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Shadow And Whisper

“And it’s only a matter of time
before I am nothing more
than shadow and whisper too.”

This prison of mine has become my home. The sunlight creeps in and all I can do is watch the shadows dance across the flor. Look at the yellow print on the walls and wonder what might be hidden there. There’s this nagging inside at me. If only I could focus hard enough, I might be able to see those figures I notice moving in the corner of my eye. Or maybe, if I wait long enough, those barely discernable whispers will become louder. Clearer. Maybe. Just maybe. I won’t be so alone. But I won’t hold my breath. This room smells of death. And I know it’s only a matter of time before I am nothing more than shadow and whisper too.

© Sarah Doughty

2019

Maybe then, I won’t be so alone.

Prompt: The Yellow Wallpaper
hosted by the amazing Christine
at Brave And Reckless.

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The Look

“I saw the look in his eyes.
The look that told me
how much he loved me.”

In that instant, it was just one look. That was all it took. One look that said everything. I saw the look in his eyes. The look that told me how much he loved me. I didn’t want that moment to end. But as the darkness spread in my vision, I hoped that he could read the look on my face and know how much I loved him too.

Before everything went silent.

© Sarah Doughty
2015

This was one of the scenes from my first novel, Just Breathe. Though it’s not the final draft version, the moment was still the same. Aisling and Connor will always be my first loves.

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Darkest Moments

“No matter how lost you feel,
don’t give up. You’ll beat it.
You’ll overcome it.”

In the darkest moments, when you’re left with nothing but the memories, the ghosts of your past and the demons that lurk in the deepest recesses of your mind — those are when you are the most vulnerable. Those are the moments that can tear you into pieces and leave behind the tattered remains of who you once were. When your emotions overwhelm you and you want nothing more than to shut them off or turn them around. But they’re on a one way street and the brakes have failed.  The moments we fail to see who we really are. When we lose sight of what we have. Forget all the good. And focus on all the bad.

But sometimes there’s that tiny bit of white light, nothing more than a pin prick. A needle point amidst all that blackness. Like the only star in an otherwise infinite, starless night. When you find it, you know you have it. You’ll beat it. You’ll overcome it.

That tiny little beacon is a little thing called hope.

© Sarah Doughty
2015

Sometimes, hope is all we have to hold on to.

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Her Peace

“There’s a magic in the dark of night.
It’s a feeling if going home.”

There’s something about gazing out into the infinite expanse of the sea. But not just anytime. There’s a magic in the dark of night. Those gentle waves illuminated by a full moon. It’s a feeling of going home, when the eyes focus on that little strip of light, fading off into the distance. That’s the power of the pale blue glow of the moon shining on the waves. And whenever you feel lost, just look at her beautiful face in the sky and what she illuminates beneath her. If you’re lucky enough to look out into the ocean at the same time, you’ll know what peace feels like.

© Sarah Doughty
2016

From my first poetry collection,
The Silence Between Moonbeams.

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Poisoned Soil

“There were lots of things I didn’t understand
through my childhood eyes. Despite everything,
my mother still tried.”

There were lots of things I didn’t understand through my childhood eyes. I didn’t see the seeds of stress my mother carried on her shoulders. I didn’t see the way she struggled to make ends meet on a single parent salary. I failed to see how much energy was spent trying to make sure I had a normal childhood, despite not knowing that my innocence was long since lost. Like wilted petals falling from the husks of dead flowers floating away on the breeze. Despite everything, she still tried.

And now, she knows the truth. How she failed to do the one thing any normal parent would do — protect her child from harm. How she failed to notice all the signs. Even after everything she sacrificed, she still feels the guilt of not saving me. How heartbreaking it must be, to find out all that effort was too little, too late. I can see through the mirage at the destruction that was caused at my expense.

In the desolation of that poisoned soil, I understand what was missed. And in search of my mother’s garden, I’ve learned that sometimes, we can’t protect those we hold most dear. We do the best we can.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

Sometimes, it’s just not enough. The point is that we try our best.

Prompt: In Search Of Our Mother’s Gardens
hosted by the amazing Christine
at Brave And Reckless.

