I Wrote A Book

Sarah Rose

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About two years ago, I was engaged to a man I knew I couldn't marry. Life is funny in hindsight but cruel in moments, and the day I told him, definitively and forever, that I could not marry him, was an especially cruel day. I loved him greatly, but sometimes the kindest way to love someone is from a distance. I could not be in the path of his pain or fury any longer, so he packed his things and moved out of state.

Another funny but cruel plot twist is that we had moved from Chicago to California together. My friends and family were primarily in the Midwest and I found myself alone in a very confusing place. I was culturally shocked, naive beyond belief, and entirely uncertain about what I was doing. The ensuing two years were full of joys and pains. Fear and failure. Triumphs and healing from traumas. I found myself writing more. Sometimes ferociously, sometimes angrily, sometimes in tears. Writing things down has a way of giving them truth. I wrote about things I was scared to say out loud, or ashamed to admit. I wrote about abuse, the self-hatred at the bottom of my eating disorder, the incomprehensible double standard women are confronted with every damn day, and the ways my childhood informed my later self.

Last fall, my friend Alex and I ate some mushrooms and ran around a mountain together. My brain felt calm and loopy, and when I sat in my bedroom that night, still riding a small mushroom high, I wrote the title poem, "I Like It Cuz It's Pink," which is essentially a playful piece about a boy who broke my heart (but in an expected sort of way). I told another friend, Kiki, about the mushrooms and the poem and she said, "That sounds bigger than a poem. Maybe a book." And the idea for this book was born. She also created the wonderful images that grace the pages of the final manuscript (thank you, Kiki).

I am a direct sort of person, and the poems in this book are direct as well. Ernest Hemingway said, "Write hard and clear about what hurts." I penned that on a sticky note and stuck it to my laptop to remind me that people don't like things they can't understand. "Write hard and clear about what hurts." Humans inherently hurt. We find pain perversely enjoyable it seems, or maybe life is simply inevitably painful. In writing a book about different types of love, I found myself vacillating between the really amazing parts of love and the really bad parts. We can't have one without the other though, and the good parts are always, always worth it.

I recently semi-dated someone new, and when we were in the midst of breaking it off, he told me I should "just love myself." In a world of mansplaining, this advice is probably the worst. I have been consciously working toward self-love for the past two years, and I've come incredibly far. But just because I love myself doesn't mean I don't need or crave love from others. Often, when we give advice to others we are really giving it to ourselves. Most of these poems are a reflection of that sentiment.

I wrote some poems for specific people, and I named them in this book. I have nothing to hide, and neither should they. Their names mean almost nothing to anyone but me, and it felt mildly empowering to name them. To nakedly write a love poem to someone, to write freely of neglect or abuse. To write poems to and about my family, with more love than I know how to convey. And even to write a poem to Kiki, who is wise beyond compare and strong beyond comprehension.

In describing my book, I call it a "feminist manifesto." What I really mean, but what may be too lengthy to convey in a pithy snapshot, is that women are taught not to love ourselves in so many ways. We are made fun of for having ambition, taught to dislike how we look and change it with makeup or clothes or surgery. We are taught to be quiet and small. For a long time, we didn't see women in seats of power so assumed those seats didn't belong to us. That's starting to change, and I think it's beautiful. Women have so much to offer this world. We are cunning, caring, and strong in every way, once we learn to embrace that strength.

I wrote this book in part for the current version of myself, but also for a past version of me, who was shy and scared and meek. Who didn't know how outrageously beautiful and smart and funny she is. I wrote this book too, for the girls and women out there who might read it and feel, in some small way, that they are like me or a past version of me. My greatest hope is that someone might read it and realize how important and beautiful they are. How wonderful and vibrant life can be. How empowering it is to hold your own future in your hands, firmly but lovingly.

I'm so fucking proud of myself.

I hope you enjoy my book.

Back-of-the-cover-description:

"I Like It Cuz It's Pink" explores romantic, self, and familial love in evocative and inspiring language. It is a feminist manifesto, toppling the notion that women should be anything but ferociously themselves. It wanders through the darkness of not-enoughness in romantic relationships. Dives headfirst into the warm, sultry waters of self-love. Sinks sharp teeth into poverty and inter-generational not-knowing. It is a work of art, a labor of love, and a tribute to every woman who has ever felt like she is less. You are endlessly, irrefutably beautiful, flaws and all. You simply must believe it.

Title Poem: I like it cuz it’s pink

cotton candy bubblegum roses and rosé

flamingos grapefruit lollipops

half-washed blood stains

on a pale pink thong

my lips his lips her lips

kisses

pink panther Pink Floyd pretty in pink

Valentine’s Day heart-shaped declarations of

luv u 4ever babe bmine

I like it cuz it’s pink he said between my legs

like a good boy

kissing it licking it flicking it

none of it felt great but I also didn’t hate it

liked the way his mouth tasted after we finished

pink eyes pink lies the pink t-shirt I was wearing

when he promised me

I will love you forever

the way his mouth quivered

the way my spine shivered

the way I learned words

don’t mean a damn thing

there’s a rare pink river dolphin in South America

endangered by humans dumping shit in our water

opening our mouths and closing our eyes

surprised when we see something gorgeous

surprised that anything we do

could lead to our demise

I like it cuz it’s pink

I whispered in his ear

the Christmas he bought me a beryl stone necklace

shaped like an S for my name

he thought I’d adore some narcissistic jewelry

and I do, or I did before I threw it in the river

after he left, stomped on me

like a pink starburst wrapper

stuck to the sole of a shoe

spit chewed and swallowed

like a stork swallows fish

whole and squirming all the way down

he promised if I jumped high enough

and dove into him

I’d find a rare pink river dolphin

swimming in his chest

I like it cuz it’s red

he whispered the night

he carved out my heart and bit it

his lips turning pinkish like they always did

when I kissed him with lipstick

pink matter pink salt pink lemonade

pretty in pink Valentine’s Day heart-shaped

declarations of luv u 4ever babe bmine

xoxo

Sarah Rose

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Blogger | Poet | Freelancer | Ultra Runner Blog: The Prosiest IG: @mcmountain Email: sarahrose.writer@gmail.com

Dana Point, CA
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