Raw. The Telling of Our Stories

So you tell me your stories because you need to tell them. Need to say aloud what rattles around your damaged heart and I become a vessel, a container to hold your pain in with mine. I don’t sometimes know whose is whose as it churns and mixes and blurs. How many stories make one story? Where does mine end and yours begin or yours end and mine begin? Our parallel lives intersect and merge and diverge within our mucky catharses.

I didn’t ask, you know…didn’t want to be assigned this role initially
Only tried to recover all that was lost in that second, or maybe it was a minute.
Suspended in that 9th floor hospital room, looking down on the white house
so simple, small, pure and clean. Distant, like a lifetime ago, though so close I could see it. Dreaming of freeing a butterfly that struggled against its tethers on the window sill. Helpless. Screaming in the night that I could not cut the ties, long ago beyond my reach. It was there you brought me your stories. What a terrible gift to bestow. Terrible. I was already so injured, in such pain. Yet you confessed as though I held the power to absolve us.

You gave it to me, all of you, revealing your secrets once you saw mine were undeniable; exposed to the world. Permission granted through my silence. I took it on. Sought it, asked for it, to compare. Is my pain greater or less? Always, always, me against mean. Where am I on the gradient scale of gray, looking for more, hoping I can say there, there, there it is! There is someone whose suffering is more deserving than mine. Spreading light while collecting darkness.

Is my voice mine or is it yours? Was I appointed because I am fearless to say it, to tell it? While you are still hurt and meek and hiding I can thrust my chin forward, narrow my eyes, be bold and brave and stare it down, that bewitching demon left in our soul, deposited in us but not by us. Impossible to extricate the fallen angels who are one with us, these demons who prey on us in our darkest hours, obverse unwelcomed companions, these stories we have lived that we don’t want to claim as ours.The weightiness, the damage; carried, tolerated, impossible to exorcise no matter our best efforts as I declare FUCK YOU! to it and carry on, determined to win, to claim the victory.

So now I say bring it on. Give it to me. I know what to do with it as much as I know what to do with mine. Still I’ll try to kick it to the curb, to crush it and reform it, reframe it until it becomes so unrecognizable you no longer cower when it comes into view. Even though it is what it is. I enlist you to help me see to it the ugliness gives way to something beautiful, a seed from something evil to sow in the most barren of soils and souls, paradoxically capable of bearing beauty. Nurture it with me. My bright shiny world is yours for the asking. Here… I offer it; invite you to begin to imagine you see what I see. Come look through my eyes towards color and light and life. Come with me. Come alive.

ldj 29may12

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3 Responses to Raw. The Telling of Our Stories

  1. I salute you Lisette for this wonderful website. I’ve told you my story and I know yours very well. We survivors are strong only when we bury the horrors of the past and crush them. We must do that in order to move forward and live happy lives. I’ve learned so much from you. What an inspiration you are to all of us who have been to Hell and back.
    Love you Lisette !
    Your friend & sister, Rosanne Wilson

  2. Donna Warren says:

    I was married at 14 to a 19 year old who was so awesome before I married him but hell I was just a kid. He took me to Texas to visit some of his family and was offered a great job and he told me if we move here we can have a good life. Although it killed me moving 1000 miles away from my parents, we went back to Florida to get our things and then moved to Texas. I didn’t know anyone there except his step family. We rented a nice apartment and on the second day there I walked in and he was doing some kind of drugs with his friends from work and when I asked him what he was doing he hit me in the head as hard as he could and told me to get out of his house.I didn’t want to leave so he opened the door and kicked me out. I did not know what to do because I tried to call my family collect and they weren’t there so I just sat there at the store hoping I could reach them. Wouldn’t you know he comes to find me about 2 hours later and he apologized and bought me some jewelry and acted as nothing happened. Later that night he started again. Well I could write a book about my life because I am a survivor because after being married 28 years.

    • Lisette Johnson says:

      Thank you for sharing this. If only any of us knew the signs – big age differences, being isolated from family, the cycle of abuse, apology, ‘honeymoon’, abuse, apology…God bless you for making it through and hoping you are now safe and experiencing peace.

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