too much

sometimes, it’s hard to remember much

childhood a blur of overlapping pastels

untitled and unreliable—mine, but hard to read


but i do remember anxiety

anxiety like grass stains on a white dress

anxiety like a big city that doesn’t know my name

anxiety like sticky fingers that left marks in the shape of

too much, too much, too much


they became the words to define my life

too much, too much, too much

too much happening, in my head and out of it

too many words, too many feelings 

too much of me


i was an explosion of color,

“too much” in a too small bottle, 

and i couldn’t learn to be less,

i could only try to stretch and twist around myself

to fit a different space


i tried so hard to not be the girl 

who spilled tears onto the kitchen floor on late Sunday nights

who talked and laughed and cared too much

who found the world itself to be too much for her—suffocating and stealing

i tried so hard not to take up so much space with the wrong shape


it wasn’t hatred—just that i thought i could be better

i thought i could make sense 

of the jumble of contradictions

erratically tapping their fingers against my skull

but i couldn’t sort through it

and i didn’t know who i was


but i started to see that something was wrong—

the explosion of colors was screaming for help—

too much had other names:

anxiety, depression, intense mood swings 


and once i started to understand too much,

i started to see myself—

an explosion of color pushing through darkness after darkness

once i started to understand too much

i was no longer stretching and twisting to fill spaces i was never meant to fill


in my american sign language class, 

we learned to center around our strengths

i was good at certain things,

and i wasn’t so good at other things, but that was okay

because i knew what kind of signer i was—

and people loved me for it


and if could embrace the ways in which i understood this language, 

i could embrace the ways in which i understood myself 

i knew who i was

and i found people who loved me for it


so i started to love this girl,

the only one who had been with me through everything, 

the only one who will always be here, 


a lot, but not too much, enough,

just as i should be


and i can make it through anything, 

because i have myself, and i love her 


so this is who i am 

someone who has taken everything that made her too much,

and made something beautiful out of it,

words, signs, stories


this is who i am—

so much to say—

and this is how i say it