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I wear my guilt like layers of coats in the winter, keeping me warm and weighed down.
I’m comfortable in my coat. Comfortable ’til the cold weather warms and the weight no longer keeps me warm but smothers, until I’m drenched in anxiety and hatred for myself.
The coat holds tight. Zipped to my neck, tight like a straight jacket.
I started wearing my coat as a comfort when my voice was not enough. When consequences for those who harmed me were replaced with reason. To not ruin their life. To just think before I speak. That it only hurts me for a bit, but will affect them for life.
I wear the coat of others. I wear the coat of myself. My insecurities are the buttons that hold my coat together, and my fears keep my fingers unmoving.
I wear the coat of motherhood. Of not being enough. It’s in there, layer after layer, piled on top of each other.
I wear the coat of other’s sins. Of not being strong enough to stand my ground. It’s in there, layer after layer, piled on top of each other.
I wear the coat of my own insecurities. Of not being enough for myself and seeking other’s approval before being true to myself. It’s in there, layer after layer, piled on top of each other.
This coat of mine, I wear it like an invisible weight.
I carry it with me everywhere.
Working up the courage to believe I am enough, my voice is enough. Working through the pain others have caused and giving them back the coat they should carry. The layer that was never meant for me, but I accepted quietly.
Each layer that I remove, every stitch I take out feels like I’m removing parts of myself. I hear the screams as each thread breaks free. I’m reminded that I am not enough. I’m reminded that I should have said no louder. I’m reminded that with each layer my hurt becomes someone else’s.
As the weight begins to lift, I lose myself more and more to the shadow. The reflection of who I was is disappearing and I’m moving into the darkness. My last safe place. My last salvation to try and keep me whole.
The last coat falls to the floor. The last layer disintegrates into a muddy mess around my feet. I’m left bare and raw. The little girl I once was is staring back at me as the darkness consumes her, and I shatter like a crystal bowl knocked off of its pedestal.
It’s in the shattered pieces that I find my peace. It’s in the darkness that I start to heal, hidden away from the sins of others.
Until one morning, the sun shines again.
The light reaches the shattered pieces that I’ve slowly put back together. I step into the light. I see the holes in myself. And I straighten the crown I’ve made from the brokenness I once was, and I take my place—standing tall.
I am no longer cowering for the comfort of others.