Outspoken Linguists


a creative space for raw, progressive writing

For Her, a Survivor

I
I saw an angel in you
The tenderest love
The biggest heart
The saddest innocence
The loveliest attitude
Hyper-acceptance–
Some angels fall, we've learned this from stories
You didn’t fall, you were fooled and abused
Falling was never in your nature
A foolish angel only deals in naivety for so long, is only a tender flower for so long—
She hardens, and sad innocence transforms into a physical shield
Strong enough to defend herself and those she was destined to protect

II
I breathed for myself for 23 years
The day I breathed for you too was the day I felt pain for the first time—
Every breath a nightmare—
Every word a curse—
Every tear a reminder of evil

III
Laugh, hurt child
Laugh, effervescent woman
Laugh, dreaming goddess
Laugh, raped child
Laugh, strengthened warrior

IV
You’re not what happened to you
And you’re not at fault in the slightest
You’ve hurt us with your underestimation of our love for you Our steadfast acceptance of you
But that’s not the problem
He's damaged you, and he’s the problem
You were his solution, one of many
As depressing a conflict-resolution as any
This won’t keep you young, but it will make you strong—
You were always strong This will make you invincible—
Be a bright star, the one even he envied
Be a brighter star, the one he couldn’t diminish
Open your heart to men again
Open your heart to touch again
Open your heart to your family again
Breathe easy; don’t hide again

V
As repulsively human as it is, it’s made me question humanity at its core
How the good things always come with the bad
How incredible human feats have their counterparts
How abuse in every way, shape, and form leaves the other battered and torn
How one acts on desire and every type of desire has a following
How humans, clever beings, capitalize even on evil
How it was never outside of the realm of possibility

VI
I can barely sleep knowing I lived while you suffered—
That every time you left the house you were walking into danger
Every time you came home, you returned from hell
My playful pokes were triggers
The smile on your face was a veil
Precious girl, I would have moved mountains for you and sleighed dragons for you
I would have sucked all the light in the universe and used it as energy to fight your demon
I would have turned the ocean black to reflect your despair

VII
Do I have to tell you you’re the strongest?
Do I have to show you how to fight?
Do I have to show you when enough is enough?
Do I have to draw you boundaries?
Do I have to show you where they shouldn’t touch you—
How they shouldn't control you?
Do I have to tell you what behavior shouldn’t be tolerated?
Do I have to tell you you’re in charge?
Do I have to tell you to never self-compromise and make up excuses for inexcusable behavior?
Do I have to tell you money is not and never will be an issue?
Do I have to tell you that this happens to so many women?
Do I have to tell you it’s because men take advantage of us?
Do I have to tell you it’s because the system is unfair to us? Do I have to tell you it takes someone really messed up to do this?
Do I have to tell you it’s because of a lack of education?
Do I have to tell you it’s not and never will be your fault?
Do I have to tell you you can’t stop the fight?
Do I have to tell you I’m always here?
Do I have to tell you that you can talk to me no matter what?
Do I have to reiterate that we’ll still love you?

Yes, Survivor and witness to the greed and lust and entitlement of Man, I should have told you every day.

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