She Believed

He told her she couldn’t do it, so she didn’t.
He told her she wasn’t smart enough, and she wasn’t.
He told her she wasn’t pretty enough, and she wasn’t.
He told her she wasn’t talented enough, wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t friendly enough, wasn’t, wasn’t, wasn’t. And she wasn’t.
He told her, you’re nothing without me. He said, I’m what makes you good. I’m what makes your life worth living. Worthwhile. Worth anything.
“I am your worth.”
She couldn’t, she wasn’t, she was Nothing. He said it. She listened. She internalized, and that became her reality. He was right, because she believed him. He was all she had. Nobody else loved her like he did. He gave her what she needed.
He was strong enough.
He was handsome enough.
He was smart enough.
He could do it, and she couldn’t, so she listened and believed and she did what he told her to do, because that was what was right, that was what he wanted so that’s what she wanted, too, and that’s how things were.
Until she thought,
I’m not happy.
This isn’t happiness.
He loves me.
He says he loves me.
I love him.
I have no one else to love, so
I love him. This is love.
He says I should be happy. He says, why are you crying? All I am is good to you. All I do is give, and give, give, give, for you, to you. All you do is take.
Then she thought
No, that’s not right. All he does is take. He takes and he says he’s giving. He took my things — they’re his things now. He took my friends — I have his friends now. He took my will — he took my strength — he took my beauty, and my smarts, and
He’s wrong.
He’s wrong, and he’s wrong about so much
And maybe he does love me, but he’s got love wrong.
So she took what he said, and she put it away, and it wasn’t her anymore. She became herself.
She said, I am kind enough. And she was.
She said, I am strong enough. And she was.
She said, I am pretty enough. I am smart enough. And she was.
She said, I have had enough.
She said,
I can do it. I can do it, without him: myself. Without him. He can’t tell me what I can’t do.
And because she believed it, she was right.

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