Tonight I find myself musing, reflecting inwardly, raising a glass to all of those who traversed the tar pits of being used, I honour your resilience and strength for battling on, feeling every step mired in the clutches of the grabbing hands, sucked downward by entitled excuses and learning to drown out your feelings of guilt which cause you to remain. I honour you not distantly, but as one of you. I understand the feeling all too well, and finding myself on shores far removed at last, I contemplate the shadow that still lurks, the disenfranchised inner critic that blames the self for allowing ourselves to be used.
Today, I was confronted by truth; there is a starkness about cold hard numbers; they do not lie. There on a page they weave the tale; reminding you of how you gave everything you had and it was swallowed by uncaring greed; whilst simultaneously the numbers depleted through theft, and the reason was to fuel further mistreatment of you. To buy the access to honeyed words dripped into the ears of anyone who was not you, whilst the concurrent mission to spread venom about you to anyone who was unwise enough to buy the lies, though they were carefully planned and cleverly wrapped, so I cannot blame the receivers.
Indeed, I do not, seeing as how when I reached out to them they found the truth, all by themselves.
I look at the numbers with a sadness and a numbness, wondering for a moment how I missed this at the time. But the answers are all known, they have all been said, only the shadow remains. I knew, largely, at the time, but I still battled on and hoped for the best. I did not want to see. I held myself to account not only for the stumbles of my own path, but the corruption that was whispered daily; the insipid utterings of cruelty wrapped in half truths, smothered in gas and lit upon the flames of a wounded heart.
My mind whispers at the humiliation of it all; and it is best not to deny the embarrassment, but also to confront that head on; and remind myself that woman, you have been blamed enough for every indiscretion that was not caused by you. You were seen as a means to an end; just like every woman before you and every woman thereafter, and you do not need to see nor hear the tripe that is uttered now to see the flaking veneer of the same old story, same old song and dance. The words have not changed, merely the partner, the waltz of destruction continues to shackle other people who willfully ignore the words of all the women before them.
I was there once, believing what I was told like a good little girl and thinking the warnings of others were jealousy as they were labelled. I drank the kool-aid for a time. Not for very long, admittedly, you can't lie well to my face, and I am smarter than that. But pride got in the way for a while, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried until I was drained of everything that I had to give.
I know better now, I wish I had been smarter, but at least I will be wiser. I will hear the words of women when they speak in a common tongue, the melody of those broken hearts before my own, and now I am alive in the knowledge that no one will ever lie to me in such a fashion again; nor will I see the wasted numbers on a page, for those are the death strokes of who I used to be.
Queen is not a title that is to be bestowed by any man. It is earned, and claimed, time and again, and my sovereignty remains. A true king does not need to proclaim it, he embodies it. And we will not be fooled again.