Despite, Not Because

They tell me I'm strong.
It's true.

How familiar,
the sound of
misunderstanding
behind the word "strong"
coupled with good intentions.
I say nothing
or
"thank you."

It’s widely believed that
trauma
makes victims more
resilient.

Trauma doesn't make
victims more
anything.
Trauma takes.

Trauma is a monster
that aims to annihilate
anything in its path.

Trauma has the strength
to destroy human beings
and it has done so
to many.

And I used to think that
it destroyed me.

Scientists say that
trauma can alter
everything about a person;

Physical,
psychological,
spiritual.

Trauma is a monster.
It doesn't care.
It consumes.

The monster enters our bodies,
infects our minds.
spreads through our bloodstreams
and imbeds itself into our DNA.

It defies every system of safety
we've ever built
within ourselves;

Physical,
psychological,
spiritual.

But the monster can't
nurture.
improve,
heal,
recover,
or save.

We do that ourselves.
We build the cocoons.

How we work to
dispel the monster
reveals our strengths

which already exist
within us
long before the wrecking.

The monster did not
transform us.
Don't you dare give it
an ounce
of credit.

The only thing
the monster ever did was
eat us alive.

I can't speak for all survivors
but
I know that

I didn't "come out" of trauma
stronger,
I am the one
slowly forcing
the monster
to come out
of me.

I defend myself
daily
with the strength I was born with.

I adapt to the monster’s appetite.
I continue to breathe
while it sucks the oxygen from my lungs.

I combat
every
single
recurring
attack.

The monster is not the reason
I am strong.
The monster is not the reason
I am ever-changing
and rebuilding.

I had already been
both
caterpillar
and
butterfly
many times before.

And here I am again
flying,
with wings,
once severed
and then stitched
and re-stitched,

shedding the monster
piece by piece.

Despite its initial slaughter
it now cowers to me
because I proved
it never belonged
here.

Trauma is a monster
but it was also
just an event.

The eternal metamorphosis
is
and has always been
my power;
Physical.
psychological.
spiritual.




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2 thoughts on “Despite, Not Because”

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