Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Self-Bullying"

This poem is spillover from the September 2013 Crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by the sculptures of Choi Xoo Ang. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] kengr. This poem belongs to the series Diminished Expectations.

WARNING: This poem (and the series in general) contains material that many readers may find disturbing. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers and also triggers. The setting is a dystopia which is horrible for everyone, with rampant racism, ableism, and other oppression. It features self-bullying, self-harm, pictures of explicit sculptures (although they're amazing as art), and other mayhem. Please consider your tastes and headspace before deciding whether this is something you want to read.


Two bodies merged together,
front to back, brothers
of bone and skin --

the one behind is Assurance,
who has the left arm
plus ears and mouth and nose;
while the one before is Diligence,
who has the right arm
but only eyes in a smooth head.

They share two legs,
human nearly to the hips,
dwarfing their shrunken genitals;
their hands are huge,
the skin pink and supple
almost to the elbows.

They cannot escape
each other or themselves,
two minds trapped in one body,
twined together so tightly
that they cannot tell
where one ends
and the other begins.

They hate themselves,
hitting with their fists
and hurting with words,
both bully and victim
in an eternal reflexive fight

that they cannot imagine stopping
even though it brings them no relief.

* * *


The Diminished customarily have virtue names.

See a full view and closeup of Assurance and Diligence.

Self-bullying is a devastating form of internalized abuse. Counter it by learning self-compassion and standing up to self-bullying. Here are some exercises.

Self-harm happens when people turn their pain back on themselves. There are ways to stop or prevent it. However, most of this stuff is written by outsiders, who don't always understand what it's like. My go-to resource is the Hurt Yourself Less Workbook, written by and for people with self-injury issues.

Tags: creative jam, cyberfunded creativity, horror, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing
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