12. Poems On My Journey – Summer 1995

Within this body that you all see
Is a baby I’ve just found — she’s me.
She lives inside of me in like a womb
I want to care for her and give her room
Room to grow so she can meet
Her seven-year-old sister who has started to speak
When they feel loved, maybe they’ll join
The terrorized twelve-year-old in my groin.
I have a thirteen-year-old that’s full of shame
And a fifteen-year-old — I don’t know her name
I have this other self — the adult me
She’s the one you most often see.
We’re beginning to trust a chosen few
Who will help me care for all of you.
I think we know what we must find
Unconditional acceptance and a lot of time.
When I’m in that house and I’m only seven
If I do good I will go to heaven
If I don’t and if I be bad
I will make my dad so mad
I am scared of what he might do
If he finds out about me and you
I’m older now, I should know better
And all you want is under my sweater
You told me that this is okay
Everyone does it so you’d get your way
All I wanted was to be liked by you
Well, I got used by the likes of you
It hurts inside — there are no scars to see
From what went on between you and me
I hate myself for letting you do it
Now all I want is to just get through it
The feelings of loss — that never leave my side
And the search for someone in whom to confide
The ugliness and sorrow that I feel inside
Doesn’t go away — I’ve tried and tried.

Who am I?
Will I ever really know?
Am I someone
Who needs a place to go
A place where someone
holds me by the hand?
No, I just need someone
Someone who’ll understand
Not a certain expert
Who’ll take away the pain
But someone just to sit there
Who has not a thing to gain
I want someone who gains
Just because they care
Someone who gains
Just because they’re there
I know I can’t recapture
All that I have lost
But I have faith that others
Will help me bear the cost
I want for all the others
What has been given me
Someone who understands the pain
In all humanity.
I hate this grief
That’s deep inside
It tears me up
And I can’t hide
The pain that cuts
Me through and through
I want to ask
What to do
But know from past
It won’t always
Be this tense
Hang on and wait
Ride it out
I will learn
What it’s about
But this is hard
What I am in
What I need
Is a next of kin
Who understands
What’s going on
And doesn’t judge
Me right or wrong
I see it now
This is the way
The feelings lifted
I like this day.
What is it?
I think I glimpsed it once
But not something I’m familiar with
My angel card of the night
Something for me to keep in mind
Till I find it?
Know there is a lot of pain inside
Is how I feel right now
Never knew what the word meant
But it comes from sadness
Too much grief
Too long
Sitting in restaurants
Writing my thoughts
Pain in my back
Can’t keep up
Processing all the time
Writing, writing, writing
Scream in my car
Seething rage
Rage I have a right to
But want it out
Out before it destroys me
Pain in my back
My muscles betray me
No, my muscles are there for me
Supporting me
Believing me
Trying to find a voice
They are screaming for me
Breaking the silence
Of a little girl
Whose sobbing
Sobbing from the pain
Of betrayal
Betrayed by those she loved
And still betrayed by me
The adult me
Who is hurting her
By staying so busy
By smoking to dull the pain
That no one
No one wants to hear
That’s not true
There are a few
Few and far between
Who care
Who are willing to listen
But no one
No one can be there
All the time
For the little girl
My little girl
Except me
I always want to share
Share what I have learned
Learned about myself
I want people
People to understand
but to share with me
My joy and my pain
But everyone
Everyone is so busy
Busy with their own lives
That the days go by
And there are fewer people
Fewer people that I need
I’m more comfortable alone
But I’m scared in the hard times
There will be no one
No one to understand
What’s inside
Because what’s inside
I don’t know and
I don’t know if I want to know.
I learned something today
For me to be safe
I must be careful
When and where I speak
Others aren’t often
in the space that I need
A space where they’re there
Just for me
So seldom, so seldom
Can I find that
I found it in the once-a-month group
Three months ago
I found it for fifteen minutes
In the battered women’s group this week
I found it for fifteen minutes
In New Hope a week ago
I found it for two hours last night
with a friend
I found it for an hour on Sunday with another friend.
I know I need more
More time for me to be there
Just for myself
Only I don’t know how to do that
To get the time
I could take the time
But give up my job
When I’m just getting started
I am so tired
So tired of the struggle
To go on and on and on and on
Through the pain
Is it worth it
Where is my hope
Now I’m thinking
Who can I phone
How can I get through
A friend phoned me
I could tell her I’m in the dark
She would understand
But would she have the time
Maybe I’ll do what I did last night
Draw my rage, my darkness, my pain
And hope I get to the joy
I have to figure this out
Because this is no good
The pain is coming out of my hands
Down my arm
It’s getting worse
I’d better quit
Maybe I can cry
Cry all the way home.
