You Were Always Such a Happy Kid

You were always such a happy kid

She said in conversation

That's nice, Mom, but you seem to have forgotten 

How when I smiled, things were great 

and we would get along just fine. 

When I laughed and giggled and behaved

the way you had in mind, 

it was easy for you 

to be the mom that I needed.

But what's funny 

Is that we don't need love when we're happy. 

 

It's easy to forget how when I cried 

your whole outlook would change 

When I was scared of the dark or afraid of my room 

I needed your warmth

But all I got was the cold steel of the handcuffs that bound me to my bed

There was no use to cry, no one ever came.

 

You always said I was smart from a very young age 

Well it worked , Mom. I learned quick. 

Aren't you amazed!?

Most two and a half year olds didn't know the things that I did 

Lucky me. I must have had an advantage 

And I kept it all a secret.

 

Other children didn't know that 

In order to be loved 

You have to smile, shut your mouth, and keep your chin up. 

Did you do something wrong, kid? 

Now you're gonna get beat. 

Unless they never find out, 

So I learned to lie through my teeth. 

I learned to push it all down 

The pain, the anger, the sadness. 

No one wanted to see that. 

I was the happy kid. Remember? 

 

Gotta keep up the act, the facade. The mask 

that I wear has become so familiar 

That when I take it off and look in the mirror 

I don't know the person I see. 

But others know me. 

I'm the one who was always so happy.

 

All these skills that I've learned 

Have been so useful throughout the years.

When anyone came around 

and showed me a hint of affection 

Down went my guard and they got all my attention. 

Until that became too much, too suffocating for them and they would be gone. 

Like everyone else. 

Why should they love me? 

Do I even love myself? 

 

30 years of this bullshit. 

You'd think being so smart 

I would have figured it out. 

But when people tell you you're happy you start to believe them 

When the friends and men leave you

You play the victim. 

I was never the problem

I just had shitty luck

Then I woke up one day, picked up a book and learned some things about myself and I finally woke up. 

 

Apparently, trauma can make you do things that are fucked. 

It can cause you to cheat on your husband

and ruin your whole fucking life

I didn't know it then, but I wasn't in a condition 

To be someone's wife. 

How can I love someone 

When I'm always so scared? 

Are they going to leave? 

 

Am I doing something wrong? I can change

Just give me a chance. 

I can be the person you want. 

I was always the happy kid. It can be that way again. 

Please don't leave. 

 

So this is how it's gonna be?

After everything I've given? 

After hiding my true self away? 

Turns out it's me who has the problem?

I'm gonna have to work on this for the rest of my life. 

Gee thanks, Mom and Dad. A simpler gift would have sufficed. 

 

You were always such a happy kid. 

So I've been told 

On more than one occasion. 

I didn't have a fucking choice. 

You took away my innocence. 

But I've finally found my voice. 

I want to use it to help other people 

To know they're not alone. 

Because alone is how I often felt. 

Your unconditional love is what I needed. 

Seldom was it dealt.

But I'm ready now. 

I'm doing the work and the research 

I'm even working the Steps.

I'm meeting people who are in the same boat. 

Some who've had it much much worse. 

 

I'm feeling like I'm getting better, 

But I have to take it slow. 

Because as hard as it is to get a good grip on life

It's oh so easy to let it go. 

To let all that hard work go to shit 

Is the last thing I want to do. 

But I have to be patient and kind when I slip. 

Because it'll happen at least one time. Maybe two. 

The only one who can pick me up is me. 

That little kid who wants so badly to be happy. 

This poem is about: 
Me
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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