Poetry:  What Used To Be

What Used To Be

There’s a pain I will never experience again 

That I never want to experience again 

The kind that seems to choke my heart 

And keeps me from feeling whole 

My soul feels vulnerable and weak 

Even though supposedly I am very strong 

The pain is like falling into waters so deep 

Never seeming to find my way up to the surface 

Like plummeting into a never ending hole 

And feeling the darkness surrounding me 

Engulfing me in its blackness, as I shudder 

Because there is nothing for me to hold onto 

Nothing in sight, no one’s hand held out 

To pull me into safety, and light 

My heart is trembling with fear 

My stomach in knots, and I can’t breathe 

My jaw clenched so tight, it hurts 

But nothing hurts more than this agony 

My heart’s grief, this little girl’s despair 

Feeling so alone in this life, this world, this universe 

Cries, tears, that never stop, are never ending 

But no one hears me, no one cares 

It must be me, I imagine, it has to be me 

What else is there? 

Everyone else seems to be loved, cared for 

By someone, somewhere 

So I trudge along, all alone 

There has to be something better than this 

Something brighter than this out there 

One day as I’m falling in the darkness 

Someone may just reach out their hand 

Or hear my mournful cries in the dark 

I know I hear them, every day I hear them 

They aren’t out loud, but silent 

Etching grief deep into my soul and heart 

They seem to gnaw at my very being 

Tearing me apart, time and time again 

With unending sorrow, misery, and grief 

Sometimes it feels like I’m dying 

Or something close to it 

The pain can be unbearable at times 

But little by little, I’ve learned to numb myself 

So I don’t feel the pain, anguish, utter despair 

Only emptiness, coldness, deathly numbness 

I shut out my feelings, emotions, and traumas 

Experiencing nothing is easier for now 

Although I am experiencing everything still 

It only seems quieter, quieter in the mind 

While still clawing at my soul, only… 

This time I don’t listen, instead, I block my ears 

I don’t want to hear it, not anymore 

If it is only about more tormenting sadness 

I am done with this, finished! 

All I long to know about is happiness and true love 

And all the wonderful things I hear about 

But have yet to fully experience 

I’m scared of looking scared to anyone 

In case I might scare them away 

Although they don’t get that close anyway 

I’ve learned to protect myself well 

Within my self-built prison walls 

I’m in a protective, yet lonely bubble 

That keeps much of the pain out 

But in doing this, I also keep myself from parts of me 

Which are stuck somewhere… who knows where 

Piece by piece of me, I’ll attempt to find 

A few I’ve found, and begun piecing together 

But others I search for, ongoing still 

My hope knows they will one day be found 

Until I’ve put myself back together 

And exist as whole and complete once again 

Through this infinite journey so far I’ve learnt 

That there is hope, a light somewhere 

I know this, because I’ve seen it for myself 

Experienced glimpses of it here and there 

I am strong, I always have been 

I just couldn’t see my strength, my light 

Where my dark shadows were 

When I walked through my darkness 

That revealed my brightness, my light 

I finally found that dark is good for something 

For without darkness, there can be no light. 


I wrote this poem in late 2009 during a painful time in my life which brought up major triggers from childhood, relating mostly to fears of abandonment, mainly as I experienced losing my entire family while living in the cult, and for the most part of my childhood felt as though I had no family to call my own. 

I experienced countless abuse, but there was no one who I could count on or trust, so for the most part I kept it all to myself. For most of my life, I felt "all alone in the world", and I felt the pain of that knowing very deeply. I felt no sense of belonging, and mostly, I just wanted to shrink into oblivion and stay invisible in order to protect myself. Through my childhood experiences in the cult, I came to believe I was undeserving, unlovable, and not enough, regardless of how much I tried, which was detrimental to my sense of self-esteem and worth. As a result, I have faced many challenges in life and married two men who ended up being my abusers, reliving the same dynamics as when I was in the cult. 

This poem reflects my deep desire since childhood to be loved, cared for, and protected by someone, and my longing to feel I truly belong. As I constantly internalized and supressed my feelings and thoughts, I became out of touch with my true feelings, and my inner world was a turbulent dark torturous mess which this poem expresses to some degree. 

I knew there had to be more ‘positives’ to life even though I didn't really know what it really was that I was searching for. Eventually, as I found ways to heal, my awareness of myself and life changed, and the more I healed and experienced personal growth, as challenging and confronting a path as it was at times. I discovered new happier experiences which unravelled for me, into a different way of living and perceiving. My personal growth and continued healing, my quest for truth, inner peace, harmony, and fulfilment of my dreams is unstoppable. I am now living as opposed to merely surviving. 

Reading this poem recently I realise my perceptions have changed since I wrote it. I used to reject my fears, sadness, vulnerabilities, emotions; the parts of me which I was taught were bad, weak, evil, or unacceptable… in the cult’s eyes, and at times even in society’s eyes. I realise now these are normal human traits, and nothing to be ashamed of or hide from others. I am learning to embrace all human aspects of myself, to be present with myself in my emotions and feelings as a tool for healing, and accept that I don’t need to try to be perfect according to what others expect of me, all I can do is my best, and know that it is enough.