On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Domestic abuse is a big problem here in America, this spoken word poem strives to give hope to those victims.

I grew up believing in fairy tales, searching the murky pond waters for the frog that would turn into prince charming, and when kissing frogs didn’t work out I’d brush the soot off my face while I waited for my fairy godmother to fly in and make everything okay. I never realized that I was just like the princesses I idolized. Biting into the shiny apple of a stranger and feeling the sting of the same bitter poison on my lips time and time again.

I’d often sit and wander around the dark abyss of my mind, leaving a trail of bread crumbs behind me so I wouldn’t get lost. But of course I would, falling into the rabbit hole of past memories only to climb out and realize that my bread crumbs had been gobbled up, rendering me defenseless against the beasts who hid under the dark cloak of night.

It’s funny how things change in the darkness, the lamp in your room grows fangs and red beady eyes that stare deep into your soul. But those night creepers aren’t the beasts to fear, the scariest ones are those who come out in broad daylight, the ones who hide in plain sight. It’s those monsters that are the worst because you should see them, but you don’t because you just love to see the best in people don’t you? It was stupid of you not to remember that even the sweetest old lady could turn out to be a murderer in a mask. Yet you still invite her into your life, because you’re hoping that she turns out to be just that; an old lady.

Maybe she’s here to tell you that you’ve been lied to your entire life and you’re secretly the daughter of a king, or that there’s a cursed prince locked in a castle who needs true loves kiss and it’s up to you. Everyone has an old lady in their lives and just like snow white, we trust her and she poisons us. Even so, we keep letting her in, and we hope that it’ll all work out in the end.

But we’re left disappointed, because unfortunately the sad reality is, in life you can be stuck in a tower and no matter how much you sing and comb your long blonde hair, no one is going to climb up to save you.

I grew up believing in fairy tales, in dream come true’s and happily every afters. I spent a long time searching for mine, but no matter how far I traveled it seemed apparent that I simply didn’t have one.

After a while shadows aren’t as scary, the night creeper dances along your walls and makes you laugh through the pain of your bruised ribs. He visits each night and becomes the closest thing you have to a friend. The shadow makes you forget all you’re worries and offers you a ticket out. You consider slipping off with him, drifting away like a leaf in a cool autumn breeze. But wendy wouldn’t leave her brothers, and so I couldn’t leave my mom. I’m again like those princesses, trapped in a tower with no voice.

Sure, I could yell, but no one would hear me, and I could jump from the tower but I’d likely perish. There are good days though, when the beast is in the west wing and we’re alone, my mom comes into my room and reads me my favorite stories. We remember the times when the beast was a prince, before he had tasted the cursed nectar and insulted the beggar. Together we hope that he’ll right his wrongs before the rose dies. I look at the rose, her sad eyes, the poorly covered bruises around them.

She always tries to cover them before I can see them, she thinks they make her look weak, but I see a warrior. She was drafted into a war, with no say, and she’s fighting like hell. On those good days, I start to forget my curse, the tower I’m stuck in, but he always reminds me.

He walks like a pirate, heavy on his feet, his knuckles bloody and red. With all the resentment of ursula and the fury of maleficent he bursts through the door. Grabbing my mother by her hair and dragging her out. I hear her cries from the room next to mine. Hours of hearing things crashing, hearing her pleading with him. I want to go and help her, I want to hurt him. But I know that will only make things worse.

So, I do not fight, I do not scream,

but I plan.

Like the children in the Juniper Tree I’ve learned that there is a time to stay quiet, that time is now, but later I’ll get my revenge. I’ll come back like every hero does just when you think they’ve been knocked down for the count. Licking the blood off my lip and wiping away my tears it’s not over yet.

The book is still open, the author is still writing and that is why I can’t find my ending. t

There isn’t one.

It’s up to me to decide how my story ends, do I toss Captain Hook overboard to get eaten by the crocodile or do I sit prisoner below the deck waiting for some prince to come save me.

Live your story,

write your ending,

and whatever you do...

Never lose hope.

There is a happy ending for everyone, you just need to believe.

Project Citizen Project Citizen '19

Project Citizen is a youth writing lab that is offered as part of the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University. The mission of Project Citizen is to empower young writers to engage in issues of social and political importance through a variety of genres in order to both find their voice and to become fully realized citizens in our democracy. Project Citizen brings together students from school districts and towns in Fairfield county that represent a variety of economic, racial, ethnic, and religious demographic groups in an effort to break down the "zip code apartheid" that stands in the way of true collaborative learning.

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