Behind the Poem
To understand where this poem comes from, you would first have to understand a bit about my life. I was born into a fairly toxic family situation where drug use, alcoholism, and violence were commonplace. Although direct physical abuse, in a form I could understand, would not begin for a few months after this was written. I still had some understanding that my life was not a carefree one.
Something I rarely talk about is the manipulation I faced from my mother in my younger years. Before she lost her restraint to hit me, she used to use other means to control me. Her more common tactic was the threat of suicide. At any disagreement or request to spend more time with my dad, she would retreat to a hotel room where she would call and tell me she was going to kill herself, and I was to blame. This is at the age of 8, 9, and 10 mind you. Too young to understand the harm this caused me or my world view, old enough to realize something was wrong about it. This poem was written after one such incident.
This poem reflects my deepest desire to believe that the world was kind and innocent, like other kids my age. It is a desperate attempt to find comfort in what my future would be like. But above all, it is my moment of realization that the innocents in my life was forever gone. These are the words of a child who had to grow up way too fast. Who was facing the cruelty of the world that most don’t discover for many years.
Those experiencing childhood trauma tend to grow up quicker than those who are raised in traditional homes where these traumas are absent. They don’t even necessarily need to be homes of privilege and resources, just ones where basic levels of love and security are met. This trauma brings with it a loss of innocence that they may not even realize they lost. These children learn to mistrust love and relationships after being denied the unconditional love of those who should protect them. They are raised on manipulation and survive on instinct. Few are raised to believe that they can be anything they want to be or that they are even allowed to dream without limits.
This poem was my fight back against such realities. It was at this moment in my life that I discovered a love for writing and started to feel the pull to tell my story. I wouldn’t know what that story was entirely going to be at that time, but I knew it was going to be important to someone.
* I have worked hard to heal from my past through professional therapy and personal growth. Over the years I have become comfortable enough to start using this story in public speaking events and as a major part of my writing. Writing about personal trauma can be very triggering and is not recommended for those still working through trauma unless instructed to do so by a mental health professional.
Read more about my story in my Diary of a Trauma Survivor project.