Typewriter Keys Punched Into My Skin

Although the words are etched precisely between my shoulder blades, like typewriter keys punched into my skin, I often forget they exist. What I can’t forget is the violent vibrations from the nape of my neck to my tailbone or the insatiable itch that succeeded. My camera rests on my shoulder, I struggle to slide the lens into focus, but assume it’s good enough. My fingers trip over a garden of buttons before they snap a photo. I zoom in and analyze the tattoo up close, inspecting each letter and line. I seem to have forgotten how well these words resonate with me. It’s been over a year since I writhed under the needle, the words still relevant but not for the same reason. I once thought they reflected who I used to be, a reminder to tread lightly and live vulnerably. But a year passed and I hadn’t seen them as often as my confidence warranted. I look at them now, backwards in the mirror but explicit, they sing louder than the caged bird sings. They define— etched on my spine like a hardcover book, they keep every page of me together, from pro- to epilogue. The theme of every chapter written in between. I am bound to these words that will set me free, I am shackled to the art of a sentence that can change the perspective of everything. Harboring secrets and stories; not wanting to be the skeleton trying to escape the girl ripping at the seams, not wanting to return to treatment for the 7th time because I can’t quite grasp recovery. I’ve wanted to purge myself of the dirty chapters, rip their stitches from my chest cavity, blackout incriminating lines to save myself the embarrassment of struggling. But my story proliferates like Mentholatum crystals on my lungs, it flowers where my wisdom teeth were, it rips through my gums. The whispers that run along my spine, the words stabbing my back and the pages dangling from my scapula; I wear them like I wear my porcelain scars like tiny mouths on my arms baring my untold story. #tinytruth #tinytruths #creativenonfiction #cnf #nonfiction #classassignment #writing #quote #tattoo #writersofinstagram #writerscommunity

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