When the Monsters Don't Stay Under the Bed

I guess I assumed the abuse would stay in my childhood
locked away in memories,
only able to touch me if I failed to heal it.
I went to therapy, I felt through it all, so it couldn’t hurt me anymore.

But what I didn’t expect was for the monsters to grow.
I didn’t expect the saviors and heroes to turn on me.
The monsters crawled out from under the bed,
and waltzed right into my new apartment.

They really can sense when I’m weak and wounded.
I guess the Monster gene is more of a virus…
It can stay dormant for years,
providing a false sense of security…

Until one day, she comes in with a question-
one she knows there’s no way you can answer
without triggering her wrath,
which naturally she feels no responsibility for managing.

The monsters from my childhood weren’t all black and white.
They weren’t just bad guys and drug addicts.
They were mothers and grandmothers too,
queens set on having their way, seeing me only as a spoil of war.

So when the time came
that she saw a battle she couldn’t quite win,
she did her best to make sure
that I suffered along beside her.

That’s the thing about monsters,
they don’t care who caused them pain.
All they care about is revenge,
and appearing powerful and cold.

The monsters in my past taught me
the less-than-subtle art of forgiveness.
The balance between forgiveness and boundaries
isn’t as delicate as you’d expect…

But when you’re a monster too,
it probably looks like a blurred line.
I’ll forgive you, wicked monster,
just like I forgave the rest.

But don’t you ever bring your rotten vengeful heart
back into my little nest.
You once built me a safe space,
but yesterday you tried to burn my new one down.

You’re a monster too, hateful woman.
But here’s a secret that makes it okay:
We are all monsters at some point,
there’s a little monster inside each of us.

The thing is- your wrath is yours to work through,
not mine to melt beneath.
(And I am most certainly not your messenger
of hatred, sickness, or revenge.)

The world is a sad place sometimes.
It’s full of regret, mistakes, monsters, and rage.
But I believe in a loving core
that each of us is responsible for unveiling in ourselves.

I’ve taken responsibility for mine,
and that is how I live with the monster I have within myself.
I’ve taken responsibility for others,
and that’s when my own soul started to wilt and die.

Your revenge will not eat me alive,
the monster you refuse to control will not burn me again.
You are not welcome here, wicked woman.
Your time in my life has come to an end.

As a parting gift I’ll share something though:

I forgive you for all you’ve been,
all you’ve done, all you couldn’t do,
the things you said and wish you hadn’t,
and the things you just never knew.

That’s not the gift to you,
that’s a gift to myself.

Your gift is knowing I’ve forgiven you
and knowing that I saw you for exactly what you were
in more than just the wicked moments,
and loved you always.

Your gift is this message.
Your gift is my dedication to unlearning The Ways
of the Bitter Bitch that you taught me so carefully at 12 years old.
Your gift is a goodbye.

Because I learned about vengeance,
self-worth, grammar, interrupting,
and manipulative endings all from you.

Your gift is that I didn’t turn out like you.
Oh wait, just kidding.
That’s my gift too.