i never thought i’d thank you
for all you put me through,
but maybe i should thank
the alcohol instead,
for showing me the real you –
how you really felt about me.
even the drama, the sleepless nights,
the way you slandered my reputation
before i could defend myself
(or crying, walk away),
then always denied it the next day –
for all these things I am thankful.
true, i knew you were trouble…
i have only naïveté to blame.
silly me, thinking my meager affections
could heal a hurting friend,
never once believing
you’d injure me in turn.
it’s been many weeks now
since we’ve spoken
and i doubt you think of me still,
but i think of you often.
and no – lest you find some twisted pleasure
in my honesty,
remembrance alone cannot render me weak.
because through your anger,
through days of your tearing me down,
to make yourself feel more empowered,
i emerged, like a phoenix from ashes,
the stronger soul.
each of your attempts to drown me out,
to make me feel insignificant,
to alienate me from others
so I’d one day have no choice
but to cling to you, instead
served only to help me find my voice.
its tenacity and power still surprise me.
so tonight, i’d like to thank you,
wherever you might be,
for teaching me that fear
need not control my future,
that another does not own my body,
that louder voices and stronger arms
cannot undermine my agency
or silence repeated NOs.
for the first time in forever
i can meet my own gaze in the mirror,
proud of the woman i’ve become.
i am content.
i am confident.
i am free.
i am enough.
i am me.
(in part, thanks to you)