Back. Back from where? Was she ever really lost or just misguided? Her path obsolete, or obstructed? Her eyes lost sight of You. Her heart led astray, she gazes into darkness. What’s that strange glow over there? She wondered if she were to follow, where it would take her instead.
Alone. Could she even imagine? Her heart pounding with anticipation. Fear rises in her chest. Her breath gasps all the while as her feet press on. Trust this road. Strange as it may feel. Unsteady, untraveled, yet somehow safer, more will be revealed.
Brighter. The air smells clean. Her lungs catch the depth of her inhalation, taking another gulp. Releasing the toxins, her long exhalation, she sneaks one more and smiles. Even her vision, no longer impaired as she drinks in all the beauty in front of her.
Beckoning. The force pulls her. Unlike any she’s experienced before. This is sweeter, gentler, safer. “This way,” a soft whisper in her ear, “be the change you want to see”.
Puzzled. She shakes off the lies, pulls the constraints, flips the tape over to hear a different story. The one where she shines before her light went dim.
Solitude. She goes within. Silently she sits at last. Longer stretches of time pass. That awaited breath flows like never before. This must be what peace feels like.
My assignment she gave me, a grief letter with instructions what to do Write it out on paper like somehow that will help me get over you
She hears my heart and knows I’ve been drifting awhile Angrily I told her, please help me to stop obsessing so I can once again find my smile
The opener would say, no one ever fought for me, but I never stopped swinging, fighting for that love A broken little girl who just desired to be wanted and cherished simply for who I was
I know my daddy loves me, the 20 times I saw him he told me this as so You reminded me of the same, in fact the words went like this, “I said that I love you, once was enough for you to know”
All these years I’ve been working on my insides, mending what needs fixing, soothing what needs comfort, fighting for what ought to be freely given I can see it in the distance, how life is supposed to go and I am choosing the path that shows me what it’s like to be living
Coulda shoulda woulda such a tormented little game I’ll start to leave those phrases out, the ones which lay forth all the blame
Grief is like a party for us who show up to play the part But really for me, all it does is remind me of my hurting, fractured heart
The conclusion might read something along these blurred lines and such We are all a little flawed, imperfect little humans, but for me, I don’t ask for much
I can articulate my pain, sadness and struggles better than most But for you all, no no, pour another round, raise your glass high to give yourself a toast
Thank God for my journey and path where it has led I lay myself down at night, taking it all in as I curl up in my bed
I pray for the lost, the weary and weak For those who still suffer looking at life as it were bleak
Each and every one who has taken something from me I am being restored by grace and honor and even with a little more dignity
If this is the only day I have, this 24 hours to make choices, to live and to breathe, I think I better choose wisely because tomorrow I may be in a different place.
Today is my day to do what pleases just me. No one to answer to, no one to selflessly serve, no one to have expectations strictly placed on me. What a freedom to breathe, to feel and be still.
On the 3am hour I awoke, just opened an eye to see the clock. Lying there in the dark, I smelled the fresh air drifting in my open window. I heard the rustling of a critter in the crispy leaves below. There was an occasional car passing by the road down the drive. It made me wonder where they were off to, but only for a moment. Suddenly the hoot owl began talking to me too. I drew my attention back to the stillness, to the quiet, peaceful little haven I call mine. Inhaling easily, I relaxed into my freshly fluffed pillow. With the next exhalation I chose to rise and have coffee in my semi dark room and embrace this alone time.
My thinking was remaining in slow gear. This day belongs to me. I asked myself, how do I want to spend it? With another sip of my delicious hot cup of creamy caffeine, I began to think about my life, as I often do. I picked up my phone for a few minutes and scrolled mindlessly through social media for all of 2 minutes. What am I doing? This is never how I want to start my day and I was reminded of my recent, former life. It startled me going down that memory lane. I was reminded of the disconnect between us. His addiction to devices, that essentially was an accessory to the death of our relationship, or at least that was how the demise initially began.
As I allowed my thoughts to wander down that road, I could feel them in my whole body, the discomfort was ruffling while the anxiety tried to bubble up in my throat. Choices, I have them, use them wisely I told my inner being. I took those thoughts captive. I pushed them aside and proceeded to venture my mind down another path, remembering instantly where I was, right here and now, safe, in the presence of my own company, relaxed and breathing.
