Safe enough

 

No Bumps? No Bruises?

Are there any contusions?

Did you get a black eye?

Maybe you’re feeling just fine.

 

What makes you sad?

Can you label this stick man?

Is your home a safe place?

Please, tell the truth now, don’t lie.

 

Where is your lunch?

The teacher reported it.

You ate it at recess?

Your Mom said, there was breakfast.

 

Good enough.

Safe enough.

Unharmed enough.

Fed enough.

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

 

Sober adults,

and three cute little children.

So very compliant!

Yes, they know how to listen,

 

She reads a lot,

And she fights with her brother.

It’s an old fashioned home,

but her parents both love her.

 

The home is clean,

kids do great in the classroom!

This family is perfect.

Being timid doesn’t count.

 

Good enough.

Safe enough.

Unharmed enough.

Loved enough.

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

 

Congratulations!

You made it to adulthood.

You might hate your parents,

But they did the best they could.

 

What rage is this?

You truthfully weren’t happy?

Your parents surpassed theirs…

What else could you want to see?

 

~~~~~

 

It was bad.

I felt hurt,

I was scared,

You never cared.

 

It wasn’t enough.

You didn’t see the real me,

(the girl never wanted),

just who I pretended to be.

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

 

I hate good enough.

I might not get over it.

I’ll ask the questions now.

I’m not glossing over shit.

 

Don’t say it’s too much.

Don’t tell me I’m too involved.

I can see what’s concealed,

And I won’t close my eyes now.

 

I’ll try again.

So you can be safe.

So your hurts can heal and mend.

Till you can say,

“I know I’m enough”.

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Living with someone who has depression

 

I come in,

I go out.

I come in again.

Unnoticed.

My movements are without remark,

they are neither urgent nor important.

 

I check in.

things are the same.

I ask the same questions again,

although I know the answer has not changed.

My repetition is meant to convey concern;

a caring voice,

a whisper of meaning from someone who cares:

someone who is invested in the answer-

-and is committed to hearing it, whether good or bad.

 

I care.

I am concerned, so deeply concerned.

But the answer is flat.

My caring does not breathe life into the answer.

My love does not fix it.

 

The next day I try again,

and nothing has changed.

 

I take deep breaths,

as if breathing deeper will allow more oxygen, more life

into him too.

I try to remember

that there are some things

my love cannot fix.

Could it be that my anger might prove more powerful

than my love?

Could I burn him with the force of fury

that arises from his being unaffected

by my presence, my concern, my position?

Might my wrath awaken his defences,

and break through this apathy?

 

I don’t try it.

I am too weak, my resolve too thin.

Instead, I turn to a hopeless acceptance,

that this is how things are,

and this is how they are.

 

This is a bleak landscape.

It is snow on a white day.

The trees are bare

and the sun is too distant

to be real.

It might exist still,

but night and day aren’t much different anymore.

The night is desolate,

and the day is too.

In the unsheltered, cold emptiness

day makes bleakness visible,

but in the blind night the bleakness is felt with equal strength.

It doesn’t change.

There is no relief in this landscape.

There is no reprieve from this setting.

Bleakness when he wakes.

Bleakness when he rests.

 

I say ‘rest’ because I know he does not sleep.

He exists, but he doesn’t really participate

in life as I know it.

Sleeping is for the living,

and he’s somewhere in between

trapped in an empty landscape.

Yes, he wishes that sleep would come to him,

but when it is denied,

his response is apathetic.

That desire which is so important to him,

remains disconnected from the body which expresses it.

He is not satisfied,

yet in this he remains passive.

 

This is depression,

this is flat-line,

this is emptiness.

 

He lives with depression.

And I

live with him.

 

Control me with eggshells

 

I’ve been abused.

Abused,

abused,

abused.

And now I’ve said it aloud,

and now it can’t be undone.

 

Hah!

It couldn’t have been undone even when I was silent.

It couldn’t have been undone because it happened.

Now that I’ve said it aloud,

what is undone is you.

 

I’ve undone the secret.

I’ve undone the shame.

 

I’m not going to be ashamed, because shame doesn’t help me.

Shame is not a force that carries me forward.

I am catching better currents now.

There is self-acceptance in these waves,

