The Boxer

‘I have squandered my resistance for a pocket of mumbles such are promises’

I’ve accepted crumbs that I might have even a little something however much the crumbs might hurt me. Because I have learned to sell myself out for a crumb of love is to inflict the most humiliating,excruciating pain on myself.

‘And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him till he cried out in his anger and shame.’

Is it the wound or blind courage and belief in love that has led me on a life of heartbreak in relationship? I have to say that I believe they’re interwoven as beautifully as the most intricate tapestry. Rich golds of hope and belief criss crossing black threads of betrayal.

Betrayal learned early. Very early.

The subtle betrayals when a parent shuts up a child,this child,with a sssh,not now. When tears are unwelcome,anger because I’m a bad child because good children don’t get angry.

Betray me,I learn to betray me.

Shame lives well in these circumstances. Each betrayal like morning sun to the closed flower,gently nudging it to open.

Unanswered tears,fruitless,become unshed tears. Don’t cry,there will be no one there. Good boys don’t cry. Swallow,swallow,swallow hole the pain. Betray me because I know you’ll betray me,I know no one will be there.

A little boys swallows himself whole.

A beating here,hair pulling there. But you don’t see my pain,my anger,my shame. I hide them all,betray myself because you will not see my pain. Because I know you won’t care.

Black threads slowly creep throughout the tapestry that is a beautiful child’s life,a child’s exquisite heart having to hide. Betraying myself. Hiding,lying just so you won’t betray me again.

Then unwelcome hands dance over my body. I like this. But I don’t. I want the attention. But I don’t. Who is there to love me,to keep me safe? No one. I lie that I’m ok. Swallow me whole again. Eyes far away.

Too young to cry out in my anger and shame,knowing no one will listen. Each betrayal a blow that can’t be avoided. Each shot another thread of black,overtaking unsullied gold.

Gold that lived early,alive with life. Oh god I must hide this now. Hide,hide,hide.

But I learned one thing so well,so very well. I am here to be betrayed,nausea sweeps through me as my body remembered this so well. Be betrayed,don’t dare to show my real self,my vulnerable self,betray me. Gold turns to black. Creeping like a plague into my being.

Betray me,betray me.

And so I will love you no matter what you do. And,of course, I will choose you to betray me,I will take each blow,accept each blow. Like Ali,I’m playing rope a dope,unlike Ali I couldn’t come back with a knockout. Punch me,betray me,punch me,betray me. On the ropes I sink,beaten,bereft of hope. Yet I betray myself and forgive you,again and again. No longer the heavyweight contender I walk out of the ring beaten. I am Duran,my words are No Mas.

Beaten I turn my back,I see no gold,there is black. And more black. Still unable to cry out a needle dulls my pain,watching with great fascination as my blood fills the barrel and the sweeping plunge numbs. Eight seconds it takes the heart to pump my escape around my body,into my brain. Eight seconds. I know this.

I know I’m dying but I can’t take anymore.

A moment somewhere I see gold. How? The gods showed me.

I had a chance to come back. To get back into the ring. To be true to me,say no to betrayal.
Ali had great cornermen,Dundee,Pacheco. A trainer and his cuts man. I needed,need good people in mineband they came in many forms. So many cuts. So much learning to do. And I had to learn to trust that not everyone betrays me. So they came,Tamar,John,Lucy,Mike,Anna,Ronnie,others too and some not so benevolent teaching harsh lessons I needed to learn. And spirits came too. Teachers all.

And I learned to cry out,to own shame,to rage and be angry.

And I’m learning not to betray myself. Perhaps the hardest lesson. To stand up for myself before I get lost in shame and lash out. To say no.

Saying no. There’s a thing. This is my body,not yours. My feelings,my dreams,my hopes. I’ll have them however much they might disturb you.

Saying no and learning to say yes to joy,to my heart’s desires,to life.

‘The fire still remains…’

And there is some blind courage in my pursuit of a loving relationship. Courage and faith there is a better way. A way of truth,love,intimacy,vulnerability that will both shake and soothe my soul. And I’m going to have this one day,next time. I’ll face the cyclones of uncertainty that will come with being able to relax,to trust,to feel loved. All new.

You gotta dream right? And I know dreams do can come true. Can come true.

And it’s time to open myself to my dreams.

To have the courage to face my hopes and say…yes! Yes,I’m going to risk myself to be happy,to live,to love.

So I’m staying in the ring that is life and getting up off my stool for the next round. This time I don’t have to be the heavyweight champion of the world to be accepted,to be super Tom chased by shame.

I just need to be in the ring. To be in life and be my own saviour,my own champion.

The Boxer-

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