Tag Archives: abuse

Never a Dragon, a Lotus, a Hero

 

To watch someone you love, suffer

That is the worst pain

To have ever known.

 

I have lived through abuses of every kind.

Horrors little children should never know

Memories I’d sell for bubble gum houses

and storybook bedtimes.

Pain that sears through my heart and mind,

Memories in my muscles I cry for

Physical scars,

Emotional scars,

Scar tissue growing stronger

and stronger.

 

But watching someone I love…

These tears hurt worse, somehow.

Somehow they burn

and twist

Until I can hardly breathe

And I loathe watching you go

Knowing you need help

But not knowing how

or what I can do.

 

I know you are strong.

I know you are the

bravest soul I’ve met

I know you can slay your own Princes

and befriend the Dragons lurking

deep inside and all around.

I know you don’t need me

for these things.

But I wish.

 

I wish I could keep the pain from you

I wish I could swipe it away with my tears

or my arms or my words

I wish I could absorb everything

and make life,

fair.

For you.

 

All I can do is hurt with you

Try to help

Understand

Be a shoulder, an ear.

Lend a hand.

But I know I cannot brandish your sword

for you

Not that you need me to.

Not that you aren’t stronger than me anyway.

 

I still wish.

It still hurts worse, somehow.

And yet, I know.

 

I know my scars

Brighten my lips when I know joy,

More brilliantly than if my skin was smooth,

Memory free.

Peace is only found when I

know it is so slippery a prize

after it was ripped away

and I stole it back, one drop of blood

at a time, one struggle at a time.

But I know peace, is the point.

I know joy.

I feel it until I am bursting.

 

I see so many others

sleepwalking.

That’s what pain does

shakes you up

awakens you to your awful state

state of misery or confusion

state of contentedness or settling.

Once awake I knew how to fight

even though I didn’t.

The pain ended up helping me

in a sick sort of way.

It showed me how to fight.

How to stand.

 

I know the horrors of my past

and they know me.

We laugh in the face of the horrors

Climbing through my windows,

Edging into my room

at night, trying to frighten me

with their newness and unknown.

I laugh because this scar tissue

Sees them for what they are.

They are whispers in the dark

Compared to the hideous trumpeting

of my past, my forever scarred words,

lashing into my skin with the blade of no knife.

These new nightmares are cotton candy

and daydreams I spot in the clouds

Compared to the devilish landscapes

lurking in my then.

I know that all that I have suffered

All I have hurt

It lost.

To me.

Without these villains

I never would have

Become.

 

And I know

Your tears will spill and leave.

Your fears will charge and back down.

Playing chicken with you will not work.

I know you will grow scar tissue of your own,

Small battles counting down the time

until they help you slay your next villain.

You will shout in silence

Sob into your pillow

Scream at every smothering glance.

You will find the words to stand your ground

Disperse the hordes that challenge your might.

 

Yes, you will hurt.

And I will hate every moment of it.

I will help you however I can.

I will stand witness to all the snares and wounds

failures and confusion.

I will hurt with you. I promise.

But I know.

You will win, too.

I know you don’t need me to fight these battles

for you

But I will always, always

be here with you.

I will gladly accept these lashings

if it means to stand by your side

As you suffer into Becoming.

 

I still wish you didn’t have to suffer.

It still hurts worse, somehow.

Worse than anything I can remember

suffering inside my own skin.

And yet, I know.

There was never a dragon, never a lotus, never a hero

without suffering to overcome.

 

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by Daphne Shadows

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Filed under Not that Kind of Poetry

These Moments of Grace

I sat in the support group, glanced down at my health food store protein bar made of plant protein and zero dairy.

There was a third of it left in the wrapper.

I typically eat a large breakfast, filled with healthy fats and fiber, in a soup. It’s ultra healthy because of my digestive disease. I eat it without thinking.

This morning all I’d eaten was a small pouch of applesauce. And now two-thirds of my protein bar.

 

Sitting there, reaching out for my next bite of the protein bar… I realized I wasn’t hungry.

I was full.

I felt full.

 

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It stunned me.

I am an emotional eater.

I overeat (which, having a digestive disease, is unhealthily easy to do) and I eat the wrong (read: unhealthy) foods.

I sat there, realizing what I consistently thought of as “hunger” was an urge to fill myself up because I was so empty.

 

I already knew this. But to see the proof of it, that blew me away.

To feel the truth of it, that made me pause.

 

I’d already shared (spoken during the meeting).

I’d taken notes on what I felt and what others’ shares inspired in me. I always do this. I want to soak up, absorb, and store the truths they so easily share among the group.