Taking my last sip I felt sleepy instead of awake. I think I’ll start my day over again. What a concept and, if want to, I can do this all day long. I’m only as happy as I make up my mind to be. (Abraham Lincoln) And with that, I shimmied down beneath my covers, feeling the cool air upon my face, I rolled over and closed my eyes. My mind floating off to a softness of memories. I hear my own voice talking to God, “it’s been awhile since I prayed about him. Won’t you please take the anger in my heart and make it more gentle? It’s only harming me.” Out loud in my noiseless room, I still hear the faint “who, who” from my feathered friend and I ask again why he hurt me, but no words came back to me, not even a small sense of relief, only more questions. This is not how I wish for my day to go. I began to write again while I took notice of my breath and I drifted off to sleep.
It’s a peculiar thing, the brain, how it can reach far back into the cave of darkness and still find the unwanted mess amongst the wet walls, dead lightbulbs and cobwebs. Who stores these things up so tightly and why? What purpose do they keep serving? I’ve convinced myself I need to remember so I won’t forget the wreckage that caused the defeating pain. Isn’t that how I learn my lessons? I’m beginning to doubt, yet here I am, keep on keeping on.
It’s in all the thinking, the clambering of thoughts wrestling around in my head that stirs up emotions from unresolved, unanswered questions, and so, I continue to ask and I continue to wait, maybe even hope for resolutions. Now the coffee kicks in as I stretch beneath my warm covers. A thought forms, the next part of my day emerges as a visual prop, get to the gym girl. Perhaps something revealing will shine down on me there. At least my focus will change with every rep and round…
There’s this thing I do when I feel afraid or alone and I can’t or won’t cope with what’s happening all around. I disappear. Not in the physical sense of the word, but into a place of secret hiding where I feel safe. It’s simplistic and calm, but especially it’s quiet. So quiet that I really can hear myself think and there isn’t anyone else there to rearrange those thoughts or disregard them. It’s just me and me.
I guess I started visiting this magical place when I was a young girl. I could walk along the cement pathway Grampa poured to connect my front door to theirs, walk through the front door and make myself at home. This became the space where I could just be. Where everything was in its place and everything had a place. You know, that sense of belonging? I was always welcome anytime I wanted. I knew I didn’t have to ask, but I did just to be polite. Once inside the only rule was, if Mama said no, just ask Gramma.
Their home was always a comfort of warmth, like a big cozy blanket I could cuddle up with. There were cookies in the Oreo cookie jar, usually sugar ones, but sometimes actual Oreos. The gum was double mint and waited for me on the second shelf of the pantry cupboard. Then my favorite and always just for me, was vanilla ice cream in the kitchen freezer with a backup in the deep freeze, with my own can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup waiting for me in the fridge. I’d grab my lap tray from behind the back porch door where it lived and settled in next to Grampa’s chair in the living room to watch whatever it was he had on tv. It didn’t matter to me, so long as I was next to him.
Some nights Gramma and I had our own special “shows” we liked to watch together and we’d spend time on the back porch laughing and having a snack together. Me with my ice cream and her with some popcorn and a pop. I cherished these times and often dreaded having to walk back across that long, cement pathway to the other house, but I got to keep this ritual until I was about 10 years old.
Midway through 5th grade, I was uprooted and moved clear to the other side of town. It may have well been in another state. Grampa couldn’t pour a path that big. My heart was crushed. My safe haven was out of my reach. This is when I learned to retreat inside of my own world where nothing bad could reach me or touch me. It became my new escape. My fantasy world.
I became a different girl when I’d visit there. That girl was fearless. She said what she wanted to say and sang at the top of her lungs. She was bold. She spoke words no one had heard leave her lips and she was loud enough to be heard. She was courageous. She tried things that frightened her out there, but in here, she conquered it all. She was confident. She walked with her head up high and carried herself tall and proud. She was fierce. She was strong. Then one day, she just slipped away. She didn’t know where she had gone or how to get back and she was alone.
Her safety net was shredded. Her life was unstable. She felt uncertain for the first time in this life and she stumbled and fell, forgetting how to get back up, she stayed down. Her light had begun to dim. Her tenacity had slipped through her fingertips. She was becoming invisible and slowly, she disappeared. Where had she gone? This bright light, exuberant young lady, with sparks in her eyes and fire in her soul, what happened to her she had asked, but she had no answer. She had become a shell of herself, the kind that’s kept upon a shelf.
