Protected: To Whom it May Concern

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I don’t remember how old I was. I was little, an awkward being that was all legs without the slightest inkling of what it would take to get my feet underneath me. I was in the surveillance period for my cancer and living with my father, his mother, and some of his siblings. There was yelling, all the time. I never paid it too much mind unless it was directed towards me. I had a very active imagination, there were castles and warrior princesses that outsmarted everyone and ruled kind and just. They were often mistreated, but would surmount their emotional reaction and do what needs to be done according to their moral compass. There was yelling and people were running upstairs and screams. There were sirens. My Granny let these strange men into the house with their official uniforms, there was more shouting. They go upstairs and I am scared. I don’t know what is happening. The strangers return downstairs with my father. I am hiding under a table with a glass top to it. I am terrified by what seems to be a natural disaster in my house. My dad is cussing and yelling. They take him outside for awhile. I don’t know if he’ll be coming back in. He eventually does.

He had been beating up my aunt. I guess he didn’t agree with something she had done.

I don’t know now if I want him to come back.

My Granny and I were sitting down to brunch and I was talking out the most recent decision of his that made me question his value in my life.

I had my fiancé decide to kick me out of the house and end our relationship. I had not been forthright about my whereabouts. He didn’t like that, but it was just the tipping point. He told me he wants me to start packing my bags tomorrow. I tell him that I will do him one better and be out of the house by the next day. He leaves and I spend the rest of the night packing and getting the boxes ready to move out in the morning. I find a stopping point and take a moment of reprieve and rest my weary soul. I awake to my father calling. He tells me that my now ex should have kicked me out long before now and it was all my fault. I finish that conversation off quickly, because that was the last thing I needed on that day. I packed and left by the end of the day.

It just makes me wonder what ulterior motive my father had. He was to move in with us for a short period and now I alone had left him homeless. This is how I see it playing out in his head. However, my past with him leaves me inclined to permanently shut that door in my life as he has had time and time again to make a relationship between us work. Each time he somehow lets me down. I honestly wish it wasn’t the case. I fantasize about a man that isn’t prone to putting his plans ahead of the needs of his family. He has emotionally hurt me and my sibling countless times and always feels that what he has done has been the right course of action. I want to let him in and have him do right by me, but I know he never will. He will always disappoint me.

My grandmother’s council was that he was soon to be gone forever with the way his health has been looking. My father had told me that I was to irresponsible to handle his remains. She insisted that that would be a door I would regret shutting once he was deceased and furthered it by badgering me into agreeing to contact him. How is he ever going to learn how much he has hurt me in the past and all the way up until that day where I ceased communication with him. He has done more harm than good in my life and I refuse to accept that I am the reason he continues to hurt me.

I don’t know if I want him in my life.

That might be another funeral I will skip.

Just Another Cigarette

I sit perched on the roof. Night time has fallen and a hazy cloud cover makes the moon’s outline harder to distinguish. The leaves have been stripped from all the trees and their silhouette is a reminder of the continual passage of time.  A lit cigarette rests lazily in my hand, a side thought of the current situation. I do manage to remind myself that to stay lit, the pull of tainted oxygen into my lungs is necessary for it to continue to breathe life. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. The deep throbbing fire that scorches my lungs reminds me that I am still alive and I am still trying to die. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. The fragrance of my despise fills my mouth, my lungs and cools leaving the entirety of my being is bathed in the poison of what my life has become. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. The smoke’s tendrils curl out of the corners of gaping grimace and through my nostrils giving me the likeness of a dragon. The cold bites through all the extra layers of clothing and a chill is shot straight through my bones. I cannot just sit as the ember turns to ash.

It has become a matter of rebuilding everything that you destroyed. I have men waiting at my side ready for the word to start wooing me. I told them I couldn’t just yet. You are my blackhole, you took everything I had and demanded more. A swirling beautiful mess, you left your true secrets hidden away. Most people knew well enough not to try to look into the darkness, but I am different. I stood at the gaping void and I roared. I heard you holler through the darkness to me, begging me to come safe you. You begged me to love you for all you were. I said I would. I said that I would hold strong in the face of adversity, though my armor was tattered from previous wars. In the time after I told you that I would not falter, you drove me mad. I sat longing and pleading you to show the same amount of affection that I did for you. You denied all request and later denied the existence of my requests. My needs were far less important than your wants.

