Poetry of Stephanie Bennett Henry

Just Wanted You To Know

I never meant to make you sad. It was never my intention to spread my pain thick into your blood stream until it came up hard enough to choke you. I didn’t want to twist your words into a puzzle that rendered you speechless, but I did. I did that. And I’m so sorry. I only wanted you to understand. I only needed you to walk in my shoes long enough to know that this pain is as real as yours is not. This pain.. I know it’s mine, I know. But understand, it’s as real as your happiness. I’m not exaggerating, I am not trying to be dramatic. I’m not testing the waters of crazy to see if I can make the biggest waves. I am not competing here. And yes… sometimes my heart, it splits open, it spills over, it falls out. I cannot contain all of what I hold. My mind, love.. listen to me.. This mind… these thoughts, sometimes they eat me alive if I’m being honest and the truth of this war inside, god.. it hurts so much. And if I don’t have you to understand it or to see it.. I have nothing. If I don’t talk to you about it, I only have myself and I am so tired. This battle beats me down. Lashes me until I am bent ugly and broken bloody as these fists clenched tight around my own throat. The words, they’re not always free flowing. They are not always healing me the way I say they sometimes do. Sometimes my vocal chords get twisted, fire and smoke trapped inside the tangling and I have nothing other than the silence to depend on. My eyes close, but only halfway. I have to be on guard, a watchdog for these nightmares that won’t let me sleep. I wake up empty and sometimes I’m not sure if I want to wake at all. My feet hit the floor, I reach straight for the combat boots, laced up ready in my heart because every day is another war that doesn’t let me throw up a peace sign. And every night I’m torn from having to explain this fight like it’s something I volunteered for. I wish it was. I wish it was. Because then I could just quit. I could walk away. I could be like you. I could be like everyone. I could smile and mean it. But I smile anyway, so that no one feels uncomfortable. I lie so you can be happy. And inside, I gut my own smile for the massacre it makes of my heart. As long as you are smiling, I am fine. I just wanted you to know.

-Stephanie Bennett-Henry


3 thoughts on “Just Wanted You To Know”

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