Oh the shame of being abused
The harsh words
The push here
The shove there
Being the butt of your jokes when we hang out
Steeling myself for the inevitable onslaught
I was the victim
Still I felt the shame…
If I could hide it, I would!

Home was dysfunctional
Daddy drank
Mummy screamed
Sometimes, us kids starved for days
Being out was great
Because we could pretend
Pretend to be happy
But on the ride home, the tension grew
Fear rising, my throat constricting
I was the victim, a child who shouldn’t have to see such pain
Still I felt the shame…
If I could hide it, I would

Butterfly scars on my face
Dark marks on my arms
The doctor called it a name
She calls it “Lupus”
“An auto-immune disorder” she said
At the blank look on my face
She explained “your body is fighting against itself”
Hmm, my body is waging its own war
But I walk around
Bearing the shame of these scars
Having to explain something
That I did not cause
But living with my shame…
And if I could hide it I would

This shame seems to sit like a cloak
Ask the little girl sitting in the now grown up woman who wears her make up like a mask
Ask about the abuse when she was only 9

Ask the grown man who never knew his father’s hug
Ask about his step dad who shoved his head in the oven just because he stayed out late

Ask the spouse who was cheated on and carries the shame and feelings of inadequacy like a badge

Ask the victims who committed no crimes
But who carry the names and scars of the criminals who did

If we could hide it, we would!
Since we can’t hide it
We face it
Analyse it
Acknowledge the pain
But realise it’s not ours to bear

If we could hide it, we would
Since we can’t hide it
We choose…
We choose to cast it off…




This is just poetry, inspired by an allergic reaction I had on my hands over Christmas and I remember answering so many questions about it, sometimes I’d think “if I could hide it, I would”, but I gesticulate so much, there was no hiding it. Today, I read an article in the UK edition of The Guardian where Chimamanda Adichie shared her struggle with depression, the shame of it… And I got angry at shame, victimised on 2 levels, by the event itself, then by the shame of it! I am angry and will not be ashamed, I choose to love me in the totality of who I am… I hope you decide in your favour too.


2 replies to “IF I COULD HIDE IT…

  1. Thank you for echoing our feelings in such eloquent way.we all have darkness hidden somewhere in our hearts,sometimes hearing it through others like this soothes like balm.
    May we overcome our darknesses and give light a chance,thanks.

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