By Mariann Martland
Dear You (the one who stole my childhood),
Time creeps in without me noticing, and suddenly it’s morning again and you’re not here. Yet, you are. You’re always here. You’ve always been here.
I don’t mean to think of you. I mean to live everyday with purpose, meaning and intention, but it’s so damn hard since I began to recall the dark magic you played on my life – it was so very dark.
I feel a tapping on my eyelids, reminding me that I’ve not slept all night, but it seems pointless now. Nothing will change when they reopen:
You’ll still be gone and you’ll still be here, living in my mind. I will feel just as exhausted, for the terrors of the night play hard.
Even when you left, even when you died, you didn’t go. You didn’t leave me. You made a mark so great that it cannot be covered by plasters or paint; a home in my head, filled with darkness and depravity and you, always you.
Do you remember telling me that you would never leave me?
Maybe you don’t. Maybe you never said it and now I’m creating a story in my mind that I sing as a haunted lullaby, rocking me into my nightmares.
Maybe you taught me to believe I was going crazy. Maybe I know you did.
I was not going crazy.
I know we said a lot. Both you and I said a million words I may never recall, too many to hold onto, too traumatic to retain. But the words I do remember are real. Viscerally real. Loud, clear whispers lingered between our lips and burnt through my ears.
But, even with your spoken words, it’s every word that went unsaid that deafen me in regretful, shameful tones.
You can’t take back the touches, the glances, the invasion of my young body and innocent mind. I will never get back the blood that poured from my heart when I still believed in us, when I still believed you were good and strong and true, even as you broke my body and poisoned my mind.
Or the times I cried out my soul, still in your grip, promising the heavens (and hells) that I would give anything to no longer be attached to your toxic corruption.
A corruption you had me believing was love.
It was not love.
The years I gave to you, even once you were gone, blinded by legacies and lies. The grief I still give to you, laid down bare, begging for mercy, pleading to rewrite the years I spent loving you, believing you, being broken and bruised in your wake, bargaining to erase your memory so you could no longer haunt my life.
Such was your intention to condition me to your will, that even now on this cold morning, when you are long gone to the stars, you are with me still.
I don’t mean to remember you. I mean to live and leave you in the place you should have always been – away from my body and out of my mind.
I don’t mean to keep thinking of you. And it’s never intentional thought. Mostly I cower in fear of your memory and the flashes that play through my mind, feeding on the wounds you inflicted and resting on the words you spoke.
Yet, while I don’t mean to remember, I know this is part of healing. This is emerging and processing and rebuilding.
One day you will be here less, and less and less. I trust in this. I have to trust in this.
I see you now for who you were, who you always were and for what you did:
I see your actions, your crimes, your abuses and violations. I hear your words, twisting and curdling through blood and poison and pain.
I don’t mean to remember you so vividly, so frequently, so overwhelmingly, but if remembering is part of processing, if processing is part of grieving, if grieving is part healing and if healing is part of living, then I choose to live.
I choose to live, instead of locking this away until it eats me alive as I die in your prison.
I choose to make you a part of my story, not my defining story.
I choose not to choose you.
Instead, I choose me.
the girl whose childhood you stole, the woman whose future you will not take
Mariann Martland is a writer, a seeker, a lover, a friend. She wholeheartedly believes in the universe, love, connection and strength of human spirit, even when she is overwhelmed or confused by life; there is usually at least one moment in each day when she feels overwhelmed or confused by life. Through writing she dances in the dark and breathes in the light. More of her words can be found at www.MariannMartland.com and on Facebook –www.facebook.com/MariannMartlandWriter