Week three of the IndieInk Challenge, ladies and gentlemen. Even more fantastic writers have jumped on board. This week, my prompt (only one word this week) comes from the talented (and totally adorable) Evenstarwen:
Nobody ever acknowledged how weak I felt. How, instead of the venom, power was sucked from my veins. I allowed the abuse to continue. So I would suffocate underneath sheets of hatred and resentment, because breathing didn’t seem worth it. The weight of guilt might collapse my lungs and, if it did, the fight was over. That’s all I wanted anyway.
The blood, tears, and bruises fade, but the desire to deem myself useless lived. The nightmares continue.
I’m lost in a war trying to remind myself that I was worth more than some man ever allowed me to be. Everything except the physical abuse continues. At least those injuries healed.
Friends tried to provide comfort, but the gap between us grew because they couldn’t understand. It really was my fault.
I backed away from those who didn’t know ‘me’. If they couldn’t see it, if they couldn’t see flaws, they never really knew me anyway. Alienation is the nature of this beast. Tell me I’m worthless and I’ll love you for your honesty. Tell me I’m better now and I know you don’t know me.
I took the blame. I suffered, used to my heart’s wretched wailing and the cold sweats after a night terror. I begrudged others of seeing my beauty because it was fake anyway. Nothing I knew before the abuse was real. And, after, nothing will ever be.
I was saturated. Colors were deeper. Feelings were raw. Pain felt good. Life shouldn’t be this way, but I kept going, forging forward, hoping to be rescued from the nightmare, all the while knowing that I was my only savior.
How do you pick up the pieces of a shattered life? There was no pulse, there was no heart, there was no core or gut left to tell me where to go. The only things left were hatred and pain and suffering. Tears and sadness and longing. I spent time recalling every moment that I could have walked away, noting how ignorant it was to continue. The red flags and sirens wail, yet it’s too late to change it.
The bed was made. Sleep in it, bitch. Wallow in the foulness that you created, whore. Put on makeup to hide the real you. You aren’t pretty. Drink to escape. That’s what stupid women do. Women like me.
Cleanliness is only felt under the artificial rain of a shower. That’s where you find the battered women. Hiding from life. Cutting their legs while shaving, to make sure they’re still human, to be certain they still bleed.
The snow and ice gifted me more time than a mind like mine should be allowed to have. My heart finds it difficult to breathe underneath the weight of Winter’s storms. Yet I only feel this way when I think about the times when I wanted to escape myself. And it’s silly, really, because I’m all I have. I control my happiness.
I control my happiness. That thought makes all of the difference.
I can’t help but think of life before him. I remember what it felt like to smell Spring as it blew wisps of hair across my collarbone. Blades of grass tickled my feet as I plucked weeds from the landscape. In those moments living wasn’t a chore. I was human.
As day lights the sky longer, I feel freedom hanging in the air. Self recognition is easier. These days feel like Spring. They’re helping me rebuild my life. No inner turmoil waits behind frosted windows. I’m eagerly waiting for gusts of mid-April winds to renew my spirit. The whispers of his voice, the words he once said, aren’t haunting me any more.