“Defense”

~ Esther Mitchell, 2014 ~

I cried my eyes out to hear a man with more courage than I,

take the stage in my defense,

Say words my soul has been screaming,

from the darkened shadows for most of my life.

I struggle with my courage,

only to be beaten down by the unfeeling words of others,

Who don’t understand the words that scream to get out of me,

but remain held in broken, battered, frightened silence.

That in opening my thoughts and feelings,

no matter how deeply they plumb into the darkest recesses of my tortured memories,

tormented psyche,

brutalized self-worth,

I am not seeking your validation, reaction, or response…

I’m searching for courage.

The courage to one day shout the words,

locked deep inside to the surface of my being.

To hear again the voice of a girl held thirty years in silence,

A hostage to a terror unnamed,

with a face lost to a hideously twisted memory of fear and pain,

A mermaid sunk into glowing blue water until she could no longer breathe,

Until the very sight of tropical bodies in bright life,

turned to garish reminders of a soul,

chained to brightly-decorated fraud,

Tell that girl she is a whore for your attention, your affection,

Tell her she is unworthy of either — she already believes you.

Tell that girl to be silent, to take her bothersome self far away,

Where her messy, dirty, unwelcome form cannot pollute your rose-tinted world.

Tell her she is a pebble in your shoe, a bug ground beneath your sole.

She’ll probably believe you.

She disappears into the wall, invisible, mute, without a second thought.

As every night the monster returns to torment her, still.

Stalking.

Taunting.

Tormenting her from sleep, from health, from her will to exist.

Thirty years in silence,

The ghost of a girl of six, who haunts me with familiar demons —

What if… What if… What…if…

I seek strength by facing my demons before the world,

Where I can no longer hide in shadow, in silence.

Because if my demons keep me in that silence, they win.

If my demons hold me captive in shadow, they win.

And if my demons win… So does the one who gave them to me.

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