Today I am held together by safety pins.


There’s the one carefully threaded through the side seam of my t-shirt where the overlocker cut too closely and the stitches are missing. I meant to sew it up but tossed the shirt in the wash and then wore it again having forgotten about the hole. The safety pin is fairly well hidden, and I’ve got a cardi on top too, so I’m sure no one will notice.


Then there’s the safety pin that I stuck through my heart last night to help me hold it together while the ghosts of loss tore through me, burning a trail of regret and sorrow. We had company so I wore my fake smile and played the perfect hostess. I plucked at the edges of the hole in my heart and hastily stabbed the pin in to hold them together, still ragged and bleeding, for just a little while longer. Just until I could find some time to be alone and to cradle my grief, holding it close and soothing the tears with the rocking of my body. I’ve not found that time yet and I can feel the pin beginning to strain as my grief swells my heart and makes it leak bloody tears. Soon, soon, I promise myself. But when? When will the hole be mended?


There is one more safety pin needed to get me through the day. This one is pierced through my nose. I wear it punk-style: Fuck conformity! Fuck the patriarchy! Fuck being the good girl, the professional woman, the pretty lady! I wear it in the office. I wear it when I see my family. I wear it in the supermarket as I buy toilet cleaner and tissues. However, just like all the other pins I wear, this one is invisible to the world. But I know it is there. I know who I am.


I am a woman holding it together with safety pins.