Childhood Phosphenes: Touch and Hair

Everything meant something to me.

Will I ever get that back?

Did I ever lose it?

How many times did I find myself again?

Away from blonde hair,

Brown hair, black hair,

Mine always had a different colour,

Not the one you saw and I stood by,

My hair had always been red,

And I felt, at some point,

That it was my job to cover it up, keep it hidden,

Change it, adapt it to the colours you see everywhere,

Compare it to others and make it lose.

Every single time, derail my colour with chemicals.

Make it crash against a wall.

When I was a child, I never felt that way.

But then, as the world widened, my mind felt infiltrated.

Was I not strong enough to take the world on?

The girl that I was was ready to strike and call out the wrongs,

But at some point I must have misstepped and she slipped

And I didn’t help her to get back up,

Because I saw others come to me now with a smile,

With some sort of appreciation,

Look at me, a created self, an adjusted one, not me,

And I had been seduced by something that would never be real

For as long as I would keep holding her down,

Pushing her away, keeping her down there, looking at me

In horrid despair, confusion and fear,

Asking herself what she could have done wrong,

Why was it me who was destroying her matter?

She would pull my robes, scream from below,

And I witnessed the hurt grow, the sadness develop, the courage dissolve.

All her qualities diminishing, disintegrating, betrayed,

By none other than herself, me, how could I?

How could I ever think that this was the right way to go?

To slaughter her so very slowly, hanging by my feet,

Barely keeping her alive,

Only praying to her when I was distraught.

How could I stab what loved me the most?

She became heavier, a handicap because of me,

Because of how I see her, mistreat her, misinterpret her, I am not

Strong enough for her, not resistant enough.

She had been the holy vehicle for all my childhood years

And I started killing her off, bit by bit,

Exchanging our truths for shallow words and minutes and embraces.

Everything I had always sought and needed

Had always been within.

She is wounded, her touch: branded skin.

My arms became waves to shove it all away to make space for her to grow,

To learn how to stand up again and not shiver,

To regain her trust in me, that I’ll have her back,

Her hand, her hair.

We belong together, her and me.

I won’t let it end anymore.

I’m holding her close and she is becoming so tall,

She can talk again without the threat of punishment,

Calling things out when they’re no good,

Stopping the urge to please everyone,

Investing in what we can achieve and use time wisely,

And forgive ourselves, love ourselves and be true

To one another, always, heart and ears open.


“The Empress Comes” by George Lawrence Bulleid (1858-1933)

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