The Shadows

By a HopeNet client fighting the darkness of childhood sexual abuse

Unless you’re Peter Pan,
You will always have a shadow.
Shadows never leave,
Clinging to you, to who you are,
Mimicking your every move,
Chasing after you or leading the way.
You can’t lose it; you can’t escape it; you can’t change it.
It’s part of who you are.

I have a shadow, too.
But I have a shadow times two.

For years, he was always with me,
Lurking right beside me,
Reaching from behind me,
Grabbing, following, clinging to me.
As his shadow and its influence grew,
I began to shrink.
His shadow overpowered me, making me helpless and weak.
His shadow overwhelmed me, taking my voice and my spirit.
His shadow bossed me around, telling me how I was to feel and act.
His shadow blocked out the light, hiding me in the darkness.
I thought I could escape his shadow,
But for years he’s followed me.
Instead of Wendy gently sewing it on like Peter Pan’s,
My extra shadow has teeth and claws that have sunk deeply into my flesh.
I tried to run away, but still he follows me.
I tried to control it, only to have it control me.
I tried to change it, to make it simple and pretty, not scary at all.
It shook away the glitter and bows, showing itself darker and bigger and scarier than ever before.
I know I have two shadows,
Both as real as real can be.
MY shadow there because of light,
HIS shadow there because of darkness.
Sometimes my two shadows are normal,
Barely a blip on my radar.
Sometimes my shadows overwhelm me and I shrink again,
Small and helpless, weak and voiceless in the weight of his inky blackness.
Maybe I’ll never be “just me” again,
One and only one shadow before or behind or beside me.
Count the shadows, Doctor Who?
I always see two.

But maybe the two will become one.
I can no longer run to escape its chase,
But I can stop running.
I can no longer hide in its darkness,
But I can shine a greater Light there.
I can no longer sit there in silence,
But I can use my voice.
I can no longer cower in fear,
But I can stand tall and fight back.
Yes, I may always have these two shadows,
But perhaps one day I will find
The two have blended to one,
Both always a part of me,
But now just part of the better me I have become.