than anything, for a fresh start.
Others offer me entry into their museums and I wander aimlessly, floating from shelf to shelf like a ghost.
I wish I had a fresh start so I could lock away the secrets my heart had to offer, so I could put on a sharp face carved into diamond and hold my true self close, away from the awful powers of the world, of its people.
I offer no comments on the hearts of other people. I know how much they have stung my own.
I am considerate, and good, and kind, and yet no one sees fit to offer me the same.
Everyone sees it fit to ruin the things that I love, to crack them open with unforgiving hammers and squeeze them tight in hands meant to hurt. All I can do is watch in silent horror.
This desecration isn’t my own. It was brought by my hands, this plague, but it was carried on by visitors, shadows with wicked smiles that pushed past the doors into my museum and dragged their dirty fingers across the cracks in my heart.
I am surrounded by ruin, caused by my own hands, by the cruel hands of those around me, by the painful embrace of the earth. I am on my knees, pleading, and the world is cold and silent.
By now, I am well acquainted with pain, with the sting that accompanies anything I love. I know that no one will truly respect my fragile museum heart.
Now, all I want is to build a different public persona.
To the world, I want to be the kind of girl who razes cities to the ground, who never lets disrespect slide, who does what she wants and waits for no one’s opinion.
But to me, I will be the woman I always have been, soft and kind, emotional and easy to hurt. I will be comfortable and quiet and let no one who has unforgivably hurt me into my life.
This time, I want to make the rules.
There will come a day, I think, when I sit quiet in evening warmth. I will play my music and sing my songs, read and write all the things I have never been able to put into words.
I will look out into my life and realize, finally, I have put gates up around my museum heart. I have put on infallible armor to protect all the softness that lies within me.
I will look out of my unshattered window and see a pink, purple, blue sunset, and a part of me long forgotten will finally be at rest.
It is then, I think, that I will no longer be a spectacle. That no one will come into my museum heart and knock things carelessly to the floor again.
It is then that I will fumble around in the darkness and make mistakes, but never the kind of mistakes that result in cracks running down holy marble again.
It is then that I will finally be protected and be unashamed of my failures and mistakes. It is then that I will never, ever again care about the opinion of someone whose laughs ring deafeningly high, who wish to pierce through me with the sound.
It is then, I think, that the sun will shine on a new day. It is then that the temples will be rebuilt, then that prayers are said in hushed, dark rooms over red candles dripping wax.
It is then that I will kneel before my books, my music, my art and theatre and ballet, fold my hands in prayer, and let the first words come to my lips like an old story, gone, but never forgotten.