 

These moments of grace. Where I am filled up with the peace I crave but don’t normally know how to gain.

These moments of grace. Where I accept that food is what I try to fill up on – when I’m not hungry. Trying to fill myself, fill myself, fill myself until finally, finally I feel something other than this terrifying numbness, this void, this empty abyss of nothingness but pain and worry, anxiety, depression, and shame.

So afraid that I won’t get enough food into me. So afraid I will remain empty. Feel nothing but a gnawing monster of never satisfied, never filled, never enough.

Never enough.

These moments of grace. When I find myself, real, solid, completely who I am. Vulnerable and alive and visceral. Safe. Filled with a peace, a harmony with who I am, that I cannot explain in words.

 

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These moments of grace where I write down, “I can choose what to fill myself with” in the little notebook I keep in my purse. In case there’s a fluttering butterfly that I need to capture with my pen, preserve in ink between the pages.

I can. That’s it. That’s the secret.

Fill myself with truth. With self-love that I can then spill over and share with others. With acceptance of what I feel, who I am, what I want, what I need, the secrets I wish to hide from myself but don’t need to. Acceptance that I am only as sick as my secrets. Acceptance that what I resist, persists.

Fill myself with creativity, nights spent typing until the clock tells me staying up any longer would cause me pain, and joy spills over onto my pillow because I never used to feel this, never used to want to be awake.

Fill myself with pillows on my bed, comfy in the middle of all these plushies, eating the words on the pages of a book I love.

Fill myself with hugs and smiles and tears and more hugs. With daydreams and nightmares, conversations, and silence.

Fill myself with the strength to poke at the things I wish I could pretend away, the situations that I wish didn’t exist. Fill myself with the knowledge that looking at and feeling that pain, those memories, these realities – it is worth it.

I can choose to fill myself with prayer and scriptures, fun and silliness. With confidence and joy. Hope and knowing that I am purposeful.

 

I have filled myself with these things long enough.

Felt them in my bones long enough. Stored them in the hollow of my rib cage long enough.

Just long enough, compared to the years of abuse and neglect, self-hate and ignorance.

But long enough.

That I wake up, flinging myself out of bed so I can get to my writing. Wishing I didn’t have to sleep because being awake and feeling this, is what I want.

I have filled myself with healthy emotions and relationships and truths. To the point that I can see how different it is from the pain. The misery. How different it is from filling myself with food. Which always causes more hurt anyway.

I have filled myself with enough moments of goodness. That now I can have these moments of grace.

Sitting there in my support group, realizing I don’t need to fill up on food. I am already full. Filled to the brim with something new. Something better. Something real.

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As Thanksgiving Approaches, I Am Reminded

 

Native Americans are more American than Americans because Native Americans were here before Americans even found America and called it America which was already the Native Americans’ home… America.

 

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And yet, Native Americans are still treated like, “savages”.

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I found all these pictures of Native Americans from history, and yet I have no idea who they are, what they went through. I don’t know their stories. I don’t even know their names.

We are making such magnificent progress with people of color and women’s rights. We’re even talking about how men need to be able to cry and talk about their emotions without being told they’re not a man. Yet, Native Americans are still shuffled to the side, like so much nothingness.

 

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In 2006, Native Americans were 1.5% of our country’s population. That is roughly 4.5 million human beings.

Current sources say there are now 2.9 million Native Americans in the US. That is 0.9%

We went from 4.5 million to 2.9 million. 1.5% to .9%.

 

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In 2004, the Department of Justice found that Native American women are 50% higher in rates of domestic abuse and rape.

That’s not 50% higher than other humans in the US. That is 50% more than the next most victimized demographic!

Meaning, whatever the next group of human beings who rate as #2 highest in rape and domestic abuse… Native Americans are 50% higher than them.

Native American women are also much more likely to be assaulted than other women, of any race.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, the US Department of Justice,  and Office of
Justice Programs had this finding to report:

at least 70% of the violent victimizations experienced by American
Indians are committed by persons not of the same race— a substantially higher rate
of interracial violence than experienced by white or black victims.”

Meaning Native Americans are typically raped and beaten by races that are not Native Americans.

In case anyone wants to try and blame their pain on themselves. As if the victim is as at fault. Because, hey, we don’t blame victims in this country’s daily chosen culture. (And so no one tries to report this as an alternative fact, this paragraph is sarcasm)

 

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1 out of every 12 Natives are victims of violent crimes, every year.

Native American youth have the highest rate of suicide in all of the youth in our country.

More than 4 in 5 Native men and women have been victims of violence in their lives. That means, in numbers,  730,000 women and  595,000 men.

