I picture it like strands of smooth silk. Tiny little skeins all raveled and wrapped and infiltrating. They weave throughout my brain. Darting this way and that. Wrapped around memories of truth and insecurity and integrity and chaos. They have permeated my mind. My thoughts.

There used to be thousands of them. Bright colors and different thicknesses. Now I’d like to think there are only a few that remain. That they have dulled with time and age. Loosened their hold a little. That I’ve extracted them for the most part.

Sometimes I cannot tell if a new one is born or if an old one has suddenly sat up willing itself to be recognized. Demanding my attention. Overtaking my thoughts. Releasing the unease and queasiness associated with the time I was held captive by my monster. It doesn’t matter that I know I am safe. That I know that there is nothing he can do to me now. I cannot talk my body down from the stand off that has ensued between it and my commandeered mind. It makes me so angry. It makes me weary.

I reach for one strand and I slowly pull. Pull it out inch by inch. I swear I can feel it as it fights me. To the outside world, I am not moving. But to my inner eye, my hand has hold of the edge of a string and is consciously removing it from myself. I can feel where it has weaved into my thoughts. I have to talk each one down as it passes. Steady my hand and increase the tension. Remind myself of each truth. Remove his ugly words from me. His ugly actions. His ugly threats. His sickening control. I do not belong to him anymore.

Since I walked out that door, I have had to fight this battle time and again. Sometimes curled up on the floor with tears streaming down my face. Sometimes running on the trail as my feet pound on the pavement and anger surrounds me. Sometimes while imparting my unwanted wisdom to someone else who battles strands coursing through their tortured mind. Sometimes while trying to convince my children that they own none of the evil that is bestowed upon them.

These strands have become a part of my life. Unwanted as they may be. I do not like them but I no longer fear them. I’d like to think that someday there will be none left. That the skeins of abuse will have been completely evacuated from my mind and body. That I may bear the scars they left behind but know the battle has been won. But whether that is true or not, I’m whole with them. I’ve pieced back enough of myself despite them. I’m a wielder of colorful and damning strings and more powerful because of it. I’m forged.


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