Silence is…

*Trigger Warning* This writing contains depictions of sexual violence and self-injury that some may find upsetting.

I use poetry as a way to release trauma. It may not be any good from a literary point of view, but that was never the point. It is visceral, cathartic and from the heart. I write (and speak) a lot about silence because I was silent for so many years about everything that happened to me.

Writing was key to my recovery from sexual violence I experienced as a child. In therapy when I couldn’t speak, I wrote instead. Now I attend a weekly writing group which I love, and much of my blog content is inspired by these sessions. I encourage anyone struggling to express their trauma to give writing a go. Writing doesn’t have to mean paper and pen; much of my writing is done in the Notes app of my Iphone!

Silence is:

The tyres that crunch on gravel, the headlights that arc through bedroom curtains, searching blindly for me, who waits.

Silence is: the wounds on my heart,
the moving to one side to let the stranger pass.
It’s the jangle of keys and the locks on the door. The slam of the hatch. The catch of the breath. The sound of the traffic. The snap of the neck.

Breathing. Mine. Is silence.

Silence is: anticipation and the crawl of snake. The pounce of the cat and the bite of the rat. Small fingers that trace the bubble of air imprisoned under the wallpaper.

Silence is: the clink of the bottle as it prepares for the game. The pour of the whisky. The tread on the stair.
Silence is: removing the watch which sits as the bystander. The steam in the bath. The roll of the sleeve. The scratch of the face. The tilt of the bed.

Silence is flying up high.
Silence is I’m not here.
Silence is where are you?
Silence is blind.

It’s floating. Untethered. A disconnect.
Silence is the crack of reality.

Silence is the losing of my mind.

Silence is: the blood that drips on the bathroom floor.
Nerve damage, shame and regret. The six inch scar I hoped would speak for me but labelled me instead.

Silence is: the psychiatrist’s room.
It’s the scratch of pen, the script of meds.
It’s the hands that hold me down and the scratch of needle when I tell my secrets and they come out wrong; back to front and upside down, in a yell and a shout and a hair-pulling distress.
Silence is: the threat of section. Of ECT. Of new drugs. Of being stuck in here forever.

Silence is: the failure to feel any better at the bottom of a glass. Or when I blister the foil on the 28th pill.
Silence is a cigarette.

Silence is: a body turning inside out. It’s the bruises that sit beneath the skin. It’s the fist in the throat and the fire in the chest. The stone in the stomach that I try to get out and the broken capillaries I see on my face.

Silence is the eyes I can’t meet in the mirror.

Silence is the bystander.
Silence is complicit.
Silence turns away.
Silence buries it’s head.
Silence is the truth that torments in the dark.

Silence. The lesions on my soul.

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