Second Chances


And it never really changes.
The words look different. The way they form a line this time that seems straight and stable; so well-crafted, so precise. There seems to be no faults, no cracks, no frayed edges, and you feel yourself drawn to the letters that fall seamlessly from his mouth and land without effort in the aperture of your heart.
But it never really changes.
You said there would be no more chances. That the last time was enough. You look down at the scars that had just started to blend into your skin, barely noticeable now. You try and remember what every one of those scars cost you. Except, this time the words look different, and you can’t.
He forces his way closer, and somewhere deep inside, you still believe in second chances. You weaken. After all, the words look different. This time will be different.
It never changes.
It doesn’t take long before the words begin to reshape; after all, he’s an expert in manipulation. They become familiar threads of anger, blame, guilt and shame that he weaves around you; a web of abuse he seeks to trap you inside so he can satiate his need for power and control.
You’ve been here before.
Nothing changes.
Except for you.
You changed.
You realise you don’t need this anymore. You have become wiser, braver, stronger in the places he once broke you. You have become sure, resilient, steady. You pulled yourself from the ground where he said you belonged and rose – a fighter, a warrior, a survivor.
You forgot. Just for a moment, you forgot. But now you take one last look over your shoulder and turn your face toward the sun and remember who you are.
You are fire, and you blaze with the fury of all you are worth.
And you are worth so much more than a love that was only ever abuse in disguise.
In honour of Domestic Violence Awareness Month ❤️
Butterfly Illustration courtesy

And They Will Always Try And Make You Feel Inadequate


And they will always try and make you feel inadequate.

They will grab you by the hand and drag you down your alleyway of imperfections and show you the walls lined with your failures. They will claw their hands deep inside the pit of your stomach and search out your insecurities and place them behind your eyelids where even in sleep there will be no escape from your deepest fear of scarcity. They will barrage your mind with taunted whispers of all you should be; with ridicules of all you are not. They will wear down the resistance of your heart with arrows of rejection and dismissal and ostracism and abandonment for every moment you attempt to stand firm upon the truth of your own heart.

This is how they crush your bones so you fit inside their box where they will always be able to shape you into who they want you to be.

This is how they throw a blanket on your fire until your flames are no more and you become only the ashes and dust of who you were created to be.

This is how they wrap their cords around your throat until your skin is raw and the power of your voice is silenced by the fear of speaking out loud.

This is how they keep you small. This is how they keep you quiet.

This is how they keep you from being more than they will ever be.

And when they have almost succeeded, and you have forgotten the sound of your own name, let me remind you, my love.

Let me remind you that you have been created beyond compare. That every breath you take is the heartbeat of an answered prayer. You are perfect in your flaws; made more beautiful by the broken pieces you stitched together with your threads of courage and hope; threads that glimmer in the sunlight and warm the darkest shadows of those around you. You are a heart made of soft wool that wraps its compassion around others when the world gets too cold for them. You are the strength and resilience of an oak tree that others clamber beneath when the wind blows and the storm rages. You are the force of the night as it triumphs over the day; the softness of the tide as it surrenders to the moon.

You are incomparable fingerprints and remarkable thoughts imminent inside the beauty of your mind. Your eyes are colours of marbles not yet named and your laughter is made of music never heard before and your toes beckon upon winded paths not yet imprinted by others.

They will always try and make you feel inadequate.

And some days you will believe them. You will believe you are nothing more than the mistakes you live to regret, nothing more than the times you have failed, fallen short, the sum of your deficiencies. You will believe you are only deserving of love and acceptance if you comply, conform, make yourself less than so you do not overshadow or intimidate or threaten them with the fury of your flames. But you are born of the galaxies and made from the fire of the stars they contain.

You are here to burn for all that sets your heart on fire and watch it turn to gold.

They will always try and make you feel inadequate.

Don’t let them. Listen for the sound of your own name. For here lies everything you are. Everything they are afraid of. Everything they will never be.

And everything the world is waiting for.

And This Is How I Love


This is how I love
I am like a wildfire in February
Propelled by the north winds
That rage with the same fury
As my breath upon your neck

I burn with chaos
I am madness that consumes
I hurl my passion at your skin
You are like sun-baked grass
My fingers catch you ablaze

My lips are ruthless
There is nowhere untouched
Every edge of your landscape
Ravaged in violent destruction
Til your bones are only embers

But you remain cool
You are frost under August sky
Damp wood upon a forest floor
You wince as my urgent flames
Burn against your faltered heart

You pull away
And I remember I am too much
That I am supposed to be meek
And in your distance I am wiser
But in your apathy I am left cold.

