When I was a little girl I always kept a suitcase packed and tucked away in my closet.
I was always on the edge of running, not knowing where I planned on going- just trying to escape the crippling discomfort that lingered in that home.
I never understood the phrase, “home is where the heart is” because if that is the case my home was never obtainable in the first place.
I remember feeling hollow at eleven years old.
I stole my mother’s anatomy books trying to find how it was possible to be alive when that vital muscle was missing.
Because I ripped my heart out the day I simultaneously picked up a razor blade.
I continued to dismantle it every time I took a sip of alcohol.
I thought I could repair it by shoving it into the feeble hands of others-
But my father never noticed it,
My sister was sickened by its contents,
And that girl I clung to in high school just couldn’t handle it.
I watched the innocence within me shrivel and dissolve like wet paper.
At thirteen my safe space was overrun by a man’s selfish needs.
The same man who tried to cram into my father’s shoes, promising to raise and protect me.
My purity was punctured and I can still see the trauma oozing from every wound.
I became a shell of a person. The life within me diminished into a puddle of mud like the ones in the front yard of that house I grew up in.
Toxicity grew within the walls like black mold and I became immune to the sound of slamming doors.
The clicking sound of a loaded gun never scared me, sometimes I was disappointed that it misfired in the first place.
Stashed away in the crevices of unknown places lived the happiness I only saw in my lucid dreams.
I set up my grave prematurely across the yard, past my mother’s craft shed just before the wooden gate that separated chaos from clarity.
When my father kicked me out in 2017 I picked up the trash bags on the curb of my sisters college dorm and I told myself I’d find a forever home. One that didn’t reek of beer and regret.
I found shelter in a girl named after a Disney movie, but she couldn’t keep me on my feet. The weight wasn’t hers to carry.
The guy with ocean eyes opened his arms to me and for the first time I felt the warm embrace of serenity.
I couldn’t stay still though, the constant pull between fight or flight kept me up at night.
I got good at packing boxes and minimizing my baggage.
But I never got good at accepting genuine love in its full capacity.
Now two years later I lay in bed with him and our daughter, cradled in my arms.
I stand upon the firm foundation of consistency, I dig my toes into the comfort he provides me.
For too long I let my trauma dictate me, as if my heart was a playground where those feelings of uncertainty and insecurity played jump rope with my heartstrings.
I finally look in mirrors I’ve been avoiding, because I thought my true form lied behind the reflection in the eyes of those who never saw me as anything other than an object.
I measured my value in half empty vodka bottles and empty promises.
I used to question if my suicide attempt actually worked back in 2016, and this was the hell I was faced with on the other side.
But the pain subsided and the fog settled, or maybe this is just heaven- either way I’ve found my peace.
I no longer feel the weight of my past crushing my windpipe.
I can finally fucking breathe.
Today I know I’m free.
I can’t say I’m one hundred percent but I’m nowhere near where I used to be.