They hug me with such pity in their eyes and they say, "don't give up! You are so brave!" But their eyes twitch as they say this and I know that they are lying. They think that I can't hear them as they turn around and whisper to themselves; that girl is dead.

The phone rings and I ignore it because I am tired of explaining, "I am fine," to people that send me heart emojis and then start complaining about their ex. As if they were just asking about my soul because it was expected of them. I tune them out as they continue ranting about their insignificant daily struggle. All while my lifeless eyes dart back and forth. And I full on know that in their head they aren't rooting for me but actually enjoying the darkness that took over my life.

And so I move on. Cut ties. Burn lies.

But it's always funny how people want to be your friend when you come out of the flames but couldn't offer water when you were in the fire.

And so that's how I got here.

Now the people that commented on the lack of life inside of me pretend to be excited when they see me with fire in my eyes. "I knew you would get through it." They say to me with clenched teeth. I can see the steam and confusion radiating from them as they try to figure out how I am still alive.

Now people look at me and ask, "how did you move on from such pain?!"

Because I wanted to live.

That's why.

Because my grandparents didn't leave a country for freedom so that years later I could play victim on linoleum tile. Because when I looked up at the night sky I could still see the stars. And when I woke up in the morning the sun was back right where it said it would be. Because all around me the world told me to be ashamed of the tissue between my legs. That I should hold my dead down. Living in darkness is normal. Burning in flames is just life. I was not given the name of a Greek goddess so that I could wash up dead on the beach.

And I am alive. I am still breathing. The world is still turning. The tides, the sun, and the moon are all there. And me? I'm not going anywhere.

This is not where I offer up my testimony on how life gets better and one day you will smile. This is not where I preach to the choir. This is not where I tilt my head back with a laugh and say the pain was all worth it.

This is where I say; I am the warrior queen raging like fire. I am the girl that rolls her windows down so she can sing classic rock on the country roads. I am the girl that's seen fire, darkness, and Hell.

Eyes of a hawk.

Eyes of a survivor.

Eyes that will haunt you.

A queen until death.