A New Chapter
At a mature twenty seven years old, I thought I had the world pretty much figured out. I knew what I wanted and I always knew exactly how to get it. Cold as that sounds, I lived my life through honesty and virtue, never taking from others what I could earn on my own. I had learned during my childhood that fathers couldn't be counted on to rescue you when you needed them as mine had walked out the door. I thought I had become hardened to that, and kept reassuring myself that I would be self-sufficient - I would never rely on any man. I would never let any man in my heart.
Fast-forward to January and I met him. He was a breath of fresh air, someone that I had known for years but never really considered and then one day I looked at him and he was different. He felt different. He has never raised a hand in anger or thrown an unkind word my way and honestly, that scared me. I didn't know how to deal with this man that wanted to show me nothing but love and didn't expect anything in return. I finally let my guard down and he completely captured me. Our relationship has been a breeze with the exception of the occasional wrench I throw in it. I'm still learning how to deal with my emotions positively and how to control the ever-present anxiety that presents itself at the most inappropriate times, yet he makes me feel like that's completely normal. I'm not a damsel in distress to him, simply someone he loves that needs his help sometimes.
Someone that needs his help more and more as the months pass, and my body grows and changes with the child that we didn't expect but happily prepare for. Now that my body is not just my own, sometimes I am overcome with emotion and can't express properly how much I care for him. Sometimes my frustrations get the better of me and I snap out of anger. Sometimes we lie awake at night with our backs turned, trying to find the words to fill the silence but too afraid to hurt the other. On these nights I whisper, "I love you" as tears fill my eyes and I wait for him to tell me to leave, that he's done with this song and dance and he wants no part of me anymore. Instead he turns over and places his arm around me, hand firmly on my stomach as if to say, "I'm here, and I'm not leaving." This small gesture causes me to collapse, hormones getting the best of me as I let my worst fear become realized - I am afraid of losing him.
This morning, when he told me he loved me too, seemed to give me life again. I know that feeling of reassurance is only temporary, and when the hormones shift and the anxiety takes over, I'll be counting down again, trying my best to keep him happy though I know he doesn't expect me to. I know that the same fight will ensue - the tears will return, with whispered words in the awkward quiet of the bedroom as I try to convince him that I'm worth keeping - and I know his reaction will always be the same. I place my hands on my still-growing stomach and know that this little girl will never have to worry about absentee fathers and wondering if people love her.
This little girl will have more family, more affection, more love than those that have come before her. This little girl will wake every day with a smile on her face and wonder in her eyes, knowing her mommy and daddy are waiting for her, and playtime is now. I close my eyes and can't help but feel emotional, because I know that I chose the perfect man to be her father.
I fell into love with you
like falling into a comfortable bed
safe and secure, hidden away from the world
no need to tell the world
daydreaming as we lounged
in our most vulnerable state
making comments about the future
unabashedly hopeful about something so precarious
a simple breath could change the course
eventually it did
those days i spent lazing in bed with you suddenly disappeared,
replaced with nights perched on the edge
clutching both hands together, a prayer,
waiting to see your smile in the doorway
more often than not it never came
the messages never received
and eventually, your voice never heard again
I fell out of love with you
like a victim in a car crash
hopeless and screaming at the hands of the clock
begging in vain to see you again
I didn't realize
the last time we spoke would be
the last time I'd ever hear your voice.
If I'd known, I would've kept the conversation going
from the night into the early morning
listening to each heaving sigh and each melodic laugh
embedding them into my memory
so even if you left, your face would never leave me.
I didn't realize you'd stop loving me
or else I would've poured out every drop of my heart
that beat only for you
I would've held tight and never let go
kissing you breathless and leaving you wanting more
so I'd know that I still existed
somewhere in your heart.
In your rush to leave me
I forgot to tell you what you meant.
That your PTSD had shaped me
into the perfect caretaker
and I knew you better
than your closest family.
I forgot to say that I'm sorry
for all the stupid arguments over
pointless things that had no real meaning
and if I could take them back I would.
I would say how lucky I felt
when I was loved by you,
and how every day I'd break out into song,
a permanent smile on my face,
knowing that I was the girl you'd chosen to spend
your life with.
I forgot to tell you that I loved you, too.
The one before him
who never really mattered
just a stepping stone
The one I forgot
you tried to love me fiercely
I wasn't ready
Michael William Mann
who touched me deeply with love
I haven't let go
The one after him
whose love could never compare
I'm sorry; I tried
Self-help books on how to love
To get over the man above ^
You painted me in
thick black lines
and taught me how to walk
back and forth between them
You let them dull the color
that existed in the deepest part of me
Bright yellows and vibrant blues
transforming into a dull gray
You told me that standing out
is the worst thing to do in this world
Placed a mold around my heart
and taught me values the masses agreed to
“DO NOT STAND OUT.”
My vulnerability could wreak havoc
an uprising of reality that could unsettle the sheep
I struck my wrists and let the colors bleed
then cried out,
“STOP SHAPING ME!”
The dull gray began to change inside
my body, growing and pulsing with life
The vibrant colors were back,
all shades of the rainbow flowing out
My eyes, for the first time, could see.
My Side to the Story
with one phone call.
I reached out
over the line
with shaking hands
and a fast-beating heart
and told you about
the night I lost myself
and sought absolution
in a razor blade and
a tub full of water.
Our wires must've crossed;
you probably didn't
hear me correctly.
As my mother
you should've ran
screaming, through the streets
until you could catch me
and give me a shake
and bring me back into
my skin to say
suicide is never the answer.
Instead you replied
"Oh. Well you must know
you're very loved."
and hung up.
You left me sitting here
with my doubt and self-hatred
and you let them
have their way with me.
Now I am half the person
that I used to be.
I hide from the shadows
and keep my head down
so that nobody can see
the shame that still exists
bleeding out of my pores
and marking me
A Lost Cause.
Now I take two steps forward
and three steps back
every day, a disjointed rhythm
that started when you ended
that call, and haven't talked since.
I guess I finally know
that all you saw in me
was just a reminder
of the life you would've had
if you kept me.