Life is hard and yet so good
I can’t help what I feel
Because it’s there ready or not
To be exposed
I only hope the time is right
For me to see what’s been there
All along
Coming together to make me strong.
So many parts scattered about
The time has come to bring them home
It’s happening in my dreams
And in all the people that I’ve seen
Is this fun?
A new part comes into the sun
No wonder I say
This part’s good
But does the bad have to be so bad?
Dealing with Stretch
Then with Dad
Calvin phones and I’m just so sad
My teeth clench
It’s all so vile
This is my life
Tastes like bile
I’m sick of it, want it out
My head held high
It’s not my fault
Nothing I did or will ever do
Makes up for what they did to you
Did to you makes me mad
They did it to me; no wonder I’m sad
I’m just not sure what they did
But it pisses me off; I was just a kid
A kid who was treated like a slave
A slave to all, who always gave and gave
A kid who needs time to herself
That she deserves
Because she’s worked for her health
And even if she hadn’t done a thing
She deserves the best of everything
I deserve more than the best
I deserve just like all the rest
The rest I see who have been abused
Each one precious, a gem unsmoothed
A gem in the rough is what’s inside
I will take the time to polish her bright
Till the flame inside can never burn out
But become brighter still for those in doubt
But I can never be there for anyone else
Till I first take care of me and myself
and I.

Why is it hard to write it down
It’s screaming in my head
All those put-downs — that I think
I’m so good — Who do I think I am
What do you think you’re doing
How can you be so stupid
I lay in bed and cannot sleep
I’m so angry– way down deep
Mad at myself and I don’t know why
I feel so insecure — scared I will die
Die if I say the least thing wrong
It’s hard to believe because I think I’m strong
It’s scary to think of what I must do
My mind’s going crazy from what they did to you
My mind — what’s it about
Did it just change — so much doubt
There’s rage inside — I know it’s at Dad
It scares me so much — was I so bad
He gives the appearance of being so good
I can’t say anything — it wouldn’t look good
Who is he anyway — what did I do
That would be so bad — for what they did to you
I hate the pain — I think my mind just clicked
It shuts off and on — do I scare myself sick
Families — they have such a hold
What is it that holds me — I know it’s not gold
Money means nothing — I have what I need
Why am I scared — I’m in the wrong for a certain deed
Is it Stretch again — it comes to my mind
What really happened — was it more than one time?
I remember riding the hills in his fancy green car
Did he do something then — seems stretched too far
I feel like a liar and I know that’s not true
I’m tired of the pain that you had to go through
Sitting on my balcony I have nothing to gain
The adult me knows there’s reason for this pain
It’s hard to sit here and not blame myself
Feel I’m no good — put me on the shelf
Will I go crazy from what’s inside
Should I be working — then I could hide
I’m tired of this — when will it be gone
I feel so inadequate — what’s gone wrong
If it’s all my fault then I want to know
What I’m talking about — this is so slow
A slow death is what they deserve
But who am I talking about — what nerve
Always say nice things — don’t talk back
The legacy I carry in my back
The pain in my ankle — the worst it’s been
Feel like I’m complaining and that’s a sin
My mood changes so fast I could scream
Smoking non-stop — will I ever change?
Hard to see positives when I’m feeling like this
Hopeless, helpless, powerless, the shits
It’s so confusing, what is the hold
I’m tired of running but can’t let go
Five o’clock mornings lying in bed
Wondering what’s coming — filled with dread
How am I going to make some new friends
When I sit there not talking — my mind feels so dead
Why did I move — what will I do
I want to work — I feel like a fool
Sitting around lazy — is how others will see
But they don’t know what it’s like to be me.
What are the issues that brought me out here
There are so many — I can’t seem to get clear
Growing up in that home — was it so bad?
The feelings I stuffed — make me so sad
Court is another thing that’s on my mind
Decisions, decisions — is this the time?
Why would I do it — it makes me so mad
Is it for me or to get back at Dad
Hearing from my daughter and what she’s gone through
Hell turns to horror — what can I do?
Social Assistance — is this the way?
