Detective

My man wants to know my whole sexual history

My hesitation to unleash the demons from my trauma box only sets a wildfire of suspicion in his mind

I feel eaten alive at the crossroad of past and present men

He says that his woman must be held accountable for her actions

He references a religious belief that has nothing to do with me

I try to not fall over from the sexism

He interrogates me, my family and friends

Trying to connect loose ends

My body feels criminalized

Every time he learns of another ex-boyfriend

He guns down a line of accusations and invasive questions without end

He longs to latch on to that ethereal number of how many men have had sex with me

God only knows

When he demands that I relive the worst moments of my life

I want to end my life, though I do not tell him the invisible repercussions of his prying

I am a private person

With each new photograph he finds, he looks for clues

‘You were a pretty little girl’ he concludes upon examination of a picture taken during grade school, as if that were proof of my unchasteness

He dissects each word from conversation, trying to find deeper meaning, spinning stories where there were none before

Like a man watching porn, he is only interested in penises and penetrations

He has been marinating in his own scrotal sac for too long

To men like him, women are only important in relation to other men

I feel insane with rage

First I suffer a lifetime of molestation, rape and violation

Then I suffer being shamed and blamed for the crimes committed against my body, judged for events that occurred before we met

He is not worthy of hearing about my pain, he has not earned my trust

He may unearth old rumors kicking around this small town

But he will not find the rivers of tears I have cried

He will not see the countless non-consensual encounters I have survived

He will not hear my inner screams silenced by fear and lack of self-worth

I have learned enough to know that I deserve better than this

Lay down your case, detective

Put down your spy glass and quiet your inquisitive mind

What you are searching for has been in front of you all along

A good woman who loves you, committed her life to you, and wants to do right by you

Please do right by her

My Man

My man wants to know how many men I’ve had sex with.

I tell him the truth: I don’t know.

I don’t feel the need to know how many times I’ve been raped. I have no desire to quantify the horror, shame or mistakes. I might explode with rage if I focused on those who eagerly traumatized me for their own pleasure.

During my employment as a happy-ending masseuse, I ended up giving much more than the hand jobs I signed up for. Now I’m trying to create a happy ending for my own life but my man keeps asking me about the past. His questions awaken violent emotions in me.

The customers who paid for hand-jobs knew that I wouldn’t call the police when they raped me because I’d be incriminating myself.

My only crime was being born below the poverty line. Self-abuse and self-neglect were ingrained in me by my parents.

I was hungry and trying to get an education I couldn’t afford. I was told ‘here is the ladder you must climb to reach a better life.’ I set to climbing. I solved my financial problems creatively.

My man fixates on the absence of the number of men. I’d tell him if I knew, maybe.

His questions feel invasive and probing.

I used to be valued by men for what I could give- my young, beautiful body.

Now I am devalued by my man for what I have given men.

Men only value women in relation to other men.

When will I be seen as my own person, my own human, inherently invaluable?

My man bemoans what I don’t know; the quantity of traumas too numerous to count, too common to stand out in my blurred memory.

Yet he doesn’t complain about the food I put on his plate, the home I make, or the bills I pay.

I implore him to wait, let me tell my story when I feel ready. I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready. When he asks me about my sexual history I feel ill, anxious and hurt.

I find my breath, reassure myself that he didn’t mean to inflict suffering, and flirt with forgiveness. I remind myself that my spiritual groundedness is stronger than even my exaggerated stress response, my current perceived crisis.

He knows that I was a pushover, pretty and poor. For all of his scheming, jealousy and time spent thinking about me, you’d think my man would connect the dots.