Years passed by and she grew weaker in her heart that once was explosive with desire and hunger for love and for life. She evolved into some version of someone else to keep peace and harmony for others. She realized that the world told her she couldn’t, so she didn’t. She believed them when they struck her down, leveling her to their limitations of her. They put her in a box that they designed and there she would remain, unable to grow and be that little girl who once had everything in her possession.
Gramma and Grampa never knew of her disappearance or maybe they would’ve come looking for her. Rescuing her and brought her back to where she first knew of her capabilities, her worth and her sense of belonging. How she longed for the safety of her home with them. The smells of comfort of joy of connection of acceptance of love and that familiar sense of knowing where she belongs.
Feeling like her skin has been peeled back as the sun bakes down on her exposed flesh. She is burning from stripping the layers of denial off, leaving her with the searing pain of the truth. She relives every detailed moment of each incident as if it were happening right here, right now. She tries to outrun them, but she can’t escape the memories. Her dreams hold her captive and startle her awake at times, bringing her anxiety back until she can awaken enough to remember where she is and that she is safe in her space. She bolts out of bed planting her feet on the ground, gasping for a breath, just one will do, but it takes many minutes to fully inhale and exhale.
They never understood their breakups, the discards, and this time, they don’t realize how the trauma has bonded her so tightly and why she cannot just break free. Neither does she, but fuck, she tries hard to sever it, all of it. Those ordinary people are living a common, vanilla, flavored life. She is tormented by the years of the secret lifestyle suppressed by his every move, his very nature, his discipline, corrections and punishments and now she will say it out loud… his abuse. Her body has been keeping score with faint marks still remaining upon her soft flesh while the flashbacks in her thoughts trigger her. Hyper vigilance has become part of her everyday life. Her mind kept tabs that were deeply engrained, creating new pathways that would continue far past their innumerable separations, including their last, their final.
In their world, she wasn’t initially picked out of a lineup for her soul to be crushed, but that was what took place over a slow, calculated period of time. She was carefully selected by him because of her strength and confidence she exhumed. She would make an excellent supply source. He was drawn to that. She would be his. His clay to mold, his property to own, his body to create and modify. He wanted what she had for his very own undoing. It all went into the choosing process. She would become a kept woman and that would require a complete breakdown of her human spirit she once possessed in order for him to transform her into the little pet toy he wanted her to be, the one he needed her to become.
She feels the tightening of the straps that hold her tightly and the strike of the cane upon her tearing, searing flesh. The stings ignite her fresh wounds, feeling as if they’re on fire. Another one follows and she thinks the last will never come, but then he tells her to count them down. Sobbing, she is finally allowed to drag her snot filled nose across the tear stained sheets, then abruptly everything just stops. There are no more sounds. His voice was silent. Faint footsteps fading away is the only sound she hears over her own shallow, deep breathing.
The room went deadly quiet as he disappeared for a moment, emerging again with a bottle of soothing gel. At last he released the ties that bound her, literally, and she collapsed across the bed, shaking, trying to catch her breath, but all she knows is the relief of being free, for now. The hyperventilating subsided, but she can’t stop shivering. Then suddenly she feels him lying behind her, covering her with a warm blanket. He holds her tightly in his arms at last, her limp body whimpering in agony as he whispers softly in her ear, “good girl, suffering so beautifully for me. You know this makes you even better for me, right? That makes me so happy.” Her brain can’t engage or comprehend anything, only the warmth of him. She easily focuses on her broken, aching body and his words. The echoes of them run across her mind, jumbled and unclear, yet all she can do is sob and nod as he pulls her closer to him, stroking her hair, kissing her neck, “shhh, good girl.” Sleep now little one. Exhausted, she passes out.
She awakens what seemed like hours later. It was dark outside and everything was silent and eerie in the cold room where he tucked her in after, after… and then she remembered her punishment he had administered only an hour before. The sting was intense as she dragged herself up from the bed. She took her aching self down the hall where she knew she would find him, sitting at the computer, waiting for her arrival. “Hi baby girl, your’re awake”. Her eyes burning, her voice barely above a whisper, she nodded and he motioned for her to come closer. As she did, he pulled her to his lap, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her gently as he whispered his famous words, “it’s over, it’s done, it’s in the past”. She was quietly weeping and melted into him. This wasn’t the first time nor would it be the last…
His depravity haunts her still and she tries to outrun the affects, the visuals, the hauntings of what her life once was, but she always catches up and finds herself waiting there. Right where she left herself. Fuck, You again?