Feeling so useless — days seem so grey
I want something better for me and my kids
How can I do it when I’m feeling the shits
So much anger fills my insides
But the pain is harder to get out the cries
What did I do to deserve such a mess?
It was nothing I did — I just need a rest
Stretch and Calvin, the priest thrown in
Will a civil suit make up for the sin?
No — I don’t think — that word doesn’t fit
Shows how the past hits the present real quick
No wonder I think it’ll take me a year
To sort out beliefs and become really clear
A page and a half doesn’t begin to describe
The pain of it all that’s still locked inside.
Thirty-seven years, two months, twenty days
I stuffed those feelings in various ways
Were the first five years good in my life
I have the most memories of that time of my life
Did Allinblack start to get me
Did that start my strife
Why do I wake up each morning at 5:00
How long did Allinblack mess with my life?
Why can’t I remember things from at school
Why did I always feel such a fool
How did it start between Calvin and me
No — I’m not responsible for the shit handed me
He did the talking — persuasion his tool
Manipulation is how he got to rule
Mom saw it happen and did nothing for me
If I said it out loud, the blame’d still be on me
She still wants to deny what really went on
I don’t want to hurt her so go right along
It hurts me inside because it’s me I deny
The truth that it hurt her and still hurts inside
How many times did Stretch stand by my bed
Doing what he wanted — was it like I was dead
There’s no way I’m responsible for that shit in my life
It didn’t get any better — same shit as a wife
How much did I block those years going round
Was I there for the kids — it makes my head pound
I can’t change the past — want to sort out the present
The truth of what’s happening so life is more pleasant.
Pure exhaustion is what I feel
The pain of it all is so unreal
Feels like someone hurt me bad
Don’t know who and that is sad
Is it one or is it all
Wonder in time, will I recall
Parts of my life that I had to erase
To keep on surviving what took place
Day after day of needs not met
Night after night if I could have wept
It’d be easier now — much less pain
I wouldn’t feel like I’m going insane
No one there to hear me cry
I learned early — don’t even try
If I did — go to your room
or Watch out — Dad’ll be home soon
Give it a rest — some would say
Just shut up — go out and play
No one to listen — no one who cared
If you were good, didn’t have to be scared
Couldn’t be scared, couldn’t be mad
Couldn’t be happy, couldn’t be sad
Could be tired and that’s what it’s like
Connecting with the girl who’s been out of sight.
Flashbacks of emotion
No pictures in mind
But know they’re from
Another place and time
Feel so little
Nothing I can do
To stop the pain
It’s coming through
Don’t want a label
Of what’s wrong with me
I know it’s a part
Of what happened to me
A part that’s waited
So long to come out
A part that’s scared
And full of doubt
A part whose longing
For someone to hear
The pain she’s held
Year after year
When someone listens
And quietly affirms
The terror she feels
And how her heart yearns
For love wrapped so gentle
In a soft spoken word
She’ll feel oh so cared for
And know she is heard
She’ll join other parts
Of me that were dead
They’ll start playing together
Joy and laughter instead
Of the sorrow and tears
That’s inside me right now
I just have to listen
And all her cries allow.
This morning I’m different
Than I’ve ever been before
Last night’s deep, deep sobbing
Came right from the core
I don’t feel so desperate
Though nothing’s explained
I have more compassion
I don’t feel so strained
I feel like I want to
Get to know this new self
Before another wave comes crashing
And my whole being engulfs.
Something’s going on for me
And I don’t like it at all
My body is telling me something
My back — it feels like a wall
I’m so tensed up — can hardly breathe
And no idea why
I was so tired — now wide awake
Feel as if I could cry
But the cries won’t come when I can’t breathe
Is it fear I’m feeling now
I just want to know what it’s about
Just let my mind allow
The terror of a little girl
A girl who could not sleep
What’s happening now — happened then
As she heard the floorboards creak
Whatever happened in that house
Will I ever know
My muscles tell me it wasn’t good
Was no safe place to go
Just curled up upon my bed
Praying sleep would come
No one ever heard me
I had nowhere to run
Did I ever say anything
Or did I even know
What was happening to me
Why didn’t I just say no
Those are my mother’s words
She says them to this day
My father — just don’t talk about it
No one can have their say
I can’t explain what happened
But know it wasn’t me
Who came into the bedroom
And tried to talk to me
But it wasn’t only talking
His hands upon my breasts
My mind just sort of left me
While he did all the rest
My body was reacting
And I hate it to this day
Why couldn’t I just have lain there
Maybe he’d have gone away
The adult me is oh so mad
Why didn’t I say Fuck Off
Get the fuck right out of here
I could have at least said Get Lost
Now I can picture it all happening
As if I’m up above my bed
And looking down I can see them
Her laying there and his head
His hands are under the blankets
All I want to do is scream
But I lie there saying nothing
Maybe it’s all a dream
But my muscles are just jumping
Holding in those many screams
No wonder I’m not sleeping
And no wonder all the dreams
I am going to get through this
No matter how long or hard it is
I want it to get easier
For my sake and the kids!