I began to falter. I began to doubt that you cared. I began to believe you were using me. I began to doubt myself and the warrior inside. I sought out the simple creature comforts I had become familiar with. Then you were gone. There was nothing for me. I felt that I had no family, no real reason to belong. Nothing by my side to keep me strong in my weakening state. I had no other words of comfort besides, “It’ll be over soon.” I lost myself. I partook shamelessly in life while you were away. I became the sinner. I could only spend so long delving into your secret world you kept hidden. I found a source of your pain. Raw as your beating heart when I confronted you with it. My view of you was forever changed for the worse. You had no remorse for the secrets you kept locked away. You victimized yourself. You proceeded to make that the trend for your life. I lost control of myself after that. Nothing would ever be the same after finding your fountain of eternal pain. You got out of jail and I admitted cheating on you. I figured if you had something to hate me for, your self hatred would stop consuming you as it had since you got out. I offered myself as a scapegoat. You decided it should be a sacrificial murder.

We moved. You needed to get away from the influences that had got you into jail in the first place and you wanted me as far away from the people I cheated on you with. Then it all started with you shoving me onto the bed. It turned into you throwing me on the bed. I cheated some more. I hated what life had become. You still denied me and now you hated me. Soon it was onto the floor. You said it was due to the stress staying with your family was causing. We moved out. You put a hole in the new apartment and throw me into the counter. This is the first bruise you left on me. I told you to leave and a couple days later I am sucked back in again. There were more bruises a couple weeks later. I see your hands on my chest and arms. I need you to leave. Then the other night happened. I know I have to end it.

I am now healing. I want to be whole again. My heart skips a beat and I go into a frenzied panic when people raise their voice, throw things, or when they start to shake. I get concerned being around people when they drink. I have no trust. That is not who I am. I am more than that, because I am a warrior. I will summon that person out of the embers of my soul and let all the damage burn away into ash. I cannot sit and as my embers turn to ash.

The Other Night

We were celebrating making it through another week and what better way to do that then with a few drinks. I moved slowly through mine, I was happy that I got through work. You were working your way through the majority of a bottle of Jack Daniels. We did what we usually do, there was a movie playing on the screen and you were distracted. You got up frequently to dance and shake your rump in my face.I would laugh. You were cute and only sometime obnoxious. I was tired from the week of wear and tear on my body.

We were watching Wall-E. It is one of my favorite movies. It reminded me of my siblings. It was one of the last movies we watched together when we still were a close knit family.

You were getting upset by the movie. You kept shaking and fuming. Curse words spewed out of your mouth while describing how toxic you felt humanity was to the world. You were sitting beside me. My legs were resting over your lap and your hand rested on top of them. Your shaking increased violently, you started slamming your fist down. My legs just happened to be in the way. It wasn’t hard enough to leave bruises, but it still hurt. I stayed quiet to not draw your hostility toward me and it wasn’t that painful.

I made it through most of the movie. I couldn’t take the unintentional hits and the anger radiating off of you.

I am going to bed.

You erupt. You are angry that I don’t want to spend time with you. You are yelling and following me around the small apartment. I tell you to lower your voice. I can’t take it. I tell you that you have to leave. You threaten to break things and to take my car. These are never new threats and you are too intoxicated to drive.

Meet me out in the car.

You come out. You threaten to break the windows, slash the tires, and rip the doors off. I get you in the car.

It is about a forty minute drive going the speed limit. You are yelling and punching the dashboard. I ignore you. I am not engaging you in this. I want you away from me. You grab the steering wheel, since I am refusing to get into a screaming match with you. I see headlights in the lane beside me as you steer us into the adjacent lane. I’m terrified. The car slows down as I regain control of the wheel. I get us back into the left lane. I slow down so the other car can pass us with ease. I do not feel safe on the road.

We are about fifteen minutes away. You haven’t stopped yelling the entire time. You grab the gear shift and keep putting the car into neutral. I pull of to the side of the road.

If you won’t stop, you need to get out!

You laugh and question how I will force you out of the car. I say nothing. There is nothing I can do. I am helpless to your whims.

We finally reach your mother’s house. We are going down the steep gravel driveway. You throw the car into park. I hear the engine shudder and rev, I wonder if this could break the transmission. You say you will get out if I talk to you. I try to oblige you. You punch the vents so hard that the covers break off. I try to get out. You grab my shirt. I continue to try to get away. You promise that if I sit and talk that you will leave. We scream at each other. You slap me open palmed. My ears are ringing and I sit there stunned. No tears escape my eyes. It is all too much. I get up to leave. You grab me and slam me repeatedly into the steering wheel. You manage to slam me directly into the car horn. The car honks a couple times. My sobbing breath barely fills my lungs. I break away and get out of the car. I need to escape.

