He told me to stop being an atheist.
He acted as if my tortured soul
couldn’t be salvaged unless I repented
and believed wholly in something larger.
He looked at me with sad eyes
and begged me to believe,
with my broken hands in his.
I remember turning away.
It’s not that I was worthless,
I just found it hard to bring myself
to give credit to something else out there.
My successes were mine to claim,
to flaunt and love.
My failures were mine to accept,
to acknowledge and internalize.
I refused to credit something else
with my own growth and progress.
I broke open my ribs,
split them clean in half at the sternum
and scooped out every last piece of me
with open hands.
He only realized what I truly meant
when I showed him
my bare beating heart.
I remember him turning away.
I didn’t know how to love myself,
but I knew I was the only
governing body that could control
my life and its outcomes.
He shook his head in disappointment
and walked the other way.
I love myself as a god.
Nothing can change that.