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But I Am

“You infected my mind
and your voice still tells me
I’m not good enough. But I am.”

I’m here to say I am good enough. I could defend my position until I’m blue in the face. Tell you I’ve overcome, done all these things you said I’d never do because I was ugly, or destined for failure, or worthless. It wouldn’t matter. You’re dead, and there’s no changing that. But see, here’s the thing. You spent all those years reminding me of who I was, molding me into the girl you wanted me to be. And even though you’re dead, your voice is loud and clear in my mind. I can’t tell you to shut up. I can’t confront you and ask you why. So I’m stuck here, listening to your voice on repeat. Hoping one day you’ll get tired and die there too. I don’t know if that will happen. Until then, I’m going to listen to music at full blast to drown you out. I’m going to bleed ink and write on those pages like my life depends on it.

Because it does.

© Sarah Doughty
2015

I’m going to look at my husband and my son, and see the people who love me. I’m going to keep doing all those things you told me I would never do.

Because I fucking can.

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Anchored

“My love, you are my anchor.
I was always meant to be yours.”

These thoughts, how the arrest me in the night. How they hold me hostage and haunt me, like memories, playing out on the moonlit walls in front of me. It was the way you held my hand, as if you were afraid to let me go. Like I was a balloon and could blow away in the wind if you didn’t keep me anchored to the ground. But, my love, I never would have left your side. Since the first day we connected, you became my anchor. You are still my anchor. And though I may not have realized it in the beginning, I was always meant to be yours. Bound beyond time and space.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

That’s what makes us unshakable.

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The Gatekeeper

“Sometimes all I want is for you to hold me.
Let me feel your strength.
Let me smell you, feel your arms
around me and know you’re real.”

Most of the time I want to tell you that.

But most of the time, I’m frozen in silence. And it’s only in those moments when I think you won’t really look at me, and see how much I’m feeling — how much I’m hurting — that I’ll say something.

Perhaps I’ll mention that I wouldn’t survive without you, because that’s true. Our maybe I’ll apologize for the hundredth time that day for being messed up and that I wished it could be better for you.

Because you don’t deserve it.

© Sarah Doughty
2015

You shouldn’t have to be my savior.

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The Greatest Lesson

“And I learned to dream with my eyes open.
I learned what it meant to love you.”

After what felt like an eternity in some hellish nightmare, I emerged into the morning with fresh eyes and tortured memories. As my teachers filled my head with stories, introducing me to a bright green world of escape, I learned to dream with my eyes open. And then I poured out everything that littered my mind and heart. Anything that screamed as it moved through my veins. But what I learned to listen to the most were the whispers that came from the shadows. The ones that hoped for a better future.

When love found me in that neverending dreamland, I knew it by many names. A guide, a star-crossed lover, a utopia, a dystopia, an immortal soul, and a mortal one. I read epic tales of adventures, great loves, and great losses. I read about life.

But the greatest thing I ever learned was what true love really means. From one soul to another, a bond that could melt icebergs, or cool the high seas. One that would withstand both space and time. It was not bound by gender or a question of right or wrong. It was — and is — true. The way one should love another.

You see, I learned what it meant to love you.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

And every path led me straight to you.

Prompt: Men Explain Things To Me
hosted by the amazing Christine
at Brave And Reckless.

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Labels Of Choice

“Surviving is more important than any label.
Never apologize for staying alive.”

When it comes to living my life, I have learned that it’s okay to lean on the people you love and trust the most. It’s not easy — now or when this mess began, but without that help, I don’t know what would have become of me. When I was a child, my classmates liked to make fun of me because I looked like a boy. But to me, the boys in my family weren’t the ones being assaulted every night. And in some ways, I wished I could become one. But those wishes were lost to the wind and I learned how to live as best as I could. Perhaps that makes me a bad feminist, to lean on others, rather than taking care of myself. I’m okay with that. Surviving, to me, is far more important than any label.

© Sarah Doughty
2019

Never apologize for doing
what you need to do to survive.

Prompt: Bad Feminist
hosted by the amazing Christine
at Brave And Reckless.