This is all about mourning
The kid that never was
Well, I’ll take the time to find her
And love her just because
She is a special, special person
Who deserved better than she got
She is me and I am her
And always each other we have sought
I know I am just finding her
Won’t let her out of sight again
We’ll stay together always
And become the best of friends
I know I am relaxing
And every so often I breathe
Maybe sleep will come easier now
And some peace I will achieve
But my leg muscles are aching
They’re screaming out their pain
Is this the time to go in my car
And scream and scream again
Hitting a pillow doesn’t do it
Writing isn’t working so well tonight
I wish I could go out walking
But is it safe for that at night
Maybe I’ll just do some stomping
Or lay here and kick my bed
I know I’m fucking angry
That I’m feeling this instead
Of my abusers who are many
They should have to put up with this shit
Then maybe we’d have a better world
And life wouldn’t be such a rip
I feel like I got ripped off
Of what was rightfully mine
A happy childhood and a life of peace
Content would be just fine
Instead I have this up and down mess
The pain I can’t describe
The horror that’s churning deep within
And cutting up my insides
I want it over — just have it out
The depression creeps back in
If it was gone — what would I do
I don’t know who I am
I’m hoping it will sort itself out
If I give myself the time
To listen, love and care for her
This little girl of mine.
PAIN — 1
Life — what’s it about
Full of sadness, full of doubt
Will it ever be okay
Will there be days not grey
Despair and hopelessness
Could it be gone
Will I ever
Feel safe and strong
I’m tired now
Tired and spent
My body aches
I wasn’t meant
To live like this
In sorrow and pain
I want someone
To help me reframe
The past and what it did
To someone special
Who was just a kid
I’m crying now
It hurts so much
I don’t want it to be
Just a crutch
That holds me down
So I can’t be
All that I
Was meant to be.

PAIN — 2
Desperation and loneliness
Live side by side
Desperately searching
And I can’t hide
From feelings that take me
Close to the rim
Of a bottomless pit
Of pain deep within
It’s like a long-lasting storm
Raging wind, driving rain
When it’s all over
Is there something I’ll gain
Can’t stand the pain
I see in the world
Reminds me of pain
In my inner world
Feeling so helpless
Like not a thing I can do
To make it right
For all you went through
There’s so much sadness
Frustration inside
Feelings of loss
Like somebody died
My teeth always gritting
Am I holding them in
The words that could tell
The pain that I’m in
One second I’m happy
Then the tears want to come
It’s all so confusing
What is this from
I have an idea
Get excited about life
Then despair knocks me sideways
Fills me with strife
Someone asks How’re you doing
The tears start to fall
But they shut down so quickly
I think is this all
How do I get
The pain and sadness all out
I need people around me
So not alone and in doubt
That I’ll wake up one morning
And it’ll all be my fault
This struggle I go through
For the truth to win out
This struggle I go through
To get the pain out.
I was so down
Didn’t even know it
Feeling the pits
Wasn’t even showing it
Going for walks
So I wouldn’t feel so blue
Desperately searching
For something to do
Needed someone to listen
Someone who cared
For a girl who was hurting
A girl who was scared
My arm is feeling
The pain she was in
When I was hurt
By my next of kin
Words hurt as bad
As touch that was wrong
Who would have thought
The scars would last this long
But put-downs and should-haves
That I heard through the years
Left wounds that are opening
And coming out as my tears
Tears I am crying
To get out the pain
With hope that someday
I’ll feel like living again
This time it’s much harder
Than it has been before
Is it because it’s family
It hurts to the core
Families are supposed
To be there for you
I think mine missed
Don’t want it to be true
Want to make excuses
Why it was so bad
Could they have done better
This is so sad
No matter what good
They tried to do
When it counted the most
They weren’t there for you
A girl who was hurting
So deeply inside
Had no one to turn to
Even if she had tried
I feel so disloyal
Talking like this
Didn’t I learn
How to have bliss
Forget it, say nothing
Leave it alone
You should be happy
You have such a home
I can’t change it now
It happened back then
I’m feeling it now
As if I were ten
I hope it’s soon
All behind me
So I can live
In peace and be free
I am so tired
From crying for hours
The tears I hope
Are like rain showers
That wash all the crap
And dirt off the street
And give me the chance
For me to meet
The girl who was lonely
Day after day
The girl who would have liked
Someone to play
Someone to laugh with
Someone to share
Someone to cry with
Someone who cared
Maybe she’s finding
What she needs now
Someone to support her and
All her cries allow.
