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#446736 - 09/09/13 03:45 PM shadow life
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3372
Loc: somewhere in Africa
I have lived in shadows,
afraid of the sunlight,
the spotlight,
the limelight,
afraid to let my face be seen,
my name be known,
my voice be heard,
my words be read.

I never stretched my wings
or tried to soar,
but manacled my dreams
with words like
“impossible” and “fantasy,”
condemned to be a medium fish
in a miniscule pond.

The voices behind my head
have whispered and shouted:
Do not risk failure!
Do not chance defeat!
Do not invite humiliation!
Better to attempt little
than to dare much and fall.

I have skirted round the edges of life,
holding back from plunging in,
watching others take the field,
always outside the inner circle,
limited by the fear of discovery,
of being recognized as the victim,
of having my shame made known.

So I lurk in dimness,
cowering behind a bland façade,
pulling a grey cloak of
anonymous mediocrity
over my true colors,
craving but despising
the self-imposed self-effacement
that started when the first abuser
stripped me of my confidence and pride
and made me a collaborator
in my own imprisonment.

9-9-13
lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#446738 - 09/09/13 05:26 PM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
Shyshark Offline


Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 412
Loc: Canada
Hi Lee ...

You and I have taken different roads to the same destination.

Even though I have backtracked many times and tried to rebuild ...
no path led to the right place.
The many detours I took always made me believe I had found my place ...
where I belonged ... my destiny.
But always ... always ... I became lost again.

I took a different tack than you.
Because I had been so harshly held back I lived for my escape,
and when I left 'home' at 18 I believed ... that free of all
those who had told me I was nothing ...
I would become SOMETHING!
And I did.
I was brash and bold and overconfident and continued to amaze those
I had left behind ... proving over and over how many things I could achieve,
and overcome ... and be so much more than they were.
I was.
I triumphed at everything.

I had always known ... had been aware ... that there was a tiny being deep inside me that I must ... at all costs ... protect ... and hide.
I did so with fierce tenacious dedication.
I knew that he was there ... alone and afraid and believing all the awful things that had been told to him ... and keeping the very worst of it hidden ... even from himself.
What it was ... we didn't know.

At 36 ... man and child ... found out.

I don't think I need say more ... you've read my stuff.

Different routes Lee ... that led us both ... here.
_________________________
Experience is a brutal teacher.

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#446788 - 09/10/13 05:10 AM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
ghostlights Offline


Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 26
Loc: Upstate NY
Thanks so much for this poem. I've realized since becoming a part of this community that whenever I fail to articulate my struggles, or feel I haven't done it well, I need only wait a little while. Someone at MS will do it for me beautifully. Though you may feel you've written your words from a position of "weakness" they empower your brothers. We draw strength from them. For the first time in my 47 years I've learned to love myself. Imagine that, ending a 47 year prison sentence. I know who I am, why I am and that I BELONG to a really special fraternity of brave and beautiful men. I owe some of that understanding to the therapy I went through years ago without ever revealing my history of CSA. I owe much of it to what we all share with each other here. Insight, love, compassion, acceptance, respect. There's no overestimating the value of these blessings and gifts. I hope you have been and will be continually blessed in the same manner as you have blessed the rest of us. I'm currently working on shedding my own "cloak." It's never too late for that.
_________________________
-Dave

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#446810 - 09/10/13 10:35 AM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3372
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Dave -

thank you for these affirming and healing sentiments and words.

i am at a place where i am finally coming out of my cave and trying to join the world. but i am only now fully realizing the totality of how much the abuse limited my ability to engage in life. i still mourn the wasted decades and settling for less than i might have experienced and achieved.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#446819 - 09/10/13 11:11 AM Re: shadow life [Re: Shyshark]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3372
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Originally Posted By: Shyshark
You and I have taken different roads to the same destination.
...
I triumphed at everything.
...
I don't think I need say more ... you've read my stuff.


yes, shy -

i can see how our paths diverged - but began and ended at the same places. but i can't help envying guys like you who accomplished a lot inspite of their challenges. idk - maybe i am wrong - but doesnt the stuff you DID count for something - regardless of the motivation? maybe even worth more - BECAUSE of the motivation? i hope i am not just feeling sorry for myself - BUT giving you the credit for all that you achieved!

anyway - thanks for pointing out our similarities - that is very validating. i wonder how many other over-achievers are compensating for hidden traumas?

