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  • Writer's pictureangietonucci

Self Portrait 2017

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

I don’t know how to answer the hair color question for my driver’s license because like the rest of me my hair isn’t just one thing it’s got blonde strands and red strands and brown strands and I even found a black strand once thicker and coarser and curlier than the others an alien monster hair I’ve also got one of those growing from my left eyebrow as if a loose pube from the bed latched on there but no matter how often I pluck it out it always returns if it disappeared I think I would be a little sad soon there might be gray strands too and I’m totally cool with that because one day I’ll rock my long silver mane I’ll wear it loose and free wild and free like old ladies should be and when people tell me I should cut it short and stop wearing Chuck Taylors and finally grow up already I will unapologetically point my middle fingers to the heavens as I dance away my faded wrinkled tattoos jiggling on my sagging arms and the nearest twenty-somethings will think they can’t wait to be that awesome but of course I have to survive to thirty first is there a support group for tragic queers who are in love with their straight BFFs like I can’t be the only one who proposed in the middle of Starbucks and spent an excruciating five seconds watching her face in hopeful anticipation until she laughed because she thought I was joking I can’t be the only one who after realizing it wasn’t going to go the way I’d daydreamed it quickly changed the subject and started munching a literal muffin instead I can’t be the only one who has nobody to talk to about those feelings because she’s the one I talk to about feelings so maybe I should start a club for us that wasn’t the first time I’d taken that risk not even the second or third time I’d emptied out my heart poured my words directly into someone’s mouth to devour and subsequently vomit out as sympathetic apologies and it probably won’t be the last time either because my love is volatile my attachments are all-consuming according to some doctor I am prone to addictions and impulsive behaviors well-intentioned mornings are something else by lunch that bag I packed last night with the cranberry juice and the celery stalks it can wait until tomorrow the vegan place around the corner serves huge portions of mackincheese and the best seriously the absolute best double chocolate chip cookies there are no secrets when you wear your failures on the outside if my vices didn’t weigh so much didn’t cost so much would I feel compelled to investigate the causes to delve inward to force myself to face my—I hate the cliché as much as you do but there’s just no other term for it—daddy issues (gag) speaking of childhood I never really did until I started writing poetry and it was like what the actual fuck where is this coming from how is it possible that I never once thought of the time that asshole laughed at me in my prom dress until I was in the middle of writing about the Venus of Willendorf thirteen years later and now as I put pen to paper there’s as much fear as there is excitement over what’s going to spill onto the page but it’s like picking at a scab or pulling at the edges of my cuticles it’s somehow worth the pain for the satisfaction for the relief for the release and anyway I probably needed a good cry and my god how boring would stories be if writers never suffered as children all the poetry would probably be about nature all the books would have disgustingly happy endings because even though we suffer pain as adults even though grown-ups experience heartbreak and loss those with pleasant childhoods those supported and encouraged during adolescence could never know what it’s like to be broken so early to have cracked foundations to be damaged at the core by the ones who should have protected us so I’m thankful I guess for the kindling that fuels my fire for the broken pieces those sharp colorful bits of glass that make up the mosaic of me for the scraps of dirty cloth in the patchwork comforter over my soul for the hard heavy stones in my castle walls because my greatest fear is normalcy I resist complacency can’t stand monotony cannot will not accept predictability I must have intensity anarchy catastrophe so that when the lady with the long silver hair looks back on her life she will know she survived something conquered something built something from nothing used everything—the wounds and the comforts the triumphs and the casualties the dumbass mistakes and the brilliant moments of clarity—to create her elaborate life’s tapestry and she won’t regret a single tattered thread

Copyright ©2017 by Angie Tonucci. All rights reserved.

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