poetry

What I Wanna Tell You When You Say ‘Get Over It’. {poetry}

When my dad wrapped his car around the lamp post, got out sobbing and shaking and screaming and threatening suicide from the middle of moving traffic at Mountfitchet castle, pointed at me, and a cry came from his throat Now look what you’ve done, look what you made me do, I wish you’d never been born, you were a horrible mistake, you’re the reason I broke up with your mum, you’re the reason I broke up with Fiona, you’re the reason I broke up with Kate, you’re like a plague of locusts, everything you touch dies, you are a curse, whoever you hang out with will be cursed with your curse, I’ve been cursed by you and my life is ruined because of you

… I knew what he was talking about; he wasn’t making that shit up, he was talking about something real that I’d been born with. But it wasn’t me, it was him, and it wasn’t just him, it was his family, his school, his parenting and beyond, the system of dysfunction that recycles itself in the unconscious, and I was born an unwanted child, the product of an affair, when my dad had to divorce the love of his life in order to support me and my mum.

And from the moment they knew I’d been conceived, from some accidental one-night stand around Christmas, I was blamed, held responsible, for my parents’ hatred of each other.

And I’d watch him get up in the morning and go to court and make decisions about peoples’ prison sentences as a prosecuting attorney, as a man who gets paid six figures for his fairness and rationality, then he’d come home again and bury his feelings with television and food and random women and hate on my mum, and when that got old, he hated on me, until I was caving my head in against the wall, or the concrete floor, or anything that I thought might get the devil out I’d been born with, and he threatened me, as he often would, that unless I straightened up and behaved myself he’d call the ambulance and have me taken away and I wouldn’t come back.

So he did. I was carted off on a stretcher.
‘Cause all I ever wanted was attention
And all he ever wanted was for me to be gone
And that is how I left home.
At 18 years old. He asked me to come back but I couldn’t. It was over.
And I speak out. Because I can’t beat this thing alone. I can’t carry it.
And I bet you reading this will unearth buried memories
Moments you’ve repressed
There’s a reason you relate
Something’s been forgotten
And it has to be remembered
Looked at
Opened up
Or, like it or not, it will ruin your life
And you will be a slave to it
Unless you grieve it, cry about it, scream it, rage at it, get it out
And you are embarrassed about what I’m saying ’cause it makes you uncomfortable.
And you think I should just move on
Or stop talking.
I’m talking for all the children who don’t have a voice.
And all the babies who feel horrified at their own face
Reflected back at them by parents who don’t know how to love
And this is a prayer that every single abused child gets to have their voice
Every single child who was beaten gets to know that they were a victim.
And own that they were a victim.
Because being a victim is a real fucking thing,
Don’t let the victim-shaming New-Age self-help bullshit tell you that trauma is a choice, or a construct
Or that if you look towards the light, or find something else to occupy yourself with
That the pain will miraculously disappear with no effort to tend to the wounds.
You take that little baby and all she had to go through
The one who couldn’t imagine what life might have in store for her
But had to dream to escape what was happening to her now
You tell her that she made it
And she’s gonna keep on making it
Tell her that the strength she built
From breathing under water
Will save her again and again
And that anger, that hurt, the misunderstandings, the shame
Has turned into fuel to feed her fire
Has made her relentless in the pursuit
And you let her know that they didn’t kill her
She didn’t die
She made it
And her process of becoming was more rich, more glorious, with grace from the Beyond
You hold her broken nose, her swollen skull
Cup her purple face in your hands
And tell her she got through
Tell her one day she woke up and it was all a bad dream
She didn’t starve herself into thin air
Anger didn’t eat her alive
Sadness didn’t drown her
She did it
You did it
And now you get to make choices
Beyond mere survival
But please don’t ever tell me
That trauma is open to interpretation.
Because you would never say that
With your dad’s hands wrapped around your neck.

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LouisaJaneWestJane West is a writer, recovering alcoholic, life-coach and philosopher. She studied female sexuality and communication for two years (and then for the rest of her life). She likes sadness as much as she likes happiness, and the truth above everything. She likes quotations and believes in past lives, astrology and magic. She grew up in London and recently moved to San Francisco. Find out about coaching with her at her website.

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