Pea of Contention

There’s a pea of contention buried in me
underneath the striving, the doing.
I like to pretend it isn’t there but I can feel it.
All the time.
I can’t get comfortable.
I toss.
I turn.
When eventually I do sleep, he’s there
reminding me of his manipulation.
It scares me how easily I gave myself to him.
Ignored my needs for safety for his cheap affection.
Left myself behind with
my other selves
from other times.
And now they’re clamouring
to be let back in,
with their pain.

And it hurts.

They have stories to tell and they need to tell them.
I am the conduit
and the comforter.
I ask them what they need and give them space.
Sometimes they rest in my heart tucked up warm and safe.
They take the time they need and when they wake
I feel them.
But I’m busy.
Getting on with my life while I can!
And they interrupt my dreams with things they need to tell
until I realise I need to listen.
And I feel.
And I write.
And I paint.
And the pea shrinks for a while.