and I am going to ride them.

I’ll ride out this current of peace,

and honor that the person that I was needs me to believe her.

 

I won’t deny that you were an abuser.

In fury and fear you collected your power

and you held it over me,

a small child.

You taught me to fear you.

You taught me the pathways of compliance.

You taught me eggshells.

 

Your path was control.

 

abuser

abused

abuser

abused

eggshells.

 

I didn’t like that pattern.

I wanted to live without eggshells.

 

Found someone new.

Someone not like you.

but he’s trying to introduce me to eggshells.

 

abuser,

abused.

abuser,

abused.

This is a crazy-go-round, adulthood merry-go-round.

I’d like to know you, but I’m allergic to dizziness.

I’m allergic to abusive control.

I’m allergic to walking on eggshells.

 

‘But these eggshells are from different hens!’

Hah!

I’d like to bypass them all the same.

 

Honestly, I see what you’re saying, I know

that there’s a person behind the control…

that you learned to do

from another abuser too.

And my someone new

is just flailing

in a lengthy freefall

through a world of dis-order.

 

This is why, this is why, this is why… … .

 

This is why there are eggshells.

 

Hmm.

Yep.

That explains that, doesn’t it?

 

Does it also explain

why you expect me to walk on eggshells

when it’s misery for me?

 

Does it also justify

why I must live the eggshell life,

when it doesn’t even heal you?

 

I can walk in these well-worn pathways on my tip-toes,

but you will still be a controlling abuser.

If I hushed and was silent,

it would be no act of love.

 

YOU must be the one to deal with: the fear, the fury, the power, the control, and the eggshells.

 

I’ll deal with my allergy.

 

Recognizing control is how I walk towards maturity.

I’ve sharpened my vision

to quickly detect red flags of abuse

And I’m not sorry to have spotted you,

although you

deny

deny

deny.

 

I don’t care why.

 

Getting off the crazy-go-round has cost me personally.

You’ve got to find your own path to maturity.

It won’t be through controlling me.

wrong place, nowhere to go

 

The feeling of having just arrived at the wrong place,

but having nowhere else to go.

This makes me small

this leaves me vulnerable.

I am a soul, created to be loved,

freshly introduced to this body

which has just a few words for a vocabulary.

I cannot explain,

I do not have the skills to explain

Who I Am

and

What I Need.

I am just a small vulnerable soul

who has come to this place

but did not find a welcome here.

Behind my breathing there is sadness,

it’s at my spine,

it resides in my being.

I can’t remember what happened

that was worth crying about,

but this sadness became too heavy

to usher out with tears and sobs.

 

“That’s not who I am”

“You don’t understand me”

 

These are phrases that I feel must now be said

although they place words on a time

when there were no words

and describe the emotions of a girl

whose emotions were felt with the soul and not explained by the mind.

 

Precious Girl

I send you comfort.

I send you love across time.

 

I hope that these words get to you.

 

And I think they have,

because just now,

your tears sprang to my eyes

and dried on my cheeks.

 

I know you have nowhere to go

and I remember that they will bark at you

and try to give you their shame.

Vulnerable one, I give you my resolve.

And I give you today.

Tightly, in your fists take this knowledge that you have seen your future

you have seen that you were able to endure

you have seen me

 

reaching out to you

and saying

Thank You.

Punishment of the unloved

 

If you understand him better –

are you able to deal with him better?

Understanding

will not change his behavior.

 

I know I cannot change him,

but,

understanding has expanded me.

 

I was an invisible child

-only an extension of himself,

only another appendage,

no thoughts independent.

 

He was an abandoned child,

for whom his lost mother become ‘ex-mother’,

gone mother

because to the authority giver,

she was ex-wife.

 

My feelings were too much to handle,

my opinions never asked for,

my obedience went un-thanked.

When I found courage,

I was belittled.

 

His childhood was pressed into service,

taken-for-granted-chores

and the responsibilities of the eldest.

Far from thanked, he was threatened –

told to bring back success, or not return at all.

 

I was told

that my dreams were stupid,

that talking about my pain was stupid,

that thinking I was trustworthy

was stupid.

 

He was taught not to trust

when his dreams were extorted

and his ambitions were sold

to the highest bidder,

without notification,

and certainly without consent.

 

