Do not tell me what I was.

Do not tell me what I was
to redraw that cold war face,
to see a woman of what I bleed;
I am.

tinsel sits in a box made for winter
(please stop—I’m mad—please stop
telling me to be strong)

untouched like you.

I, Prometheus, [I am not]
I want to shackle your humanity
to dread; and I, I don’t want to see
my mother’s ghost.

I want you to stop—
stop, just stop, telling me—

I sit on the shelf
liquor dancing to her tombs.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved.

Written for the 12/13/2021 dVerse prompt.

I wrote two quadrilles at the cost of one (does that make sense? It sounded much better in my head). Lot’s of personal feelings in this, honestly fucking sick of the phrase “be strong” or “stay strong” in light of hardship.

No thank you. I want to be weak once in awhile and let someone else be strong for me for once. I wrote this for me, but anyone who can resonate with it, I hope it provides some comfort.

65 thoughts on “Do not tell me what I was.”

  1. Hi Lucy, good to read you once again. Admire your audacity, creating a “double quadrille” I also applaud the introspection. i liked “tinsel sits in a box made for winter, untouched like you”, and “I want to shackle your humanity to dread.”

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hey Glenn, thank you! I’m not sure I have much audacity in me, but I think I’ve become just a bit more stubborn these past couple months, haha.

      Glad you liked those lines too, I was angry specifically in those. Poetry feels like a relief again rather than a burden it once was; crawling back to it slowly. Hope all is well with you and wishing you a happy holiday and new year! ❤


  2. I hear you. It is horrible when we feel unsupported and those around us expect unlimited strength. Very much feeling this way now and your words echo my thoughts. Thanks for sharing them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, no one’s made to be like that, and the expectation to be like a wall is just absolutely damaging. I’m sorry you’re feeling that way, but I’m glad you can resonate with this piece. I know it’s a hard place to be in, hopefully it gets better soon for the both of us. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ughhhh, makes you want to smack something (or someone) hard, right? It pains me to acknowledge that yes, these people probably have good intentions but there are better ways to express a different sentiment; maybe a “Hey, I’m here for you too” or “If you need anything, I’m right here” as support–not the “Stay positive, stay strong.” Thanks Sherlock, as if it were that easy.

      Sorry, went on a tangent I guess. But, yeah, absolutely tired of it right now and it was just one person reiterating that to me. Glad you can resonate with my poem, but I am sorry you’re going through that too. Hugs. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m too often the resilient one who doesn’t need anything (one)… Already strong enough, apparently.

        G’head. Tangents are good! And no worries. It’s been awhile. 😊 Hugs right back. 💞

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Beautifully vivid imagery and gems of truth sparkling. My best friend and I recently chatted about advice she had read about facing things head-on. We shared about trauma’s impact on us and how there were times we just couldn’t face things head-on.

    I told her that that’s what CPTSD has taught me and is still teaching me – that our bodies know when it’s time to face things head-on and when it’s not. Those memories frozen were frozen for a reason – we weren’t made to process and heal from such horror in one go, but one trigger at a time.

    I am so sorry you have been told to “be strong”. May you be strengthened by others around you affirming your worth in compassion (suffering with), as they lift you up, rather than tear you down.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Anna, thank you for sharing that. That’s such a powerful statement and I agree. I don’t talk about it on here, but I have some PTSD from an incident in childhood and reading your words brings solace and comfort. I agree with you greatly on how our bodies were not made to deal with everything at once; as cliched it is to say, it takes time and finding ways to cope to learn how to live with these things.

      Thank you so much for sharing and for leaving such a kind and thoughtful comment. It brought comfort to me and I emphasize with your story. ❤ Hope you have a happy holiday and new year.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Telling someone to be strong when they are at their lowest is being a coward… it’s about distancing yourself from something that might pull you under. I get the image of Munchhausen pulling himself from the swamp in his own bootstraps… totally impossible.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. No-one ever felt better by being told to be strong. It feels like a denial of your pain. Such powerful lines in this – ‘I want to shackle your humanity to dread’ stands out to me.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree with that so much and exactly, it’s like brushing it off. I think people don’t know what to say sometimes, but there are much better alternatives than the dreaded “Be strong!” message. Thank you so much for the kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. They say it as if it is that easy, y’know? Be strong… I want to hand them a few one-hundred pound dumbbells and tell them to “be strong.” 😛

      I’m sorry you’ve been through that before. People really don’t know what to say and so they say shit like that to compensate, and it doesn’t make anything better. Thank you so much for the kind and supportive words; hope you’re doing well too! I also hope you have a happy holiday and new year. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Firstly … thank you for the sweet comment on my tinsel poem. Secondly, my daughter had to let go of her eighteen year old Maltese Sammy on Monday evening. Their vet came to the house, it was intimate and extremely difficult for her. Sammy was adored by all who knew him ~~~ The LAST thing she needs or wants right now is ‘be strong’ … so, I get your poem!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Helen, I’m so sorry to hear that about your daughter’s Maltese. Losing a pet is never easy, and they are family that one has lost; it can hit so hard. I’m glad you can resonate with this poem, though, and yes, being told to “be strong” is not what anyone would want to hear. I’m sorry. ❤️❤️


  7. Very very revolutionary poetry . Is the age of revolution coming back ? I don’t know. It appears so from your poetry . And the wheel of time again reaches its zenith when I see a time of revivalism in your poetry . No need to have eyes of the great Leonardo Vince to see the colors of your poetry . My eyes still see too far . Your poetry is nice and beautiful . Thanks!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah, you are too kind! Thank you so much. I don’t know for sure if my poetry can be considered revolutionary poetry, but I’m happy you think so. 🙂 I wanted to portray a narrative that goes against what’s too common to hear, and I guess that anger swept through. Thank you again, and I hope you’re having a good start so far with the new year.


  8. It was a different world, but my eyes opened, and reality struck me for so long.
    If only I had read your words earlier, my dream would’ve been eternity…


    1. Oh wow, I am not quite sure what to say, but it really makes me happy that this could impact you in such a way. Thank you so much. ❤


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