Zebras Got Talent Winners – As Voted By You!
1st Place – Cori Obeidat – Music
2nd Place – Deck Harper – Music
Joint 3rd Place – Teena Amador – Music
Joint 3rd Place – Leah Harris – Drawing
Michelle Myers – Music
Kate Stanforth – Dance
Valerie Cober – Video Performance
Maria Fernanda Marin – Drawing
Dulce Haviland – Painting
Nancy Russo – Painting
Maki Sandoval – Photography
Amy-Lynn Denham – Painting
Anne Latto – Photography
Larissa Martins Costa – Painting
Teresa Ettel – Design
Delaney O’Shea – Music
Skye Robertson – Creative Writing
An open letter to my fatigue and weakness,
For years I was able to combat you and keep you placated with band aids; energy drinks, medication, exercise, avoidance.
But now, now you’ve developed a tolerance and a way to use these against me. You’ve attempted to take everything from me. My strength, my energy, my passions, my career, my independence, lovers who needed and wanted more than what you’re allowing me to give.
It feels as if, like a thief in the night you intruded my body, violating me and taking it all.
You took my strength, where now there are only weak and trembling knees, frail twig- like arms, reaching, grabbing for anything to hold onto.
Just to stay upright, if I can just stay upright, I can keep going.
The second I give in to you and let you take me down to the floor you will keep me there, attacking every piece of me until nothing is left.
My strength is in staying upright.
If I can just disallow you from keeping me on the floor I can keep going.
But like the ticking clock on the wall, I can expect that with the weakness in my knees taking me down, your accomplice, fatigue is there, in my shadow on the floor just waiting for me to land.
Every time you take me down, fatigue is there not to whisper but to scream exhaustion relentlessly into both my ears, into my face like a toxic lover, “YOU CAN’T”, “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH”, “YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH”, “JUST LET IT BE OVER”.
If there are days where I don’t see you, I try not to enjoy it too much in the off chance that you’re there lurking in the shadows just waiting.
Waiting until I’ve forgotten about you and I’m feeling like me for one single moment.
You are both so quick to remind me that you are there, just waiting. For what I’m not sure. For the moment that I’m finally minutely happy? The moment that I finally can answer the question “how are you?” with an honest, “okay”? The moment that I can finally provide as a partner and a friend? What else are you planning to take from me? Will I ever get another peaceful moment not worrying about when you will show up and take my days, weeks, months, and life from me?
I want to take control. I want to be the person that says, “how dare you take this from me, you can’t take these things any longer!”. But you’ve also stifled my power and my voice. Today, you haven’t won, and neither have I.
I can’t scream back at you in anger through salty bitter tears of loss and grief of everything you’ve robbed me of.
The truth is that in part, I allowed it. I haven’t been fighting. I let you win. You moved into my thoughts and I just stopped fighting.
I can’t say that I have the strength to fight or scream back at you, but I can say that if you’re going to live here, there WILL be rules.
You don’t get to take me to the floor and keep me there.
You don’t get to infest my thoughts and rob me of my hope, will and motivation.
This is my declaration of control.
I can do more to remain upright.
You will still be here and I don’t think there’s much I can do about that but I can find ways of accepting you as a roommate in this broken body and learn to work with you instead of against and in spite of you.
I can and I will find ways of remaining upright.