Blood, stage right
The question is
which windows to open, which
curtains to pull aside.
Like a stage master, we decide
the truth we dare show
and which to keep in the shadows
never allowing the audience
to decide for themselves,
protecting the murderers lurking in the dark,
while we bleed senselessly
In this drama that is only half our own.
About this poem
I have a friend, another writer, who is fearless in writing of the people who have caused him pain. His theory is that if they did not want to be exposed for what they are and what they did, they should behave better.
There’s some wisdom in that.
I’ve never been good at protecting myself by telling the truth of those who cause me pain, or cause pain to others I know. I tell myself I stay quiet because telling the whole story would hurt others I care about, not just the perpetrator.
But I think it would be lying to say it’s the whole truth. Part of protecting those who hurt me also boils down to protecting myself. I don’t want to be dragged through the ugliness again. I don’t want to refight the fight. I want peace. Simple peace.
It’s complicated because, at times, those that hurt me are people I care about, or once cared about. And there is still part of me that cares for them. There is still some residual love held, that does not wish them pain. Which when I think about it is stupid silly. They have never hesitated to cause me pain. What stupid character twist holds me back from returning the favor?
And too there are the ripples. No public battle is fought without other casualties. Lives are broken. Trust is broken. At times, relationships become strained, innocent relationships that have nothing to do with the battle at hand. And I don’t want that blood on my hands.
And so I, like so many others I know, just let the battle go. Turn the other cheek.
Is it noble? I don’t think of it that way. Maybe it is sometimes. There are, after all, principles behind not fighting a personal battle publicly. But is it noble to let others abuse us while not fighting back? I don’t know.
Like I said earlier. I still wrestle with it.
But there is one thing I do believe, strongly. Truth comes out. People eventually see the abusers for what they are. In the meanwhile, yes, I (or others like me) may suffer hurt and humiliation, but in time, I have learned the truth of the abusers shows itself and they lose credibility, and long-term, I gain it.
But not without a cost. Not without blood on the rug. Mine. Or maybe yours. But blood.