48.8% of Native women have been stalked in their lifetime. 18.6% of Native men have been stalked.

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has this to say:

“It is significant to note that American Indians/Alaska Natives frequently contend with issues that prevent them from receiving quality medical care. These issues include cultural barriers, geographic isolation, inadequate sewage disposal, and low income.”

Oh, and also:

“American Indians and Alaska Natives have an infant death rate 60 percent higher than the rate for Caucasians.”

 

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Gee, I wonder why they don’t trust the government. We have all these facts. And what are we doing about them?

What can we do?

We can see Native Americans as people. We are all humans. We all deserve respect, love, dignity, human rights, and the same opportunities.

We can talk about what is wrong about the current state of affairs.

We can talk about their beautiful and intriguing cultures.

Cultural awareness comes with stories poking at us until we see the truth. We can spread their stories. We can find them, tell people their names and their histories. We can care. We can love. We can hope.

But more than that. We can be the engine that moves hopes into reality.

 

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Sources:

https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/files/content/images/Fast%20Facts.pdf

http://www.ncai.org/about-tribes/demographics

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249736.pdf

https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=62

 

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Hi, My Toe Tag Says Daphne

 

When there is nothing to separate the night from the day

No borders in the ether

No fences about our cells

No boundaries for our skin

 

We are lost

No sun

No moon

Yes

No

They disappear

Only void

Emptiness

 

Everything the same

Words without meaning

Form without shape

 

When we only know the lack of walls

The terror of free falling

We don’t even wonder

Are those lipstick marks or bruises?

 

There is no distinction

Only blind attempts

Empty phrases

Hollow veins

 

We don’t realize

We are all in the morgue

Shuffling about

In dull hospital gowns

Bare feet and teeth unbrushed

Pretending to have a pulse

 

 

by Daphne Shadows

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Something Unlikely

In the recesses of my soul, I fear it’s unlikely for me to find love.

A whole, healthy love.

An accepting, understanding love.

Someone who not only understands me, knows me, but wants me to be in their lives, every day. Someone who finds me important.

Bereft of abuse of any sort.

This is horribly vulnerable and I hate it. But it’s true.

 

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And I think it is sad.

Sad that I am so jaded, so hopeless when it comes to some things.

I think it is sad that I am so filled with such emptiness that I don’t know where to look inside myself to find myself.

I feel I need to peal open the skin on my rib cage, crack open my ribs, and peer inside, hoping there will be a beating heart, to begin with. But beyond that, hoping I’ll find a small, scared, soul hiding somewhere behind an organ or too. Waiting to be found.

Waiting to be accepted.

 

Isn’t that just so human?

It’s not something I obsess about.

It’s not something I even think about too often.

I’m certainly not one of those gals who searches for a man like her life depends on it. I never thought about my wedding. Never fantasized about walking down the aisle, all doe eyed, and plastered in white.

For one, I don’t want to wear white on my wedding day, whenever or if that happens.

And for two, I’ve always been too busy fantasizing about monsters, creatures that could jar me into danger and maddening enjoyment of life.

I’ve never been the kind of gal who had to have twenty friends, surrounded by people all the time, making her feel wanted and loved. I’m not particularly needy. In fact, I need my space.

 

So it isn’t a crazy unhealthy thing.

It simply is. In the back of my mind. Floating along with all those other thoughts or beliefs, I guess, that don’t bother me too often. Or affect me all that often either.

There are simply some things I’m not going to poke at until I’ve worked out where I am right now.

 

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What I’m talking about is the human desire to be loved on a level that only happens when one falls in love.

A knowing and an accepting.

 

I think it’s what we are; human.

We want that other human who we can be 100% human around and still be loved.

 

Did I mention this is terribly vulnerable?

Terribly.

I don’t know how Rara does it!

 

 

This is post #2 in Rara’s #Somethingist challenge. For my original post (which explains things), click  here. And then join the challenge! ;D

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Scavenger

I saw a movie recently. I’m not going to tell you which movie, as that has nothing to do with this post. What does have something to do with this post, is that the main character was a scavenger and every time someone commented on that, they used the word ‘scavenger’ as if it were dirty (the despicable kind of dirty). As if she went about eating people’s unborn babies, ripping them right out of pregnant ladies’ wombs.

This struck me as odd as I sat there in the dark and watched the movie. (and stuffed my face full of nachos)

Yes, there are bad scavengers. But just like everything else on planet earth, I think there are good scavengers.

I think, as usual, we only see it in a gross light.

I have a healthy respect for some sorts of scavengers. I see them in a different light. I suppose I see the word as defined differently too then.

