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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Unsettling"

This poem came out of the July 2013 crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from siege.  It also fills the "corporal punishment" square in my 6-10-13 card for the Hurt/Comfort Bingo fest.  It has been sponsored by janetmiles.


"Why?" they ask,
wanting to know your reasons
for spending the holidays
with your family of choice.

"Why?" they ask,
wanting to know the motivation
for choosing a new family
rather than settling for what you already have.

For you it's simple:
being with people who don't hit,
who don't grab you and shake you,
who don't swing belts or switches or fists,
who don't yell at each other all night long.

One member of your found-family
is tired of gifts that only come
with strings attached.

Another was thrown out
and didn't have the option  of staying.

It's different for everyone,
and yet the same.

It's not about settling for what you had,
but about unsettling old ideas
that turned out not to be any good.

It's about deciding that you deserve better
than to be somebody's stress toy.

It's about reaching out to comfort each other
when the memories come,
because life sucks that way
and there's always something to remind you
of what used to be the norm.

Family is deciding, together,
that you want to be with people
who are gentle instead of cruel,
who like to cuddle instead of fight.

Family is finding ways to solve problems
that don't involve spanking or screaming, because --
never mind what you grew up with --
now you know there are better methods.

"Why?" they ask,
and you don't go into detail
because that's none of their business.

"Because it's my life,"
you say with a smile,
"and these are the people
I choose to spend it with."

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6 comments or Leave a comment
From: technoshaman Date: December 19th, 2013 06:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 19th, 2013 06:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm glad you liked this.
Paula Krafty Katz From: Paula Krafty Katz Date: December 19th, 2013 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

Thank you

I'm bawling now, but the tears are good. It's realisation that *someone* out there totally understands.

Thank you, Paula xx

PS Have a very blessed Yule, whomever you choose to spend it with!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: December 29th, 2013 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Thank you

I'm glad you found this so touching.

Yes, we had a lovely Yule.
siege From: siege Date: December 20th, 2013 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.
natf From: natf Date: December 21st, 2013 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
6 comments or Leave a comment