She was his kept little girl, as he addressed her as, his. The reality was, she was a grown woman with severe daddy issues and the coercion he was inflicting upon her, the brainwashing and gas lighting had convinced her that all little girls receive this kind of “love and attention” when a daddy truly loves and desires them. She didn’t have a daddy of her own and she’d been abused for so long by her step monster, how could she possibly know any different? She believed him. She trusted him.
She’d lay there at night, a tear rolling down her cheek asking herself questions. Questions she didn’t have the answers for and he’d pull her close to him, whispering, “shh, sleep now baby girl. Everything’s alright.” but it never was.
Why did this please him so? Who was he? What was happening? How did she get to this place? Where had she gone? The amazing power of denial and the complete destruction of control. TPE a total mindfuck…
She caught her breath, every time he spoke to her. Like a predator after his prey, he’d hover around for a few moments, closer he’d move near where she was before he made his way to exit the door. This became his dance he perfected over time. Toss a hook out and see if she’d bite. He set the stage and she was his clueless, leading actress. Innocent and demure, she wasn’t used to this sort of attention, not really. She deflected it at first. Falling back into her old style of safety, she tried to be invisible. Why was he paying any mind to her? She’s long since downplayed her outer beauty to match her painful insides. What could he want with her now, ordinary self she was portraying? She told her friend she wished he’d look at her, give her those enticing words, those stolen glances, that masculine energy that seemed to be pulling her into his vortex. Jokingly she said to her friend once again, come on… but instead she wanted to believe his words and so began what would be her misery of life.
She was so raw and vulnerable from her existence that was always in session and recently turned upside down, that some of the nuances were refreshing and pulling her in. It was as if he was attuned to her inner most thoughts, could smell her fear, was feeding off her sadness and was going to fix her. Like a lion ready to pounce, he set it up perfectly, calculating his every move. She never saw it coming.
But he was clever. He knew exactly when to throw her a bone and say the right things to make her trust and believe that he was interested in her, even cared about her well being. He gave her glimmers of hope. He showed her a man she had never known before. He quickly learned how to maneuver around her feelings and navigate the ways around her heart. He’d spout out promises and things to make her light up just to keep her on a leash. He was very smart when it came to manipulation, control and getting what he wanted, no matter the cost. Once he had her in his clutches, his plan to devour her whole was put into motion. The confusion invaded her so precisely as he anticipated it would, that she was oblivious to what was happening. It was so insidious and her life as she knew it was forever changing.
Her heart still races as she desperately tries to drift off to sleep, but instead her mind wants to retrace all her steps that she had walked into every trap. How blind she must’ve been to trust him as he dangled a piece of sweet nectar just slightly out reach, but low enough to keep her grasping for it over and over again. His savage, beastly desires drove him to those torturous, mind fuck games that only he had the rule book for.
He silently laughed as he watched her squirm for relief while she begged for an ounce of affection or a morsel of love. She tosses and turns as the nights turn into months. She feverishly works to reconcile in her own twisted mind, how such a human could exist and worse, keep her under his spell for so many years.
She writes another sad story of her victim role. The one of lies and deception where she was the star attraction and he, the daemonic villain. At last, exhaustion overtakes her and she passes out long enough to wake up and start the cruel cycle over again.
Determined to uncover the answers to questions she’ll never have, but that haunt her still. She searches for more clues, educating herself further, depriving herself of her basic needs. She has become a detective in her own murder case. The one where she is the missing person and the key suspect is at large, living as if, all the while, searching out his next unsuspecting victim for his endless need of fuel supply.
One day she’ll come out of the dense fog and will rise above it all. One day she’ll find the forgiveness to unshackle herself from her own death sentence. One day the sweet taste of freedom will replace the bitterness that swells up her throat. One day the obsession will dissipate and her breath will resume to its normal rhythm. One day this nightmare will come to an end and she will awaken to find herself returned safely to the ground where her feet have been replanted and there is beauty all around…