What She Saw by Karen Jefferson

What did she see when she looked in the mirror?

She saw hatred.

Someone hated her enough to hurt her…not once, but for years.

She saw someone that was unlovable, yet very fuckable. Even at 10.

She saw someone that should be far away from people.

She saw someone that had no one to protect her.

She saw anger, pity, sorrow, pain, hopelessness.

She thought others saw those things, too.

“you think i’m a piece of shit…you think i am worthless…you think i am a slut…you think i am a fuck up.”
But that is not what I think. Though you will never accept my truth for your reality. Because you have been through a hell I cannot imagine. Then and now. Though, to you, now is so much better than then was. Yet now can be so much better. Then, you created a reality that kept you as safe as you could…which, frankly, wasn’t very safe. Neither then nor now. But it kept you from the bickering at home. It kept you near the horses you loved. And the terror was the price you paid… couldn’t avoid paying…  though the future value of that cost was inestimable by your ten-year-old self. No one would let a child sign a mortgage on a house, but you were forced to mortgage your life and future relationships. You believed it to be a fair price at the time. You believed what he said to you. He told you that you deserved it. He told you no one would believe if you told. He rolled over and walked away, not noticing the shattered little girl he left behind, time and time again.  Not understanding how his actions would send ripples decades into your future. He could not fathom how your life experiences would send ripples into other people’s lives.

After he did his evil, you would ride away on  the horse with your emotional bruises and bumps. Feeling the wind in your hair and the rhythm of the horse beneath you, your spirit soared. Knowing that you were safe, for now. This feeling would always bring you joy, then and now. The horses love you… always. They respond to your presence. They appreciate you. With horses you can be unguarded and unburdened. If they hurt you, it isn’t on purpose. You can talk to them, though you would never share your secret. It was too heavy even for a  horse to hear. You felt the need to carry it by yourself. Across  your narrow back. Around your skinny hips. In  your heart. Through your soul. Over your lifetime. 

What to say to a child that has a lifelong mortgage? Something that no one can ever repay. The mortgage holder cannot get ahead on those payments  unless they read the fine print…see what was writ across their body, mind, soul. It takes time to untangle the emotions and the damaging clauses and addendum that, unseen, seemed unimportant before. It takes time to blot out the immoral and ugly phrases and rewrite the mortgage and replace it with a promissory note. “Today I will love me. Today I will recognize I am lovable. Today I will start the healing. Tomorrow I will do it all over again. And the day after that, I will do it some more. And sometimes I will go back to the lessons I learned so well, the lessons that kept me safe for so long. When I do this, I will catch myself, and I will use my new skills of  healing to rewrite my future. To repay myself because I am owed a future of happiness…joy…pleasure untainted.”


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