Life Lessons

I have in my possession
The practiced, polished patience
Of a long dead holy saint
Noted for their complacence.

There was no fraud or theft,
Nothing was stolen away.
I built it by myself,
Day by long, endless day.

No, no, I-
I possess within myself
The practiced, polished patience
Of the storied Catholic saints
Expected of a person
Raised in a singular faith
That demands obedience
Rather than empathy,
Honed by a lifelong battle
To get through just one more day
Of the silence demanded
By negligence and appeasement.

I stilled my tongue,
Silencing the words
I longed to let explode
In an endless cry for help
Until all that came from me
Were the quiet cries
Of my wounded heart.

I spoke until my voice,
So new to this much use,
Gave out under the strain
Of fighting off silence
Imposed on me by people
Who’d rather pretend
That silence unending
Was the same as peace.

I learned to wield silence,
Because when paired with patience
Born of the singular need
To endure just one more day
And then one more after that,
It can break almost any other silence
Someone would use against me.

I practiced the patience
My parents demanded of me
For more years than I’ve lived since
Until it was as unshakeable
As my parents’ certainty
That this was the correct way
To raise a child.

I wield the patience of a saint
And the silence of the patient
As I steadily move forward,
Carefully containing
Everything I’ve endured
So not one drop spills
Onto anyone else.

But I have also learned
The power of simply leaving
When leaving became the answer
To every problem I’d faced
For my entire childhood
With my saint-similar patience
And imposed silence.

I have practiced it well
As I’ve moved forward
Through problems old and new,
And I know the value
Of simply walking away
When patience and silence
Fail to solve a problem.

Now, though, my heart lingers in silence,
Hoping patience might yet provide
When it has already failed
And I find myself learning
That there is power in being tired
Because the last time I was this tired,
I got tired of waiting and left.

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