Second Time Around - 7 June 2016

I don't know when I lost myself.
When the beatings became normal,
I forgot my name.
When my families became distant enemies
And, I locked myself
inside my own body.

I can't remember when I lost my voice
amongst the stomping
that I gave up trying to find it.

Nothing is the same.

I became a stranger to myself
incapable of being.
I was a carcass trying to survive
yet, a part of me was already dead.

I can't count the number of times
I tried to kill myself,
How much my reflection disgusted me.
Days I pulled my hair out & screamed,
yet nothing came out, but fear.

I washed my bloody clothes
and, wished I had listened to my parents.
13 yrs my senior,
At 18 yrs I should have stayed in school.

My first mistake was believing LOVE
were just words adorned beautifully
on the tip of your tongue.

Black eyes became excuses,
Hospital admittance became temporary shelter.
People told me to leave
But, I knew walking away was just the beginning of a war I was too afraid to fight alone.

I remembered Once Were Warriors
that typical face of Domestic violence you don't recognise.
Living in Mairangi Bay
House, Car
No poverty
No Alcohol
I contributed to society, family & church
This is not abuse
This is just a misunderstanding.

So I wore my dark glasses
during the wintry months,
learnt to keep my mouth shut,
learnt to bare the pain like childbirth - it'll all go away.
After all,
I am Tongan, & strong traditions & cultures
are infused into me; I will not be the product of a broken marriage.

I cannot tell you when I finally got tired of trying to understand him;
Maybe it was when I decided to shut all my memory away,
or eating baby food for weeks,
from the basement of his friend's house where he hid me.
My mother smashing the Windows to climb into my house & save me

Maybe it was being chased by his van,
While 8 months pregnant,
I cannot point out
The fear
The sobbing, as if death finally changed its mind.
The blood,
The blackouts,
The insanity singing in your head long after the punches stops,
The humms you rock yourself to in the darkness.

The constant "I'm sorry, it won't happen again, I love you" - so you waited for hope that never came,  because you loved him too.

Maybe it was me.
Always looking for him,
Always going back,
Always forgiving,
Always willing to try,
Always optimistic change will happen.
Those lies gnawed at my bones over &over again till I was numb and became another

Family Violence did not choose sides,
It did not care about our age, genre,
or status
It did not care who we were,
it was a sickness that consumed him,
and spat him out to me.

My father died begging me to come back home.

You see,
I did not see any ripple effects,
The damages that remained after the ashes settle.
The children we've moulded.

It has been 9 years.
I've learnt to love again,
to trust,
to pick up the pieces one by one,
I will never be the same
But, I am here trying.

I have bad days & good days
I may not remember everything,
But I keep walking,
from the stranger that declared love but could not fight his own demons.
The bruises have gone,
But everything else remains
It is here as a reminder
I am a survivor.

So crawl, walk, run if you have to,
But whatever happens in you life-

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