The abuse started at a pretty young age. Little did I know what I was putting you through. I look back now and wish I could change it all. I wish I could take back all of the hurt and all of the pain. I wish I could make you see the light at the end of the tunnel, that life is not just shades of grey with minimal hints of color, that you were not broken nor were you anyone that needed to be saved. I saw you as small and weak. I saw you and judged you. I didn’t care to dig deep, to get to the core of you, to the root of who you really were. I didn’t know you then.
I told you that you were different growing up. I told you that you didn’t stand out in a good way. You didn’t look like everyone else and I know you so desperately wanted to. You carried things in your mind and in your heart that were heavy. Divorce, weight issues, eating disorders, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, lack of friends and relationships, and lack of being whole. Sometimes that weight was too much to bear and you spiraled and I know it was because of me. My words hurt you to your core but I didn’t care. I kept pushing you. I didn’t know you then.
I told you that your family wasn’t “normal.” I told you that you would never be normal. You grasped for love wherever you could find it. You grasped for acceptance but most of the time none of it was real. You lived in a constant hamster wheel of emotions trying to find your way into the arms of someone that loved you, or even liked you, just for being yourself. I told you that you had to change to be loved. That you had to be someone else to be liked and fit in. That your friendships were always surface based and never pure. I didn’t know you then.
I told you that you were never pretty enough. That no one would ever find you attractive let alone worthy. I told you that in order to be this person you had to lose weight. Change your hair chemically. Wear all the wrong makeup. Chase the wrong relationships. I told you not to eat. I told you that you had to go to extremes and make yourself sick to keep your weight down. That you had to obsessively exercise and take every diet pill on the shelf to lose the weight. I convinced you that you weren’t up to par and you held that belief as long as I told you to. I didn’t know you then.
I told you that when your mother passed away you would carry a guilt with you forever. I told you that you lost so much time with her by being the “tough kid” and that you didn’t appreciate what you really had in such an inspiring woman. I convinced you that you weren’t meant to have a long lasting friendship with her and the you blew your chance. I enveloped you with guilt and held it over your head whenever possible. I didn’t know you then.
I told you that you weren’t smart enough. You tried and failed yourself continuously with each new endeavor. You let yourself down and I convinced you that you let others down too. I made you believe that you were a joke, a failure, and would never figure out your passions. I lead you down a path of darkness for years and left you feeling as if you were just meant to be miserable and just exist. I didn’t know you then.
I told you that you would never get pregnant and make him happy. That you waited too long and were too old. When your first round of IVF failed I told you that you would never give him a child. That you once again failed another endeavor. I made you believe that you weren’t as strong as you thought you were all of these years that I abused you. I was as dark as the night sky when you had postpartum depression and when you struggled with postpartum anxiety. I swirled around you like an animal hunting its prey. I made you believe that you weren’t cut out for this either just like everything else. I didn’t know you then.
I didn’t know you then because I didn’t allow myself to get to know you. I didn’t allow myself to accept you and see your greatness. I didn’t allow myself to see how beautiful you have always been both inside and out. I didn’t allow myself to see how much you give of your heart and how passionately you throw yourself into everything you do. I didn’t allow myself to believe that you really were as strong as they come and that no matter what life threw at you that you would bounce back with more vision and determination than before. I spent so much time holding you down, holding you back, and filling you with lies that I kept you from living. Because of me you missed out on being free, both from yourself and from life. But today, oh today, I do know you and no longer imprison you. I see you now. I see the you that you have worked so hard to become. You live in a world of gratitude. You’re a warrior because of all you are, all you have been thru and all you are determined to do. You will never settle for being mediocre and will work yourself to exhaustion because true inner distinction is earned. You love, hard, and hurt just as much when that love is not returned. You’ve created a life for yourself, this life, and you’ve grown a family of your own. You’re no longer held captive by the invisible acceptance of others and only abide by the rules set forth from within. I long for a re-do button because you deserve it but the truth is they don’t exist. For now I hope you will take this second chance, with yourself, and run with it gripping on to forgiveness, clarity, and peace.
“You are the poem I never knew how to write and this life is the story I’ve always wanted to tell.” – Tyler Knott Gregson