Purple Ribbon Poems: In Conclusion

First of all, thank you to those of you who took the time to read even one poem in this series; sharing these meant a lot to me. I wrote these poems at a different time in my life. I wrote them when I was going through intensive therapy, trying to process the trauma of growing up in a house where domestic and sexual violence were a daily occurrence.

Violence of this nature knows no boundaries. It crosses every racial, ethnic, gender, class, and socioeconomic border imaginable. This was so in my case– my father was not the “typical” batterer. He was a well-respected surgeon. White, upper-middle class, with advanced degrees and an IQ to match. But he had bipolar, he binge drank and injected steroids. He liberally prescribed narcotics for himself (that’s illegal now) and he was your basic narcissistic sociopath. I’m not being hyperbolic– he was a literal sociopath, diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder. This was not documented until I was in my twenties, but you can only imagine how stunningly anticlimactic that was. He has no conscience? Really? Hmm, ‘cause I’m pretty sure I saw a glimmer of guilt when he was holding a handgun to my six-year-old head.

So he was a bad guy. I struggle even now to put into words everything that he put my mother, my sister, and me through. I could tell you countless stories, examples of his malevolence; I could paint a picture of the cold-hearted bastard that he was, and take pages to list every form his abuse took.

Instead, I think I’ll let the poetry speak for itself. In truth, it’s always been the best way I articulate and express myself.
I will say one last thing though– my family is living an entirely different life now. It is possible to get out of a violent situation and re-create yourself into something better, something stronger. My mother is my biggest inspiration, my biggest support, and pretty much my hero, for everything she has overcome and how she had re-made her self. She’s an incredible woman. I am so deeply proud of her, my sister, and myself, for how far we have come from that dark time.

You are worthy of happiness, whatever you’ve been told. Fight for your life– it’s worth it.

My older sister and me.© Sarah Ann Henderson 2010


About writingforrecovery

Sarah is a writer and poet who speaks out about issues that make people uncomfortable. Sarah advocates for causes such a sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental illness, and often speaks openly about her own experiences. She is determined to abolish the stigma associated with these issues and believes that it starts with people telling their stories, so she started a blog called Writing for Recovery where people can do just that. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and is currently at work on her fourth. She is convinced that there's a novel somewhere in her, and occasionally picks at the chapters so far. View all posts by writingforrecovery

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