He was afraid of me

afraid of what it meant

to have a delicate thing,

not sure who he could be around it,

around me.

And so he delegated my care to my mother,

but she kept him near enough

to be a threat.

Do you know what it meant to me –

– to admit how deeply I had been hurt,

only to learn that he knew he might hurt me?

He knew he might, so he tried to be distant?

 

Knowing that the love I craved,

he had never felt himself,

has left me without a judge’s hammer.

The punishment I might pronounce

has already been served.

 

I was unloved!

– You must be unloved too!”

 

But his un-love had already happened,

and I was punished for it.

All this I understand –

it pours water on my fire,

and turns it to steam,

instead of rage.

 

With this understanding

I forgive myself more easily –

for not being more charmingly lovable,

and for not being delightful enough

to make him forget himself.

 

Some people are impervious to charms,

not all speak the same tongue.

I was born to a language

that he had long-ago renounced.

I might have taught it to him again,

but change was not his way.

 

And unchanged he remains,

my understanding has not expanded him,

only altered him in my eyes,

so that I see him as someone to love.

 

A good surprise

I had worried

that losing you

would make me an orphan.

I had thought

that every time I looked in a mirror

I would see

someone without a mother.

 

My inner child

is not alone.

She is not afraid.

She is not an orphan.

I parent her now.

 

When I look in a mirror,

there she is,

happy.

She is happy because she is safe.

She is happy because

there is no longer

anything I regret

about me.

 

All of me takes care of me.

Adult me protects my inner child.

 

I don’t say anymore

“You have to put up with a little abuse,

because you’re related to this person.”

I’ve advanced in my ability

of guarding my peace.

 

In the mirror is a girl who is now more

and not less.

The word “orphan” doesn’t suit her at all.

 

 

 

 

Change Agent

(This poem is not new, but I had forgotten to transfer it over after my first blog crashed. The other poems that have been posted recently were all from this year.)

 

Change Agent

I am
a
special agent.
Not quite a ninja,
but in my mind,
still as good
at saving the world
as
007.
Saving the world
isn’t
all about
external oppressors.
There are internal enemies.
Inner working models that create
self doubt
and fear
and silence.
I don’t have a cape,
but
I AM all about the rescue.
Fighting against mistrust
against destructive coping mechanisms
against lies that seem like truth.
This fight
isn’t one of violence.
In fact,
I could be compared to a turtle
or
a sleepy lizard.
This is not an action movie.
My mightiest weapons
are my two ears.
With them I listen
to words that have
never been heard
although a million times said.

I don’t have cool gadgets
(like a phone that turns into a parachute),
or the ability
to become invisible.
But I do have
some invisible qualities
that activate
at the precise moment
they are needed.
There is a sense of
welcome,
comfort,
and
peace.
It doesn’t look like much.
In fact, you can’t see that part at all.
I look like
a regular person.
(I told you it’s not an action movie).
Even the soundtrack being played
as I leap from one precarious situation to the next
is probably
the most annoying song from
a children’s show on television.
I wield my weapons;
Ears on my head!
High-fives in my fingers!
“Unconditional Positive Regard” in my heart!
It’s an arsenal that has me ready for anything
that a change agent could encounter.
It is good
to be prepared.
I once encountered
ten kinds of ugliness
in a single day;
all being issued
from the one who
I intended to help!
Sometimes
there is no gratitude.
It is not the ‘damsel in distress’ that
the change agent rushes out to assist,
nor a nation
that is suffering from the affliction
of an overzealous neighbour.
No.
No that is not what I do.

I read books.
I provide emotional support.
I choose to give a very valuable gift;
my time.
Attached to it is a valuable message;
“You are worthy of my time,
because You Are Important”.
Is
there any other message
that speaks so deeply
to a
rejected child?
I cannot undo his hurts
but
I will not look away.
I will wash the darkened windows
that have left his mind without
a hope.
I will reach out a hand
even though
he has stopped
believing in comfort.
I will take him to see
a view of the world
that won’t be defined
by his inner working model.
I will be
a change agent,
working to save the world
without super ninja skills
or a fancy hidden pistol.
Just me
embarking on another day of adventure
wearing my rainbow flip-flops
as I chase down
a run-away youngster.