When I was a girl all I wanted to hear was, “I support you.”
I wanted to be trusted with my ideas.
I wanted to be heard.
Instead, I was silenced.
I was bullied.
He would talk over me.
Then when I would start to crumble he would throw in a last jab,
“Why are you crying?”, he’d sneer.
The patronizing was the final straw.
I stopped trusting.
I stopped crying.
I built a wall around my heart because if I couldn’t trust family, who could I trust?
I couldn’t even trust me.
For years I was bullied along with my sister and mother.
I thought it was normal.
I even dated men who were bullies.
Because I thought that was all I was worth.
Until I met you.
And everything changed.
You were the light I needed.
You were this glimpse of another reality.
One full of joy and kindness.
So I jumped.
I escaped into your belonging.
But unfortunately, with my jump came my pain.
What I thought I escaped, I actually dragged with me.
And now you are seeing it unraveling and the girl who laughed at all your jokes is drowning with the sharks and you can’t throw a life raft.
I’m sorry, babe.
But these sharks are mine and I can’t keep being rescued.
I have to learn how to survive with them on my own.
I have to do the work.
And maybe one day, with enough love, my sharks can turn into dolphins.
My courage is shelter.
I never thought about it before, but it makes sense.
My spirit seeks shelter in order to feel safe just as I seek shelter with Joshua in order to feel safe.
And I have discovered this is a universal truth.
We cannot grow into our full potential if we do not feel safe.
And yet safety is so over looked.
When I was a child, I always felt safe with my mother. She comforted me from nightmares. She ran the tub when I had late night accidents. She protected me from my dad’s rage. She did everything a good mom should.
But as I grew up, I pushed her away.
My teenage mind could not relate any longer. And I became secretive and manipulative. Until one day I met a boy. A boy I loved. A boy I felt safe with. A boy who was kind and gentle.
And I grew with him.
I started telling him my pain and he would tell me his. And we would cry together. And I started to believe I was not alone in my suffering as his dad was abusive too.
So that was the beginning of finding my courage, but that courage took feeling safe first.
Which is why safety or shelter should not be over looked.
It is vital to our growth.
And sometimes it takes others to remind us we are brave.
And that is okay too.
Sometimes I feel so brave.
I don’t know who to credit this feeling to.
It could be me or it could be you.
But i feel it boiling up,
Ignited by almost anything.
I feel like I’ve finally been awakened
Or maybe I am simply being reintroduced to myself.
Because this did not come out of nowhere.
I have lived with this my whole life.
Because I can remember.
I have the memories
Slowly raising their hands in the back of my mind.
Reminding me, “Um…teacher, we’re still here.”
And when I finally see them after so much neglect
I start to cry.
I whisper, “I am so sorry for letting the world silence you.”
“I am so sorry for being afraid to hear you.”
“I am so sorry for believing them over you.”
You matter, my soul.
You deserve to be seen, too.
I am part of the human race and therefore I should defend and love all humans. However, the second part, “I belong” is a harder one to feel. But Brene Brown said it perfectly in an interview when she said, “At the end of the day, I belong to me. ” What she meant by this, is at the end of the day, you have to stay true to you.
And it is so fascinating how alot of us share this feeling and think we are alone in it. When in actuality, ALOT OF US feel it, which means there is community in feeling like we don’t belong.
But the beautiful thing is that once we talk about it with each other, we blow that fucking lie right open. Because we do belong! We may not belong in our biological family or school or church or city, but we belong to the world. And isn’t that greater? Isn’t that more beautiful? Isn’t that more powerful?
We belong to the world, the human race and ultimately ourselves.
And we are not alone.
I remember when I was a girl, I use to play in the mud. I would grab it slowly and let it drip.
Until it built a piled city on my leg.
And I would repeat this
So focused and clear with my intention.
I wanted to create.
I wanted to play.
But you took this away.
You said my play was just a hobby.
You said no one would pay me to play.
And so I listened.
And with a tuck of my hand, I shoved my play into my pocket.
I didn’t know then, that you were scared.
Scared I wouldn’t graduate.
Scared I wouldn’t find a job.
Scared I’d turn out like “them”.
I didn’t know then, that what you were making me do was live the life you failed to.
She's trapped. Worse than Beauty and the Beast. The town folks rush in to save her, but she is under his spell. Not with love, but with fear. She can't see past the castle. All she knows is the dungeon. I tried to save her. I gave her my confidence, my assurance. But all she saw was the darkness. She can't see the lamp I am holding Because she's not use to the light. The petals have fallen off the rose long ago And the monster is her home now. What do I do when the princess is confused? What do I do to convince her That her world is bigger than, "yes, sir"? I feel I have tried my best. So fuck all the rest. There is nothing more I can do But wait for her to say, "me too."
I am learning so much this year. Learning to trust myself more. Learning to praise people more. Learning to connect more. To allow myself to feel, to love, to see myself in others. Because I am in them. I am feeling myself calling gentleness forward. Choking, pulling hair and fast fucks hardly appeal anymore. All I crave is gentle, soft, pure love. I am feeling myself reconnect with that little girl again who just wanted to make out. Nothing felt nicer. Just sweet, sensual lips on lips. Maybe the last jaded rocks are falling and the healing has begun. I hope so. Because I miss that girl and I think it is time for her return.
I once was told to listen to her.
Listen to the child inside calling you back home.
Back to your base.
Back to where Tinkerbell was your hero and rain was your joy.
And when I experienced my first anxiety attack last year, I understood why.
I had ignored her.
I had suppressed her everyday believing that I was wiser.
That I was stronger.
But she caught up to me.
Now anxiety is a hot topic.
But I’m not joining the crowd when I say that I felt my heart beating out of control, my sanity slipping into constant negativity, and my fear becoming the driver of everyday life.
At that time, all I could see was a cage closing around me and I was scared.
I remember walking out of work that day with tears in my eyes thinking that something was wrong with me.
When really, it wasn’t something, it was someone and that someone was trying to be heard.
Unfortunately it took severe stress and suppression of my emotions for me to listen and it didn’t stop there.
It also took a break up, changing jobs, drinking to avoid the pain, and therapy before I really listened.
I was a mess.
But she stood by me.
She knew my worth and wouldn’t stop screaming until I did too.
And now I praise that beautiful girl who pounded on my heart because if I hadn’t listened, I’d still be there with you.
I remember the way he use to come home. Starched collar, clipped hair with stress held in his jaw. He would never talk about it then. We were too young anyways. But now I see more of him. He is not the only one. They laugh with their mouths, but not with their eyes. Is this what it was like for him? The expectations, the responsibilities, the energy of being pulled in multiple directions. Is this why he snapped his fingers for us to be quiet?
There must have been two of him. One at work and one at home. Which one was better, I wonder.
Now he drinks every night swearing he is different than the rest.
He’s the best!
But I see his trauma.
I see the way he holds back when he wants to love, but doesn’t know how. I can practically hear his pain with every clink of the ice cubes hitting the glass.
I wish he knew I see him!
I see him through every broken memory like it was yesterday.
“Brooke, that windows not clean enough. Start over.”
“Brooke, why did you burn the bacon? You stupid girl!”
“Brooke, why did you only get honor roll when the other kids got principle’s list?”
“Brooke, are you sure you want to wear those shorts? You have cellulite.”
His trauma has become my own and I have carried it with me every day pleading one day I would be enough.
But there is no enough.
It is all a lie and I know that now.
We are all broken, one way or another. And the only way I can move past it is by believing he was doing the best he can. Because right now, I am doing the best I can.