She is Me

Image of Iris Carden as a five year old wearing a pink flower girl dress.

She is Me

Poem by Iris Carden

She is five, a seemingly innocent child
dressed up like a little princess.
She lives in an adult world,
The person closest to her age that she knows
is the bogeyman who lives in her home 
and uses her body as a plaything.
She has constant nightmares,
both waking and sleeping.

She looks for someone to rescue her
but there is no-one.

The time is coming when she will start school
knowing nothing of children, 
she will not fit in.
She will be the weird kid,
who is bullied and beaten.
Twice she will need surgery to
stop her nose bleeding.
She will be sent back each time,
to be beaten some more.
The bullies, like the bogeyman,
will always call her by  middle name.

Even into adulthood, 
the sound of that name 
will make her cringe and cower
like a dog that's been repeatedly kicked.

She will look for someone to rescue her,
but there will be no-one.

Eventually, she will start at another school.
Here, they will use her first name.
Still with no social skills, 
she will feel strange, alien,
unable to know how to relate to her peers
but at least she will be physically safe.

She will have gained younger siblings,
and she will marvel at their ability
to simply get on with other children.

She will go through to high school,
still desperate to belong.
Still not knowing how
to relate to the people around her,
She will write poetry about suicide,
and despair of ever finding her
place in the world.

She will look for someone to rescue her
but there will be no-one.

Always feeling "other than" and "less than"
she will stumble her way into adulthood.
She will put her trust in a man
who will always place her last..
He will discover the magic of her middle name
and will delight in using it whenever 
she seems likely to gain any kind of confidence.

A bout of unexplained illness, 
where she loses an organ
will prove a turning point..
He will decide her illness is just an excuse
for not meeting his needs.
His manipulation will turning to yelling
which will turn to bruises the size of his fingerprints
covering every part of her body  that doesn't show.
Then she will begin to fear for her children.

She will rescue herself,
for the sake of her children.

The unexplained illness will be explained,
will be treated,
but will be unable to be cured.
She will struggle,
but she will carry on,
because her children will need her.

Her children will grow into women
who are so brilliant and beautiful
that she cannot believe they
in any way came from her.

One day she will look around with surprise
and realise, 
she not only has her children,
she also has friends.
She will not know how she found them,
But her friends will accept her weirdness,
and will love her,
and she will love them
and accept whatever their weirdness may have.
She will at last belong.

She will no longer look for someone to rescue her.
She and her friends will rescue each other when needed.

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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