Then You’ll Remember How To Fly


And he will offer you words
Handpicked from his fields
Where manipulation grows
Upon soils rich with deceit
They’ll look like wildflowers
That smell like new promise
And for a moment your heart
Will be fooled by their beauty
And your mind will then dwell
In places where luscious earth
Feels warm beneath your feet
And the purple heather sways
In time to the summer breeze
The places where wildflowers
Are born and freedom can be
Found under boundless skies
And for a moment you’ll think
He actually means it this time
Then you will look down upon
The marks around your ankles
And wrists that still weep tears
From shackles and chains that
He made you believe were love
And then you’ll remind yourself
That freedom doesn’t look like
A cage and love doesn’t look
Like abuse and once more
You will remember
How to fly.

Image courtesy

I Wish I Could Be Better For You


I wish I could be better for you
That I could be like the poems
You read when you can’t sleep
Like the first taste of red wine
That kisses your eager mouth
Or the drops of saltwater that
Cling to your skin on a hot day
I wish your fingers didn’t bleed
From holding on so tight to me
That your ribs were not broken
From the way you fit my heart
Inside the safety of your chest
I wish I was more than sadness
That I could be louder than my
Silence and softer than my rage
I wish I had been taught of love
The love you are well taught in
Not the kind of love that forces
Your legs open in the nighttime
And fills your mouth with shame
I wish I was not made of mistrust
And sewn together with betrayal
Maybe then I would know how to
Be like the woman in your poems
Maybe then I would know how to
Be better for you.

I Forgive You, And In Doing So, Forgive Myself


Today I woke with your name upon my tongue, bitter, like the dregs of whisky that burned my throat last night as I drank to the sound of sad movies and faded dreams.

Bitter, like the taste of poison in my veins.

Once, you were the tender kiss of morning coffee upon my lips, the gentle warmth of the sun as it streamed through worn blinds and washed over our bones; our limbs tangled in the bed we used to share.

Now there is only the imprint of your memory, laid to rest in the cold grave next to me where you belong no more.

Yet still you remain, trapped inside my heart where the acidity of all we became seeps into my bloodstream and contaminates my flesh, my organs, my soul.

Yet still you remain, trapped inside the walls of my unforgiveness where I have refused to set you free. Where I have imprisoned you to my hatred, to make you suffer the wrath of my anger the way I had to suffer yours.

Except, the only person who suffers, is me.

I step outside, barefoot, and feel the cool of grass between my toes. The air is fresh, pure, and I breathe it into my lungs, ache for it to cleanse the remnants of you that reside within my core.

No longer do I wish to keep you here, inside my heart, where you corrode my veins. No longer do I wish to keep you here, where I am shackled to pain, where I am captive to misery with every breath I take.

I gaze at the horizon where city meets sky and in this moment I know.

There is nothing to do but forgive you.

There is no weakness in forgiving you, it is not an ill-fought surrender.

It is bravery, it is strength. It is release, liberation; freedom.

It is an act of love.

Not only in setting you free.

But in setting myself free.

Because in forgiving you, I forgive me.

I forgive the girl who needed to be loved, whatever the cost, no matter how much it hurt. Who didn’t understand back then how much she was worth and all that she deserved. Who settled for less, settled for abuse, turned the other cheek, all in the name of love.

I forgive the girl who made mistakes, who made wrong choices, who hurt other people because of how much she was hurting. I forgive her that she stayed, when she should have walked away. I forgive her vulnerability, her weakness, her desperate need for acceptance. I forgive her that she didn’t know how to fight for her heart back then.

But now she does.

Three simple words.

I forgive you.

No longer will I continue to hurt you for the way you hurt me.

But more importantly, no longer will I continue to hurt myself.

I step back inside, get dressed, and make myself some coffee. The day stretches out before me like any other.

Nothing has changed, except, everything has.

Finally, I am free.

Image courtesy

And Maybe I Will Go To Therapy


One day I will not be so young
And foolish in the ways I hurt
I will arrive at therapy sessions
And learn how grown-ups heal
I will take notes in a notebook
With its pages still untouched

I will no longer soak my pores
With bottles of cheap red wine
Until I cannot tell the difference
Between alcohol and the blood
That seeps between the pages
Of the books I will never write

I will no longer be the angry glow
Of cigarettes along empty streets
As I watch garbage trucks at 4am
And hold nicotine against my lips
And pretend it is you I hold there
While a streetlight flickers above

I will no longer throw my outrage
Against the wall above your head
And watch as your fingers bleed
From sweeping shattered pieces
Into bins already full of confusion
That I cannot find a way to empty

I will no longer fill your suitcase
With the heaviness of my fears
Then show you to the front door
Instead I will tell you not to leave
“I need you,” I’ll speak out loud
And my eyes will not look away

One day I will not be so young
And foolish in the ways I hurt
And maybe I will go to therapy
And learn how grown-ups heal
Or maybe there is no right way
To put ourselves back together
After all.

Image courtesy