It Gets Better, So They Say

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It Gets Better, So They Say

Without warmth dawn throws
long shadows across our paths.
We bundle our bodies in layers
to protect ourselves from the cold jeers
that await us because we live.

At least that’s how it feels
but it gets better they say.

A second grade teacher teases
“There are no dumb questions” daring
us to ask. Don’t listen to her lies.
A hand comes up, the words come out
her hand cradles the young head, slams it to the desk.

Snickers from the others quiet
as they fear they could be next. We learn
to never question,
choosing ignorance
over pain.

Vulnerable in youth we are dismissed
or call us to receive some justified scorn.
Relentless waves keep us surfing fear
attempting to avoid
hate’s dark undertow.

At least that’s how it feels.
But it gets better, so they say.

The time comes when loneliness
is what we seek. Across the ocean
of our own tears we set our sails for the island
Isolation. Here we hide behind walls
our fragile hearts create.

The walls close in around us
smothering us in cold and silence. Until we learn
to rip and tear at our own seams
expanding ourselves
to let love in again.

At least that’s how it feels.
It gets better they say and we hope it’s true.

On the streets we are still called
dykes. But love, our arms of valor,
won’t be beat. Even when pushed
into a corner to cower
without “their God given” rights.

We know how to survive. Hand in hand
our hearts expand.
It’s the bully’s turn to learn
love’s gracious touch
of dawn’s warm embrace.

At least that’s how it feels.
It gets better, they are right.

Written for National Anti-bullying Month & dVerse’s OLN # 120

30 replies
  1. claudia
    claudia says:

    Until we learn
    to rip and tear at our own seams
    expanding ourselves
    to let love in again…. dang … very moving…. after we have been “burnt” it takes much to trust again…. but we win if we do…

    • Delaina
      Delaina says:

      Thank you for your comments and for reading Claudia. I so agree we do win if let love in again no matter how many times we are hurt. Cheers!

    • Delaina
      Delaina says:

      Thank you for reading Gabriella. Everyone deserves the change to grow even those that try to oppress and bully. Cheers!

  2. Mary
    Mary says:

    Sometimes love IS the answer rather than reacting in response. Hopefully that love will also be learned (by example) by those who had been disapprovingly judgmental. At least we can hope……

    • Delaina
      Delaina says:

      Hey Mary nice to see you! I do think that love can save us, but when we are being hurt it is hard to remember to love ourselves first. Thanks for reading.

  3. brian miller
    brian miller says:

    great last stanza on how we overcome…hand in hand…
    it can be hard…hoping it will get better when we see it happen
    again and again…the ripping and tearing at our own seams…yeah i know that too…

  4. Dorianna (paintswithwords)
    Dorianna (paintswithwords) says:

    Hello Delaina,
    loved the teacher example..my son went through a similar experience when young..bullies come in all shapes and statuses..it hurts deeply, but sharing the loneliness and uniqueness does help to make it better..good write

    • Delaina
      Delaina says:

      Hello Dorianna;

      Thank you for taking the time to read my poem and comment. Bullies do come in all forms but there hopeful we find someone that will help us feel less alone.
      Cheers!

  5. Marina Sofia
    Marina Sofia says:

    I love the repetition of ‘it gets better’, which gives the poem almost an elegiac quality. That bang of the head against the desk woke me with a shock and I read the rest of the poem in a quivering state.

    • Delaina
      Delaina says:

      Marina, thank you for reading and for you comments. I had not planned the elegiac tone but I think you are right.
      I admit, I went back and forth on the lines about the head bang. I was hoping the sharp tone change would act as a sort of wake-up call.

      Thanks again,
      Delaina

    • Delaina
      Delaina says:

      Thank you!
      Bullying is a sensitive topic and how we find peace with ourselves in the aftermath is very personal.
      Thanks for reading.

  6. Tony Maude
    Tony Maude says:

    It gets better – for most people, but not all. Some don’t survive long enough; others the scars are so deep that they never heal; others still seem to be the victims of bullying all through their lives.

    I’m glad it got better for you though … smiles

    • Delaina
      Delaina says:

      Tony you are so right and if my attempts had not failed I would have been among them. My positive tone was not to dismiss the lives that have been taken by bullies, or the lives that could take no more. Rather I hope the poem builds a little faith in our sometimes inhuman race so that those holding the razor or a handful a pills don’t let the bullies win.

      Thank you for reading and for you comment.
      Cheers!

  7. Freya
    Freya says:

    Letting love in again is the hardest part of all, after going through this kind of hell. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable takes more guts than anything else. Thank you for sharing this.

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