You are screaming how I am such a whore. Your voice echos off the mountains. It is close to midnight. I’m begging you to leave me. I start to run. I am a caged animal. I cannot get away from you. You are bigger, stronger, faster, and meaner. You catch up to me and grab my pants leg. You pull me back as hard as you can. You ripped my pants nearly clean off. I am luckily wearing shorts underneath, but I end up falling onto the gravel. You straddle my waist and pin my wrists down. You blame it on me, saying about how you don’t enjoy this and it has to be done. The spittle hits my face and I try to ignore both your words and excess bodily fluids. I am desperate. I try to get away again and you grab me by me wrists and fling me into a thorn bush. Nothing hurts anymore. I catch my balance before stumbling into the ravine. You are ready to launch another attack.

A single car comes up the road and we stop to watch. No one drives on this road unless they live here. We watch as the car turns around and pulls into your mother’s driveway. Out comes an officer. He asks if there was an accident and soon finds out that we are here on purpose. You say nothing is going on and he leads me back to my driver’s side to sit down. He asks me what happened. You raise your voice to insult and question the officer. He tells me to wait and puts you in handcuffs. He calls out for backup on his radio. He stays by you until backup comes. I listen to his radio and hear the voices read off your record. Finally the back up comes and he comes back to my side. He asks me again what happened.

Nothing really, just an argument.

I see the suspicion in his eyes. He then asks what happened to my pants. I hastily try to cover the damage. I am ashamed and scared. I am shaking and my eyes start to tear up. The battle is done and my defenses are weakened.

My pants got snagged on something. It was my clumsiness.

He asks if I was sure nothing had happened and I confirmed. I was covering for you. You had broken my skin on the gravel and sprained my thumb. I was making sure you didn’t get arrested. He proceeded to ask me if you had stashed drugs in my car and I denied that accusation.

The two officers then made you walk up the driveway to your mother’s house. They questioned whether I was okay to drive and I drove back to the apartment.

I shouldn’t have let you back into my life. You remembered watching Wall-E and the next thing you know you are getting handcuffed. You say you are sorry and that the only way you can really prove that you are sorry is to show me. I let you back in again and again.

I can’t heal from this.

I have been beaten down one too many times.

Well now

We are that awkward couple that you just want to strangle. He seems flawless. I am Midas. My perfect touch seems to bring nothing but ruin. At least that’s how I see it. I get the undeserving luxury of falling asleep with still shots of our relationship dangling like a mental mobile. It calms me and excites me. I get scared and bold. This relationship seems like the perfection I have been seeking. I keep saying “seems”, because I am petrified to get my hopes up. Trembling in fear, I sound like a superstitious paranoid shut-in in my own mind. It shouts my insecurities at the top of its lungs. It proclaims my flaws as reasons I don’t deserve this happiness. It curses my coy behavior and reserved responses. I ignore everything. I allow my logic and thought process to go blank. Let the wind blow this ship as it will; I cannot control the wind, nor does it solely affect me. It does terrify me not to be in complete control, but still it is a relief to feel so free.

I woke up this morning to my legs feeling as if they were in scorching heat. In my fleece footie pajamas, I had found myself to be almost swaddled in the comforter. My legs were also intertwined with fleece bottoms my darling was wearing. Heat radiated from the two of us like kindling. The sun streaming in bathed only half of the room in light and in the dimmer portion, he looks over at me with a sleepy grin that conveys how much he appreciates me being there. Good morning’s are exchanged before I stumble almost drunkenly off to the bathroom. I return to him in a much more awake state and am not so secretly pleased to see his grin had widened. I love his smile, it warms me to the depths of my soul. It confirms all that is right and beautiful with the world. We snuggle and re-intertwine ourselves with the sheets and each other. We kiss. His warm lips are both tender and passionate and it builds with each connection.

A Letter to My Future Self

You’ve been lonely, too long

Let me in the wall

You’ve built around yourself

“Dust to Dust” by The Civil Wars

Dear Future Self,

Congratulations on finishing the first leg of a never ending race. In case someone hasn’t told you today; you are beautiful, smart, caring, and everything is going to turn out just fine. The fact that you are here today proves that you are a survivor. You made it through all the bullshit with your dad. You made it through the distress of changing schools. You made it through the emotional roller coaster from your mom. Most importantly, you made it despite yourself. You will always be your own worst enemy and your mean fighting side. If things didn’t work out with J-, I’m sorry. If you did, go treat yourself to some celebratory sex. Hey, you deserve a great night of fun for getting through.

Now you will be off to college and whether you got into JMU or NOVA, I’ll be proud of you. You have such a bright future ahead of you. Being independent will bring that side out further. I want you to spend this summer just enjoying life. Go kayak, work, explore, cruise, drive, and not care. Once you are back in school, I expect you to try to stay motivated. Be all I know you can be. Whatever happens, don’t let people get you down.