How do I change
Beliefs that are strong
That long ago
It was me in the wrong
Do I keep saying
It was nothing you did
It wasn’t your fault
You were just a kid
A kid who had
Too much on her plate
I worked really hard
But life wasn’t great
Too many rules
Too much to do
Too much expected
For a young girl it’s true
The rules were all hidden
Beliefs the same way
It’s hard to explain them
How they affect me today
No matter what happens
These days that go wrong
I’m scared right away
It’s my fault all along
Feelings of fear
Are affecting each day
No wonder it’s hard
To relax and just lay
Around my house
And not work so hard
That was a rule
Be on your guard
I know it’s time
to sort good from the bad
Throw out the useless
Connect with the sad.
Wake up each morning
Bad dreams in my head
My body is aching
Feel like I am dead
Except for the pain
Like I’ve been beaten up
There are no bruises
Just feel shook up
I struggle to get up
To get through the day
What do I want
What can I say
I’m tired of this
Just want to lie down
But if I do
I’m scared I will drown
Drown in the memories
Of long-ago pain
I’m fighting against it
I want to feel sane
I want some ambition
Some energy back
I’m tired of going
Forward and back
To end the pain
I’ve got to go through
Hope the other side
Is not so blue
Is lying down giving in
Giving up on the fight
It’s easy to sleep
If it’s at night
I’m scared to do it
Lay down in the day
I get up, I feel worse
The day seems so grey
It’s hard to make
A decision right now
So much to do
And all I know how
My cheque didn’t come
I’ll be late with my rent
It pisses me off
I feel really spent
Do I do nothing
Or pay what I owe
Then fight Social Services
And feel really low
They don’t want to give me
Excess money for rent
Take it out of my food
Maybe I wasn’t meant
To live life easy
To live life free
Something for nothing
Could I just be
I feel like I’m fighting
The world every day
Will it get easier
Can I ever repay
My aunt who loaned
Money to me
U of R, student loan
I want to be free
Is it the money
Or am I insecure
Scared all the time
Living in fear
Think I’ll make
The best decision I can
Lay down for awhile
And if I can’t stand
The pain of it all
I’ll go for a drive
To the Shelter House
Maybe I’ll cry.
Coming to terms with who I’ve been
And who I am
Sounds easy
But what if you can’t remember who you were
Does it matter
This is who you are now
But who am I now
A person with lots of strengths
Lots of skills
But why do I feel worthless
Exhausted all the time
As if everything is too much
Can’t do anything
Inadequate as a parent
Inadequate as a person
Like it’ll never be any better
I’ll never amount to anything
It’ll always be this way
Why don’t I have any ambition
Why don’t I care
About myself
I’m angry again
My teeth are gritting
My stomach’s churning
Like there’s acid in there
Burning up my insides
Did I ever get to say what I wanted
Did my opinion count for anything
Was it just “Do as you’re told”
“It’s none of your business”
Let it go
My throat hurts so much when I wake up
I blame myself
Is it smoking too much
Or is it pain
From holding them in
The words that would say
I’m angry again
Angry because
I couldn’t explain
How scared I was
Again and again
Angry because
I was in fear
No one to tell
Year after year
Angry because
There was so much to do
Angry because
It was expected of you
Dishes, the clothes,
The rooms such a mess
Take care of kids
And do all the rest
And then every night
When you walked in the door
Everyone jumped
To clean up the floor
To put down a plate
In front of you
And whatever you asked
We rushed to do
What did I get back
For meeting your needs
All I wanted
Was a few seeds
Seeds of laughter
Seeds of love
Some approval
From up above
You were like God
To me in my life
I was treated
Like a wife
A wife who was there
To serve every need
My heart is aching
I was in need
Of someone who cared
About what’s going on
In my life as well
I wasn’t as strong
Strong as you wanted
To take care of the house
Sometimes I’d have liked
To be like a mouse
A mouse who could hide
Only come out at night
When there’d be nothing to do
Everything out of sight
So that’s what I did
Put it out of my mind
But it’s stored in my body
For all this time
The hurt and the anger
The sadness and pain
My body hurts
Coming alive again
Think of those times
And I’m just so tired
Feel like a slave
A slave that you sired
A slave who doesn’t
Have to do it again
But doesn’t change the fact
That I’m the one who’s in pain.
