a letter for when your content is stolen

my dear creator,

your content has been stolen, repurposed, republished on the internet without your consent. your likeness and your image is used in a piece that was not created by you. you were not asked if it was okay, you were not even a thought in the thief’s mind.

your voice is being used in a film that is against everything you stand for. your image is being used with badly blurred video that was stolen from you. you have the word censored written over your face, as if asking for simple respect is the same thing as censorship.

my dear creator, you are not a bully for asking for respect. you are not a bully for asking for the simple courtesy of an email back. you are not a bully for demanding that you be removed from a project that you did not sign up for. you are not a bully for setting boundaries and keeping them, that’s what they want you to think. that you ask for too much. that you take up too much space. that you should feel lucky that they stole from you.

however, you have more followers than they do. you have a community. you have an audience. you know how to fight. you know empathy and compassion and you know how to lead with your heart in a way that makes the gods proud. you know what you are worth, and you will not accept anything less.

you will not be a doormat. you will not be stepped on. you will continue to be loud and ruthless. you will continue to shout from the mountaintops about how your community can support you. you will not give up. you will continue to sharpen your swords and continue to fight.

this platform, these platforms, the internet, was not built for you. but it bends to your will. it bows to you. you know exactly what you want. so go get it.

your loving and loyal mermaid queen.

inject the grit into my veins: a love letter to new york city

the first time I fell in love in this city, I was seventeen.
fresh out of high school, the world ahead of me,
a head full of dreams,
a pocket full of promises.

the lights of time square seemed too bright,
but they perfectly matched my spirit.
too bright, too authentic,
but too mesmerizing to not look at.

this city isn’t for everyone,
it’s too loud, too chaotic,
too dirty, too cluttered.
but I thrive in chaos.

this city is too rough,
it feels like sandpaper wearing away at you,
pushing you to do better, be better, want better.

but when sandpaper is done,
you’re smooth and shiny and exposed.
and I love being exposed.

I love the vulnerability that the city has engrained in me,
hidden by a tough exterior,
a hard candy shell that only select people have been able to get through.

this city teaches you the importance of relationships,
of heartbreak, of crying on the phone at 2am,
of laughing in the middle of a dark sidewalk,
and almost twisting your ankle
because you were too mesmerized by a small pocket of stars.

the sun cascades over the hudson river,
reminding you for a moment that there is a duality.
the architect of the manmade bridges,
and the ripples of water that existed way before this city was built.

inject the grit into my veins,
it helps me do better, want better, be better.
it pushes me to scream for what I want,
challenge those who try to silence me,
take up space.

this city reminds me that I deserve to be here.
you deserve to be here.
we deserve to fucking be here.

frayed wire; a piece from an exposed, tired, post-therapy jude.

sometimes I feel like an exposed frayed wire.
a conduit of misunderstanding, a receptacle for frustration, and labelled as “too much” way too often.

sometimes i feel like people are tiptoeing around me, afraid that I’ll accidentally cause an electrical fire even if I didn’t cause my own damage in the first place. i feel like people are tiptoeing around me, avoiding that I’m not all together for them in the way that they desire me to be.

too worn down by expectations and the roles given to me by fate - the desire of a life that is easy, of being a wire that is whole, is looked down upon. I’m asking for too much.

i’m learning to live as a frayed wire - sending signals of communication, communicating telepathically, empathetically, and feeling so much. i’m learning to deal with the short circuits, the pieces of my wire that seem to fray further the more that i discover who i am. the pieces that are no longer useful, that no longer carry communication.

and maybe there is the option to fix my frayed wire, but would that make me boring? would it make me not be able to feel as deeply? love as deeply? i’d rather be frayed.