The Mourning After

i was in therapy for years
CBT worksheets plotted purposefully amongst childhood paraphernalia
from corners, soft lamplight was thrown like a duvet
trying to drape coziness 
over the confining clinical unease.
and they were all the same
like a drugstore halloween costume labeled “safe space”
it was a factory-made attempt
to resemble the real thing
on grey walls hung posters advertising healing
as a landscape with peaks and valleys 
true as it may be,
the message seemed a joke 
from the merry-go-round’s plastic saddle.
one after the other
well-meaning professionals gobbled up
veiled confession 
i can’t eat because it’ll make my thighs too big
was easier to offer up 

i can’t eat because looking like a woman 
is what drew him in 
full from my empty bellied half-truths 
they would rub their satisfied stomachs
nodding as they prescribed me 
a 50mg prize 
i became lost in a body 
that no longer felt mine
Shame sinking me deeper by the day.
not long was I gone before
the missing signs went up around me
the photo used was of the girl before
my family and my friends searched,
pleaded, despaired,
but soon the search was abandoned 
and from my warm corpse 
i watched as my mother,
destroyed by guilt 
believing she had failed me
mourned her child. 
watched as my friends moved on,
unable to keep reaching outward
only to return with untouched palms. 
i watched as my kind father,
eyes heavy and confused 
opens his arms wide
like a shoreline of pure hope
and he calls me to make my way 
back to him 
desperate for an embrace
from his lost child
it would be five long years 
until I would return 
to the warm sands of touch 

You gave me this Shame. 
Shame that denied delicious food
lovingly made with intention and care 
Shame that shut me out from the world 
from relationships
from school
from parties
from sex 
from me 
years passed by under the weight 
of it’s control 
but now I know
that this Shame you gave me 
isn’t mine. 
the burden, the disgust,
the blame, 
the things you placed in me 
when you took away my childhood 
and my voice 
I can see now, they were never actually mine
this Shame is Yours. 

after all this time 
You take it back. 
In loving memory of Before. 


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