I’m fucking sick of this
Feeling so rough
It’s descended again
That I’m not so tough
Tough as nails
I had to be
To keep on doing
What was meant for me
Nails don’t feel
Just automatically do
They are driven
And I was, too
Driven to do
Things beyond my years
Do it all
And with no tears
No complaining
And whatever I did
Wasn’t good enough
You’re just a kid
Why did I have to do
Those things anyhow
They weren’t my job
Why did I bow
To all the pressure
I got from you
I had no rights
Not even a few
I’m supposed to appreciate
What you did for me
I’m struggling with what
I don’t feel free
I feel tied with guilt
As if I’m in chains
Want to break free
Of all the games
The games that what we have
Is certainly enough
All should be happy
Do you need a cuff?
Smarten up there
Keep your hands to yourself
I wasn’t able to
Stand up for myself
I couldn’t speak up
Even say a word
What really was happening
Or what I had heard
Your word was gospel
We couldn’t even try
To speak against it
I don’t know why
Obey your parents
And look at the cost
Here I am hurting
Finding the one who was lost
She’s coming out
To speak of her pain
I have to listen
Again and again
Because the hurting
Went on for years
And I guess I stored
My share of tears
I wanted understanding
I wanted it then
I’ve needed it badly
Since I was ten
Searching for happiness
In all I did
Searching for love
Since I was a kid.
I know that family is important to me
But it’s most important that I can really be me
That I can tell how sad it’s been
How I was hurt by next of kin
I can’t be there for anyone else
If no one’s there to hear myself
I want my kids, my nephews, my nieces
To know it all, to hear the pieces
To know it’s okay that if it’s rough
You don’t have to try and be tough
You as a kid have no reason for shame
It’s not your fault if you’re in pain
There is no reason to live in fear
You really matter; each of you is dear
I care that the hurting doesn’t go on
You deserve the best; it isn’t wrong
To share your anger, to share your tears
To share your sadness, to share your fears
I hope you keep searching until you find
People who support you who are really kind
Someone who listens; someone who cares
And is non-judgemental whatever you share
People who treat you with the utmost respect
Your opinions matter; it’s what I hope you get
And if you can’t find someone to listen
It’s OK — you have your own inner wisdom.
I want to hear how it’s been for you
But when I’m hurting, nothing gets through
But if you’re able to hear me out
Then I can learn what you’re about
Inside me is a hurt little child
And some days I get really riled
At how some adults treated me
Those are the days I don’t feel free
I want the best for each of you
And want to know you when I’m through.
I still want to bawl and bawl
And tell someone how hard it is
How horrible it was
But I need someone I can trust
Someone who’ll listen
And not judge
And say it wasn’t so bad, or
It could have been worse, or
What do you have to complain about
You have your health
If you’d just forget about it
And get busy, get to work
Forget it, it happened a long time ago
It couldn’t have been that bad, or
You would have said something.
And if I tried to say something
I was told to shut up
You have nothing to complain about
I have enough worries
Leave me alone
Right away I doubt myself
But I know what I know
And it pisses me off that I know
It’d be easier not to know
Easier to pretend nothing’s happening
But when I do, it’s like I don’t care
Don’t care about anything
And have no energy
Just want to lie down
And I don’t want that
I want a life
A life better than I’ve had
I need people around me
Who support me and what I’m going through
That I can say anything I want to
And that I can trust that
I won’t be yelled at, put down,
ridiculed, but treated with respect.
I don’t want sarcasm, or it
minimized that it wasn’t that bad.
These things shouldn’t be kept quiet or kept hidden.
