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.

-Jessica

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.