Go Gently (part 3)

Kristen Yaney
3 min readNov 16, 2022

Hey, after school call me

Let’s shoot the shit

“Can you believe that thing that CJ did after homeroom?”

“My God, what a trip.”

“Can you believe that laugh we shared

With Stephany Novella

After gym class

In the hall

When we were late

And Mrs. Cromer was pissed?”

Come on girl, let’s

Slide down the stairs after the bell rings

Pass notes doodled with rainbows

And stars represent

How many letters in my crushes name

Count them — Two

Three, four, five, no there’s six

Six letters sprawl across my fist

Relaxes, hands become palms

Open once again

And even I become a melody

That seems much more mellow

Lean into death, sighs together,

“Yeah, gosh… I remember when.

Life seemed so much more simple then.”

Bursting into laughter

Even now, as I smile back at Death

He winks to me softly and I, spry

Start the giggle-fest, feel its fairy wings spread

Cross my chest, oh my god if that wasn’t such a lie!

Laying in the locker room after gym class

Hands cross my chest

Hiding my nipples as I slipped in my bra

Buckled in the back, now spin spin spin

Right arm, left arm

Learning my first magic trick

(shrug) Hey, every girl’s got her secrets

Victoria’s Secret was Love Spell

And I donned the smell, spritzed it, doused in it,

Hell danced in it, to hide my “B.O.” and blend in with the rest,

Hoping somehow the purple smell would help

Dodge the glances and comments and jests

That 13 year old girls might make at your chest

Stabbing us, knifing one another with our inflictions

When we thought to belong, we had to be cruel to one another

Nobody told me, us, them

To try and take the path of kindness

So instead we put others down in hopes it lifted us above the rest

Just high enough to be critical

So the other bullies had no fuel

And maybe they just wouldn’t notice us

If we could suppress

Our personalities and uniqueness.

We perceived these as flaws, tried so hard

To be good, thin, and small.

We didn’t know who we were

So instead we pretended to be the girls in magazines

Tearing out free samples of concealer that never matched our skin

We patted it on, then blend blend blend blend blend,

Stare sideways glance in the mirror

Imitating the rest.

Damn.

Now’s better.

(bend). It gets better.

Things always get better.

Anyways, Death when did you become such an old friend?

I guess you’ve been here all along

I honestly never knew how much Life meant

You were waiting here secretly

Patiently this whole time

Trying to show me

How sweet it is ❤

If it weren’t for you or your pains or your thorny

Rose, splintered into our sides

Like painful underwire bras or control top pantyhose —

I guess now they call it shapewear-

Death, if not for shapewear or modern corsets,

We wouldn’t know how lucky we are

To take that deep, free, first breath.

And can I just say here

That writing this, I realize Botox

These painful shots of Clostridium Botulinum

Toxins shot in our skin to prevent the look of

Laugh lines, or aging —

Like I didn’t earn every damn wrinkle

I’ve got on my skin —

I see that some of ya’ll are still living there,

Back in that locker room

Junior High School bathroom

In a world where we perpetuate the myth

that day after day, real women don’t grow older.

We can’t accept ourselves in beauty or in death

So we dye our gray hairs

Pluck out the rest, these pesky eyebrows, chin hairs,

Neck lines, saggy breasts.

We keep our composure, silence our pain

All without taking the next step

Towards compassion

For ourself.

“I am beautiful the way I am.”

Say it with me — “I am beautiful the way I am.”

You are, truly, beautiful… it doesn’t really get

Anymore beautiful than this. ❤

Joy will come to pick us up in the mourning

Until then, it’s Slumber Party Makeovers

Issued by Death

Yes, Joy comes in the morning

So just for tonight

Sleep easy, friends.

Pick up your baby blankets, your teddy bears,

Go gently, sweet soldiers. (softly) (sweetly)

And rest ❤

--

--

Kristen Yaney

Writer, Comedian, Poet, and Podcaster. Focused on women, worth, wayfinding, friendship, trust, & faith. Deeply funny, because your heart is both. (Seattle, WA)