Healing Poems 34

Leaving My Father’s House
(by a survivor of physical abuse by her father)

I am leaving my father’s house
Stepping out
Stepping off
Free falling outside the confines
Of what is acceptable or known.
I am leaving this cage
Which suppressed
Made less of me
So thoroughly
I came to call it my legacy
My country
My home.
I am leaving those angry men
Whose broken hearts and wounds
Became more painful and urgent
Than my own.
I am not going to be sorry anymore
Or responsible or wrong.
I am not going to give everything
That is mine
And call it yours.
I am going to stop believing
I can wake you up
Or break open your shell
Or get you to feel
Your sorrow your grief
Your tenderness
I am going to stop mainlining my life force
Into your self-esteem:
Air pump girl blowing up boy rubber ball
You can stay flat and go nowhere by yourself.
I am leaving my father’s house
I am not going to whisper anymore or tiptoe
Or lie flat on my back.
I am ducking, flinching, waiting till you finish
Or whimpering in the dark.
I am moving out.
I am not going back
I am leaving my father’s house
I no longer believe your lies
About freedom and democracy
That it hurts you more
Than your whips or words or policies hurt me.
I am going to believe what I see:
Bruises on my neck
Floating corpses in the streets
Iraqi women with their voting fingers
Chopped off
Emaciated polar bears
Melting from corporate greed.
I am leaving your guilt-tripping fear-inducing
Evil-projecting idea of me.
I am fleeing your disguised terror of my bigness,
My hunger, my vagina, my compassion,
My tongue.
I am leaving my father’s house
I see how it is punishing spinning
Out insanely in paranoid desperation
Dividing the world into
Evildoers and saints.
I am leaving my father’s house
I do not want a position there
I will not imitate your cold tactics
To get a seat on the floor
I will not leash your prisoners
Corporate towers
Cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues
Picket-fenced houses and Pentagons.
I am going out
The neighborhoods
Fundamental doctrines
And misinterpreted laws.
Past the reach of your fist
Past the fire breath of your rage
Past the tentacles of your seductive melancholy
Or your unspoken promises to change.
I am willing to be alone, disliked, slandered
And misconstrued
Because my freedom is more important
Than your so-called love.
Because my leaping
Will be the ultimate jumping off
Will be the new beginning
Without a daddy in charge,
On top
In control
Of all the goods, ideas.
Interpretations, and cash.
I am going out there by myself
But I know I will find the rest of you there
Knee-deep in the garden
Hands raised in the water
Way way out past my father’s house.

~ Eve Ensler

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