I’m the Runaway Bride… again and again

I’ve watched the film again and again

I’ve cried at the film again and again

It’s me, that Maggie, it’s me.

Each relationship I’ve been in,

I’ve not been me,

Each person I’ve been with

Has not seen me.

I’ve moulded and shaped my person to be

Just what they wanted

Wanted to see.

I used to dream of meeting ‘the One’

But realised the rest of world thought I was no fun

So I changed, had sex when I didn’t want to

Drank alcohol and performed like a monkey in a zoo.

I’ve played mother, carer, responsible, Mrs Right,

Been good girl in day and bad in the night:

Made out I like thongs, football and steak

Convinced myself this was the way to make…

Them Love me.

Live what I was taught to do,

Hide away.

We don’t want YOU

So hush, be silent

And do as you’re told

If you’re “good”

You’ll feel part of the fold.

If you don’t we’ll banish you,

Punish you.

You exist for us

Be good now, not one second of fuss.

So that’s what I did and what I have done

I put on a mask

And then another one

So many different versions of ‘me’

Bartered my soul;

Lost;

Washed out to sea.

So I’m like Maggie, that’s me.

Now here’s the irony

Something I’ve learnt

For others to see you

You have to choose to be seen

Drop all the masks

Be honest, come clean.

But it’s not easy I find

I’m convinced by my masks

It’s been so long: they cling to me tight

They put up a very strong fight.

But they are so heavy, tiring,

Oppressive these days

Now I know they are there

And I’m sick of their ways.

I want to find me and

All the pieces that shattered

Beginning to see: being me really mattered.

Most of my life, I’ve seen it in others

Encouraged the light in my sisters and brothers

But never rated myself in the same way

It’s so sad I’ve kept me at bay.

Runaway Bride… running away from myself

This terrible person I thought I might be

Someone else’s convenient story of me.

I’m tired, exhausted by pretending so long

But like Maggie, I’ve run long enough

I’m dying before I’m dying

It’s not easy, it’s tough

To walk on eggshells, afraid of exposure

No peace, no closure.

My hope has come in the form of Truth

Not mine, but God’s

She who made me, knows me, wants me to be…

Calls for the masks to be shattered, not me.

Loves me to love me, to want me to see me.

My half, and then the whole me.

by Maxine Bell December 26th 2020

(image from and poem inspired by the 1999 movie – The Runaway Bride)

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