Part 1: The making of a big man
1. I feel small beside him. I’m a cloak of pride that he wears; when asked where he bought it, he claims to have made it himself. I’ve become so comfortable being worn by him that I no longer know how to wear myself when he isn’t around.
2. When asked a question, I know what the answer is; but I’ve been trained to look at him for confirmation in my response.
3. I’ve become quiet. When my mother asks why I have let him take my voice box out of my throat, I respond with a roar. The only time I speak up is to defend his honour.
4. I’ve become frail. I shrunk myself to make him feel big. A result of him ordering salads for me at restaurants; I can tell the waitress looks at me with disdain. I do not look back at her. She doesn’t know one thing about making a man happy.
5. I ignore the texts, the calls. The tinder notifications. When I do bring them up, I speak kindly. I take the blame for not ******* him off enough, of course he needs to seek it elsewhere. But please don’t do it again? (He does. I begin to choose my battles with this one).
6. I no longer fit into my jeans. He tells me it’s a good thing; they’re easier to take off that way.
7. I cry. I cry, and let him hold me, to make him feel like he is fixing me. I tell him that he’s holding me together. I tell him that it’s everything else, never him. He’s like a toddler squishing an ant: what are good intentions become fatal all too soon.
8. He cries. I hold him to feel like I am fixing him. I feel like I am holding him together. He tells me that it’s me, that he feels trapped. I’m like a leech on his arm: what is nourishing me is draining him.
9. He is so big. I am so small that he forgets that I am there. I have done my job. I leave in the middle of the night, he doesn’t notice that the bed is empty. My imprint was so little that he rolls over to my side, where I should have been, and snores.
10. I am small beside him. I am small without him. When he made me feel small, he made me small, when he made me feel weak, he made me weak, when he robbed me of my voice box, I lost my voice. He grew.
Part 2: The making of a strong woman
1. I feel whole beside you. I’m a cloak of pride that you wear; when asked where you bought it, you give credit to me.o
2. When asked a question, I speak clearly and honestly. I never look at you for confirmation.
3. I’ve become outspoken. My mother tells me that I must have found my voice box. I tell her you removed the lock.
4. I’ve become strong. I stand beside you in equal proportions. You make me mac and cheese for dinner and I lick the spoon.
5. I **** you off all the time. Because I want to.
6. I bought a whole new wardrobe. I don’t ask for your opinion. Your friends compliment me and you tell them you love what I wear.
7. I cry. I cry, and you cry, and you hold me. You are holding me together, you are gluing me back together with your tears. You are like the binding of a book: holding together a masterpiece, while still allowing the book to open.
8. You cry. I hold you, and we sail off into the night. Your tears are the ocean, my arms are the steering wheel.
9. You are so wonderful. Your presence is all-encompassing, and I feel all encompassed in love. When I leave the bed to go ***, you ask me where I’m going. The only time you roll to my side of the bed is to wrap me in your arms.
10. I’ve grown, and so have you. You’ve put me on a cloud, and I’ve put you on a throne. Your words have blossomed flowers in my lungs. I’m golden. I am loved. I am love.