36 Flavours of Self Loathing

Eds. Note: Key is taking July off to get married, mA! We pray for deep blessings, contentment & joy in her union, and are re-posting her very first column with us from April 2014.

Key Ballah

Key Ballah

36 Flavours of Self Loathing

1. In 2nd grade a boy called me fat, there hasn’t been a day since then, when I loved my body
2. At 18 I found myself locked in a restaurant freezer with a boss who was trying to use his
hands to convince me that sex with him was part of the job.
3. There were nights after you left, when I filled my bed with everything that you touched,
hoping to fill it with something familiar.
4. The moon warned me not to come see you that night, it hung low trying to touch me. When I
left you, it asked me how could I hate myself so much.
5. When you didn’t call I had to delete every memory of you I had, but you still
lingered in the cracks of my walls.
6. Someone once told me that my body was a war zone. The day that I finally
understood what that meant, I was bleeding from my forearms trying to recreate the crucifixion.
7. West Indian women are known for having children but being too strong to have men.
I’ve never understood the fear some people have of women who expect as opposed to women who hope.

8. That night I wanted to drink until my nose bled, but you were best at shaming my sadness.
9. I hated my legs for never being fast enough to escape the cannibalistic hands of clawing men.
10. I am wrinkled from all of the times I’ve folded myself to fit inside someone else.
11. She loved me so deeply, but I could never love her back. I tried though, I promise I did.
12. I haven’t cried in almost two years, and every time I see you, I pray for rain to
end this drought, alas, I am still desolate.
13. My dreams sometimes make me physically ill.
14. I am a glass house and you are David.
15. That night I got so high, I hallucinated hell, I promised God that was my last time.
The next day I got so high I thought my room was sprouting daisies. Shaitan is often cunning.
16.I drank so much that night I thought wine was pouring out of my eyes.
17. I’ve searched for God, but he is elusive and I’ve been destroyed by my own hands.
18. I wanted you, but you didn’t want me.
19. I still want you.
20. I don’t know my history, and now I don’t know myself.
21. I wrestled you out of that quarter, and then you wrestled me out of my virginity.
22. I like bad things, things, things that are meant to harm me. I always wonder how much I
hate myself. And why has my hobby become killing myself slowly.
23. The late night bus driver asked me why I was so sad, I asked him what he meant, he
said, “When you got on my bus, you brought sadness with you”
24. You asked me who hurt me so badly, and I was too proud to say it was you.
25. I clamoured drunkenly into the back of the cab, the driver was playing Surah Al Mulk,
flooded in shame I whispered astaghfirullah to myself under my breath. The driver turned to me
and said, “Allah is forgiving, and we are all weak sometimes”
26. I had a panic attack when I saw you in the mall holding her small, perfect hand.
27. There are doors that I’ve closed forever, if they were ever opened, I am almost certain I
would die.
28. The worst nights are the nights when I call you. Those nights I am so close to dying I can
taste it.
29. I have frequently looked up synonyms for broken.
30. I am scared of my own darkness sometimes.
31. How will I teach my daughter to be nothing like her mother?
32. When the winter comes, I am almost always as bare as a forest.
33. I have to learn to forgive myself.
34. I am so many people, all at once, fighting to survive. This is why I am a perpetual civil war.
35. Blood doesn’t scare me, but disappointing my father does and my God, have I been known to
36. The hundreds of missing indigenous women in my country, make me feel like I’ve lost
hundreds of mothers.

– These are my 36 flavors, now I can heal.

Read more from Key, here!

Key Ballah is a Toronto-based writer and Hip Hop enthusiast. She is the author of the poetry collection, ‘Preparing My Daughter For Rain‘, she melts faith, love and her experiences of being a woman of colour navigating the western world in her writing. She believes in empowering the brown girl to reclaim her selves and her body, by connecting and healing collectively, over borders, oceans and time zones, through story telling and poetry. She is currently working on a new project due out this fall.

contact her via email: keyballah@gmail.com
follow her on twitter & Instagram : @keyballah
read more of her works: www.keywrites.com


One Comment on “36 Flavours of Self Loathing”

  1. evershirin says:

    This is really beautiful, I am touched by it