*Trigger Warning: domestic violence and sexual abuse.

I want to shout this from the rooftops,
But also whisper it so no one looks at me.
Don’t listen.

I was taught to lie.
Probably all of us are to some extent.
What I mean is,
I’m not okay.

I don’t want to write this
Because I don’t want to be judged.
I’ve spoken my truth before
And been called ‘evil.’
It set me back.
But I’m going to say it anyway.
It’s the truth.

My mom always made excuses for my dad.
He was always sick or working too hard,
Never passed out drunk or so hungover the house stank
Or so depressed he couldn’t look at us
Or more worried about his latest obsession,
Like a new toy or the liquor hidden in the garage.

These were ugly truths.
Better to lie.
So we did.

That man I ran to,
The one I gave my heart and six years of my life to,
He also wanted lies.
He demanded them.
Pretend everything’s okay. Don’t roll your eyes.
Don’t tell him you’re hungry.
Don’t say no to sex.
Don’t say no at all.

He took my personhood, and my Truth,
And over three years later I’m sat with all this shit,
The realization of being groomed to lie about who and how I am,
The years and years of systematic abuse
By men I loved, who I gave my heart to,
And being so used to lying,
Especially to myself,
That I couldn’t even recognize the abuse
As it was happening.
It’s taken me years
To even understand consent.

So I’ll just say it,
Louder for the people in the back,
I’m not okay.
If you’re dealing with something like this,
It’s not fucking okay.

I can’t explain the disassociation that occurs in the midst of it,
And the shame that I carry
For staying.
I did stay. I didn’t listen to the people who loved me.
I did what I was taught, what I did best.
I lied.

And I’ve never worked through this shit.
I left and I stood up in court,
Stoic as you please,
And then I finally got sober
And I swept it under the rug,
I lied,
Until I started step work for addiction Recovery
And I pulled back the rug
And I saw it all.

Now, It’s all I can see.
I can’t close my eyes
And I can’t stop moving.
I have nightmares in the daytime
And grief in my soul
And I can’t sleep properly
And he lives inside me, hurting me still.

It is enough.
It is more than enough.
I have my humans now,
I have sought professional help.
I will Recover and move on
Because there is strength within me and all around me
And fundamentally,
I know that I am not broken.

But I don’t need to say that I’m fine when I’m not.
I don’t need to pretend. No more lies.
I become a different person every day,
But this, now, is my Truth,
For anyone and everyone and no one
Because it’s mine.

And if it’s yours,
I love you. You are not alone. I believe you.

And to anyone who knows abusers,
Who sit at their tables and laugh at their jokes,
Who make excuses for them
And sit passively, or worse,
Avert their eyes,
Your silence makes you complicit,
And you are the same as them.