I'm Still Here: IJ Arora

I'm Still Here: IJ Arora

I’m Still Here
by IJ Arora


this is a moment
I have been through many
fighting, clawing, dirt under my nails
looking for a semblance of hope

this pain has broken me down
I have emerged broken and bloody
raw and new
yet somehow, I’m still here

I hear the melodies in my head
and make them into compositions
using this pain and pouring it out
little pieces of my heart wrapped up in song form
pretty and angry and melancholy songs
fit for human consumption
and I like that—
taking something absolutely horrible like trauma
the pain, the rage, the unspeakable horrors
banging my fingers against cool ivories
songs with no words
the music speaks for itself

this poem transforms all that rawness
that gasping for breath raggedness
and hits me right in the gut
this year is a new start for me
and this past year has been one for reflections
I am striving to be authentic to myself
not who other people want me to be
I am committed to cutting toxicity out of my life

no longer a scared child hiding in the corner
crying my eyes out from fear
jumping at every loud noise, running away
no more crushing my spirit, swallowing my words
I refuse to play by their rules

this has been a year of changes
some good, some really hard
still in the grieving process
mourning over everything I lost and how I’d never get it back
the relationships with certain family members
how those never happened the way I wanted and will never happen
unless we address the elephant in the room
that makes me ache inside
places that are filled with sorrow and unimaginable pain
old pain, built from years and years of ongoing shit

somehow, I have to make do with this
and realize that
yes, it sucked, but the rest of my life doesn’t have to be that way
I can make the rest of my life what I want it to be

I am tossing everything I learned in the trash
setting it on fire and watching it burn into oblivion
and from those ashes, I’ll make a new life
I have gained skills as a survivor
I would never have learned elsewhere
resilience, bravery, strength, vulnerability
crying, grieving, raging, screaming
dancing alone in my room
writing, reading, music
these are all things that have kept me thriving and surviving

I say, no more hiding parts of myself for other people’s comfort
I am a queer, non-binary, mixed race, neurodivergent, abuse survivor and damn proud of it
all these intersecting identities make me who I am
if anyone doesn’t like it, too bad
accept me in all my multiplicities
because I accept myself as I am
with all my strengths and flaws and messy bits that nobody sees
I am like a phoenix, born in fire and ashes
rising above all the violence and hatred of this cruel world
and succeeding
and thriving
and living

love your body (as is): art journaling video

love your body (as is): art journaling video

Unapologetic: Nolwenn Petitbois

Unapologetic: Nolwenn Petitbois