she used to call me “pastel.”
a word sneered through thick black lipstick
like a slur,
though she said it was
her pet name
for me.
at the end of it,
she told me I was “toxic,”
and I hear it each day,
even though
she sent it
in a text.

I’ve changed my tumblr tag, and
it seems like such a small step.
but I couldn’t let her have
that last word:
my favorite hue, turned insult.
a word that once meant calm to me.
as if my colors weren’t strong enough,
as if I were too soft to matter,
something to be
swept aside
for louder things.

I’ve come to learn
that there is
a certain strength
in softness.

that’s why my tag
now reads
pastel and proud.

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