Note: The following poem was written during the summer of last year, as I began to make sense of what happened during a difficult time in my high school experience. As someone who is works with teenagers, with high schoolers, I need to understand my own struggles in high school and part of that is looking at what led me to be stuck in a relationship that was detrimental to my mental health, my friendships, and my sense of self. My hope is that through open and honest processing of my past, I can find my voice for the future.

Content Warning: Abusive relationship


I don’t often let people into my head.
I’m much more willing to let them into my heart, but not my head.
Things in there are so broken and disconnected. Locked behind opaque glass doors with dark silhouettes of perfume bottles and ceiling fans and cassette players behind them.

I can’t remember what happened in those movies we watched together.
But I can remember the music of the credits:
The opening music told me that I was in for the horror I did not want to see, the blood and gore and psychological torture.
But the closing music was worse. It told me that the preview was done and the real horror was coming.
The horror of manipulation and guilt and shame
Of perfect insults, seemingly harmless to anyone who might have heard
But that shattered me more each time.

She called me Bambi
Soft and sweet
Gentle and innocent
Someone to be protected

She called me Bambi
I looked like a deer in headlights, she said,
Frozen and helpless
Innocent and weak
Easily controlled.
She spit those words at me through the open door of her car as I tried to walk away
She said it mockingly as I sat back in the passenger seat.

She said it for the first time reaching to hold my hand
She said it so sweetly, pushing my hair out of my face as she complemented my big brown eyes
I had thought she meant I was pretty
Really she meant I was prey

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