When they are, it just keeps going on
And never ends
And the one who is hurting
Keeps hurting
Or takes out their hurt and anger on someone else
And it never ends
I don’t have to say it’s okay that you hurt me
It wasn’t
I have to accept that I was hurt
But it’s hard to accept it
When I wanted to believe so badly that you wouldn’t hurt me,
That you were there for me
That you loved me.
It’s hard to accept when I’m still in
I’m having memories of when I was thirteen
All I want to do is scream and scream
Because it hurts so much what I had to do
To live in that house with all of you
Why I go through this — I can’t seem to say
Why it’s me who’s got to pay
Fighting so hard to get through the day
Why do men do this when it’s so wrong
Is it because they are the strong
Or is it because we’ve learned so well
Not to speak up, never to yell
The ropes in my muscles are yelling for me
Till I find the right words for what happened to me.
Like a little girl lost
Who can’t say what’s wrong
Who doesn’t feel loved
Who doesn’t feel strong
She’s waited so long
For someone to be there
Someone who’ll love her
Someone who’ll care
She has no one to talk to
No one to tell
That it feels like she’s in
A bottomless well
A well of abuse
Endured through the years
The well is dissolving
And coming out as my tears.
Way down deep
Coming from what happened
When I was asleep
He had no business
Coming in and touching me
It makes me so angry
I can’t seem to get free
It shocks me over and over
That all this went on
How did it get buried
And buried for so long
I want it all over
Acceptance is the key
Quit hating myself
And learn to like me
It got buried because
It wasn’t safe to come out
Wasn’t safe to be angry
Wasn’t safe to shout
I know it’s all over
Won’t happen again
It’s not happening now
It happened then
I can make my life better
Starting right now
With people who support me
People who’ll allow
Me to be angry
Me to feel hurt
Till I get over this feeling
Feeling like dirt
That I don’t have a right
To live my own life
Concern for others
Was to be the first right
Well my concern right now
Is for me and my kids
That life is better
And we can get rid
Of the pain in our lives
Be happy right now
Make friends who respect us
Friends who allow
Us to be ourselves
And I can find work that’s fulfilling
But not above all else
Contentment and peace
I want in my life
An end to the feelings
That bring me such strife
The feelings won’t end
But balance will come
As I take each step slow
And try not to run
Balance out my present
As I deal with my past
I’m not sure how to do it
I’ve always gone too fast.
The universe knows and so do I
Why I hurt, why I cry
Why the days drag on and on
Why all my energy is gone
Right now what I need to know
How to get muscle pain to go
Makes me wonder what’s inside
What my body feels it has to hide
What can I do to get it gone
It’s been with me for so long
If I go out and pretend I’m okay
Then I pay for it all, all the next day
Today I’m tired, tired and sad
I’m feeling down, dirty, and bad
Life is the pits is all I can say
I’m paying the price so others could get their way
Paying the price for what they did
To me as a child — I was a kid
It happened to me — what a breakthrough
Explains why it’s tough and I’m so blue
It used to feel like it was someone else
Who had been hurt — not myself
Now I know that it really was me
Who was hurt over and over — now I see
I’m getting in touch with a part of me that was dead
It hurts so much — no wonder I dread
All these memories of what happened to me
They’re all locked up, trying to get free
But it’s never been safe for them to come out
Before this I would have been in doubt
That it was something I did or didn’t do
Well it wasn’t me — it was you
You who hurt me over and over again
By using me — again and again
I didn’t have a dad or mother you see
Who were there just for me
I’ve accepted that — I’m on my own
Now my parts can all come home
Parts that have been scattered all about
Parts that were scared and full of doubt
That I’d be there just for them
And now I don’t have to do it again
Act as if they’re someone else
They are parts of myself
I am here just for me
So all of me can really be free
Free to cry, to laugh, to sing
Free to do just anything
It’ll all come right in time you’ll see
If I’m always there — there for me.

Life is such torture, such agony, such pain
Abuse kills the spirit
At least now I can name
A wrong that was committed
Against me and my life
It’s wreaked havoc for years
Caused unending strife
My kids pay for it
Just as much as I do
No wonder I’m angry
For all I went through
I know I’m speaking up
Like I couldn’t before
Maybe it’ll dissipate this anger
That comes right from the core
The core of myself that till now was so dead
I want to feel free — start living instead
Of always being down — depressed — not free
Never feel right about just being me
I’m okay and I always was
It’s others who aren’t and just because
They weren’t loved or had been abused
They had no right — it doesn’t excuse
What they did to me or anyone else
It’s time I stood up for me, myself
It’s time we stood up and said this is crap
We’re not taking any more — just stand back
But before I can do — do for the rest
I need to take care of me — I need a rest.