Unbridled

I finally found my life partner, my love

We’ve lived together for more than a year, peaceful as doves

Happiness pours like sunlight into my life

We wanted to make our union legal before starting a family so we applied for a marriage license
I let my two sisters know the good news- one sister was warm and loving, the other sharp daggers of ice
The first sister offered to sing a song and bake a cake
The second could not be present on our tentative date- so she rained down anger and hate
She was irate that I might celebrate the day without her in any way, however small
Her tyrant insecure ego ruled all
So I gave in to her, as I do
And excluded the rest of my family too
I am trying to understand her thoughts strange and cruel
Why should she have a say on how I carry out my wedding day?
I am a grown woman
She is unwell, wrathful as a demon unleashed from hell
She took the day dedicated to my happiness and love and made it about her anger and pain
That’s what narcissists do: they take your plans and shit in your hands
I was about to take flight and she pulled me back down, the way she does
Like everyday of my childhood, she still can’t kill my hope
Now if I do have a ceremony in the future, I wouldn’t want her there
Forced and coerced, I’m frozen in PTSD
I don’t want her in my life at all, too long have I suffered abuse and trauma from her disproportionate drama
Growing up I wished for her death for my liberation, but that’s not the way
I must be brave, face her and say
Your presence in my life is toxic
You ruined my childhood and now the day of my marriage too
How many ruined days of my life will be enough for you?
Never enough, I know that much
I ache to break free from your trauma-bonds
My brain throbs from the damage of abuse
The blade of my tongue dangles, hungry to cut you loose
In trying to tie me down, you only tied your noose
Your tight grasp only pushed me away
I’ve got this strong itch to tell you you’re a crazy bitch
If you want to stay in my life, stop being a dick
The narcissist and the co-dependent is an act I’m tired of playing
That’s how I know my man is right for me- he is giving
You have an insatiable appetite for my energy
You can’t imagine the pain you inflict on me
As you claim to care about me
I don’t want your conditional love
Love is unconditional, you’re the one who is fucked up
So I cry and kick and punch the air, wonder if you feel it out there
I hope you have nightmares about me in your sleep, that I set fire to your sheets
I learned terror and violence from you
I want to scream
I want to shout
I want to let my feelings out
A deafening roar presses behind my teeth, that old jangly door
I could drown you in my tears
We are both angry: you were born angry, and I am angry that you impose your anger as my problem; you blame me for your meltdowns which are your responsibility alone
If only everyone did what you wanted, there would be peace, or so you’d have me believe
Peace comes from within, stop your deafening din
I am not responsible for how you feel
You are the one who unleashes your anger
I am the robotic doll with no apparent emotions at all
I am also the bride, and there is no room for you in my sphere of love and positivity
With each breath I regain space for myself
By meditation or medication, I wish you well
On second thought, go to hell
It is OK for me to speak my truth
In the eye of your drama storm, I followed my heart and wed my true love
Amidst healing from your narcissistic abuse
I unite myself with self-love
You always tried to break me, but it only made me more unbreakable
You poisoned my wedding well-  I don’t want to sip from it again
You silenced my wedding bells, not knowing that the ringing in my ears cannot be suppressed
When we were little girls, I believed that I was responsible for your feelings
What an impossible task- you’ve always been mentally ill!
I believed it again when I didn’t stand up to you about getting married- when I took responsibility and cleaned up your mess by hiding my marriage from everyone else so that you wouldn’t feel left out
I hurt myself in the name of not hurting you
Yet you are hurt nonetheless, despite my best efforts, my ultimate sacrifice
I’m so fucking exhausted by this awful game
I hope that I fell for the lie for the last time
Armed with understanding, I slay the dynamic between our archetypes
There will be more tears to shed until the day that you are dead, and probably after that too, just to have known you, to have had my developing neuroendocrine system deformed by you
I struggle between wanting to make amends, to be sisterfriends
and to speak my truth, tell you what I think of you
Here is my unbridled rage: fuck you
Your misery is not my responsibility
I may not feel free yet, but with the pen I can write my revenge
Liberate my thoughts even though you may never read this
For a minute there, I lost myself
All these asshole experiences- with family members, exes, bosses
Simulating that I am a hunted and trapped animal
All this elaborate illusion to challenge me, push me to the limit to see if I can remember under pressure
That I am one with everything, that everything is one
In the quantum field, I tap into my innate healing energy, and radiate healing energy out to those motherfuckers as well
To the haters- though you are hurting, you are still loved
I may not like you, but I can assure you that you too are one with everything
Though you may never believe it in this lifetime, that is your loss, that is your spiritual amnesia to recover
I pray for the swift and complete liberation from suffering of all beings

Sleep Talking

Long ago and far away
On a bus grinding through the night
The air thick with sweat and grime
All we had was time
Beer and ice cream on my lips
Bitterness and liquor on his
The man next to me said that I was afraid of talking in my sleep
He overstepped the boundary that I failed to establish between us
Sometimes when I wake up alone, I wonder if my lover heard me sleep-talking and left me to wallow in my past
I want to tell him the truth about my life, but I fear that he would stop loving me,
or worse- rehash it endless times and tell his religious family who would judge me as a hell-bound, lying, baby-killing whore
They’d be right, in a sense
I have exchanged sex for money and I’ve had 3 abortions, each one horrible in its own way, but not as bad as being stuck in an abusive, disempowering situation
Judge not, motherfuckers
I don’t want any man to judge the decisions I’ve made about my body
Least of all a man who is financially dependent on my career: a profession which swallowed my fetuses whole
My past is nobody’s business but my own
I don’t want to be given a hard time for the hard times I’ve already been through
I’m trying to heal and move on
I’m trying to meet myself with compassion for the trauma I’ve endured
I am strong and tough and vulnerable and delicate
My dark secrets are at once more innocent and scandalous than my jealous partners imagine
I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore so I stopped being pregnant
You weren’t supporting me by being broke and leaving me shamefully unmarried
I didn’t want to spend the weekend with you so I didn’t
I regret the weekend away because the other men treated me both better and worse than you, but I love you- painfully clear now that the hormonal storm of pregnancy has simmered down
Why do I set myself up for drama and disaster? I’m trying to heal but your rehashing of the past dredges up emotional detritus, dragging me back
My old stress addiction dies hard
I clamp my jaw
My teeth grind like a bus in the night
I pray that I didn’t sleep talk last night

Orderly

There was seemingly so much order in the house

I didn’t hear the echoes of screams or shouts
Silence deafened the din
The ticking clock was the only sound within
All those books lined up stoically on shelves
Couldn’t hold back his chaos from hell
Every room was clean and neat
Her living nightmare uncontained by crisp white sheets
Grandma, you lived with abuse all those years
Warrior-strong, I never saw your tears
Grandpa’s explosive anger was unjustified
You finally have peace now that he died
But you can’t turn back time
You can’t take back years of your life
From your struggle, I have learned
I depend on no man for what I earn
I prioritize how I feel inside
Over how others perceive my life
Spring cleaning starts in my mind
My relationships are full of ease, not strife
I know you had your reasons
And I thank you for your sacrifice
I honor you by living my best life