the masks we put on

The Masks We Put On

How do we heal from trauma? Can we truly learn from traumatic events or are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes, mindlessly, until death? To deal with trauma, what defenses do we put up, and how do we keep those defenses from blocking our growth?

What is the use of keeping on this facade anymore —
“When I let it go
I give you permission to do so, too”
I heard somewhere…

On this long journey I have traveled
I am too weary to expect anything but to understand that part of your soul you wish to become
Are you who you wish to become?
Are you rattled in your cage protecting yourself from harm?
Do you miss the freedom of the wind blowing your thoughts to whichever which way they wish
Led to breeze through trees with no intention to please the rest
Do you wish to feel directionless?
Are you afraid with no direction you will be left out?

Stuck in a void with no one else but the ones who are most like you
Are you afraid those who are most like you would leave you out in the void, too?
If I saw your truth behind the magician’s wand, what would it speak?
He orchestrates an element of illusion to participate in the collective grand delusion —
Are we truly part of the solution?

Is our past truly becoming resolved as we pick each other apart or are we simply just
pretending to be resolved yet really we are all just blowing hot air?
What will happen if we ever meet again?
With the mutual knowledge we share the same room?

With a subservient glance
I follow invisibles lines of all who are connected to me/my past/and even up to today
Some lines refuse to break
They are always beside you no matter how lonely the road less traveled feels
The ones whose bonds can never be broken
They’ll never be far away

Be rest assured then
You will never be left out in the void
The ones who wish to know the truth
In order to mold themselves into the truth
Will always be there to help guide you to your true soul’s calling

And if your soul’s calling is really just self grandiose bullshit, it will soon prove it to be nothing
but a vehicle that has led to your true soul’s calling
And that could simply be peace

In the present moment
Having a good heart
Being a decent fucking person

In this long journey I have traveled
I’ve been tangled up in so many mazes I have to constantly check my inner compass to see
where I’ve actually landed in an effort to ground myself into what really is happening instead of
someone else telling me what is happening
Will I be required to carry out the burden of weightlessness with no obligation but to share my
space with others
Or do my fantasies that pull me away from present reality reveal the true direction of my

Whatever the truth is
So be it
This is my life’s journey and I accept it
As if I made it up in my fantasy
I accept it
As if I made it up in my fantasy
To escape
To an alternate reality
With only one purpose
To escape my current reality

Leave my wounds unattended like they did to you and they did with me and we did with each
other and so it continues
Until I finally choose to race to the dead middle of the night to wake me to…
And there lies my truth
But as soon as I’m given answers
I am prone to forget
Next time
When the truth comes to visit
I make a promise to myself to look at him bravely and respond, “Show me. Teach me.”

Jennifer Bouchard is a poet/actress residing in Los Angeles. Being a sexual assault survivor, the majority of her writing revolves around her healing process. Jennifer recently performed a piece at Healthy Housing Foundation’s slam event, The La Dream. She also recently self published her first collection, White Helmet.

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