Topic: Making Decisions
One of my long-term male survivor friends (pseudonym Bob) is a chaplain who happens to also be a musician and a poet. While we have even stronger connections than those, I cannot say more without breaking his need to maintain a great deal of confidentiality. Bob is one of the strongest guys, with one of the most tender hearts I know. Maybe he sees the latter in himself. I'm doubtful on the first. I can unload on Bob anytime I feel the need, and his work has ministered to more people than he probably will ever know. Perhaps more to me than to anyone.
Years ago, not long after he'd revealed his own childhood sexual abuse to some co-workers and family members, he handed me a copy of a long poem without a title, Let's just call it "The Hippo." It so eloquently described the fear and courage that it takes to confront what many call "the elephant" --the primal emotions some of us encountered years ago. While some of you reading this may have just started on the journey of attempting "wake the dead" while keeping your own sanity about abuse, collusion, or a myriad of other issues that trouble you.
"Use this or anything else that I write if you think it will be helpful to others," Bob frequently tells me, true to his generous self. So here you are:
There’s a hippo in the corner of my room.
Strange, I hadn’t seen it there before.
But once I had bumped into it, I swear
I find it quite impossible to ignore.
I’ve noticed others manage to avoid it,
But now aware,
It’s like a magnet to my mind;
I’ve a penchant just to stare.
How strange, but now I know it,
It’s enormity is clear;
And I can’t deny the mess it’s made
Or how long it has been there.
There’s a hippo that is growing in my room.
But, when I try to speak of it I find
That everyone just stares at me so funny
And treats me as if I had lost my mind….
And though maintaining some concern about my mental health,
My family and friends conspire to save me from myself.
How dare I be so selfish, so inconsiderate, as to bring it up.
Hippos are so inconvenient.