 

Sometimes scavengers are the only ones who survived the abuse, the chaos, the pain, the wars. Plucking almost rotted food and lost hopes from the fingers of corpses as they make their way down the deserted roads, cloaked in darkness of night and certainty that something, somewhere, at some time is going to turn their life around. Or rather, they’re going to be there at the right time and change their lives themselves.

I see scavengers as sometimes empty and simply trying to survive.

I see creatures that feed off dried blood and who have ebony wings and pluck at dead people’s eyes before flying off, cawing at whoever gets close.

 

I am a horror and fantasy writer.

And I live in a different world than a lot of others around me, I’m finding.

It gives me something a little darker and something a little brighter. And that has nothing to do with being a writer.

 

I see a scavenger as the forgotten, the lost, those who walk along the rims of awareness, barely there to most. They live in fear of death, they live in fear of life.

Someone left to themselves, fumbling in the dark with no memory, tugging at the strands of fate, begging their own soul to shake lose something of use.

I feel like a scavenger. Picking at the pieces of a life I could have but hold myself back from.

Because…

Because it takes a while for your eyes to adjust to the light after you’ve lived in darkness.

 

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Hate and Deprive

Do you ever just start questioning everything in your life?

 

Why do I do this?

Why did I think that?

Why do I waste my time on that?

How dare I take time to do that – and anyway, why do I?

What’s the point in this?

Yada, yada, yada.

You get the point.

 

Recently- okay that’s a lie.

For  a while now, I’ve been questioning myself on why on earth I think it’s okay for me to take time out of my day to read a book – something I enjoy – *gasp*!

How dare I!

How selfish!

 

Self hate is a pretty strong accusation so for the sake of you guys not living inside my head and knowing everything that goes on there, we’re just going to go with, I’ve been depriving myself of pretty much everything I enjoy.

Why?

Because I’d feel guilty, bad, wrong, selfish, like a horrible person, if I spent any time taking care of myself.

It’s like I’m depriving myself of love.

Not allowing myself to be happy or do anything simply because I’d like to.

 

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But I’m only skimming the surface just yet, so let’s keep it to what I’ve discovered so far.

 

Last week, I was in a lot of pain (medical issues, don’t worry, I’m not missing any limbs), and it hurt to lie down in bed, even though I was exhausted.

I’m lying there, praying for sleep, wishing against wish that I could wink out of consciousness and fall onto the pillow of being unaware.

And the thought pops into my head –

Why not grab my book, go in the kitchen and read?

 

At this point, even my “hate and deprive yourself” programming couldn’t break into my pain induced thoughts, and so I got up quietly, grabbed the book I’d been sipping (because I hadn’t really sat down and read in quite a while) and went into the living room/kitchen, turned on the light, sat against the wall, and read.

For a few hours.

At about one in the morning, I broke my awareness away from my book and looked at the clock. Deciding to go to bed, I realized I felt better. Happier. Calmer.

 

For a few hours I’d ignored the pain, hadn’t even been aware of it.

For a few hours I’d not felt like an emotional wreck. I’d felt kinda good, actually.

And then it clicked.

All the questioning I’d been doing – why do I allow myself to selfishly waste time and read a book when I could be working on something I need to get done? Never mind that I couldn’t sleep. Never mind that I wasn’t being productive lying in bed and becoming more and more miserable as sleep evaded me. Why did I think it was okay to take time to do something that would simply make me happy?

 

Because it makes me happy.

It gives me some peace.

Reading allows me to escape reality for a little while. It takes me somewhere else.

I read for the love of stories. For the amazing thing that happens when I disappear into another world.

 

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And it made me realize that even on small levels like this, I’ve been punishing myself for doing anything that makes me happy.

Now, I’m sure I’ve said that before. But I’ve blurred the lines of boundaries and my rights as a human being so badly that saying that hasn’t really sunk in, made any sense.

Last week, it made sense. I went from, “uh, yeah, sure, I’m aware that I do that” to “oh, I accept that I’ve been doing this, it’s bad, and I need and want to stop if I want to be happy and healthy”.

 

Did this magically make my bad habit of feeling guilty and hating on myself if I wanted to/did read for a little while?

No, of course not.

I’m a human. Humans are stubborn and it’s hard to break habits, good or bad.

But at least I’m working on it now.

And anytime that not so little voice tells me that I’m horrible for taking time to read – I smother it!

 

Here’s for continued vigilance to that end…

 

 

 

(***A note to my readers. If I haven’t responded to your comments yet, rest assured – I will. I have read and I love your comments!)

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