Mostly integrated and whole.
Despite the best efforts of parents
who denied her feelings
and exhorted her to smile, smile, smile.
Despite the best efforts of all the bullies
who saw in her open heart an open wound
to cut her in her deepest place
because they could.
And despite her own best efforts
to be rid of the poison
that made her defective in the eyes of some
and a target for others.
She failed in her efforts
scars unable to suppress the rhythmic beating.
Her wounded heart
for her to understand.
The perfect solution came when she was eight
finally shoving down those despised feelings
burying them with food and food and more food.
For a few moments, bliss.
The years made it harder and harder to SHUT HER UP
That child inside who was her true self
The sweet soul who knew that
wearing emotions on your sleeve
doesn’t make you weak
It makes you compassionate.
The wounded adolescent
weighed down by hating the best of herself
escalated the efforts
to BE SOMEONE ELSE
covering her ears and going LALALALALALA.
and money and
To SHUT IT OFF.
But she could never be someone else.
And she despaired.
The Grace of Recovery
came to her in her 30s
and her 40s
and her 50s
and her 60s.
the knots of her failed efforts.
The wreckage of her past
affected her present.
Especially her body,
ravaged by her mind.
Acceptance of the things she cannot and could not change
a soothing balm.
she finally understands.
that she will never be completely whole,
seeing the sum of her parts as a gift
instead of a curse.
Blessed to be who she is
because of all that she was.
Still making mistakes,
but more forgiving of herself.
Living sober, and solvent, and abstinent
no matter what.
And finally walking that rocky path toward emotional sobriety.
Able to imperfectly
share with others
her experience, strength, and hope
from a heart she now wears lovingly, and willingly, on her sleeve.
If this poem’s artwork resonated with you, you may want to see the pendant I’ve made from the original art. (This pendant is one of dozens available in my shop.)