Feeling trapped, feeling insane
My head is pounding all over again
Can’t sleep at night or during the day
It’s what it was like in those days
Days when I was eleven to thirteen
I walked around holding in the screams
Screams would tell what it did to me
Scared all the time what was done to me
Persuading me that it wasn’t wrong
All the other kids go right along
OK for you to put your penis inside my legs
You were prepared — you even carried rags
You wanted more — it wasn’t good enough
For me to hold your penis — you wanted me to suck
Suck you off — you said it wouldn’t hurt a bit
But it wasn’t you — you who got sick
Think of it now — want to throw up again
If I shove it down, it comes back again.
Facing my fears
Years of running have come to an end
Facing my fears is helping me mend
A heart that was shattered piece by piece
A soul that was always searching for peace
Reliving the fear, the anger, the pain
Is helping me come together again
Its not all gone — my back’s still tense
The knots tell me — it’s not over yet
The years of abuse — neglect that was done
It left me in shadow instead of the sun
The shadow of darkness can come night or day
Excitement abounds when light comes my way
When energy appears and my heart sings
I know I’ll get through — through everything
But when the pain appears and darkness descends
I know its time to listen — to go within
Honour the hurting and feel the pain
Maybe someday understanding I’ll gain.

The vulgarness of it all fills my insides
What it’s been like to live in a cage
Not knowing if I can get through the day
Without crying for hours or simply can’t say
At night it’s the nightmares or sleep that won’t come
The frustration — not knowing which abuse that it’s from
I don’t care if nothing more comes back
What’s come until now hasn’t been slack
It’s worked its way up so my mind could see
What it needed to do to set me free
Stand up and speak out — put an end to abuse
If we don’t, it’s children who’ll lose.
My Muscles remember
I’m in so much fucking pain
It comes and comes and comes again
Lying here thinking, what’s it about
What can I do — scream or shout
To get it all out — to set me free
My muscles are trying to do it for me
My heart is aching — my back’s in pain
My neck so rigid — there are knots again
Is it to do with Calvin and what he did
I hate it so much — just want to get rid
Now the pounding’s taking off in my brain
Maybe it’s time the memories came
The memories I’m missing of so much of my life
Memories as a child and some as a wife
It must have been horrible what I went through
I know that it certainly wasn’t my due
I deserved better than to be abused
My body is filled — filled with truths
Its shaking now, trying to tell me
What I need to do to set it free.

Now the tears have come
Not really sure what they’re from
Is it missing church or missing God
Missing community or is that God
Never sure of anything
Another loss to grieve again
I can decide from here on in
Where my life goes and who is kin
But every change brings a loss
Of what is no more and what a cost
It not only touches the sadness now
But the grief and pain I couldn’t allow
Because I believed the church was everything
Place to find God and take away sin
But it’s only a building and soon I said
I am church — I need to be fed
Image was more important to the church than me
Over and over I heard hypocrisy
Words would say one thing, actions another
No one had faith or trust in each other
Everyone loses when communication ends
I still want what I asked for but am willing to bend
Everything is always tied together
Allinblack, the church, God, my brothers
One doesn’t end, another begins
No wonder the pain is so deep within.

To be heard is a wondrous thing
It lightens just about everything
Dealing with the church is hard for me
Gets mixed up with God and I can’t see
What really matters or where I’m at
I had big dreams — they’re crumpled at last
It’s a question of help, not just money
The money I’d use to keep myself well
Because I have my truth — my truth to tell
And in the telling I am set free
Of the lingering pain inside of me.

The ocean of remembrance
Its depths so dark and deep
Holding me its prisoner
Preventing me from sleep
A girl who loved and lost
Everything she held dear
It was me who lost it all
Lost forever to a life of fear
I found that part of me again
That lives in total dread
That a man in black will get me
And it’ll be like I am dead
No one is going to get me
I am taking care of me
But I can’t stop the crying
About what was done to me
I have a lot to cry about
I hope some day it ends
And I can do some fun things
If my heart and soul will mend
It still feels all broken
A pain keeps shooting through
I guess it’s a reminder
To my own self be true.


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