I have empathy, but I’m not dumb.
Your presence, like an annoying hum.
I can block you out with noise during the day
but at night
With no where to hide
your lurking presence remains.
I have felt empathy for you, sympathy towards you, and longing for your approval. I’ve remembered your pain and the pain you caused to others. I’ve weighed it in my mind and the pain you caused feels heavier than the pain I saw in you. I remembered today the gymnastic lessons, the violin lessons, the comfortable house we lived in when I was a child. That all changed after we joined your church. For years I longed for and hoped that I would be able to go back to gymnastics, that was my childhood dream. Did you know that? I was 15 years old when you asked me what actress I wanted to be like. It was a trick question, assuming that I wanted to be like an actress and then I got in so much trouble for not being satisfied with the life I have. I didn’t want to be an actress, you idiot. I wanted to be a gymnast and a musician. You took away everything that made me feel strong. I was stuck in a tiny school room all day with your children, and I lost all my strength. Everything I wanted, every thing that made me different from the others was mocked. I tried for a long time, and then finally gave up and wished I could disappear. I didn’t want to be anyone else. I didn’t want to compete with anyone. I wanted to be myself and I wanted to do something great. I played baseball on the church baseball team because it was the only acceptable thing for me to do. I didn’t want to play baseball, but it was a way to move, a way to be seen, because the hidden corners only meant trouble. But even in baseball Ted found a way to me. He was the coach. And all along I had this feeling that you knew. You would not help me, just like everyone else. You stood me up in front of everyone to prove to me that I was ugly and no one would like me, then you let your son do whatever he wanted to me. You are sick. You told me that I wanted to have sex with my Dad. You single-handedly ruined the most precious thing I had; the love of my father. He never looked at me the same after that, even though I knew he didn’t believe you, did he? You put a question in his mind and my own. I struggle getting dressed because for years every day I was under your scrutiny. Every day I would wear the wrong thing, and I was blamed for boys molesting me. You were a big bully, and you did it in the name of love and the name of God. You hurt me, you hurt my mom, my dad, my brother, and my sister. You hurt countless others but my family is all that matters to me now. Your family hurt me. We will never be the same. I saw my future in your world, married at 18, three kids by the age of 25. Poor, alone, molested, raped, abused. My life was over. I saw my future and I was hopeless. I wanted to kill myself, I didn’t know who I was. I had no dreams or plans for the future. Then when I left, I didn’t know what to do. I had always had someone controlling me or telling me what my future was. You fucked me up. And in the end I know you tried to make it right. In many ways, you never will be able to. I hope you have seen things clearly now. I hope you see the hurt, and the lingering pain. I don’t need you to stay with me anymore. I am through with you.