by Olivia Jade Khoury
There was crisp air outside, and I was wearing denim shorts. Eyes were painted on the walls and underneath the moon. I was forced to keep my head up high so I didn’t drown in the mirrors waiting to tell me about my scars. I kept walking. a soul-bird flew in and sat on a bench near the entrance. a familiar stranger. It was the first time I remembered how “God” tasted- sort of like that redemption of a lime after a shot of whiskey. The soul-bird drew closer; the skies turned lavender when he approached me. We spoke in a language that released from our mouths like kaleidoscopes, paints of ancient colors, and blood. We disappeared to talk. I was drunk with giggles and stars in my eyes. His lips reminded me that I carried the sun between my thighs. We walked. I read him a poem of mine. The words seemed to dance across my tongue until they floated above my head, making a crown of materialization. Right before soul-bird, I began to unravel and reform into projections I cast of myself only in my deepest dreams. Have you ever felt death and rebirth in your skin, within your bones, all at once? Old flowers i planted with seeds of resentment died underneath his breath. He would make love to me, and new buds would sprout from my breasts in the morning. We spent hours.Days.Nights. together.
I asked soul-bird why he always prayed before he eats. He told me, he always prayed for the same three things: Love, wisdom, and forgiveness. Love, so that I can heal myself and be kind to others. Wisdom, so i understand those and that around me and have the patience if I don’t. And forgiveness, so I can forgive myself and forgive others when they hurt me.
Not shortly after, I began to pray in solitude. I began to release the wilted petals under my tongue into the ethers and I’d wake up with stardust formed on my lips. I began to see myself in mirrors and recognize each freckle. Visions of the past became before me and I formed eyes of water; naked and clear. The well at the bottom of my soul filled up again. My hair grew flower buds. My skin began to taste like milk and honey. Eyes painted on the walls and the sky no longer held mirrors I could not face. chains of my past broke with each time-melting kiss, because I forgave father time. I forgave myself. I forgave skies of blood when I wanted lavender. The more I forgave, the more I could thank my past for my present knowledge. I became one in this body. All the women in me have let go of baggage on their journey. Soul-bird watches from distances. But they say angels are here to guide, not do the work for you.
Olivia Jade Khoury is a multi-faceted writer and creative engineer, exploring the intersections between self-development, wellness and art. She is devoted to pushing the agenda of self-love and creating a business for women. In her free time, she waters the flowers in her mind.
on intention: "The intention behind my work is: freedom through vulnerability. My vulnerability is my honesty and it’s how I communicate with others. I always want to express my highs, my pains, and my euphoria, in the most honest tongue possible so that others can find their own truths."
on commodification: "Mainstream media skins us alive and wears it as fashion, puts it in their renovated homes and calls it ‘new age’. It infuriates me a lot of the time, to see how we are appropriated in mainstream media. But, I am beginning to use what angers me as fuel to continue to create and praise those of us who are revolutionizing by being true to the art inside of us. We must continue to push past the inevitable and continue to create, to love, and to be."
on marginalized voices: "Marginalized voices need to be amplified because we are only given enough space to hear our own echoes. It is important to put others like us in the forefront and be united. If you can’t find your own voice, create a platform for others to use theirs."
a word: "To creatives, I say, feel every emotion that burns you and leaves you cold. Taste every tear. Drink in every sun, dance under every moon. Everything that surrounds us is a reflection of what we hold inside. It is our responsibility to project for others to see, feel, taste, hear. It is how we all connect at the root and promote unity. I wish someone had told me that it’s okay to feel everything."
on neglected topics in marginalized communities: "Mental health needs to be addressed and discussed; not only does it need to be addressed, it needs to be taught, so that we can understand what it is and how to treat it. In order to do this, our community needs to be educated about our past and where we come from, so that we can begin the root work. We need to teach our marginalized children about their beauty and their powers, but also about the reality of limitations that await them. In the same breath, we must instill the notion that anything is possible, so we do not allow the bud of fear to bloom, but water them with hope. Self-love needs to be taught, but in the scope of selflessness and not narcissism. Love yourself so it teaches others how to do the same. Because love is a mirror – you are a reflection of me, and I of you."
on re-framing the stereotypical identity: "We need to stop adopting terms that marginalize us to begin with. We need to stop labeling ourselves. That is a very act of marginalization. We are not minorities. We are not forsaken. In order to restore power in our communities we need to create platforms for others to speak: create clubs, build a newspaper, and hold events. This way, we can learn about each other and create opportunities to learn about other cultures different than our own, to activate empathy. The way we speak to one another needs to be re-thought and addressed: are we uplifting one another or using the tongue of the oppressor? Fostering diversity in our communities breaks the cycle of generational marginalization and develops representation for the younger people in our community."
on vulnerability: "Vulnerability will become comfortable when we are fully comfortable with ourselves. I believe that ‘vulnerability’ has a negative connotation and many of the people who are against it are because they associate weakness with vulnerability. The first step is to address the word and mold it to work for you. My vulnerability is simply me being me, unapologetically, at all times. For others it can mean something else, but I think the essence of vulnerability will be embraced when we all begin to embrace our power to be who we are meant to be. Self-healing, self-preservation and self-care are all synonymous to me. In order to operate on a level of truth I need to be practicing all three simultaneously and rigorously. The very act of doing these has helped me evolve into the artist I am today."