Then and Now
Poem by Iris Carden
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" or so the old saying said. Sometimes, what doesn't kill you just makes you wish you were dead. She'd always tried to be nice concerned with how others felt. She'd never been as concerned with protecting herself. She'd given and given and given more and more and more. She'd given with no return and she never kept the score. Then the day came at last, when she had nothing more to give. When she had nothing left, and no-one cared how she would live. When she was left with nothing, and had to try to start again, no-one wanted to know, and she was dearly short of friends. When she picked herself up not knowing how she found the strength. Suddenly there was someone who needed her once again. The story repeated over and over leaving her with so much trauma. Each time, she was more broken, but there was no help for her. Eventually, she realised she would have to change her ways. She had to carefully choose the people who filled her days. She learned to only give what she could afford. She learned how to say "no" to those who wanted more. As she became that bit stronger, she was no longer alone. Others who had been as broken saw her as one of their own. The broken banded together to lend each other strength. Each knowing others would be there when they needed help again. The trauma didn't make her strong. It really made her weak. She only found her strength inside a safe community. Her community enfolds her and helps protect her heart. And she helps protect the others when their problems start. Now she looks so confident, She appears in control. It's still a very thin veneer over the harm in her soul. She still cares and still gives when others do need help. But there are limits now and she protects herself. She enforces boundaries, now she knows what they are And when she also needs support, she knows someone who will care. Never ever will she again, risk her everything, For the sake of those who don't give her anything. She won't risk her safety or give her security away, She knows people take advantage and loving words betray. She's done with starting over with losing everything. She's still a gentle rose, But her thorns have gained a sting. Treat her with respect after all that she's been through. She's willing to walk away and leave your problems with you. She knows she's not responsible for any mess you've made. Consequences for your actions are just yours to be paid. She may help you if she's able, but she now knows her limits. And she's more than willing to accept her life without you in it. Don't think you can control her with threats to walk away. She's learned to keep herself safe, and won't beg you to stay. Don't bother playing silly games. She'll never play along. She may have been a victim then, but now she knows how to be strong.