Beauty

~Beauty~

I became

Beautiful.

I didn’t know

It made me prey

For wolves

With tempestuous

Appetites.

And they ate

Of my flesh

And I died,

Unfurled, bright red,

Passion and fear,

They did me in.

And I cried

So many rivers

Of broken sobs

At the injustice

Of the dance

Of beauty and death

Intertwined,

Like the most

Delicate lace.

How cruel that

The moth craves

The heat of flame

And the wolf

Seeks to destroy,

Whilst the sun burns

Molten in the void.

But as the flame

Ignites the last

Bit of wood

In a pile of ash,

I grew warm

And sparked

Aflame.

And the death

That deemed

The beauty then

To die,

Also caused the me

I am now

To rise.

And again beauty

Links itself arm and arm

With pain.

Do I weep

Waterfalls?

Do I let the ache

Cause my spark

To void?

Do I lament

At this world that

Both devours

And births?

Or do I rise

Like the smoke

From the flame?

Aloft and away,

I can no more look

At this play,

Than my eyes can

Bear the sun,

And I’ve left rivers

In my wake

Anyway.

So lift me up

Tender heart,

Hold me long

Rib cage embrace,

And reach

Nimble fingers

Up and out

From charcoaled ash

And tempt the beast

Unafraid.

Beauty has learned,

Crowned with thorns

And a heart

Through pain

Made brave.

-Angel Marie Russell

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Abusers

The man that said he loved me
Kicked me in the chest
With boots.
Told me curses
Told me lies.
Told me I deserved to die inside.
So I did.

My Mother
Handed out insults like candies
Fists on holiday’s
Hate and pain
Rolled out like a parade
On the daily.

And now they say
“Stay quiet
Keep it to yourself.
Keep your darkness locked away
So I don’t have to witness it.”
Really?

You want me to swallow my abuse?
You want me to smile
Fix my dress and curtsy?
You want me to sit still?
You want me to pretend
That everything is okay?
“Well that is in the past.”
“Let it go.”

Well I am done listening
to abuse, enablers, and shamers
I am done listening to those
That have no room for truth.
I am done letting those that love me
Agree with my abusers
That I need to be silenced
So they don’t have to face it.
Face ME!
Look in my eyes!
See how many nights I lay awake
Crying!
Begging for mercy
When I knew none would come.
And I am aghast that I believed their lies!
And you!
YOU!
You want me to be quiet!!!

I will not be silenced!
I will roar!
I will scream!
Where there is abuse
There is no safety
And this world is NOT safe for so many
I am sick of you asking me for dead air.
I am sick of you asking me to swallow my truth.
I am sick that my truth makes you sick
And you refuse to face what that means!

I will shout from the rooftops
For those like me.
I will continue to share
What happened to me
Because I know there is someone
Somewhere begging to be seen
Desperate to scream but she knows she can’t.
For you, her, him, them.
I will not be silent.
I will scream and scream until this world
Recognizes
Abuse.
Turn the other check again.
I dare you.
I dare you to keep yourself from turning away.
I dare you to
Actually
Listen
To what the victims
Have to say.
I dare you to believe them.
I promise you.
It’s true.

-Angel Marie Russell
❤🙏🏻
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The Power of One

How much power does one person have? How can one person affect change in this world that is so vast and complex? I am going to ask us to go within, to ask ourselves, how much power do we have in our own minds? If we create our own reality, or at least our perception of reality, by what we think; what kind of power do we have over this perception? In this world of our own minds how much power do we have to affect great change?

When one suffers from mental illness it can be very difficult to believe in the power we have over our own minds, because so many times it can feel like we have no control at all. Anger consumes and rages like wildfire. Despair can send us into inaction where we retreat deep inside ourselves to nurse wounds that tear at our ravaged hearts. Even happiness can become manic and out of control. I understand what it is to be consumed by emotion, to be lost in panic, hyperventilating and out of control.

I also know what it is to assume I have no power because I had the ability to feel out of control. I had panic attacks, big ones. My panic attacks consumed me and made me pass out, throw up, break my hand, hurt people, hurt myself, scream, cry, cut all my hair off, go to the emergency room, be admitted to an inpatient facility. I mean . . . talk about being out of control. I knew that feeling well. I knew that feeling more intimately than I knew what it was to feel like I was in control or had power over my own life. My PTSD owned me, and I let it.

I didn’t challenge what I told myself. I didn’t say things to myself that were compassionate or kind. I didn’t allow myself to be afraid. I fought it. I fought it and repressed it and did everything I could to appear normal, but what I had gone through was not normal. The pain I had suffered after years of systematic physical and mental abuse were by no means normal, but how did I know that? It was all I knew. So, I owned this self concept that I was broken, unloved, and out of control.

This lasted throughout my 20’s. I suffered daily. I found myself in relationships that didn’t serve me and re-traumatized me. I found myself with people who abused me just as the people who hurt me as a kid. I lived what I believed about myself because I believed I was worth nothing, but what I failed to realize is that this was a lie.

I could see the worth of other human beings. I could see that a child deserved a meal if hungry, that people deserved love, compassion, and kindness. I knew how to give this to other people. 

The ah ha! moment for me was when I realized that I too was a person. I don’t know why it was so hard for me to see that. That I, as a person, had intrinsic worth. I was worth love and attention. I was not broken, but had been through a lot and deserved love. This was something that was foreign to me because as a child I was taught that I was worth nothing.

Once I recognized my own personhood I realized that I deserved love. I looked at the two previous relationships I had with men and I saw that they treated me horribly. They were both emotionally abusive, and one was physically so. I had to leave the last one and all of my belongings. I became homeless and couch surfed. I am still recovering. And during this most trying time of my life I am focusing on the power of one. What power do I as one tiny person on this Earth have? What power can I have when all my life I believed I had none? 

So, what is true? If I am a person of value, how do attract the kind of people into my life that love me the way I deserve. What is it about me that is keeping love out of my life? Why don’t I feel love for myself?

I realized my power lies within. My power of my perception of this world is my own self talk. My power over my own thoughts is what thoughts do I choose to focus on when I am not panicking or completely overcome. When I am calm, or in a state of rest, where do my thoughts lay? Where does my attention go to? For me, it was usually finding a way to punish myself for not performing properly in some way, or not doing the right thing, or saying something the wrong way, or for having a panic attack. It was very easy for me to talk negatively to myself.

If we know how to love another person though, we can learn to love ourselves in a way that is non-judgmental and supportive rather than negative and criticizing. This is done by persistently challenging every thought we have about ourselves and balancing it with a positive thought. That way we are recognizing both sides of the coin so to speak. 

Doing this means that we are not ignoring one side or the other. We are not repressing, but recognizing there is more than one way to perceive something. We have the power in our own minds as to how to look at something, PTSD or not.

We can challenge self talk that looks like, “I did horribly on my test today, so that must mean I’m stupid.” with, “What would I say to my best friend that just failed a test? Maybe they had a stressful day and couldn’t focus and they will do better next time, or maybe they tried the best the could, but home life has been difficult so it has been hard to focus on studying.” We can be kind to ourselves if we choose to be. Empathy can be a choice, but the power of one comes in when we realize we have the power in our own heads to be either our worst enemy, or our most steadfast ally. We can challenge our negative self concept with love. We can see the power of one can transform a whole entire world and that world is inside of us.

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I know there is a typo but it is still a valid sheet. 😉