The Day I Spoke

It’s 5am and I’m awake, again, beating myself up for beginning to speak out to you,
Trying to remember the reasons I took the mask off in the days and weeks gone by.
I wish I could say it was because of glowing revelations, moments of graceful clarity
Mixed with blinding affirmations of my power and light, worth and strength, or love;
Or that I was overcome by the many lessons from recovery and healing and growth.
But the truth is a dark reality to recall, filled with deathly visions of pain and despair.
I think my voice began forming in the cracked mirror I stared into, me, broken, alone,
When I saw a body ready to give up, and I heard deafening sounds leading to death.
In the end speaking became necessity over choice, more clinging on than letting go.
I didn’t tell you about the ones who stole my innocence, who claimed my tiny body
Because I thought you could make it suddenly okay, to forgive or forget it all away.
For sure I didn’t speak of rapes and assaults and attacks, and repeat, repeat, repeat,
Asking you to return my lost childhood or wrap me in the wool you’d once hid away.
I didn’t recount the people who kept me small, tormented, manipulated, lost, afraid
So you could nod in all the right places, or hold me up just to let me down, yet again.
I wasn’t voicing blood-curdling names of my perpetrators, abusers, attackers, rapists,
In order for you to condemn or confront, or make changes to your graveside rituals.
No, it was not for you when I spoke of depravities they forced and fixated upon me,
Or the mind-games played to keep me silent, and the lies, and the lies, and the lies.
I did not speak of my earliest memories: of mistrust and abuse and badness and fear,
Or injuries I self-inflicted whilst aged in single figures, or the violations driving them;
I did not tell tales of terror and trauma and tragedy from my teens into my twenties,
Or the voices I battled for years, fought and bled myself dry to keep barely breathing,
Just so you could feel like you healed or saved or freed me from their sinful shames.
No, I think it was a more simple call, just one choice left: speak or try death instead;
That if I held it alone for one day longer, if I forced my silent shame to remain intact,
I couldn’t live another year or week, my 29 and something years could not make 30,
My mind could not hold it all anymore and my body was being crushed by the weight.
So, I spoke and I shared. And forced myself open to support networks I once blocked,
Those who I could not allow access to for fear my voice might echo back to your ears.
In hours like now, when I can’t bear that you know, as my demons tighten their grips,
I go back to the mirror to remember why I spoke; to see the girl who was near dying,
But I don’t recognise her anymore, because the mask has been ripped off. She’s gone.
And while it hurts, with aching wounds weeping and deep, tattooed scars in full view,
There are tiny glimpses of possibility, hope, and I see she begins to move, shift, grow.
It’s 6am, I’m still wide awake, wondering what possessed me to start speaking to you,
Trying to remember the reasons I took off the mask over the days and weeks gone by.
Yet, somehow, standing in front of the mirror, lit up by the light of a new day, I know.

image © Mariann Martland

image © Mariann Martland

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