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Fragile Love

Read the latest from The Source on the theme of identities.
Content warning: self-harm, homophobia.

She was 15 years old,
With empty eyes of sorrow and a hollow heart,
When those once fleeting feelings flooded the fortress
She’d built in her mind, and she couldn’t fight anymore,
And she realised that those who should adore
Her, no matter what, would abhor
Her, no matter what
She’d do to convince them,
That she was still herself, still the girl
They thought could do no wrong-
Except now her very existence was wrong
To them.

She looked at herself in the mirror
And what did she see, what did she see?
A monster cos that’s what they said people
Like her were- depraved, dirty,
And yet how could either of them know how she was hurting?

She never chose to feel like this,
Why would she choose to want to
Gouge out her guilty eyes
Every time she saw a beautiful girl?
Why would she choose to want to
Slash her skin and bleed out?
Every time she heard their brutal, biting words
Against those like her and

Why would she choose to want to
Suffocate slowly hiding her true self?
And whispering the truth into the invisible, silent safety
Of the dark in her room at night.
Why would she choose to want to
Disappear into that darkness herself?

Cos that would’ve been easier than
Knowing that their supposed love was as fragile
As a glass vase that she could topple over,
And she’d watch their eyes fill with fury
And their hearts harden with hate
And their disgust and contempt contort
Their faces, and then
She’d no longer be the girl that came from them
But a diseased, debauched devil woman
That they’d discard without a moment’s regret.

But she couldn’t help who she was,
She couldn’t hide the shimmering colours
Radiating from her that they tried to
Paint over in black without them even knowing.
And she realised that a love as weak as theirs
Was no love at all,
And it was them who were the monsters
If they thought one unchangeable aspect of her
Was enough to throw her away with loathing.

And why should she want to
Slash her skin when she finally felt safe in it?
Why should she want to
Disappear into darkness when she finally found
Some trickling light leading her to acceptance?

She’d never done anything wrong
By feeling the way she did,
She was just existing
And so she stopped resisting.


AA writes about growing up in a strict, homophobic household whilst hiding her bisexuality, out of fear for repercussions.

With her repeated rhetorical questions, she begs the audience to delve into her inner dialogue in an attempt to understand her parent’s reasoning. If they believed that queerness was a choice, why was she unable to change? Why were her attempts painful rather than healing?

The title of the poem, ‘fragile love’, can refer to her love for women (which must be hidden and sheltered), her love for herself (which is tentative) and her parent’s love (which is conditional, and prone to break). However, the fragility of AA’s love has evolved at the end of the poem.

At the end of the poem, we reach the change in mindset of the protagonist- who accepts herself and realises there is nothing wrong with her. This is a statement, not a question: she no longer seeks for the acceptance or reassurance of others. She knows there is nothing wrong with her: it is fact, and it as factual as her ‘existence’. The period at the end of the poem is solid, strong, and clear: just as the question marks fade out, so does the fragility in her self-acceptance.

This poem is written under the pseudonym AA.

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