Content Warning: This poem contains descriptions of domestic violence.
This poem was shared by Yandia Best to shed light on experiences with domestic violence.
Best wanted to share her poems because they can mirror the experiences of others going through similar experiences, particularly those on the fence about leaving an abuser.
You could be on the fence because the abuser is not physically hitting you, but their words are crushing your self-esteem and diminishing your spirit and sense of peace and wholeness by making you feel ashamed and undignified. And that is definitely a reason to leave.
By Yandia Best
You are listening and not speaking
You are doing things that go against your inherent values
You are making yourself believe that this relationship is right
When you know in your heart of hearts, it’s wrong.
CYCLE Beat Downs with lips
Beat Downs with fists
The morning after honeymoon pill
That makes you relieved not to have to
Think about the cons and truths of this situation
Just happy “things” are “back to normal”
I am not myself – not free
Walking on eggshells
Perpetually second guessing
myself – not Free
Growing fear sits on your chest
Soft hits in the arm
Play fighting, orchestrated to
demonstrate the other’s strength
When he claims he’s “protecting you” from others whom you know have never
You live in a remote area, from which
you can’t get to your parents or any of
your family easily
You begin cultivating verbal responses
ahead of time so you don’t
feel the reality of walking on egg shells –
and to feel ‘safer’ and not humiliated
by the responses you would get from
him if you didn’t put up this ‘shield’.
It is your shield of peace, a plea for real
love; a plea for peace;
a shock absorber from the fear and pain
you feel inside.
You begin going above and beyond to
show ‘extra love’ as a way of proving to
yourself and your abuser, your own
virtue of being forgiving and more loving,
even though you are being hurt and
humiliated, and dragged in the dirt,
layer upon layer, through and through.
In some twisted way you feel
courageous coming back week after
week, cycle after deranged cycle to
‘make things better’.
The fact that this existence is stagnating
you and your children may be the
furthest thing from your mind.
You’re expected to believe and act like
you believe that a ship can only have one
Your personal authority is undermined.
Deep hits to your self-love occur.
Your hair leaves your body in patches.
Requests for the unthinkable…