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Ghost Stories


Issha Marie Onoya

I sent my book of poetry, 'Ghost Stories', out for a sample print recently. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Ten years' worth, condensed into sixty pages. Because it is self-funded, I couldn't really expand it to more than 60 pages. Maybe one day, I will do a more comprehensive, all-encompassing, expanded edition. Or not. I am ready to move on to its next evolution, whatever that looks like.

Here's a recent self-portrait. It's a companion piece to the final poems in 'Ghost Stories'. This one is a test shot; I have taken many since. I am brimming, once-more, with many half-formed ideas...  but I cannot wait to see where those ideas take me next.

I guess this series is a bit of a coming-of-age thing... a rediscovering and unearthing of femininity and sensuality - and what that means to me. I am embracing it all - the curves, the scars, the lines. Self-love and self-care is very difficult work. It can feel a bit selfish. It can feel a bit vain. Guilt often follows it. There is often a very tenuous, very thin line between genuine self-love and vanity, I think.

I no longer want to be afraid of my own power. But I am also very wary of it. Oftentimes I feel that if I wield it, it will be taken from me by force. I can be manipulated, if I am not careful. I will be made to think I do not deserve this. I will be made to think I am in the wrong. I fear it will be misconstrued as some sort of open invitation: for men - most especially - to feel like they are entitled to it. To me. And I cannot let that happen to me again. I do not want to be silenced, but I don't want to be hurt or harmed for making noise, either.


So what's next?

I don't know yet.