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#446823 - 09/10/13 11:43 AM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
kasper Offline


Registered: 09/08/13
Posts: 15
.


Edited by kasper (11/04/13 07:37 PM)

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#446825 - 09/10/13 12:02 PM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
traveler Online   confused
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3372
Loc: somewhere in Africa
kasper -

i had a step-dad/adoptive father from 5 1/2 yrs - who was also the 1st abuser. i could never satisfy him in any way.

i too escaped through books. dropped out of college - but finished years later. i never achieved my potential. did some good stuff - but never lived up to what people expected of me.

sounds like you are a young guy - who still has time to make your life better. hope you can find the strength and support to make that happen.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#446842 - 09/10/13 03:27 PM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1622
Lee

Well said-it captures what many of us feel and have lived. We achieve but hold back our true potential, we fall, we feel left behind, we become targets for others who we believe see our weaknesses and see we are damaged. This is what we believe from the first time we suffer the abuse.

I believe your words will help others, especially the young people who are seeking help or fear help--how some times I envy them that the world is changing and there is recognition of male CSA that will encourage and allow them to heal and have a life the deserve and were meant to live. But I know more needs to be done to ensure help is there and people do not turn their backs on the victims--no matter what age they come forward

However, we have a long way to go on educating people how real and damaging CSA is. We are seeing advances in trauma studies that show differences in the brain of CSA victims--the thinning of the cortex and a reduced hippocampus, neural plasticity. It is believed the initial thinning is to protect the victim from recognizing the abuse but in adulthood some believe it is responsible for adult behavioral issues and long term dissociation.

I hope all this will help young victims to receive the proper treatment to allow them to have the life you truly deserve. I also hope it will open the eyes of supporters to stand behind victims.

Thank you for sharing.

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#446880 - 09/11/13 01:25 AM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
Shyshark Offline


Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 412
Loc: Canada
I think 'over-achievers' and 'under-achievers' (I don't like those terms)
have more in common than they think.

One wants to prove that he's better
and the other wants to confirm that he's worse.

Which is better?
Which is worse?

I've been told many times how lucky I was to get all that I had ...
and the operative word here is ... had.
I hope we could all get much much more than we were told we deserve.
It doesn't matter whether someone told us that
or that we said it to ourselves.
The outcome is the same.
A damaged spirit ...
and a life not of our own making.

In answer to your question Lee ...
"Doesn't the stuff you did count for something" ...
Yes it does ... but that perhaps is even more painful.
What you get isn't always what you get to keep.

Gentlemen ... writing and reading help.
Writing things help me get some of it out of my system,
and in so doing I hope with all my heart that those who read it
better understand themselves ...
and everyone else.

You are right KMCINVA ... we are making progress.
I firmly believe that what we talk about here emboldens us
to not only share within our select community
but also in the world at large.
The more people know the less they'll put up with.
_________________________
Experience is a brutal teacher.

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#446958 - 09/12/13 02:30 AM Re: shadow life [Re: traveler]
ScottSmith Offline


Registered: 03/18/12
Posts: 26
Loc: CA desert
Its time to be in the light of our own making
Head held up
basking in the glory of our own love
Seeing the light ahead
the shadow behind
Knowing that the shadow never quite
separates from the source of our being

There is that thin line
between light and shadow
past and present
love and hate

So I want to be in the moment
right on that edge
Is where i want to be



Edited by ScottSmith (10/05/13 12:34 AM)
Edit Reason: a work in progress
_________________________
Scott
"You can always hear the laughter but seldom hear a tear fall."
Keith Johnstone

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