to be clear
(and i know
some of you
will not believe me)

but

if i could do this
with no harm to anyone
if i could do this with no more
pain caused
i would
i would choose that

and the thing
that had me silent again
is a familiar fear
the timeless terror
of women made witches
by truths unwanted
and deaths delivered
as warnings
to just stop talking
to shut the f*uck up
to move on, chin up
as secrets are kept
in bellies bloated
throats sore
and eyes lost

yes that
and this…
and oh no people
will hate me more
and he will begin the war on my character
and she will believe she needs to protect him
digging her heels in more as it’s all designed to do
and they will roll eyes and talk story untrue
and i don’t know if i can handle that too
i don’t know if i can withstand that
i don’t know if i can do this
when it is so clear what you’d prefer i’d do
when it seems so easy
to put on my approval seeking panties
and just be the good girl
i know how to be
that would have you
thinking nice things
about me

yes that i know how to do
that would feel good
that would even have some say
extra nice things about me

but silence
is no longer
taking the high road
to me

and i want to
get on that road
the higher, more honest one

and also
i think
i need
i feel
i need
i need to speak
what is true
for me
because i didn’t
for the last long while
and it really
messed me up
and messed others up
i messed up
by doing the thing
that was wanted of me
the thing i kinda knew
i shouldn’t do
because i’ve done this before
i used to swallow truths
and it made me sick
and i’ve been convinced before
the perpetrator
was actually the victim
of unjust accusations
and i guess i just wasn’t so sure
what was true
and what i should do
so it seemed best
to trust the person
who seemed most sure
what was true

and it hurt people
i hurt people
and i hurt me

and i keep checking
i keep checking for my offness
all the places i was off
and behaved in a way
that wasn’t good
i keep looking for the ways
in which i was doing the things
i am now clear
were being done to me

and it’s there
it is here…

i too was out of integrity

i was
i was freaked
and freaking and trying
not to freak so much
i freaked myself so far out
i am not so sure where i was
most of the time
a shell of the woman
i used to know
compulsively cautious
radically repressed
deliriously delusional
committed to commitments
that no longer made sense
but then again nothing else did
so at least
i knew i could do
what i said i would do

until
i couldn’t

and i wasn’t honest about that
i wasn’t honest
that i knew
that there were things
that were not true
because i didn’t want to lose
what was left
of the possibility
of the sweetness
i thought i needed
to know
i was enough
i was okay
and it was worth it
i was worth it

worthy after all…

and so i hid
in hopes
i’d misconstrued

living as if it was a dream
i was soon to wake from
telling myself
everything would return
to how it used to be
and i would have the lessons
from this nightmare with me
without it ever having to be true
yes please tell me
this isn’t true

yes i too was out of integrity

and all my hiding
all my dodging and deflecting
avoiding and rationalizing
injured people
damaged me
as i colluded
with my long winded justifying
stuttered sentences
and silence
most of all with my silence

and
i was so deep in
it seemed that my only choice
was to make better
and so i told myself
it was okay…
wounded humans
need extra concessions
more understanding
special allowances
and if i could just do this or that
or that or this or
or or or or…
i told myself
i told myself
as i got sicker
and sicker
silently sick
sickly silent
so quiet
i could
no longer
hear myself
think

and you
might say
but
why share it here
why not with your friends dear

and i say

those are mostly gone now
because of the choices i made
but even if i hadn’t torched my life
what i am doing here
is what i do
my whole life
(yes years before social media)
i put my process on display
i make attempts at art
revealing as much as i can bear
so you can see any ways
in which you may be
in danger
of choices similar

because it’s often our shame
that gets in the way
it’s what got in the way
this time
for me
for sure

i have never been more embarrassed
by what i allowed
i have never been more ashamed
of the ways i sold myself out
i have never been more humiliated
by what i pretended was okay
i have never been more horrified
by how profoundly i failed

and it had me stuck
for way longer
it had me looping
my way into incessant inanities
it had me not getting the help
i knew i needed

and so this
this not silence
this is for you
this is for you
if you are reading this
thinking
omg this
this is me
this was me
i am not just the very most
messed up person in the world

because what i am describing
what i have been describing
what i will be continuing to discuss
is far more common
than i am comfortable with
it’s been disturbing to learn
how much what i went through
was so eerily not unique
patterns repeating
trauma bonding
communication kung fu
resulting apparently predictably
in body breaking
mind losing
heart shattering

this was all very predictable

and you might be
hiding too
and you might not know
what to do
and it seems like the least
i can do
to be honest with you
and me
and those who have trusted me
to show up here
with as much of me
as i can find to share
as an attempt to make right
at least some
of the lying
i did
and i know
there are people upset with me
for sharing here as i am

i know there are people
who are whispering
about how crazy i seem
or like i am spinning out
destabilizing

and i know he and she
and them would prefer
i never post again

and i know some would say
this is career suicide

and i am aware some of you
wish i’d be less vague
and be willing to get super explicit here

and i know many of you
don’t even get it
like you have never been this deep in
with something that was so confusing
it’s taken hundreds of hours of therapy
and educating
to speak
even remotely clearly

and he will he angry
and she will feel defensive
and the new one will be convinced
i am crazy and cruel
and the old ones will nod their heads
with the heaviness
of sorrow soaked in rage

and i really still don’t want to do
anything he or she or them
wouldn’t want me to do
i still really would prefer
that no one be upset with me
or angry or hurt by me

and
i just don’t think
(after so much consideration)
that silence is appropriate here
that my silence
has helped anything or anyone

and so i find myself
in a place where all my options
seem to lead to pain and discomfort
and consequences
possibly dangerous
to some degree

and it seems so extreme
that i find myself here now
a chronically tough cookie
backed into a corner
that it seems i must
honest my way out of

and so i guess my writings
are my best attempts
to make sense
for you and me
so i learn this one
once and for all
and so you know you
are not so crazy after all
and so you can see it for
others too
others suffering
because i get it
my friends
didn’t know
what to do

because at least
that way
maybe
some good
will come
from all this

yes because
at least this way
i can do my best
to make
some good

❤️ emily joy rosen

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