IRL Story · Poetry · Uncategorized · Writing

Reclaiming Spaces

Written: May 23, 2015

I am working on reclaiming my spaces.

Starting with baby steps, I gather a journal and headphones.

My feet lead a distracted mind to the local park.

I am not carrying monsters with me.

A pen in my pocket replacing shiny pieces of hungry steel.

I place myself at the edge of a field, sit, and write. I look to my right and slowly allow memories to cloud my vision.

A younger version of myself stumbles past me. She staggers through the darkened sidewalk, blood rolling off her arms. Her steps leave a bright red trail of drips. She collapses and I drag my focus back to the upbeat music pouring out of my headphones.

I tilt my face toward the sun. It is a beautiful day. I am not that lost soul anymore. I am filling myself with sunny days.


Late at night, I quietly lead the boy of my dreams to my bedroom.

I pull his shirt over his head before we have passed the threshold.

Everything is blurred with our ragged breathing. We are tangled, I am safe.

He strips me of everything.

My guard lowers with my clothes, he kisses every inch of scar tissue.

We fall tangled and hot into my bed. The floorboards moan as we lose ourselves.

I will replace pools of blood and suicide attempts with this boy. My childhood bedroom will cease being my nightly reminder of a past I swallowed and bravely kept down. This place will not be a shrine to my sickness.

When I wake up in his arms, I will fill myself with early morning breakfasts and loving glances.


I wake up for work at seven AM. I don my blue uniform complete with EMT pins. There is freedom for me in an ambulance. During the day I help people, most days this includes reminders of the past I have grown from.

I remember every time I was packed into the claustrophobic back of an ambulance. Every thin piece of paper binding me to the stretcher. Every section 12 and murmurs of, “she’s a danger to herself”. They pass through me as I load another h lost teenager into the back of my ambulance.

It is a mirror through time displaying my growth. I still ache. Now, the role is reversed. I climb in after the patients. I try to talk to them.

If my partner has noticed me volunteering for these patients, he hasn’t said anything.

The first time I transport to a familiar set of corridors I am grateful for my steady partner. These halls held me at my lowest. I will transfer care to staff who, at one point, cared for me. I am vibrating and he is solid. His military days set his shoulders back and his chin high. He is the picture of having it together. I mirror him as I feel my heart rate elevate.

I let him take the foot of the stretch, I walk behind, mimicking his prideful walk. My shoulders tugged back, my spine straight, I am not here to stay. I feel like nightmares can’t grab my ankles with my head held this high.

I don’t thank him for the strength to move on. I don’t believe he would ever understand. I don’t trust my voice to be steady.

I fill myself with strength and confidence I will not have to mimic. 


I do my laundry. I bleach blood-stained sheets and throw out anything that will not come clean. Fresh sheets will help me sleep anyway.

I do my laundry. I take care of myself. I dress how I want to.
I do my laundry. I walk through a room I have avoided for four long years. This space was filled with much worse than blood. Memories reach from the shadowed corners, black tendrils of fear tainting the air. I wash them away.

I do my laundry. I am no longer afraid of the basement. It no longer holds my rotting corpse. What he did is loosening its grip on my life.

I am forgetting the calmness of his voice, “Go upstairs, get my other shirt. No one can see me like this.” I am forgiving myself for my shell-shocked obedience.

I am coming to terms with the effects of four years of silence. I do my laundry. I am forgiving myself for my silence. Silence in the face of him kneeling for my sister. Silence as he asked for her hand in marriage.

I will forgive myself for hoping he died. He has no place here. I do my laundry.

I fill myself with clean sheets and moving on. 

My sister did not marry my monster. My silence was broken in 2013 with a suicide attempt. In March it will be four years since then. I am in recovery. I am strong. I am learning peace. If you or someone you know is struggling, break the silence. It saved my life. Ask for help.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.HOPE (4673)
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
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