I see you.
I hear you in “I’m ugly”, “I’m stupid”, “I’m too quiet”, “I’m revolting”.
I watch you in the mirror as you criticise, judge, and find flaws in every pore, every hair, every feature, every parenting decision that I make.
I feel you when you tell me I don’t fit in, that I’m shit at that job, that I’m not clever enough for that course. That my clothes are just wrong, my hair’s not as pretty as hers, that all I am is an object to look at, to be compared with others.
I crumble because of you, when you tell me she doesn’t like me because nobody does. He isn’t listening because I’m boring. They won’t answer the phone, as of course they don’t want to speak to me. He doesn’t want to sit next to me because… who would.
I take you in, your snide, bitter words of judgment. I have absorbed your manipulative ways that find subtle faults in everything I do. I have become you.
In horror, I watch you in my children, silently screaming for you to leave them alone, aware that they are experiencing echoes of you from me, from us, just as I did as a child. Part of my imperfect legacy to them, but then you knew that, didn’t you? You’ve got me there, haven’t you?
I hold my children now. I hear them and feel pain as they struggle with you. I try and catch them when they fall over at your command. I can teach them about you now though, show them the monster who you really are.
I thought you spoke the truth, but am beginning to understand that your only goal is destruction.
I have believed you, owned you, lived with you, shrunk because of you, nearly broke apart in your hands many times, I have seen how easily you can destroy.
I see you worthlessness, for the dry, choking ivy you really are.
I find you in others too. I accept that, at times, we step on each other as part of our struggle with you, as we fight to hold on. Oh yes, I see you then. But I hold myself now, and have others who hold me too. I know how powerful and unavoidable you are, but I also know how you hate being heard.
I see you. I stand before you. I listen to you. And now, I question you. I challenge you. I won’t always believe you. I don’t want to own you, although I know you will remain with me. I am unable to ever let go.
So, I grow. I change. I breathe. I expand. I rise. I learn a new way to exist, for today at least, where I accept you for the shrinking force that you are. I hope that I will feel as strong tomorrow.
Because I am worthy. I am worth it. I have worth.