captive

i have tasted this poison before.

still i lift the cup again.

— captive.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

This is the second micropoem in my #HealingTheHurtChildWithin

series.

I don’t think that I need to elaborate on this one.

If this is you, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Sometimes, if we haven’t healed, we keep returning to the thing that holds us hostage.

For some of us this is an addiction—be it alcohol, food, sex, drugs, gambling… for others it is choosing a toxic relationship, or the same types of toxic partners because it’s all we know.

Perhaps it is choosing the same addictions or behaviours that owned the ones who love(d) you.

I would love to hear your insight into this,

liezel

Photography by Johann Piber.

fear has a hungry voice.

the fear that owns you

has a hungry

voice

falling

from

your

lips

when you are not looking.

— fear has a hungry voice.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

This is the first micropoem in my #HealingTheHurtChildWithin

series.

‘The fear that owns you…’

Childhood trauma or hurts that you have not dealt with, becomes another voice that lingers in the background.

It often speaks in anger, or in fear, when it shouldn’t.

It doesn’t speak up when it should.

It ignores things that it should not overlook.

It is easily triggered by things it shouldn’t be triggered by.

It says ‘yes’ when it wants to be loved, and ‘no’ when it is afraid of being loved.

When it speaks, it often leaves you wondering ‘why did I say that’ or ‘why do I react this way’?

It is a voice that is hungry—hungry to be loved, hungry to be found ‘enough’, hungry to be seen, hungry just to feel some sort of confirmation that there is still life and that it is worth living.

It always has a root.

I am still very aware of this other voice of mine. Healing has not been an overnight thing for me.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments,

liezel

Photography by Evie Shaffer.

a series of micropoems dealing with childhood trauma.

I have been working on a collection of micro poems that focus on the effects of (unhealed) childhood trauma, and disordered/chaotic relationships with primary caregivers on a child, and how they might affect the adult later on, and the way that these early traumas might then cause them to relate to relationships, love, (potential) addictions, their ability to handle conflict, and how they might as adults with deep emotional scars, negotiate their place in the world.

As always my poems are written partly from a personal place, and partly from my professional experience in mental health.

There is no right or wrong to my words, other than personal truth based on introspection, however there is nothing new under the sun and if you should find yourself in my description, please do look out for my posts in the next couple of days.

They be will short, sharp and sometimes bittersweet, but always I hope, a springboard for deeper reflection and healing.

Perhaps we can find some healing together,

liezel

Photography by Lisa Fotios.

woman, unhooked.

a man once told me,

if only you were smaller

i could love you — more, perhaps, if there was less

of you.

and if only i had seen

just

how

thin

he was,

in all the wrong places, and

just

how

little

there was to him, and his love,

perhaps

i would not

have lost

so much

of me.

but i was young, and i was soft

in all the right places, and

so i took every one of his words,

and i wallpapered my thighs,

and my hips, and my breasts, and my soul, until i was completely hidden, and it was the 6th day and it was still dark.

and later, others came, and said

you are too tall, and

i cannot see myself

when i am next to you,

and can’t you see that there has to be less of you and more of me, for the bible tells you so,

and

you

must

obey.

until they grew thicker — the layers — until they were walls.

and all i knew was how to live smaller, but never small enough.

until one night i heard my body weep, a year ago, or forty, or it might have been in the beginning when blame fell like blood on the first woman’s shoulders, and i said, no more.

no more will i carry this, and you had better look out, i am here now, and i will throw down this weight, and in the dark i ran my hands over my arms and my legs, and my hair and my toes. and i felt all the things that were stuck there, their hate and mine.

stuck, in all my softness, and i felt my belly — this ripe, round, roof, over this holy space within me that grew a whole child, and you dare say that i am not enough? and i said thank you for this — this life, and for his — this fresh, new life and i said thank you to my heart for beating, and beating, and beating, and never giving up on me,

despite my trying.

and i whispered love to my lungs for the breath, always the breath, that i now find in sacred stretches, and other holy places in the back of my eyes, where they could never, ever see, and i felt my breasts — full of beauty that gave life to a child, and they are not here for your amusement, and neither am i, and i have had enough.

and i ran my fingers over my skin, and my bones, and my past, and my hopes, and i unhooked every thing there — every word and everyone, until there was only

me

left.

here, in the light, and it is good.

— woman, unhooked.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph by Kourosh Qaffari.

unravel.

and then

there was the time

.

. a lifetime,

really.

.

if i am honest.

.

and

honesty

opens the door,

does it not?

.

the time

where

i gave pieces of myself

away.

.

. my

. flesh and bone

heart of stone.

.

allowed

my body

and

my soul

to be carried away

by

thieves

who faded into the dark,

.

because i was not enough

for

me.

.

because the voice

inside

my bones,

. one half of my dna,

found

me

wanting,

.

until i believed the lie.

.

and all i have ever wanted

was to be

enough.

.

such a hungry word.

.

. enough.

.

and i have scraped

portions

of my heart

onto the plates of others.

.

. by feeding them,

i have tried to fill my hunger.

.

a feeble attempt at peace.

.

but i am not

enough

to fill the bellies

of other starving seekers.

.

this, i know.

.

and i am

still trying

to trust

that

everything that i am

is all that you have ever wanted.

.

. enough.

. such a full word.

.

that i can call off the search

for love

and

hope

and

(self) respect

and

all the other things

that

i have searched for

in the thorns

and

the arms

and

the words

and

the eyes

of another.

.

there are roots to destroy

and

flowers to sow

and

new doors to walk through.

.

this,

is a fierce

undoing of myself.

.

an

unravelling

and

unlayering

of who i am,

until

i find the beginning

. of me.

—unravel.

.

.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

.

.

Photograph by Nita.

(Self)Obsessed.

With

each pound

that

falls

away

a woman

increases

her

worth

and

less,

becomes

more,

unless

you

don’t

have.

But the spirit

can

shrink

too,

and there

is not enough

affirmation

in

this

gaunt world

to fill

a leaking soul.

And there are

Mothers

who are

‘them’

to our

‘us’

holding the

dying hope

of their wombs

as they

slowly

bleed life

and all

that they need

is that

which

we

reject

for the perfect

fit

of

whitewash

on these tombs.

What

have

we

done.

— (Self)Obsessed.

© Liezel Graham 2018.