(a poem from April 2017)

I wish I could say that I hate you, But I don’t and that’s what hurts the most Because every time I think of you I remember that I loved you, That I believed when you told me “forever” And I told myself I’d love you for all of my life. That’s the blade through my heart at night. That’s what I feel when I lay awake, Every thought like blood in my throat, choking me, Gasping for breath, trying to keep my head above the flood of memories, And I want to drown so it will just stop. If I cut the memories out and let them bleed from my wrists Maybe then I can breathe again Maybe then you will care again And take me in your arms and tell me not to cry, Tell me that you’re there and that I’ll be all right. Every time I think I’m over you it crashes into me again And I’m drowning in our cold, dead love.

I don’t want it anymore And yet it’s here, drowning me in my own tears, Leaving me gasping, desperate for a breath of forgiveness, of moving on.

I can’t. You hurt me. You took advantage of a naïve child. You told me you loved me and took what you wanted. You groped my breasts, you made me suck you and swallow your bitter pleasure. You did things I wasn’t comfortable with, things I didn’t want to do, but I didn’t say no Couldn’t say no Didn’t feel safe to say no Didn’t feel like my no meant anything to you.

Was I anything to you? Anything but a fucktoy, someone to use, someone to abuse, hands to stroke, a mouth to suck, a body to pleasure you and be paid in words of love and texts with smiles and empty promises of forever?

It took me so long to realize what you did to me was wrong. It took me so long to realize saying yes because I felt unsafe saying no was abuse. It took me too long to realize that the absence of no is not the same as yes. For so long I thought it was my fault. Maybe if I’d given more Maybe if I’d been more comfortable Maybe if I’d gone all the way with you, let you take everything from me Maybe you would have stayed then Maybe you would still love me And maybe this love left in me would be love for an abuser but at least it wouldn’t be a poison destroying me from the inside out.

I don’t want you anymore. But you’re just so charming, so smooth, When I see you I just can’t hate you. I try to be cordial I try to be polite I try to act like we’re still friends But I hate you I hate you And I want you out of my life and out of my heart Because I can’t let you go and I don’t want you anymore. Get your claws out of me Let me go I want to be free and I want to move on and I need you to let me go so I can heal. I’ve become promiscuous trying to get over you. I’ve become angry trying to get over you. I’ve been harboring a flame of rage deep in my heart that not even the flood of memories can quench And if I had the opportunity to get away with it I’d murder you in a heartbeat. I want you gone.

You taught me that you would save me, You taught me to rely on you, You taught me that I needed you. I don’t. I don’t need you. I’m surviving on my own and I’m surviving without you. I’m starting to fall in love again and damn it, it’s not with you. But apparently nine months without you isn’t nearly enough To overcome ten months with you And you still won’t let go of my heart.

I loved you And I want to say it’s past tense but it isn’t because there’s still a part of me that’s drowning missing you And there’s still a part of me that wants you back And if you wanted to date me again I’d like to think I’d laugh in your face and tell you to fuck off But I don’t know. I hate myself for being so weak I hate myself for letting you abuse me I hate myself for not recognizing it. You never fucked me but I wish you had because I would have known that as rape. You never hit me but I wish you had because I would have known that was abuse.

But no, you chose the insidious route, You chose to push me just a little farther, just a tiny bit outside my comfort zone, Not so far that I would push back but far enough that I was nowhere near comfortable And when I asked you to stop You’d say yes You’d say sorry And then three days later we’d be back in the same position and I’d feel so dirty But I never said a thing because my opinions didn’t matter And if I was uncomfortable, well, that didn’t matter because you enjoyed it So I never spoke up.

I feel like it’s my fault because I only said no once, But you didn’t respect that and I stopped trusting you And that was the beginning of the end. I stopped pushing back. You kept pushing forward. And soon I was looking at myself in the mirror and crying and feeling so unclean and so impure because of the things you’d done to me and the things you made me do And the guilt was eating at my soul until there was nothing left in me to resist And still I didn’t recognize that was wrong. I thought the problem was with me. I never thought it was you Your selfishness Your cruelty Your disregard for me Did you ever love me? Was I anything more than someone to pleasure you?

But you promised forever, and I wanted that. I wanted to be loved and I fell for your pretty words And so I stayed. And I hate myself for it. I’m furious at myself for letting it happen— Me. A strong woman. A fighter. An intelligent, take-charge woman. A girl who can out-bitch anyone if need be. I’m ashamed. I’m ashamed to say I was abused. I’m ashamed to say I stayed. And I’m afraid to tell anyone because I’m just the quiet girl in the corner and you’re the social butterfly and everyone likes you And I’m afraid of being blamed for it when I’m already blaming myself. I wish you would take responsibility I wish you would admit to being wrong.

So don’t you go telling me you don’t think you did anything wrong Because if you didn’t do anything wrong, then I wouldn’t be sitting here with mascaraed tears running down my cheeks and thinking about all the times I cried, all the times I felt unclean, all the times I laid there and prayed to a god I used to know that it would just be over. If you didn’t do anything wrong, I wouldn’t be drowning And I wouldn’t be telling the man I love now that I’m too scared to be in a relationship.

You were my first And you took my innocence And you broke my trust And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust anyone fully again

Because of you I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop And waiting for the kindest man I’ve ever known to turn on me. I’m waiting for him to disregard my no. I’m waiting for him to decide his pleasure is more important than my comfort. I’m waiting for him to use me up and leave me like you did.

I’m tired of this and I hate it I hate you And I hate what you did to me. I want you out of my heart And out of my head And out of my life. I’ll be just fine without you. I’ll be better without you. Get out of my heart, get out of my life. I don’t want you anymore.